Have You Got the BIG Picture?
With the advent of flat panel high-resolution televisions, set-top boxes, and additional sound options making up today’s home audio/video entertainment systems will require optimum connectivity. These increasingly sophisticated digital systems are exciting and entertaining, but now, more than ever, its cable selection has become the most confusing portion of the entire video selection process. Yet here lies the main pipeline responsible for providing safe passage to the entire system’s manifest for all companion devices but continues to mystify buyers.
What Has Made Cable Selection More Complicated Than it Should Be?
To understand why this has continued to be an Achilles heel for consumers and dealers requires some additional facts seldom resurrected from Digital Video’s short but meaningful history. This entire segment of Digital Video would not have become so challenging in Digital Video’s evolution if it were not for the abnormally high interoperability problems that surfaced at the time of its release. Although other factors contributed to this, it was forecasted as the cable being the main culprit. Although accepted as the problem, little to no study was initiated to correct these shortcomings and in fact increased in numbers as technology increased with faster speeds, higher resolution, and a wider color dynamic. The specification for the interface was well defined and mandated that all products be tested and must pass specified minimums.
DPL Labs Intervened
Over a decade ago DPL Labs® spearheaded a research and development campaign to identify why these interoperability problems existed in an effort to provide a solution to this re-occurring dilemma. Working with a wide range of manufacturers both in the electronic and cable segments, a study of every known failure was evaluated making up hundreds of case studies to sample and uncover the root cause for each failure. These causes were either discovered on location or within DPL Labs® engineering headquarters in Florida. Although the specification had tight requirements, studies proved that most of the interoperability issues stemmed from variables taking place in real-world field applications pertaining to specific production tolerances, lack of consistency, poor installation techniques, and most of all tolerances between production cable and electronic devices. Each case failure was studied, and its problem was identified. In some instances, multiple problems were found but it should be noted these failures were not due to the design of the interface but more to the lack of effort in maintaining product integrity. Coined the “Plug and Pray Interface” it threatened the very existence of Digital Television.
How Did DPL Labs® Solve This Issue?
DPL Labs combined both traditional laboratory test standards and a cable’s real performance in a true physical world environment under one test process. This process initiates a series of comparative arguments that stresses the cable’s true performance under typical operating conditions. Designated as DPL Labs® Augmentative Matrix ™, it provides a full complement of tests that forces every known failed circumstance through test processes designed to identify these uncertainties before each product is released. This was a massive achievement comparing real-world applications to typical design standards encapsulating definitive conclusions.
These test procedures have been in service for over a decade and have proven time and time again that it did not necessarily have to be a Plug and Pray world after all. This achievement allows DPL products to have the best quality, performance, and reliability.
How Can You Trust and Verify Marketing Claims?
In this day and age of marketing, it seems that every product out there can claim just about anything with little to no fact-checking. There is a wide range of cable products available to the consumer with just about all of them having some form of claim flaunting their overall performance. This opens up an even wider assortment of cables advertising different performance claims with little or no verification. Between product advertising and packaging, consumers are left with arbitrarily guessing what the best cable for their video systems should be. Add to this dilemma, a huge increase in video technologies with capabilities and features demands even more cable performance than before.
With so many cable possibilities and requirements, it places the consumer in an electronic jungle faced with multiple options and little refuge. Current Digital Video television has up to 4 different resolution standards (2K, 4K, 8K, and 10K), a host of color attributes, and several different audio functions all requiring certain published minimums. With so many different features available to the consumer the selection process becomes more difficult, especially when considering forward compatibility, a key factor with today’s product specifications. All of these video offerings will require a more scrutinized thought process when selecting this critical component to best match your video system. Factors that contribute to these selections are:
- Overall Video Performance
- Long Term Reliability
- Some Level of Product Certification
All of these considerations can have a direct influence on the cable’s overall performance and reliability when operating in its physical real-world environment. As an example, since these cables have as many as 19 different wires making up the cable itself flexibility can suffer. To improve these manufacturers may opt to decrease some or all wire gauge sizes offering a more supple feel and easier installation. However, negative effects can occur with one or all functions hindering the cable’s performance and reliability. This is just one of scores of examples discovered throughout the research period.
DPL Labs Has You Covered
DPL Labs® is an independent 3rd party testing service where products get tested directly to their advertised specifications. Products that pass through DPL Labs® are posted on the DPL Labs® website www.dpllabs.com simply and comprehensively detailing what each cable’s capabilities are through DPL Labs® sophisticated testing process that exceeds today’s test standards. All cables are treated the same and must pass through the DPL Labs® torture test. Each manufacturer must supply and pass at least 3 samples of each model. This provides a forecast “Snapshot” for each model’s consistency. In addition, DPL Labs® arbitrarily tests these cables randomly in the marketplace after the original testing process guaranteeing production yields continue to meet DPL Labs® standards. This problem was discovered in the early days of digital video when only a special Golden Reference product was enrolled in other testing processes. By randomly testing cables during production consumers will always know they will have P-O-M-G (Peace of Mind Guaranteed) for any cable product wearing the DPL Certified label. These labels are encrypted and cannot be copied. A cables birth certificate proving its authenticity and performance where: