Product Review (December 2004)
Tributaries Cables
SCV-C and DCV-C Component Cables

Video cables play a significant role in the performance of today's high-definition home theater systems. While many may argue the importance of cables in general, it's much easier to distinguish the difference in performance on a quality high definition display. Cable and connector impedance play a big role in the performance of the video signal as it travels from one component to the another. This impedance must be controlled to minimize unwanted reflections in the cable that can result in signal ringing and other anomalies. Longer cables naturally reduce the bandwidth of a signal due to an increase in capacitance. However, other impedance characteristics such as inductance and resistance also come into play. All things being equal, shorter cables almost always have better performance with high bandwidth signals. Video can be more than a thousand times greater in frequency when compared to audio signals. For example, the pixel clock for a 720p or 1080i high-definition video is just over 74 MHz. This means the cable must be able to pass a fundamental frequency that is half the pixel clock or about 38 MHz to prevent significant video degradation. In reality it's best if the cable can pass a much higher frequency to avoid problems with gain and phase errors that can contribute to video degradation.

Tributaries addresses these issues with their high performance video cables. We had the opportunity to review their SCV-C Component Cables as well as their DCV-C Component Cables, both of which control impedance of the signal from end to end. To get an idea of how well these cables performed we requested the 3 meter lengths. Both cables are available in lengths of 1, 2, 3 or 4 meters.

SCV-C Design
The more expensive SCV-C Component Cables feature Triple Layered braided shielding with silver plated center conductors for high bandwidth applications. The design is said to protect the video signal from external radio frequency interference (RFI) and electromagnetic interference (EMI). Each cable is terminated with true 75 ohm MCC75 RCA connectors with red, green and blue color bands corresponding to the component video format. Tributaries employs a technique called Surround Soldering Technology for maximizing the contact and coverage of the shielding. A Lifetime Limited Warranty is offered on the cables.

The cables have a black braided jacket with triple gold-colored strips giving them an attractive appearance. The design offers surprisingly good flexibility when compared to other high-end cable designs. We had no problem routing the cables the way we wanted to. The connector design is one of the best we've seen with a semicircle cross-section used to shield the center conductor as it runs to the solder cup. The inside of the backshell reveals the 360° solder coverage around the cable shielding. The external connector design uses a split center pin that ensures a positive connection with the mating connector. The outer shell has eight fingers that grip the RCA jack to provide low contact resistance.

SCV-C Performance
We first tested the SCV-C Component Cables
using our Sencore VP403 as a source for generating high definition component video signals. We used the 720p mode to match the native resolution of our high definition display and chose the vertical bars since this results in the highest video bandwidth with alternating black and white pixels to our projector. We were interested in seeing if there was any noticeable degradation in the video signal. Past experience shows that some cables greatly attenuate these high frequency signals and we have often seen it on longer cable runs. The SCV-C Component Cables do have significant capacitance in the cables, but exhibited no problem passing the highest bandwidth signals to our projector. Each alternating pixel was clearly visible. Next we connected our JVC HM-DH30000U high definition D-VHS VCR using the component outputs to our projector and ran some real-world content. Using some of our reference D-VHS HD-Net tapes and our D-Theater movies, we looked at the video performance. Colors were excellent with natural looking flesh tones and the resolution was superb with these cables. We didn't see any problems with the video performance.

We also ran video from our Sony DVP-NS900V progressive scan DVD player to our iScan HD scaler. While the bandwidth is not as demanding as our high definition content, we wanted to look for any problems associated with signal ringing when transitions occurred. We didn't see any when using these cables. It would certainly be interesting to see how these cables perform over longer lengths. Based on our tests with the 3 meter samples, the Tributaries SCV-C Component Cables did a wonderful job carrying both standard and high definition signals from our source to the projector.

DCV-C Design
Tributaries' DCV-C Component Cables have some of the same excellent characteristics found in the SCV-C Component Cables, but at half the cost. While the DCV-C cables do not quite have the same build quality found in the higher-end SCV-C model, they do exhibit similar performance characteristics. Gold-plated brass connectors are used along with Oxygen Free High Conductivity (OFHC) copper conductors. The triple layered braided shielding offers protection from external radio frequency interference (RFI) and electromagnetic interference (EMI) according to the manufacturer. Each side has red, green and blue color coded bands for easy identification corresponding to the component video format. Tributaries employs the same Surround Soldering Technology for maximum performance. These cables also carry a Lifetime Limited Warranty.

The cable jacket is blue and offers good flexibility without the exotic layering scheme used in the SCV-C design. The connector housing also has a split center pin and eight fingers for grabbing the mating connector. The inside of the backshell reveals the 360° solder coverage around the cable shielding. However, the interface to the cable shielding is smaller compared to the higher quality SCV-C connectors.

DCV-C Performance
We tested the DCV-C Component Cables in a similar fashion starting with our Sencore VP403 as a source for generating high definition component video signals. Again we used the 720p mode to match the native resolution of our display. The alternating black and white pixels were clearly visible on our projector. The DCV-C Component Cables have more capacitance than the SCV-C Component Cables, but exhibited no problem passing out test signals. The 1080i video from our JVC HM-DH30000U high definition D-VHS VCR looked excellent. Again colors were vibrant with natural looking flesh tones. The resolution was exceptional in all test cases with these cables.

Tributaries has a wide variety of cables ranging from good to exceptional. Both the SCV-C and DCV-C Component Cables performed excellent in our tests whether it was standard definition DVD or high definition source material. We ultimately preferred the SCV-C cable design simply because the construction and performance were superior. However, for half the retail cost, the DCV-C
offers impressive performance with good build quality. Depending on your budget, Tributaries has a high performance component cable for you.

- Kevin Nakano

Review System

Projector: Optoma H77 High-Definition HD2+ DLP™ Projector
Screen: Stewart Filmscreen 100" FireHawk Screen on a Luxus Deluxe ScreenWall
Video Processor/Scaler: Anchor Bay Technologies DVDO iScan HD A/V Processor
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box: Samsung SIR-T165 Terrestrial HDTV Receiver with DVI
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer

D-VHS VCR: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables
DVI Cable: Monster Cable M Series M500DVI DVI-D Cable
Power Conditioning: Panamax MAX® 5510 ACRegenerator
Video Generator: Sencore VP403 SDTV/HDTV Video Pattern Generator
Color Analyzer #1: Sencore CP5000 ISF Certified All-Display Color Analyzer
Color Analyzer #2: ColorFacts with GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro Colorphotometer

Review at a glance

Tributaries Cables

SCV-C Component Cables

  • Three Cable Set
  • Silver Plated Center Conductors for Widest Bandwidth Signal Transfer
  • Triple Layered Shielding
  • 75 Ohm Gold-Plated Brass color-coded connectors
  • 75 Ohm Construction
  • Surround Soldering Technology
  • Lifetime Limited Warranty
  • Pricing: (US SRP)
    1 meter - $250
    2 meters - $300
    3 meters - $350
    4 meters - $400

    DCV-C Component Cables

  • Three Cable Set
  • 75 Ohm Cable
  • Oxygen Free High Conductivity (OFHC) Copper Conductors
  • Triple Layered Shielding
  • Gold Plated Brass Connectors
  • Surround Soldering Technology
  • Color-Coded connectors
  • Lifetime Limited Warranty
  • Pricing: (US SRP)
    1 meter - $125
    2 meters - $150
    3 meters - $175
    4 meters - $200

    Company Information
    6448 Pinecastle Blvd, Suite 101
    Orlando, FL 32809

    Phone: 800-521-1596, 407-855-0497
    Fax: 800-553-1366, 407-855-2482

    Source: Manufacture loan


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