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pudge (1)

pudge
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Journal of pudge (1)

Saturday October 19, 2002
08:00 PM

DVD Player

[ #8473 ]

I went to a Sony outlet in Massachusetts and found a refurbished DVP-NC655P DVD player. It plays CD-R/CD-RW/DVD-R/DVD-RW, MP3 CDs, and VCDs. It has coax and optical digital outs. It has a 5-disc changer. It has some nifty video features for sharpening the picture, plenty of controls and display options (showing all angles at once), and a decent remote. It has progressive scan output. It's fast and works well. I'm happy with it.

The only thing that sucks about it is that it has a volume control, but only has codes for about eight brands of receivers; so I can't change the volume with the remote control (please don't tell me about all the great universal remotes out there, I know :-).

So I went to Radio Shack to buy a coaxial cable for the digital audio, and the 40-something-ish manager asks if he can help. I don't want to spend time looking (it takes me a few minutes to get my bearings in the cable section), and I know what I want, so I say I need a coaxial cable for digital audio. Simple, right?

He asks what length, I say six feet. He hands me a six-foot coax cable such as for cable TV. No, for digital audio, I say. It's slightly different, and has a different connector. He says oh, the only way to get a true digital signal is with optical cable. No, I assure him, the coax connection sends exactly the same signal. He assures me that no, the DVD player will convert it to analog first, and then send the audio signal.

I literally laughed at him (not intentionally) as I tried to explain that he was incorrect, that this was not a regular RCA audio cable, but a coaxial cable with an RCA connector, and it transmits the pure digital signal, but he wasn't budging.

But I do like my new DVD player.

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  • I've actually been told that coaxial digital audio is /higher/ quality than what you get across the optical digital audio cables (assuming equivalent cable qualities of each, I guess). Of course, I can't tell the difference between my two different optical audio cables (one is Monster Cable's Interlink 100, the other is Interlink 400), or between either of them and my DVD player's coaxial (Monster Cable as well, of course). I guess my ears just aren't good enough :)
    • I've heard all sorts of things. I've also heard that you can get a perfect signal from a coat hanger [smr-archive.com], that there is good error correction and retransmission, and that there's nothing to worry about.
    • As far as I understand the difference is very subtle . The digital signal on the coaxial cable is transmitted with a clock signal in the transport. The optical is not timed. This does not matter for DVDs as its encoded signal has an internal clock, so whatever transport is used, the DA converter always uses the internal clock to properly time the decoding.

      CDs do not have this internal clock in the encoding, so clock skew on the CD can be transported over optical, but not over coaxial. This only matters if