Manufacturers have eliminated the Component Video Outputs on many of their 2011 Blu-ray Player line-up. Panasonic, Samsung, LG and Sony all have players missing the component video outputs. This is not some cost measuring stunt the manufacturers are doing to save money or to bring down the cost of the player. The simple fact is the ‘Red’, ‘Green’ and ‘Blue’ output jacks are no longer needed.
This has nothing to do with the manufacturers. If you have a blu-ray player or even briefly familiar with them, you know manufacturers love adding features to their players. Even if those features are rarely used, all in the hope of making their players appeal to a wider range of consumers. No, this has to do with the Movie studios and the AACS (Advanced Access Content System).
Movie studios have issued a clause in their content agreement which will require new Blu-ray Players to restrict output to only HD content through HDMI cables. The reasoning behind this is to hinder pirating of illegal copies of the studios movies. The rules of the AACS state that “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 only. Existing Models may be manufactured and sold by Adopter up until December 31, 2011.”
Movie studios will equip their discs to prevent Blu-ray Players from displaying any HD image over a Component connection. You can still view these discs, but will be restricted to 540p video resolution, which is lower than HD standards. So, even if the manufacturers do equip the players with component video outputs, the connection will not display any HD images. (By 2014, because of AACS rules, manufacturers will not be permitted to have component video outputs on their players.)
Older HDTV models from 10 years ago may only have Component connections. Not good news if you want to watch new Blu-ray movie releases. For most consumers the missing component video outputs should not pose too much of an inconvenience. All recent HDTVs will have at least one HDMI input. However, this can mean it will limit the ability to use your HDTV with other devices. The purchase of a HDMI Switcher may be a good investment for some users.
The strange part in all of this, is that it is easier for pirates to rip blu-ray movies digitally than have to navigate around with analog signals. Countless blu-ray ripping guides and software are available that will accomplish this and none of them even reference analog signals. So this unnecessary exclusion of component video outputs probably will not even put a dent in preventing movie piracy. The only thing that it does is annoy those who purchased earlier HDTVs. The very people who helped usher in the Blu-ray Player in the first place.