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In all of our (Shepherd Media & Visual Worshiper) travels/conversations/seminars about church projection/media, we CONSTANTLY have churches wanting DVI or HDMI cable because "it's digital" or "it looks better" or "we can run it farther".

We set out to prove that those are not true, and if you're wanting to run a certain type of cable just because your Blu-Ray player uses it, you're probably wasting the church's money.

We have observed that...

...the quality of cable matters.  Identical signal run via 150' of $2/ft VGA VS. pennies/ft equals DRAMATIC difference.  Ghosting and fuzziness occurs with cheap cable, test becomes hart to read.

...sending 1024 x 768 into native XGA projector via 3' VGA or 3' DVI-D (digital only) looks NO different.

...sending 1024 x 768 into native XGA projector via 3' VGA or 3' HDMI looks NO different.

...sending 1024 x 768 into native XGA projector via 150' of high-quality VGA looks NO different than the 3' DVI or the 3' HDMI.

...sending 1080i and 1080p into native XGA projector via HDMI looks WORSE actually because the projector isn't capable of using all the resolution.

...the type of connection and resolution is of little importance compared to quality of cable and native resolution of projector, as well as the internal quality of the projector panels and chips/guts. doesn't matter what resolution you send out of the computer, the native resolution of a projector is going to be the highest it can project and utilize.  Using a different cable so you can send a higher resolution is of no benefit.

Interesting find #1:  When you use a DVI-D cable (digital only) out of the computer to the projector, the projector/display device will typically send a signal to the computer telling the computer what the native resolution is, and the name of the device, in this case, the name of the brand of projector.  I actually didn't like this, because it limited my computer to what resolution I could send to the projector.  Not terribly relevant to the overall test, but interesting.

Interesting find #2:  One specific manufacturer's projector with a 1024 x 768 input looks WAY BETTER than another.  It was less-jagged around text.  Company A uses a .6 LCD panel and Company B uses a .8 LCD panel.

Interesting find #3:  Did you know that a VGA cable can send up to 2K resolution?  Now...'by the book' only says up to 25', but from our observations, we believe it could go much longer.

Our future tests will use a native, full-HD-projector, but we don't have a lot of those just laying around in the professional series so that will come ASAP.

Let me attempt to address objections in advance:

For MOST churches, they do NOT need anything different than high-quality (high-bandwidth) VGA cable.

What about a native WXGA (720p) projector?  It would have no impact because WXGA isn't necessarily "higher" resolution, it's only WIDER resolution.

What about a native WUXGA (1080p) projector?  Same answer; the bandwidth of the right high-quality cable can handle up to 1920 x 1200, and guess what...that's a VGA cable.

High-rez pics:

3 comments (Add your own)

1. Brad Foster wrote:
Great article. But to be compatible with a BluRay player it would be best to go HDMI right?

Tue, June 5, 2012 @ 3:59 PM

2. Brian Greenwood wrote:

While I agree with much of what you said above I believe you are neglecting a critical fact. VGA is being EOLed in 2013. Intel will no longer support and/or provide the chip that allows video conversion to analog VGA as of Jan 2013. As a result neither laptops nor desktops will have VGA outputs anymore. Yes there will be work arounds for a time. But as a video system designer and installer I personally feel installing new VGA solutions at this juncture is doing a disservice to churches. When they upgrade their computers a couple of years later the existing video system may no longer be compatible.

Tue, June 12, 2012 @ 11:01 AM

3. Camron Ware wrote:
@Brad - Yes; for something like BR; HDMI is what you need.
@Brian - Right; there's a time when it will change - this post was really just to show the differences (or lack of), not say it's the end-all be all.

Wed, June 13, 2012 @ 10:11 AM

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