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So I managed to run out of HDMI inputs on the TV..... if I connect the HD STB to it using Component Video, am I losing any quality compared with HDMI?

Thanks
 

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For HD the picture quality will typically be quite similar, especially if the TV's input is properly optimized for the connection. See the following FAQ on the topic:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/30-57s-home-theatre-faqs/76085-faq-cables-connections.html

Edit: The output on the STB may be limited to 1080i for CV, so change the output to 1080i before switching to CV. CV itself can handle 1080P, however, most STBs/devices limit the output to 1080i. This should not make a difference anyway since the HD channel input signals to the STB are 720P and 1080i and the TV will simply do the upconversion instead of the STB, which may even be better.
 

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One downside is that component means three cables for video and (at least) one for audio. My wife wouldn't stand for the extra spaghetti.

What I've done is to attach an HDMI switch to my TV's HDMI port which gives me 5 HDMI connections. Some are better than others but I actually own 3 of them of which 2 are in a drawer now after buying a new TV. Their cost was a little as $3 from Amazon to as much as $29 from The Source years ago when they first came out. They have all worked very well for me although I had to buy a $3 ac adapter for the $3 unit to work properly
 

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An HDMI switch is the way to go. Be sure to get an active switch with remote that meets HDMI 1.4a or 2.x standards. (2.1 is needed for 4k UHD.) Component cables can be expensive, sometimes more than a switch. For good quality HDMI switches at a reasonable price try monoprice(dot)com. As Phils said, cheaper ones can be found on eBay or Amazon but the quality is hit and miss. I paid $20 for one on Amazon that was supposed to meet the latest standards but it turned out to be bad on one port.
 

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No Quality Loss

To answer your question..

No, there isn't any quality loss, both are 1080p 1080i or whatever the signal is. :)

I run as much as I can through component.. No HDCP, if running TV at native resolution (STB outputs whatever the channel actually broadcasts at), channel changes are a little faster.
 

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Whats with some TVs having only 2 HDMI inputs such as my Samsung Smart TV? I have 2 much cheaper Dynex and they both have 3 HDMI inputs!
 

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Samsung is cutting a lot of corners on their lower end TVs. There are much better deals on other makes without the big name brand. For example, my Visio has 5 HDMI ports, a better panel, better back light and more features than the similarly priced Samsung with 2 HDMI ports.

To answer the question about HDMI vs component. Yes, there will be a difference in quality. If the TV is capable of 1:1 digital mapping without overscan then it the picture will be significantly superior to component. Converting any digital signal to analog and back to digital will always result in picture degradation. Never mind that analog sources will almost always result in overscan. The quality of the D-A and A-D converters will also play a significant role. With good quality devices, the difference may not be noticed unless an A-B comparison is done.

Other possible issues are that component will not do 4k UHD and some devices downgrade HD material to lower resolutions, such as 720x480, when component outputs are used. Sound quality is also often downgraded over S/PDIF with HD material.
 

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Component actually works better for me because there is a handshake delay with HDMI. It takes a good >sec before the audio to come back after I press skip on my PVR.
 
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