Two events are happening at the end of 2012 which may bring life as you know it to an end. One is the Mayan calendar will come to an end, and the other is what is called the Analog Sunset. While the former is a myth, the latter is a reality you will have to contend with.
The days of analog video are coming to an end.
Before we get into the details of what the Analog Sunset means to you, let’s cover some basic history. While the Analog Sunset will happen in a single day, this transition has been years in coming.
January 1, 2008: Sky Satellite dropped all analog connectors from its high-definition satellite receivers, leaving only HDMI.
May 1, 2009: New FCC regulations allow more encryption on cable boxes and satellite receivers; Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) continues to press the FCC to plug the “analog hole.”
January 1, 2011: The Analog Sunset begins. All Blu-ray Disc players are required to transmit only standard definition video via analog connectors; high-definition video must be encrypted on HDMI only.
Looking to the future
The key driver of the Analog Sunset is the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) which is the content protection rules adopted by Blu-ray Disc and some other video content providers. AACS is a consortium that includes such industry heavyweights as Disney, Intel, Microsoft, Panasonic, Warner Bros., IBM, Toshiba and Sony. It is within the AACS “Final Adopter Agreement” that the term Analog Sunset found its origins.
220.127.116.11 Analog Sunset – 2010. With the exception of Existing Models,any Licensed Player manufactured after December 31, 2010 shall limit analog video outputs for Decrypted AACS Content to SD Interlace Modes [composite video, s-video, 480i component video and 576i video] only.
18.104.22.168 Analog Sunset – 2013. No Licensed Player that passes Decrypted AACS Content to analog video outputs may be manufactured or sold by Adopter after December 31, 2013.
What this means in practice is that Blu-ray Disc (BD) players manufactured since the beginning of last year have included the ability to down-res high-definition video on analog outputs at the option of content owners (Hollywood studios), and beginning next year all new BD players will have no analog outputs at all. By 2014, players with analog outputs cannot be sold at retail.
In reality, many BD players from last year didn’t have analog outputs on them already, as manufacturers are keenly aware that this deadline is approaching.
While the AACS system specifically limits Blu-ray Disc players, other manufacturers have also followed suit to prepare for the MPAA and content creators to apply AACS rules to internet video, and to high-definition television content from cable and satellite providers.
One example of this move away from analog video is the latest AppleTV from Apple, Inc. This new digital video component has no analog outputs at all.
We’ve also heard that Time Warner Cable and DirecTV will soon have high-definition receivers with no analog video outputs.
What you can do to prepare
The good news is existing equipment you may own will still work, with a singular caveat. The BD players manufactured before 2011 will support what the AACS is calling an Image Constraint Token (ICT). This allows content owners (like Disney) to include an ICT on a Blu-ray Disc which will limit analog outputs to standard-definition video as paragraph 22.214.171.124 describes above. There is no way to ensure each movie you want does not include the ICT.
What is most important is for those who are ready to install a new video system to make sure to prepare for every future eventuality. AVIR recommends the new third-generation Crestron DigitalMedia system which delivers true HD 1080p video with multi-channel audio hundreds of feed over a single wire. The DigitalMedia system allows for any source, whether is analog or digital, to be converted to HDMI.
And for those who have an existing home, the Crestron DigitalMedia system can be used – in most cases – without having to run new wiring in the walls! The existing Category 5 wire can be utilized to provide 1080p video, high-definition multi-channel audio, Ethernet, and control signals through a single connection.
The solution is simple: Crestron’s DigitalMedia will provide the best quality video and prepare you for every future eventuality.
For more detailed information about the Analog Sunset, download this handy guide.Social tagging: Technology