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March 22, 2011

720, 1080, Coax Cable.

This has been bothering me for a few years now. It just popped back into my head today because we rearranged the living room so I got to take a few hours to disassemble and then reassemble an LCD TV, HD Receiver / DVR, 5.1 Audio receiver, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, Wii, cable modem, and a wireless router.

Needless to say, I was ankle deep in cables and cords for quite a while, and it got me thinking again. . .

Now, I remember when I was a kid, everything hooked up to everything else with a regular old coax cable. Stick it in, screw it on, done. Coax gave way to composite, and for a while S-Video provided the best picture quality money could buy. Trouble is, you now had 2 or 3 cords because your audio and video streams were on separate pieces of wire.

Well then this newfangled "720i and 480p" tech came along and people started installing speakers all over their dang living rooms, and suddenly, those old cables just couldn't cut it, they couldn't physically pipe enough information from one end to the other fast enough to do the job. So then Component cables became necessary, but a computer's VGA cables were better. After all, computer monitors had much higher resolution than any TV. And for audio you now had 6 channels of sound blazing through one of two SPDIF cables; an optical version, or an electric version that oddly enough, was called a coax cable.

720i turned into 720p and 1080 was hot on it's heels and analog Component cables gave way to digital HDMI and even the computer saw it's signals digitized as VGA turned into DVI which was also replaced by HDMI. And the best thing about HDMI? It married Audio and Video back into the same cable! 1 cable providing full 1920x1080 resolution images anywhere from 60 to 120 times per second ALONG WITH up to 9 individual channels of crisp, clear, digital audio. AMAZING!!

Now, my question:

Today I get 300 channels, 85 of them in HD complete with 5.1 audio; and I can actually receive to view or record not one but TWO of these channels at the same time. Not only that, but I've got internet service that can download half hour long HD clips of quality big-boy movies in less time than my 56k of 15 years ago could even have hoped to take in an 800x600 picture of the same quality entertainment.

Someone please explain to me how, with sooooooo many technological upgrades over the years, with devices that require sooooooooo much more information to be shuttled about sooooooo much more quickly than back in 1984. . . .

. . . . .all of this is pumped into my house through a single "put it in, screw it on" coax cable from the dark ages?!?!

I have NEVER been able to figure that out.