The European Information and Communications Technology Association (EICTA) today announced yet another logo that it hopes will help clear confusion from the minds of consumers as they migrate from traditional television into the HDTV era. However, the move may well have the opposite effect.
EICTA's HDTV logo joins the HD Ready branding it announced in January 2005. According to the organisation, the HDTV stamp is for equipment that can "receive and process" high-definition TV signals, while HD Ready kit is "capable of processing and displaying" HD broadcasts.
It sees set-top boxes, DVD players and recorders and the like being granted the HDTV logo, while the HD Ready tag will continue to appear on displays. TVs with built-in HDTV receivers could ship stamped with both logos.
All well and good, but there's one small problem. According to EICTA documentation, to gain HD Ready certification, a display needs to have not only an analogue component-video input but also either a DVI or HDMI digital input. The digital input must support the HDCP copy-protection system.
The HDTV logo requirements don't quite match. EICTA's rules, published earlier this year to prepare vendors for today's launch of the logo, state that HDTV-branded devices need to support an analogue component-video input, a DVI port or an HDMI connector.
Says EICTA in its HD Ready licence agreement: "4. Requirements for the label 'HD ready'... 2. Video Interfaces... The display device accepts HD input via: Analogue YPbPr, and DVI or HDMI..."
And, in the HDTV licence agreement: "3.2 Output Interface requirements for HD television receivers without display for video reproduction... analogue YPbPr... or DVI... or HDMI..."
So while an HD Ready display has to have an analogue input and a digital input, HDTV equipment doesn't have to have an analogue output. The upshot could be that a consumer, assuming from the HDTV and HD Ready branding that his or her kit is compatible, may find that the set-top box with its DVI port doesn't match up to a TV with analogue component-video and HDMI connectors.
To be fair, it's unlikely anyone's going to get caught out this way - device vendors will include multiple ports, no matter what the logo rules say. Now, if the EICTA was simply using its logos to signal HD support, it might not matter so much, but according to organisation, the logo programme's there "to help European consumers know exactly which devices are capable of processing an HD signal and sending it to their HD Ready screen". Which, of course, they can't do if the rules don't mandate at least one common connector. ®