Review (December 2004)
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Kevin Nakano
Optoma H77 High-Definition HD2+ DLP Projector
|Review at a glance|
SCV-C Component Cables
DCV-C Component Cables
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