THE DIGITAL CONQUEST:
Why Analog AV Systems are Doomed
These days nearly all new audiovisual devices are natively digital. Flat screen TV’s, projectors, blu-ray players, laptops, and desktop computers all operate on digital signals, yet these devices are often still connected to old analog audiovisual systems. In most cases, the use of analog AV equipment inhibits the functionality and performance of these digital devices. Recent developments in the performance and affordability of digital AV solutions have made the benefits of the digital world accessible to all. Digital systems enhance user experiences with high definition images, greater depth of color, lossless signal transmission, and plug-and-play capabilities. In the rapidly expanding digital world, it is becoming increasingly difficult – and expensive – to keep analog systems functioning and relevant.
Since most legacy audiovisual devices and appliances are analog-only, updating an existing analog system with a new HD display, media player, or laptop is no longer a matter of hooking up a few cables. Plugging a digital device into an analog AV system necessitates multiple conversions of the signal between analog and digital, which degrades quality and reliability. With the falling cost of components that can handle both digital and analog signals, as well as the adoption of high-definition digital inputs and displays as the new standard, it makes more and more sense to upgrade your AV infrastructure to digital. This not only provides users with the experience they expect, but it prepares you for the phase-out of analog signals for HD content known as the Analog Sunset.
The Analog Sunset is a phrase used to describe the limitation of analog signals to carry high definition content on certain devices. BluRay players and protected content on laptops, PC, and cable boxes already have this limitation. In fact, as of 2013, some content will not be capable of playing through analog outputs at all. Hardware manufacturers are phasing out analog connections on new devices. The main connection on most new laptops is digital; new PCs almost always have digital outputs. Without an AV system that supports these signals, connection of these devices to your presentation system will not be possible.
In summary, digital systems are now the norm – your systems must be able to support digital content or they will not function for all types of signals and devices. It’s important that organizations and users are prepared for this and understand the effects this may have on system usability. The time to address these issues is now. If you would like to learn more about this, you can find additional resources by visiting our Publications.