April 14, 2008 by Steve Venuti
Q. Is it worth the money to upgrade to HDMI for better audio quality? I won’t see much video improvement (from component 576p to HDMI 720p due to my LCD limitation). Is the gap between optical and HDMI worth an A/V upgrade? - Vincent
A. Everything being equal, if you plan to continue to use your existing components, then the answer is no. You will see no quality difference using HDMI. But do remember, with S/PDIF, you will always be limited to 2-channel PCM or legacy bitstreams like Dolby Digital or DTS. If you ever want to experience greater audio fidelity—for example, up to 8 channels of PCM or the new lossless audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD or DTS Master Audio, the only way to transport these formats digitally is over HDMI.
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Steve Venuti is the Vice President of Marketing for the HDMI Licensing, LLC, the organization responsible for the development of the HDMI standard. For more information about HDMI, check out the HDMI Knowledge Base
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