Monster Responds To "Monster Cables, Monster Ripoff"

The Monster Cables Public Relations department sent in a two-page response to our post, “Monster Cables, Monster Ripoff. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is one issue that they are definitely taking seriously. Read their official company rebuttal statement, inside…

Response from Monster Cable on Article in the Consumerist

Monster would like to acknowledge and respond to the publishing of the Monster pricing from an employee at RadioShack in the article titled “Monster Cables, Monster Ripoff: 80% markups.”

The article can be misread that consumers are paying inappropriate prices charged by our retailers for Monster Cable products. The article misleads the reader in citing retailer markups of 80% as if the retailer makes 80% profit margin on products that they sell. Anyone in retail knows that one does not calculate profit by markups, but by profit margins made on the sale as a ratio of what they paid for it. So in the example of the 19ft. HDMI-DVI cable that was highlighted as Retail $179.95, wholesale of $99.40, that’s a profit margin of 44%, which is totally in line with what retailers choose to sell accessory items like Monster Cable. Also the DVI and the S-Video cable cited are both discontinued products using old cable technology. Most of the products listed in the article are 37% to 39% profit margins. This is much less than profit margins on other consumer products like clothing, jewelry, furniture, and accessories to other consumer products.

It’s also misleading when the tone of the article alludes to Monster Cable ripping off consumers, when Monster cannot legally set retail pricing. This is clearly up to the retailer. However in defense of retailers of consumer electronics, it is typical that small items warrant higher profit margins, while large items like TV’s have small profit margins. The consumer clearly wins in the electronics category.

We would also like to point out that Monster makes the highest quality cables in the world, but always with a variety of price points for the consumer to choose from. For example, with today’s most popular digital connection, HDMI, the consumer has a wide range of performance choices with four models of Monster Advanced Speed Rated HDMI Cables, ranging from $49.95 to $99.95. The performance of each of these Speed Rated cables is independently verified by Simplay Labs http://www.simplayhd.com, so our customers know exactly the performance they are paying for. In addition, these prices are in line or lower than other high performance cables offered by Monster’s competitors at retail locations throughout the country.

There is also a comment about digital cables not making a difference and that the only difference in digital cables is the price. This is simply not the case. HDMI Licensing, LLC, the group that develops the HDMI specification, has published two different cable speeds for the current 1.3 specification: Standard Speed at 2.23 Gbps, and High Speed at 4.95 Gbps, which is known as HDMI 1.3 Category 2. For more information, go to http://www.hdmi.org.

In fact, Steve Venuti, Vice President of Marketing for HDMI Licensing, LLC, stated in a recent Widescreen Review article:

http://www2.widescreenreview.com/127venuti.pdf

“…HDMI evolves as it continues to react to the demands of the marketplace. With the introduction of HDMI 1.3 in 2006, HDMI doubled the bandwidth of the specification, and with that, gave manufacturers the ability to design products that can output and receive signals at unprecedented levels…And where there is increased bandwidth, there is increased demand on the cable to deliver the HDMI signal.”

This clearly states that not all HDMI digital cables are the same. Buying the best cables possible will insure that one always gets the best possible digital picture for the components they own.

For those who want to get the real facts on HDMI, please visit http://www.monstercable.com/HDMI/advancedhdmi.asp for the following videos:

1. The Constant Evolution of HDMI with Steve Venuti, Vice President of Marketing, HDMI Licensing, LLC
2. Certified HDMI Cable Performance with Joseph Lias, President of Simplay Labs, LLC

For those who want technical information on why there are different levels of HDMI Cables, one can reference the white paper on HDMI at http://www.monstercable.com/HDMI/whitepaper.asp, where you will learn about why different HDMI cables are needed.

For those who want to get an inside look on the testing of Monster’s HDMI cables, visit http://www.monstercable.com/HDMI/advancedhdmi.asp for an eye opening video of Monster’s quality R&D and testing.

The digital TV revolution is moving fast, as one sees from the introduction of 240Hz displays from TI and Ultra High Definition Displays from Samsung at CES this year. These advanced displays paves the way for vastly improved high definition components that will need even higher speed HDMI cables, all of which are available today from Monster’s Advanced Speed Rated cables.

For those who want to know more about higher definition, Monster and Disney have partnered together on a DVD that educates customers on the various levels of higher definition and how to buy and set up for higher definition TV. The DVD is called The Higher Definition Home Theater Experience, and we would like to offer it at no charge to everyone who is visiting this site by sending your shipping address to the following email: pr@monstercable.com.

Monster has always made the highest quality products at reasonable prices. We stand behind the retailers that offer great service and advice to our customers at a fair profit and we hope that this additional information clarifies some of the confusion that the article might have generated.

Response from Consumerist on Monster Cable Response on Article in the Consumerist

1. As decided in Leegin v. PSKS, this statement, “Monster cannot legally set retail pricing. This is clearly up to the retailer…” is patently false. See “Supreme Court Allows Manufacturers To Dictate Minimum Prices, Screws Consumers

2. Their response neatly sidesteps a giant section of the original post, so I’ll reproduce it here:

The worst part isn’t really the markup. Stereo equipment routinely has markups of 80 to 100 to 200% by the time it hits the shelves. It’s the initial inflated price, and how gadget stores try to push the cables so hard, telling people that Monster cables offer superior picture and sound then what you would get with another cable. But that simply isn’t the case. Our sister site Gizmodo ran a battery of tests and found Monster cables are for the most part, completely unnecessary. (see The Truth About Monster Cable – Grand Finale (Part III), HDMI Cable Battlemodo Resumes, The Truth About Monster Cable, Part 2 (Verdict: Cheap Cables Keep Up…Usually), and The Truth About Monster Cable).

3. So the paragons of the truth about HDMI cables are a Vice President of Marketing, and the Disney corporation?

4. Monoprice.com.

PREVIOUSLY: Monster Cables, Monster Ripoff: 80% Markups

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Flibbetigibbet says:

    Liars.

    Monoprice rules, Monster drools.

  2. loquaciousmusic says:

    I’ve never used Monoprice. It seems like people are having good luck, so I’ll check it out next time.

  3. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Plus, there are plenty of mouth-breathers that are about to upgrade to digital (oh noes, we HAVE to get HD, the gubment told us to! its ok, put it on credit card) and they will happily be ripped off for monster cables.

    Survival of the fittest consumer, I suppose.

  4. hubris says:

    I picked up a 6-ft HDMI cable from Amazon for like $6. Eat a dick, Monster.

  5. zarex42 says:

    They are absolutely right, at least in the sense that the markups are not atypical for the retail industry. 44% margin is very common.

    But really, the cables are still overpriced, even at wholesale, and do not represent a good value. But that’s a separate issue entirely

  6. warf0x0r says:

    [gizmodo.com]

    You may or may not need “monster” cables… for the most part most people do NOT need it. Save your money.

  7. WolfDemon says:

    If monster cannot set retail prices then howcome iPods all cost the same?

  8. Nighthawke says:

    Who wrote this dren? I’ll tell you who, MARKETING!

    Someone take pity on the bastard and send him a dozen old, blackened, wilted roses, showing how much we cared about his poorly written “rebuttal” that really didn’t mask his true attempt to sell his “certified” HDMI cables for over 75% market.

  9. graphicwave says:

    Yeah, Monster…go suck a bag of dicks.

  10. coreyk72 says:

    I hate to sound like I am defending Monster but I don’t see what the big deal is in what they are doing. There are plenty of companies out there that position themselves as being a premium product despite being made of the same components/materials as a competitor

    Tiffany sells a platinum & diamond ring at a much higher price than a local store’s ring that is of identical quality and design.

    The real villans aren’t Monster, its the stores that are lying to the customers about the quality.

    For the record, I have shopped with Monoprice several times and find their price and service hard to beat.

  11. jtheletter says:

    I don’t really care how they make their magic math work for margins, charging hundreds of dollars for a cable to “improve” a DIGITAL SIGNAL is ripping people off.

  12. SuperJdynamite says:

    “Buying the best cables possible will insure that one always gets the best possible digital picture for the components they own.”

    Maybe, but buying the cheapest cables possible doesn’t guarantee any loss of quality.

    “There is also a comment about digital cables not making a difference and that the only difference in digital cables is the price. This is simply not the case. HDMI Licensing, LLC, the group that develops the HDMI specification, has published two different cable speeds for the current 1.3 specification: Standard Speed at 2.23 Gbps, and High Speed at 4.95 Gbps,”

    Yes, these cables that meet two different specifications are “not the same,” and using the cable designed for the low speed specification in a high speed application may lead to signal loss, but this fails to prove that using an inexpensive cable that meets the high speed specification would result in signal loss.

    “‘And where there is increased bandwidth, there is increased demand on the cable to deliver the HDMI signal.’
    This clearly states that not all HDMI digital cables are the same.”

    … much like CAT5 Ethernet cables aren’t the same as CAT6 Ethernet cables, but there’s no point in buying the most expensive CAT6 cable you can buy, because even an inexpensive cable rated for CAT6 will work just fine.

  13. Optimistic Prime says:

    The different HDMI standards is what gets me. I tried to hook up my 360 to my new tv via HDMI, but they won’t play nice:-(

  14. Instigator says:

    Oh contraire, mon frere! Who does Monster’s PR flack think he’s addressing? We are Consumerist readers, after all, and know damn well that manufacturers ship products with an MSRP – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. Retailers can discount if they want, but most stay pretty close to the MSRP. And anyone in the consumer electronics industry can tell you that Monster’s advanced tecnologies are mostly smoke-and-mirrors.

  15. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @HRHKingFriday: Hey, what do nasal allergies have to do with this?

  16. sleze69 says:

    @coreynyc: I am going to have to agree here. The problem isn’t Monster. It is the Best Buy employee who tries to make you think it is necessary.

    As for Monster’s claims about HDMI bandwidth. Is the higher speeds required to watch 1080p? If not, as I suspect, then the extra bandwidth is currently worthless (until 2160p or something like that becomes the standard).

  17. leucas says:

    Can someone please explain how they figure a 44% profit by selling a $99.40 cable for $179.95? I just don’t understand the math.

  18. humphrmi says:

    Monster is even more useless in my book now.

  19. caffienefree says:

    This comes back to the issue of consumer knowledge. Some people really don’t know that their gilded cables are a waste, they just know that they need the cables for their device. Though it won’t happen, I wish that stores provided ready access to consumer advocate information in these sort of situations.

    I was in Lowes the other day, and I happened to remember that I needed a coaxial cable. I checked the prices there, and it was ~$17 for a 12 foot long cable. Guess how much the 25 foot one I picked up from the dollar store was?

  20. SCAdvanced says:

    “…HDMI evolves as it continues to react to the demands of the marketplace. With the introduction of HDMI 1.3 in 2006, HDMI doubled the bandwidth of the specification, and with that, gave manufacturers the ability to design products that can output and receive signals at unprecedented levels…And where there is increased bandwidth, there is increased demand on the cable to deliver the HDMI signal.”

    This clearly states that not all HDMI digital cables are the same. “

    -Is it just me, or does this not say that at all? I read that as devices are now capable of sending and receiving signals faster, and that the cable has a higher demand, not that any cable is better than another cable.

  21. dlynch says:

    i am astonished that they responded – what could they possibly have hoped to gain? not only is their response poorly written, but their failure to address significant issues from the original post reads like an acknowledgment of their truth.

    should have let this one slide, monster. next time, have someone who has at least a passing familiarity with the english language and the tenets of common sense take a look before you send it out for public consumption…

  22. Adam Hyland says:

    Monster can’t set retail prices, but they are allowed to offer contracts for binding minimum prices. In other words, the retailer must agree to the prices (usually for some other benefit, such as advertising or a wholesale discount) in order for it to take effect.

    In other words, companies can see uncontracted with no MSRP and the store has only the profit incentive to price above wholesale or companies can AGREE to come to terms with the company and set a minimum (and maximum) price. This is what happens with the Wii (and why there is a shortage) and most other programs. Some cases, like the Wii, a supplier is strong enough (in other words, nintendo has a monopoly on the market for the Wii) that EVERYONE signs the contract, but this just isn’t so for monster.

  23. friendlynerd says:

    I think I’d rather buy 15 $10 cables until I find one to my satisfaction than buy one $150 Monster cable.

    Especially after this rebuttal – it’s on principle now. It’s painfully obvious that Monster exists only because of the ignorance of many consumers.

  24. DashTheHand says:

    You’ll always have people like Monster staying in business because of the uninformed smacktards that just go to Best Buy, point at a big TV, and tell them to just throw everything in the cart that they’re going to need. By the same right, you’re always going to have those idiots that keep Monster in business because they either don’t care about the money, or they are just too dumb to do the research.

  25. Snarkysnake says:

    The thing that I like the most is that shining a little light on these guys has made them come out and address the issues that all of the posters above want addressed. Love to see arrogant monopolies or near monopolies get their comeuppance. Not by the government ,mind you, but by sharing of information on sites such as this one. Memo to companies : There’s no place to hide now that we consumers have this internet thingy…

    Consumerists- Don’t let up on these guys one bit !

  26. Adam Hyland says:

    I also don’t see Monster as so venomous and evil. They made a relatively benign response to pretty strident claims. That doesn’t make them right. I still feel that for the most part they don’t provide a benefit to the end user, but that doesn’t automatically mean people are ripped off.

    Moreover, the fact that monster makes identical cables for HDMI doesn’t mean that they make identical cables for analog purposes. The only monster cables I use are for longer runs of (gasp) analog cabling. I put them in because I was seeing RFI at my old house and they made a difference. What I’m suggesting is that monster made money marketing marginally better analog cables at much higher prices (price selection at work, ppl) and then continued on with HDMI.

    What would you expect that they say? “Uhhh, so guys. Our analog cables were actually a hair better than radio shack but these new digital cables aren’t different at all, so please don’t buy them and spend your money on other things, like puppies.”

    Hell no.

  27. Adam Hyland says:

    @Snarkysnake: how do they have a monopoly again? I mean, it is CLEAR that there are perfect or near perfect substitutes for about 1/2 the price available RIGHT next to the cables at the store. that doesn’t really sound like a monopoly to me.

  28. backbroken says:

    Um, yes there are two types of HDMI cables. And that is supposed to mean you need to spend 10x more than is necessary to get a cable? There’s a logic disconnect there. You can get both kinds of cable at monoprice for $ vs $$$$ from Monster.

    I’m still awaiting the Monster/BOSE merger that just seems too natural to not happen.

  29. Toof_75_75 says:

    Touche.

  30. Rev.Keith says:

    “Anyone in retail knows that one does not calculate profit by markups, but by profit margins made on the sale as a ratio of what they paid for it.”

    Actually, Monster is being a bit deceptive here. By their account, a cable that retails for $179.95 and wholesales for $99.40 has a margin of 44%…ain’t so! The retailers that I’ve dealt with for the past 15 years don’t refer to “profit margin” but to “margin” (the word “profit” being the key here, as a lot of other expenses also come out of the sale price, reducing the “profit”).

    Doing a little old-fashioned, Jethro-styled cipherin’, I reckon that on the example used, a retailer grosses $80.55 ($179.95 retail – $99.40 wholesale = $80.55), which, as a ratio of the wholesale price, provides a margin of 81%, not 44% ($80.55 / $99.40 = 81%). The average margin depends on the retail industry…on groceries, the margin is around 2%, while on shoes it can be 100%. Most sporting goods go for around 30-40% margin.

    No matter how you slice it, Monster Cables are an expensive choice for the consumer, without delivering noticeably superior results (in my humble opinion, after replacing a $50 pair of crappy-sounding Monster stereo cables with a much less expensive alternative).

  31. FearlessUser says:

    #4 is all you really needed to say…
    My brother in law just bought a new TV last week, and they told him at the store that he needed an HDMI cable, which they happily sold him for $50 for a 6′ cable. I didn’t ask what brand, but I knew it wasn’t Monster – too cheap. He didn’t need it. He has a 360, but a pre-HDMI flavor of it, which he told the guy who still insisted he needed the cable. He thought that he really needed it to make the TV work. He isn’t that technically inclined like 90% of the country is. He called me, I told him to take it back. If he needs one in the future for cable box/satellite/BR/PS3, I told him about Monoprice and never to buy HDMI at any store.

  32. Everything Monster said was correct, up until “We would also like to point out that Monster makes the highest quality cables in the world”.

    Not at all true. There are dozens of wire companies all getting their bulk wire from the exact same Chinese factory that Monster gets their stuff from. And then there are companies that still make a good portion of their product in the USA.

    They are correct though when they say that margins are very very small on plasma tvs. The pricing right now is very bad for anyone running a mom and pop type retail operation. I had one for 4 years, and we had to make money on things like wire, or else we were done.

    As far as setting prices, pretty much every brand we carried had us sign a dealer agreement. Most of those agreements dictated that we have a minimum price policy. This was set to not only maintain the reputation of the brand, by not making it seem like a cheap discount brand. But it also helped small retailers like myself, because the big guys wouldn’t be able kill us by selling it cheaper. It helped us maintain a fair profit level.
    Sure, you as a consumer would like to get the lowest price on everything, as would I. But the fact of the matter is that stores need to make money to stay in business. If you came to my store because we offered better service, and better product than what you could get at Best Buy, you would probably like me to still be in business a year from now if you need help with something. My business was not a charity. It was a business. I can’t help you at noon on a Sunday when you are having a big party, and can’t figure out how to get the music on on the back deck, if I am out of business.

    So I see the markups on cables 100 percent necessary for survival. You certainly can’t stay in business selling a $1,500 plasma TV for $100 profit. After the credit card company takes their two percent, the landlord takes his rent, and the electric company takes their piece, there really isn’t much left for many small business owners.

  33. Mr. Gunn says:

    The Monster marketing flack that wrote that didn’t know the audience he was addressing! Radio Shack/Best Buy price divided by monoprice.com price = large number aka ripoff

    monoprice.com FTW

  34. Xerloq says:

    Monster Marketing Manager: Please visit our website, paid for by us with the profits of our hugely overpriced cabled, populated with our marketing spin-speak, for the REAL facts on HDMI.

  35. Myotheralt says:

    I had a BB guy tell me that the monster hdmi cable was better because it was injection molded, thus the cable wouldn’t corrode.

  36. SacraBos says:

    Cable quality can make a difference in digital signals. Look at the Cat 6 networking cable that is in use today. If the impedence is not right, or poorly shielded, you can get noise in the cable that causes corruption of the bits, and you lose data.

    On the other hand, Cat 6 cable is less than $0.50/ft. Hmm… Nope, still can’t justify Monster’s cable prices. Tried though..

  37. RRich says:

    Yeah, citing the Marketing guy was not the greatest idea.

    Not that it makes what he said wrong, it’s just that he’s in… Marketing!

  38. heresaywhat says:

    It’s a bit dated, but the folks at McIntosh did a bit of research on types and quality of cabling and found that there really isn’t any advantage to the “premium” cabling.
    http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm

  39. ElizabethD says:

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

    (tl;dr)

  40. stephenjames716 says:

    what a lame letter!

  41. Hawk07 says:

    If it’s certified to be an HDMI cable, it’ll have the same quality regardless of who makes it since a digital signal is a digital signal.

    I would challenge the President or a videophile of his choosing to have 10 HDTVs setup using content of their choice (blu-ray or a live HDTV feed) and see if they can tell the difference between their top HDMI cable and a generic one bought for under $10.

    If they can pass that test, I think it would certainly give their company a lot more credibility. It’s also deceitful for them to try and pass a white paper off as credible like they did above. Either that, or their marketing department doesn’t know the difference between a white paper and an independent study.

  42. nihility says:

    I’m sure I was just unlucky but the one time I used monoprice for a USB cable for my printer, the bigger end (is that A or B? not sure) got stuck in one of my USB ports rendering both the port and the cable useless. I don’t fault them, and it was probably just bad luck, but personally I don’t use them anymore.

  43. bdgbill says:

    I replaced every cable in my home theater / PVR setup with Monster “THX Certified” cables. I found the Monster cables at a closeout store for $5.00 / $6.00 a piece. My old cables were the cheapest dollar store crap that you could possibly find.

    I noticed absolutely no difference in picture or sound quality including HD.

    The biggest differences were lots of extra insulation and fancy looking gold connectors on the Monster cables. The insulation may do something for you if you have lots of inteference where you live (2 hairdyers and the microwave running at the same time?).

    The fact that the cables are so fat and heavy can make them difficult to use in some situations.

  44. muddgirl says:

    If Monster wants to make Magical Cables that are better for no other reason than the price, I don’t care.

    BUT, I don’t like how Best Buy and other retailers ONLY offer Monster Cables (and similar high-price-point) cables. Again, I understand the reasoning behind it (a 44% markup on a $50 cable is more profit than a 44% mark-up on a $10 cable), but it’s still shitty that I have to go to Radioshack or an electronics warehouse to get regular, normal, perfectly functional cables.

    This weekend, my Monster s-video cable broke (thanks to me being careless). I replaced it with an off-brand cable and have suffered no loss of quality.

  45. muddgirl says:

    @bdgbill: Oh yeah! And I hate how thick they are. We’ve got a tight home theater set-up, and it was made much worse with short, inflexible cables.

  46. dthigpen says:

    Hah, I tried to request the DVD and the email they provided send back a failure.

  47. mantari says:

    Executive summary, translated to English from PR speak:

    “Sure, a retailer might mark up our product 80%. But… but… that doesn’t mean that they don’t have any business expenses!!!”

    “The high prices you pay everywhere for Monster Cables? We don’t set these. We have no idea how everyone prices them so high! And, besides, small electronics usually make big profits!!!”

    “These are the best cables in the world! Although if you compare us to other high performance competitors, there are some places where we’re actually cheaper than some of their markups!!! It is true! Some people mark up their cables even more!!!”

    “It isn’t true that the only difference between HDMI cables is price. Uh… uh…. oh, look! They’ve come out with a new type of HDMI cable called HDMI 1.3 Category 2!!!” [side-steps the quality argument and replaces it with an argument on specifications]

    “Look! Someone talks about a new faster specification of HDMI! See? Didn’t I tell you? All HDMI cables aren’t the same. There are two types. No… not working and defective. Normal and then another standard that is unnecessary for 99% of all TV viewers!!!”

    “Visit our PR videos for the facts!!! Read the whitepaper we put out!!!”

    “You know what? We actually test our cables. Can you believe that? Check out our testing PR!!!”

    “OMG! Our cables are future proof! You’ll never need a cable again for ridiculous 240hz displays. Unless they change the format of the connector, then we’ll sell you the new version!!!”

    “Look, we’ll even MAIL you a free DVD with our PR! We teamed up with Disney so we must be telling the truth!!!”

    “We have the best products in the universe at reasonable prices! (Our reason, HA!) We think that the people who sell them are neat. We’re sure we cleared up any ”confusion” that doesn’t match our message, thanks!!!”
    End of translation block

  48. theforce34 says:

    just in case monster reads this… there is no point to the pricing of your hdmi cables and most of your car audio cables… you blow the prices completely out of proportion and you know it your hdmi isnt any better than the $20 ones at wal-mart no human can pic up on the speed differences that you speak of. and there are is no t.v. that is really affected by the speed difference its so tiny its ineffective. so all in all eat a dick monster your cables are horribly priced and are not any better so matter how much you think your shit doesnt stink your cables do.

  49. Illusio26 says:

    Well according to their response, HDMI cables are not all the same and it’s important to have a HDMI 1.3 Category 2 for higher bandwidth. Well here I is a nice comparison. Which would you buy?

    $86.99 – Monster Cable HDMI Cable – 6.6′ at Circuit City:
    [www.circuitcity.com]

    $3.72 – HDMI 1.3a Category 2 Certified Cable 28AWG
    [monoprice.com]

  50. vastrightwing says:

    Monster cable = Premium gas.
    eBay cable = Regular gas.
    They both get you where you want to go. Monster and premium cost you more, but in the end, it makes little difference.

    No doubt that Monster cables will test better than the eBay cables. Looking at the signal on a sensitive oscilloscope might even convince many people they make a difference. However, trying to hear or see the difference will make you crazy, because your eyes and ears will hear no difference. The electronics and the signals sent across the cables have been designed to deal with signal losses and drop outs (as long as there are not too many).

    Conclusion, buying any premium cable is 99% of the time, a waste of your money

  51. Echodork says:

    Monster can charge whatever they like for the product they sell. I bought a perfectly servicable 6′ HDMI cable on Monoprice for about eight bucks. It makes my TV go. If I went and bought a $149.99 Monster HDMI cable, does anyone believe I’d see $141.99 worth of difference? Would my picture be 18.75x clearer?

  52. coreyk72 says:

    Again I hate to sound like a Monster PR guy here but…

    Substitute Apple iMac/MacBook/iPod for Monster HDMI cables and do we even have a controversy here? Why are we piling on Monster?

    Apple gets a nice premium for their products vs. the same or better items of their competitors. A Dell PC will run $100’s less than a Mac, a comprable MP3 player is significantly less than an iPod.

    (I am sure this is going to rile up the Apple Fan Boys so let me just disclose that I am currently the proud owner of an iPhone and have owned 2 different iPods through the years.)

  53. bandit says:

    @vastrightwing: The Premium Gas example is inappropriate. Certain cars (luxury cars, Mercedes, etc) require the premium gas because of the engine. If you run them on regular fuel, you will harm the engine and/or decrease performance over time. This is a completely inappropriate analogy because in the case of cheap cable, if you are somehow unhappy with the picture quality you can always upgrade and you will not have harmed your TV.

  54. Opie says:

    @Rev.Keith:
    Having worked for a retail corporate office for over 20 years, I can assure you that your calculation of margin does not meet anyone’s definition.

    GM% = (Sell – Cost)/Sell

    So, in that respect Monster’s calculation of retail margin is the normal calculation. Where they are wrong is in saying that 44% GM is “in line with what retailers choose to sell accessory items like Monster Cable.” Unless things have changed in the 5 years I’ve been away from the category, 44% GM is quite low for audio accessory items at a brick-and-mortar operation. It is typical for a retailer to generally made 60-80% GM on private-label parts and accessories (but admittedly less on “national brand” items…closer to 50%). However, it is also typical for such items to have a slower turn rate, so the retailer’s cost of inventory is higher on such items (which affects their Net Profit).

    I’d say, if you can do it more cheaply in a physical retail environment and make a profit…go for it.

  55. kabes says:

    Dear Monster Cable,

    I will never buy one of your overpriced, sub-par products.

    Monoprice for the mother fucking win.

    That is all.

  56. UnStatusTheQuo says:

    Nice try. How can I become a distributor? I want in on the “oversell to the stupid” game too!

  57. Bizdady says:

    Love Monoprice.com I go there for all my cable needs :) Fast shipping too love it!

  58. eelmonger says:

    As was mentioned in the previous article, digital signals are not free of interference. If you have to run especially long amounts of cable, or are looking for the optimal quality (i.e. recording studio) it may be worth it to invest in Monster. The truth is that, most consumers do not need and probably cannot tell the difference between a Monster and Monoprice cable, and as such should not buy them. Monster should be a niche, high-end company, but they got lucky and broke into the general market. Eventually most people will figure out they don’t need them.

  59. johnva says:

    @SacraBos: Yes, it can make a difference, in that if your cable is really bad you might lose the digital signal at times. But if your cable is good enough that it isn’t losing digital signal (ie, whatever error correction codes the protocol you are using has can overcome any loss/degradation) then it makes absolutely no difference whether one has slightly better electrical characteristics than another.

    In practice I highly doubt there is a noticeable difference between different certified HDMI cable brands, especially at shorter lengths.

    Ethernet is a little bit different because a) it tends to be run for much longer distances than HDMI cables would be (hence more opportunity for analog signal loss) and also it doesn’t have error correction. It just retransmits when data gets corrupted and only uses error detection. That, and a single corrupted pixel in your HDTV feed is not going to matter. In an Ethernet frame, a single corrupted bit does matter.

  60. wwwhitney says:

    I would never purchase a Monster cable, but they are correct that manufacturers do not set minimum retail prices. I work for a consumer electronics company and companies like Best Buy and Wal-Mart do not strictly adhere to MSRPs. They tinker with the prices to maximize gross profit dollars in particular categories and to compete with other retailers.

    iPods all cost the same at retail because Apple sells iPods to retailers at a wholesale price that only gives the retailers a few percentage points of margin. If retailers were to cut the price further, they would be selling them at a loss. This is true with almost all major electronics (TVs, computers, video game consoles). In the electronics space, retailers make all their money off of accessories – in this case, Monster cables.

  61. jaredharley says:

    @Cinder: Me too!

  62. RRich says:

    @coreynyc: Right. There is a difference between price and value. Value justifies a higher price.

    But in the absence of a clear benefit (value) then there’s no justification for a higher price.

    That’s why people pay a premium for Macs, for example. There is a perception of value, or actual value (take your pick. I’m a mac fan, but I also understand that in marketing, perception can be reality).

  63. dlab says:

    @coreynyc: I’m not afraid to say that I stand up for Monster. I don’t see why Ben feels the need to launch an all-out attack on Monster based on a single product for which a broad claim applies. HDMI cable is by definition a rip-off, since it is digital. Done correctly, you should be able to transmit a digital signal over a piece of string without any major problems. I have been using Monster cable for 8 years after getting fed up with the cheap break-in-a-week guitar store cables (I’ve only ever bought 2 Monster cables, 1 instrument and 1 XLR, and I still use them today, and they sound as good as the day I bought them).

    I will say again and again that Monster still makes the best instrument, XLR, and speaker cables on the market today, and backs them up with a LIFETIME WARRANTY — if your cable breaks, get a new one for free. This probably means squat to HDMI folks – your cable is buried behind a TV set and will most likely NEVER PHYSICALLY MOVE more than once or twice. Anyone who has ever had an instrument cable start making ground noises during the middle of a paid performance would probably agree with me that avoiding that type of situation is worth every penny of the purchase price of a Monster cable.

    @Snarkysnake: So the fact that Monster makes awesome, expensive, high quality products that are clearly not for everybody and that a lot of folks choose not to buy makes them a monopoly? I don’t see why this company should have their name trashed to pay for the ignorance of a few idiots with HDTV’s who don’t understand how digital technology works. Nobody is making people buy Monster cables… there are other packages on the shelf. People need to look for the shelf labeled “Cables” and look at the choices available instead of having the Best Buy salesman hold your hand.

    Whew, who knew I could get so worked up about metal wrapped in rubber…

  64. ltcmurray says:

    “Also the DVI and the S-Video cable cited are both discontinued products using old cable technology.”

    nice, because cable technology has advanced so far beyond the wire carrying signal thingy…

  65. johnva says:

    @dlab: I’m sure there might be a difference for cables that transmit analog data. I’m pretty sure all the Consumerist articles I’ve seen have been very clear that it is the digital products they are talking about as a ripoff. (I would argue that the analog ones are also overpriced, but at least arguably might have a purpose).

  66. AgentMunroe says:

    @coreynyc: Because while the value of what Apple gives you can be disputed, you can’t dispute that you are getting something for your additional cash outlay (Mac OS X, iLife, Apple’s generally above-average design sense).

    However, in a real-world setup, there will be ZERO difference in picture quality between monoprice.com HDMI cables and Monster HDMI cables. Zilch. Nada. It’s snake oil.

  67. orielbean says:

    In defense of monster guitar/music equipment cables, I like that you can bring the broken one right into a music store like Daddy’s or Guitar Center and they replace it right there with no receipt or hassle. That is still pretty awesome, considering that most music equipment cables (MOnster or otherwise) are easy to damage or break. I really really like that one feature. I refuse to buy home equipment cables from them as they rarely break and need replacing. I usually goto my U-Do-It electronics or Microcenter store that’s nearby. They are both a great value for Philco low cost cables.

  68. Caswell says:

    @dlab:

    To continue your line of reasoning, anyone who’s been sold a Monster Cable in instances where “cable is buried behind a TV set and will most likely NEVER PHYSICALLY MOVE more than once or twice” (which is to say, 99.9% of their consumer sales, the product that’s the point of contention) would probably feel ripped off. And rightly so.

    I know I felt ripped off when I found out my Monster s-video and stereo cables offered absolutely nothing in the way of improvement versus the cheap cable that was thrown in with some random component.

  69. drcrabbysaurus says:

    “There is also a comment about digital cables not making a difference and that the only difference in digital cables is the price. This is simply not the case. HDMI Licensing, LLC, the group that develops the HDMI specification, has published two different cable speeds for the current 1.3 specification: Standard Speed at 2.23 Gbps, and High Speed at 4.95 Gbps, which is known as HDMI 1.3 Category 2. For more information, go to http://www.hdmi.org.”

    Note that today’s deal on monoprice.com is:
    HDMI 1.3a Category 2 Certified Cable 28AWG – 6ft w/Ferrite Cores (Gold Plated)
    This cable is priced at $3.72 on sale, $14.28 regular price.

    It’s Monster Cable equivalent (from Best Buy):
    Monster Cable – Ultra Series 600 4′ HDMI A/V Cable
    $71.99 ON SALE, $79.99 regular price.

    These cables carry the same HDMI 1.3a Category 2 certification, any chance monster cable PR wants to justify the price difference?

  70. bdgbill says:

    @coreynyc:

    We are “piling on” Monster because people are being outright lied to by electronics retailers everyday about the need for “premium” cables to produce acceptable picture quality.

    I heard a Best Buy employee tell an old couple that their new TV’s warranty would not be honored unless they bought a $70.00 HDMI cable. The guy didn’t even ask them what source (cable, sat etc) they were using.

    When I bought my plasma at Circuit City last Christmas, I got a line of bullshit five miles long about cables. The salesman was actually reading from a script! Don’t think for a minute that Monster doesn’t have anything to do with this.

    Not everyone is an electronics buff. Some are just regular people who want their tv to work.

  71. rcorrino says:

    @COREYNYC

    I think Apple buyers know what they are getting into. Monster cable buyers do not.

  72. Xavoc says:

    I believe they can set a MAP (Minimum Advertised Price), but they cannot force a vendor to not sell items below a certain price. Unless of course, they decide to simply stop selling their products to the retailer…

    In some ways this allows smaller competitors to stay in business that cannot buy in the quantity that companies like Best Buy. As the product pricing is universal. It’s not as good for the consumer necessarily, but if places like Best Buy lose their competition, then they’re free to increase their prices.

  73. Lizard_King says:

    Picking the cheapest cables to compare them to is not the best option. I’ve used monorpice cables in the past, and I’ve had quite a few problems – connector sizing issues, bad cables, etc. While Monster may or may not be better does not mean that someone that spends more than monoprice is a fool.

    I’ve seen the differences in the component cables between the basic monoprice and a good broadcast quality cable like a Canare/Beldin combo. Equating monoprice cables to the best cable you need to buy is just rubbish. I’d rather take a Monster Cable than a monorpice cable most days of the week.

  74. Baukie says:

    @vastrightwing:

    i think you hit the nail on the head.

    I am in no way defending monster, but just remember the golden rule of business

    Profit is not a dirty word!

  75. Xavoc says:

    @RRich: Digital is Digital isn’t really correct. TCP/IP traffic is digital, yet cabling makes a difference in the transfer speed. Thus why we have Cat 5, Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6a, Cat 7…

    Not all cables are built the same, and a lot goes into cable design to eliminate crosstalk, provide specific signal bandwidth, etc.

  76. meneye says:

    @Rev.Keith: you obviously have never worked in, nor understand, retail.

    Monster is right in that these percentages of markups ARE very common in all retail areas and are infact pretty standard (perhaps even on the low side, as most such stores would probably mark up 50% or more!)

    Now of course they are selling them to the retailer at a hight price, but that is there prerogative.

    Can’t understand why you’re begrudging stores for making a standard healthy profit on these items.

  77. Xavoc says:

    @Baukie: Profit is a dirty word when it’s not your job, company, or employees on the line.

  78. yikz says:

    @zarex42: Ditto on the markup. 44% is very common. What you’re really paying for is Monster’s name. They charge a premium for the name. Buy something lower priced like AR or a no-name housebrand for half the price, and you still pay 44% markup, but you pay 44% on half the price.

  79. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    Let me add…

    Monster isn’t a bad company. They were the first ones to push “almost O2 free” copper wire, and gold-connector ends to the consumer. Most HiFi aficionados will actually agree to Monster’s claims (true audiophiles will provide better, cheaper alternatives like monoprice and bluejeanscable). But the average consumer’s audio canal will not come close to the frequencies that “Monster claims are reproduced faithfully”.
    My issue here is how retailers (Walmart, Circuit City, Best Buy…) have used their “coercion” to exclude necessary cabling to of all things, printers. not one inkjet printer maker product sold in those stores will include a cable, because the retailers forced the makers to exclude it so they can “markup” sell accessories (bestbuy sells a $24.95 1M Belkin USB cable that cost them $2.34). That is more than 100-200% markup. I understand profit. And then there is greed over consumer stupidity.
    Which is where Monster, and the like, excel. If you have no idea about wiring (good speaker wire can be 12-14gauge lamp ‘zip’ cord from Home Depot) then you have no idea about audio and deserve to pay $$ over what saavy buyers know. Nuff said.

  80. Caduceus says:

    Has anybody (without a financial interest) done a “double blind crossover trial” of HDMI cables where one setup of components uses monster video cables and the other uses brand B. Watch for an hour, change cables, watch for another hour and do calibration testing with both.

  81. Illusio26 says:

    one of the best explanation of why you don’t need an expensive HDMI cable I ever read is here:

    [www.theps3faq.com]

    From the post:

    B) Think of it this way. Let’s say you have a ladder with 200 steps on it. An “analog” signal represent information by WHICH step the person is on at a certain time. As you move further and further away (get “noise or interference in the signal), it’s very easy to start making mistakes. For example, if the person is on the 101st step, you might say he’s on 102nd, or as you get further away, you might start making more and more mistakes. At some point you won’t know if the person is on the 13th step or the 50th step.

    NOW… In a digital signal, we don’t care if he’s on the 13th or 14th or 15th step. All we care about is rather he’s at the TOP or the BOTTOM. So now, as we back you up further and further (introduce more noise), you might have no idea what STEP he’s on, but you’ll STILL be able to tell if he’s a “1” or a “0”.

    THIS is why digital signals aren’t affected by cheaper cables. Now eventually if you keep moving further and further back, there may come a point where you can no longer tell if he’s up or down. But the good news is, digital signals don’t “guess”. If they SEE the signal, they work. If they DON’T, they DON’T.

  82. joemama321 says:

    I have one set of monster cables. I can’t remember where or when I got these.

    Did I pay more than I needed to for a product with similar results? I’m sure I did. Do I hold it against Monster or the retailer? Hell, no. There is one thing of which I am certain: I did not have a gun put to my head when I was told I should buy these. I would have remembered that.

    Every day of our lives, we choose to put ourselves in risky situations. I have as much sympathy for Monster Cable buyers who feel ripped off as I do for those who were told that their ARM “probably wouldn’t adjust upward” and now feel ripped off. Do some goddamn research before you put your money on the line and accept some responsibility for your choices. If you can’t afford the mistake, you shouldn’t be playing the game. HD, like homeownership, is not a god-given right.

    With the advent of this newfangled www-thingy, your search costs are close to zero if you have any leisure time. If your time is so valuable that it doesn’t make sense to research this stuff, you are stating implicitly that you can afford to pay more for something.

    Sure, we could regulate everything. However, that world is 100x more scary to me than a world with unscrupulous salespeople.

  83. rolla says:

    wham bam Monster! haw ya like me now!? hahaa…no matter what PR bullshit you spin, the INFORMED consumer knows you suck!

  84. johnva says:

    @Xavoc: The reason that the different cables make a difference in transfer speed for Ethernet is that Ethernet just retransmits corrupted data. And data is more likely to get corrupted when you’re talking about more high-speed stuff like GigE or whatever on a low quality cable. You need a cleaner signal to send the higher data rates without corruption.

    It’s correct to say that “digital is digital” IF you aren’t having corruption. If you are, then that’s another story, and how that is handled is dictated by the digital protocol being used to transmit the data. Some use error correcting codes and redundancy to handle a certain level of corruption seamlessly (example: satellite transmissions). Others just detect most corruption and request retransmission (example: Ethernet). Others might do nothing at all and just allow the corruption (example: some video transmission, since there is no time to do a retransmit usually). You’re not going to notice minor corruption of a few pixels in an HDTV signal.

  85. richard8a says:

    Here’s an idea: Monster produces one, top-of-the-line cable. Just one. They save money because they don’t have to switch manufacturing processes between different products, they can have “one” type of machine to manufacture them, only one type of packaging for that one HDMI cable model. Then, they can pass these savings on to the consumer by offering that top-of-the-line cable for the same price as the intro cable. We all know what they spend to make the cables is minimal. If they want to markup 80% from original manufacturing cost, at least they could save themselves some money and not make it so damned confusing for the average consumer that doesn’t know why there are 4 of the same type of HDMI cable from the same company.

    P.S.~ I just bought some HDMI cables off Amazon for $5 each (incl. shipping). I should be getting them soon, let’s see what the quality on those looks like. (And from what I read from the reviews, you can’t tell it’s a $5 cable.)

  86. Xavoc says:

    @johnva: Yes, but errors do occur. Some (Much?) of this can be mitigated by fixing the environment in which the cable resides, or by providing better shielding.

    HDMI cables still transmit data faster than a Cat 6 (gigabit) cable. Now, if you talk to people who run data cabling, different brands make better quality ethernet cable. They may all be rated to the same standard, some simply stand up better than others in shielding from crosstalk, loss of signal, etc.

    Now, the truth of this is that most people will never notice the difference between using a Cat 5e cable, and a Cat 6 cable at gigabit speeds. Simply because their uses do not place a need for or demand higher tolerances to interference that Cat 6 provides.

    So, yes, most people can buy cables from monoprice.com… Me? If I were running structured cabling (as I usually do), I would err on the side of buying something with better shielding/insulation for stuffing inside my walls. Plus, I would be less likely to have to rip it out of the wall and replace it sooner.

  87. dlab says:

    @Caswell:

    First of all, as a musician I find it offensive that I am somehow not a “consumer.” How are analog cable sales not considered “consumer sales?” Monster has been an established company for YEARS before HDMI cables even existed, so I would argue against HDMI making up 99.9% of the SKU’s that Monster ships. Also, HDMI cables are not the point of contention — the title of Ben’s original post is “Monster Cables, Monster Ripoff,” a blanket statement.

    Second, if you are sold an HDMI Monster cable and the salesman lies to you and tells you it’s better than all the other ones and you’ll really see a difference, YOU GOT RIPPED OFF BY THE SALESMAN, NOT MONSTER. Why not bitch about Best Buy salesmen instead?

    Third, S-video and stereo (by “stereo” I assume you mean RCA component cables) are both types of analog cables meant to transmit analog signals. While I’m sure you paid more than you would’ve liked, that is nobody’s fault but your own.

  88. TechnoDestructo says:

    @joemama321:

    Odds are you either had no other timely option (and unless you’re going to wait for mail order, this is often the case) or you were deliberately misinformed.

    Neither situation is as bad as having a gun to your head, but both still suck.

  89. mfarlow says:

    @VASTRIGHTWING
    “Monster cable = Premium gas.
    eBay cable = Regular gas.”

    More like
    Monster cable = Premium gas (but we’ll charge you double that price since we upgraded our pump nozzles to gold plating).
    eBay cable = Premium gas.

  90. strider_mt2k says:

    Somehow I don’t see sales as dropping any time soon.

    HD invites a healthy balance of the rich and the ignorant.

  91. mobbo says:

    I got a Monster Cable HDMI cable for $13 with my Best Buy employee discount. These guys are liars.

  92. mike says:

    This is what this post boils down to:
    Monster Cable: We’re going to make a cable that looks really flashy and sparkly. And charge you out the ass for it.

    Non-techie people: Don’t trust what anyone in a blue or red shirt say. More often than not, they don’t know the difference either.

    Aside: I had a Best Buy person tell me he sees a difference in BROADCAST shows when he watched it on his 1080p TV. He went on for a few minutes telling me how awesome it is. I completely shut him down when I said, “You know, all broadcasts are in 1080i.”

    His response: “Oh. But I still can tell the difference.”

  93. Aesteval says:

    What I don’t like about Monster is that it seems ever since Monster
    took off, it’s become harder and harder to find basic and cheap cables
    in retail; almost everything has become overpriced and overelegant.

  94. Yeah…

    monoprice.com

  95. Pender says:

    True, Leegin allows vertical resale price maintenance, so true, Monster was technically wrong in saying they can’t set retail prices, but unless there’s actual evidence that they DO set resale price minimums, it seems like a pretty pedantic response.

    But yeah, the other points are all well taken. Monster cables are a rip-off, designed to profit off of ill-informed consumers.

  96. Guizzy says:

    @myotheralt: I would be surprised to hear that Monster supplies a BOFH-style calendar with a new reason each day “why Monster cables are better than regular cables”.

    “Oh, their gold-plated heads are less prone to interference from lunar cycles and solar flares”

    “The thick patented insulation material protects them from wear due to the earth’s geomagnetic fields”

    “They’re prettier”

  97. Canoehead says:

    @Optimistic Prime: The HDMI cable with my 360 was DOA – try a different cable. I remember Sony getting a lot of crap because they did not include an HDMI cable with the PS3 – but I knew this (go Kotaku), so when I bought my PS3 I had a cable all ready to go. When my 360 would not work, I was having visions of RMAing, the UPS store etc. Fortunately a spare monoprice cable saved the day.

  98. TMurphy says:

    I can’t believe no one has noticed how much of a liar he is: he said, using his math, the markup is 44%, but its actually 44.7%, meaning he should have rounded UP to 45%, not truncated/round down. If he is deceptive in the math, who knows what next!

  99. jobo says:

    Simple analysis should be that a cable manufactured to the HDMI spec should perform to HDMI spec. Usually the spec has a bit of over build in it to compensate for fluctuating build quality. But, exceeding the spec would be like building a 4-lane highway for bike traffic. Improving the quality and material of the media can improve signal quality, but digital communications include a level of error correction that will compensate for this by design. Using an over-spec cable is overkill.

    When it comes to upgrading the device that uses a new standard, then you upgrade your cables to be spec compatible. Don’t be the guy buying CAT6 for your 10Mbps network.

  100. jehnidiah says:

    I emailed the pr address to get the free video, but it returned an error saying the connection had been refused. So, either that’s a BS address, or someone out here is hammering their servers so hard that it’s denying any connections now.

  101. joemama321 says:

    @TechnoDestructo:
    Please. This isn’t the power cord to your dialysis machine we’re talking about. People can’t wait 5 days to see your new television or, god forbid, be forward-thinking and order the cable ahead of time?

    As for misinformation, I put forward the “this belonged to an old lady that only drove it on Sunday” counterargument. Should you believe that car salesman?

  102. dlab says:

    @Aesteval: A more accurate way of saying it would be “since Monster broke into the consumer electronics cable market.” Isn’t this just a function of the current market? I don’t see how it is Monster’s fault that other companies are hiking their prices. I think HDMI cable prices will be reasonable when HD-mania has passed and customers start making educated purchases.

    I just hate it that one of my top favorite companies ever that makes one of the few products that I am confident to stand up for has to get raked over the coals just because consumers don’t educate themselves.

  103. Atticka says:

    Just a quick note on digital cables and signal quality.

    HDMI cables follow the same rules as Ethernet cables. Anyone who has worked with Ethernet knows there is a quality difference between CAT5, CAT5E and CAT6 cable ratings.

    CAT5 cables are rated for 10/100MB/s over 100M (330FT), CAT5E is rated for 10/100/1000MB/s (gigabit) over 100M and CAT6 is qualified to 10GB and video.

    I’m not defending Monster Cable here, because I do believe their prices are exorbitant, but you could argue that a higher “quality” cable can carry an HDMI signal at greater distances with less signal degradation, or transmit higher levels of bandwidth at a shorter distance.

    Although you will not see any difference between 6ft cables, try these tests with a 75ft cable or 100ft cable and will more than likely notice a difference.

  104. PabloPablo says:

    I have to defend one thing about Monster Cable when it comes to the biasedness of “The Consumerist”. Monster Cable did not deny that they have no minimum sale price, they only said that they do not require the stores to sell the items at the retail price.

  105. shadow735 says:

    Wow what a concept that retail businesses are there to make a profit, who knew? I always thought that they were only there as a non-profit org.

  106. notallcompaniesareevil says:

    Thanks for all the references to monoprice. Didn’t know they existed.

  107. ARPRINCE says:

    @dlab:

    A more accurate way of saying it would be “since Monster broke into the consumer electronics cable market.” ….

    Here’s a more accurate way of saying it “MONSTER BROKE THE CONSUMERS”. :)

  108. Pen says:

    The PR e-mail address in the article is not accepting delivery…

    Public Relations
    The message reached the recipient’s e-mail system, but delivery was refused. Attempt to resend the message. If it still fails, contact your system administrator.

  109. stre says:

    hey, markups on cables and peripherals are ALWAYS high. why should we be surprised that monster’s markups are that way too? if you’re willing to pay for the cables, fine. if not, go buy something cheaper (with the same percentage markup, i might add). don’t go bitching at Monster just because they and the retailers are trying to make money. i have a friend who used to work at Best Buy and he told me they actually lose money on some of the big ticket items and make most of the profit on cables, etc, just like everyone else. if you’re that concerned about the markup buy them from an online retailer with a lower markup. and stop crying.

  110. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    Okay, fellow consumerists, this post is going to make War and Peace look short, so for all of you not interested in FAR TOO MUCH DETAIL, just skip to the last paragraph for the summary.

    The article misleads the reader in citing retailer markups of 80% as if the retailer makes 80% profit margin on products that they sell. Anyone in retail knows that one does not calculate profit by markups, but by profit margins made on the sale as a ratio of what they paid for it.

    And anyone in retail, especially retail marketing, knows that the overwhelming majority of consumers talk about prices & profits in terms of markup. And this is, after all, a consumer oriented site. Nowhere does the article say, or even imply, anything about profit margins. It talks consistently about markups, even going so far as to point out that markups of this magnitude are commonplace in the world of audio and electronics retailing.

    So changing the topic to “profit margin” – a term well understood by retailers and accountants, but little used by actual consumers – is just an attempt to muddy the waters and minimize the outrageous sounding numbers. “See? it’s only 44%, not 80%! That’s not bad at all! See?” If there is any intent to mislead here, it is by you, and is intentional. Frankly, this is pretty sleazy, but not surprising from a large corporate marketing department.

    It’s also misleading when the tone of the article alludes to Monster Cable ripping off consumers, when Monster cannot legally set retail pricing. This is clearly up to the retailer.

    “… the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that it was not au… This ruling ( Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc.) is more than 6 moths old. Do you actually expect us to believe that you are unaware of this? Pardon my bluntness, but that’s bullshit, pure and simple. Once again, the only person trying to mislead here is you. It’s still slimy, and it’s still unsurprising.

    We would also like to point out that Monster makes the highest quality cables in the world,

    Gee willikers! The HIGHEST quality? Wow.

    Holy crap. you can’t even write one single paragraph without spewing some sleazy marketing lie, can you? You and I both know exactly why this quote is a dishonest line of crap. But for all the other readers out there, this brief article sums it up nicely.

    There is also a comment about digital cables not making a difference and that the only difference in digital cables is the price. This is simply not the case. HDMI Licensing, LLC, the group that develops the HDMI specification, has published two different cable speeds for the current 1.3 specification: Standard Speed at 2.23 Gbps, and High Speed at 4.95 Gbps, which is known as HDMI 1.3 Category 2. For more information, go to http://www.hdmi.org.

    The original article discusses the demonstrated fact that there is little or no difference between cables of the same HDMI version from different manufacturers. You respond by waving around the fact that there are different versions shouting “SEE? There ARE differences!” It’s nothing more than a red herring, an intentional distraction, an attempt to make it seem as though you rebutted the article when you are actually talking about something comletely different. Four paragraphs, Four lies.

    In fact, Steve Venuti, Vice President of Marketing for HDMI Licensing, LLC, stated in a recent Widescreen Review article: …

    Steve Venuti? Steve Venuti???!!! You’re actually quoting STEVE motherfucking VENUTI to try and impress us with how “not all digital cables are the same?”

    Mr Venuti is sicussing diffenernces between different versions of HDMI. The consumerist article discussed cables OF THE SAME VERSION from different manufacturers. Dishonest quote mining is nothing new from marketing departments. So let’s look ata few quotes from Mr Venuti concerning HDMI cables that are actually relevant to the original Consumerist artive:

    “Digital cables are either compliant or they are not; they either work or they don’t.”

    “…there is no such thing as an HDMI cable that makes the digital audio or video data come out better than another.”

    “most home users will see no issues at all in 2-3 meter cables, regardless of the manufacturer.

    Sigh. I give up. It’s too much. Pointing out and rebutting each lie as you tell it is far too time consuming for me to keep it up to the end of your 900 word marketing excrapaganza.

    For all you readers who couldn’t stand to read this entire war and peace sized anti-Monster rant, let me sum it up as succinctly as I can:

    Eat a bag of dicks, Monster.

  111. mantari says:

    @dlab: If Monster Cable has a problem with retailers who misrepresent their product, then Monster Cable should clamp down on them before their reputation is destroyed by excessive hype.

    Seriously, though. Come on. You know the bulk of the complaint here is about audio/video cables for consumers. Monster is just making a profit? Great! Just provide me some proportional value for the extra price, or don’t whine when people call Monster Cable a ripoff for charging something far in excess of any value they bring to the table.

  112. D.B. Cooper-Nichol says:

    @Adam Hyland: This is closer to the truth than what Ben originally wrote (“patently false”!!!), but still not entirely correct. The Leegin decision (linked to by Ben) only goes so far as to eliminate the automatic prohibition on “resale price maintenance” agreements, and apply the “rule of reason” analysis.

    The law, actually, is closer to what Monster’s flack said that what Ben thinks. Manufacturers can announce an MSRP, and can refuse to sell to retailers who undercut it. What they couldn’t do (before), was reach an agreement with the store that they’d honor the MSRP. The change in the law simply lets a defendant argue that there is some sort of pro-consumer effect of the MSRP agreement.

    (I’ve personally never found any such argument persuasive, but the Court left the door open for one).

  113. andyroark says:

    To all of you defending the “sale” of these cables, I’ll submit the issue is that more than one of us have stood at a cash register in an argument with a combative, undereducated Radio Shack twerp who tried to force us to agree that there could be a “better” digital signal in a purple cable.

    I’m a electrical engineer but I’m perfectly content to let crap like that go most of the time. I’m not a purist and I understand market place reality sometimes trumps truth. No biggie. Barnum’s target audience buys TVs too. What pisses me off is the unapproved waste of my time when some kid that needs to find Clearsil in his local grocery store tells me there can be a better delivery of a square wave through a cable because some moron spray painted it purple.

    Retailers – Radio Shack especially – have taken to supplement their failing business models by shoving these cables down their customer’s throats. For those of you fond of arguing from a pure economic capatialist perspective I’ll present it this way: The opportunity cost of listing to Poindexter Zitface try to shovel 80% markup out of my pocket after I’ve arleady said “no” is too high, it’s pissed me off and when I do still shop at Radio Shack (which is considerably less than ten years ago) I silently berrate myself for not planning ahead well enough to order what I needed online.

    And now I’m taking great pleasure in watching Radio Shack, Monster and every other jerk that stole my time wallow around in the feces filled pit of consumer rage after their “magic numbers” have been exposed.

  114. axiomatic says:

    Monster: “Waaaaah! I’ll have to buy the 14K Gold Rolls Royce instead of the Diamond encrusted 14K Gold Rolls Royce! Waaaah!”

  115. Aesteval says:

    @dlab: “Fault” isn’t necessarily required to
    create a negative feeling towards a company that contributed to the
    current market, especially one that contributed in a major way. Are
    there other factors? Sure, but this posting is about Monster, not the
    other factors and I’ll give Monster as much flack as I feel inclined to
    for not being able to go into a store and pick up a 3 – 6 foot
    extension USB cable (note, Monster’s not involved in USB cables are
    they and yet their itanium plated jewel encrusted excessive product
    features spilled over) for a reasonable price.

  116. zanella says:

    Everybody line up and get yourself a free dvd.. just like AOL! YAY!

    NOT.

  117. pomophobe says:

    The place I work at… our margin on the Monster brand cables is 30% minimum to 40% maximum, not 80%. So I am not sure what other retail places charge but yeah 30 to 40%.

  118. efesus says:

    every single “Monster Cable” i ever purchased when i was young and dumb was a piece of shit. now, i learned how to make all my own audio cables, and just pick up what ever video doesn’t make me pull a second mortgage just to buy it. most people can’t even tell the difference in audio or video quality to begin with. spend that money on beer instead.

  119. DevonTheDude says:

    If Monster cable is the best of all cables, how come the commercial broadcasting industry does not use monster branded cables? Just b/c a cable is O2 free and has braided shielding doesn’t mean squat in-terms of quality, the “professional broadcast grade” cables are typically generic not branded like Monster or Acoustic Research. A lot of the features the branded cables champion typically have no impact at all on your system, unless you are using ALL THX certified equipment (which req. THX certified cables).

    My roommate works at Best Buy, and their cable markup is unbelievable but his discount (which is just above cost) helps out big time. He agrees that Monster overrated and his discount is about ~60% on avg for Monster cables (the discount amount depends on the Cost BB pays for the cable). The AR cables are much more reasonable and he gets a larger discount on those cables. He bought us a Dynex (BB store brand) power cleaner/ surge protector that retailed for $130, after discount it was $30, now thats a ridiculous markup.

  120. sam1am says:

    Monster claims not to set retailer pricing, but they do have a MAP policy. MAP = Minimum Advertised Price. So retailers can sell the cables for whatever they want, but they can only advertise at a certain price. This is why you see “Click here for pricing” on some products around the web.

    This is how companies get around anti-competitive / price fixing laws.

  121. bohemian says:

    Monster cables are sold on the racing stripe factor. They look important and guys get told by people in electronics stores that they are better and a must have.

    The $6 cable I got at Target works just fine thanks.

  122. kizzle says:

    @stre: Yeah! What’s wrong with 80% markups? Might as well make them 160% markup, and if that happens I also have a pre-emptive “stop crying” to anyone who complains.

    /sarcasm

    There’s a difference between bitching and informing. The former has no utility (besides being irritating) while the latter enables one to make a better decision in the future. And I think the knowledge of ridiculously high markups only helps the consumer steer towards places like monoprice.com , but only if they have the correct information (in this case, the high price isn’t correlative to high quality) and they don’t shoot the messenger by calling it “bitching.”

  123. avconsumer says:

    @dlab: As one who has plugged and unplugged, literally, millions if not billions of a multitude of types and brands of “professional” / “broadcast” quality cables, I must admit, being in “the industry,” I have never once witnessed any professional (individual or organization), no matter the budget or penchant for quality, waste the money for a Monster cable.

    You have two cables.

    See whut I did thar?

  124. jkaufman101 says:

    I bought some Monoprice cables ($14) when I purchased my new HDTV. The picture was excellent. Out of curiosity, I then mail ordered some Monster cables ($105) just to see what the difference might be. The result: ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER.

    I sent the Monster cables back for a refund. Fuck that.

  125. MastaFalse says:

    Despite that antagonizing remark, yeah, I’m still taking my business to monoprice. Heavily shielded HDMI 1.3 cable for $4? Same quality, a billion dollars less? The choice is obvious, you’re a towel.

  126. MastaFalse says:

    Oh, and if you can find a pile of old server power cords, fashion your own 13-gauge wires for free. Enjoy!

  127. fuzzymuffins says:

    all retail / service/ restaurant employees are bred to ‘upsale’ a high profit item with every purchase. i’m waiting for someone at BB or CC to tell me “would you like a coke and fries with your HDTV”???

    as a general rule i NEVER purchase a suggested ‘accessory’… because i usually know what i need to go with it…. i’d rather go home and find out i don’t need something than go home with something i don’t need.

  128. nak says:

    I emailed them for the DVD.

    This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

    Delivery to the following recipients failed.

    pr@monstercable.com

    Good job, Monster.

  129. dlab says:

    @mantari: I agree that they might want to look into shady salespeople who misrepresent their product, but show me the company with the resources to do that — what are they gonna do, go and offer free training for all Best Buy employees so that they don’t make more commissions by deceiving customers? As for proportional value… you get a lifetime warranty! Replace it for free if it ever breaks. Ever. Same as with Craftsman garden hoses, Filson hats, and Maui Jim sunglasses.

    @Aesteval: I don’t see how “the current market” of uninformed consumers who will pay ungodly amounts for HDMI cables was somehow created by Monster. Also, you can get 6ft USB cables for $1.99 from pretty much any online retailer — not as convenient as walking into a store, but then again, you know better than to pay too much for it, right? :-)

    @avconsumer: I see that you resorted to calling me an amateur since you wanted to open your mouth and didn’t have anything intelligent to say. I am certainly an amateur (since I don’t work in “the industry” like you) but I believe I am entitled to my opinion, which I’ve come to after years of playing guitar onstage through all kinds of crappy, noisy cables.

  130. jaewon223 says:

    it’s easy to blame monster but this sort of thing happens across all industries. it’s the educated consumer that benefits, if you do a little research you could find the same product but at a far more price that is fair for most goods. it only takes 10 minutes on google and anybody can make an informed decision regarding monster and hdmi cables.

    great article and it’s been fun following this story.

  131. rikkus256 says:

    Monster Cables are always ripoffs. Go monoprice.com.

  132. ClankBoomSteam says:

    HEY MONSTER: You’re full of it, and everyone here knows it.

    The $10 cables I bought online perform just as well as your (outrageously overpriced) products. The only reason I bought them online, instead of at a store, is because of the criminal precedent your company has set — now there are no major “brick and mortar” stores left that carry reasonably priced cabling, only Monster products and products that emulate your preposterous pricing.

    Oh, and your petulant insistence that “clothing, jewelry, furniture, and accessories to other consumer products” have a similar mark-up might hold some water if it weren’t for the fact that none of those products used to cost 1/8th their current price just a few years ago.

    You know Monster, if you’re not even going to come up with some GOOD bullshit to defend your reprehensible business practices, you may as well not even try.

  133. Bunklung says:

    Wow! As if Monster didn’t get enough bad PR from the first consumerist post… They went out of their way to try to “fix” the problem with a rebuttal, but only found more bad PR.

    Lick your wounds and move on Monster. The perception of your products is being replaced by the reality. I hear Monoprice is doing good business. You might want to consider a merging or buying some stock.

    *bunklung winks at executive reading this*

  134. mantari says:

    @dlab: Yes. The damage has been done, but training for Best Buy and Circuit City employees (removing false claims) would go a long ways. And we both know that vendors love to supply training to salespeople. Especially when it gives them more truthful* selling points for the product, am I right?

    Personally, I have to cheer on Monster Cables and those companies behind the Warranty Plans. Because the companies are expecting so much profit from these little items, I can run in and get the big ticket items for a song! So hats off to the MC/WP buyers?

  135. mantari says:

    Example: I was told by a former Best Buy employee that regular cables are inferior because the low frequency sound waves do not move through the cables as quick as the high frequency sound waves, so it loses some quality and becomes slightly distorted when you play things back. “No really, it is simple physics!”

    Happily, he informed me, Monster Cables do not have that problem at all. I need Monster Cables.

  136. JChoice says:

    If you really want to make a difference in the world, focus your efforts on the diamond industry, their markups, and their market manipulation.

    There are many brands that “overcharge” consumers. Why get so worked up about one company when there are so many alternatives?

    Monster cables aren’t worth the money- we get it. What’s next?

  137. JollyJumjuck says:

    While the consumer has, in general, a personal responsibility to be informed, one should not have to navigate through a minefield of deception created by companies that profiteer from consumer ignorance. Otherwise I could turn the tables and say it’s okay for the consumer to steal merchandise as long as he can get away with it. Really, it’s the same logic.

  138. dlab says:

    @mantari: Dude it sounds like you just need to disregard whatever the sales guy says — nobody in retail knows what they are talking about. Well, not the front lines anyway…

  139. RollOverForMore says:

    @coreynyc:

    Mac OS is worth the price difference alone. I’m not a vehement Apple defender, but I “switched” a couple of years ago – once you go Mac you never go back.

  140. Protector says:

    Guy’s got a point on the jewelry and furniture markup…they far exceed any Monster cable markup. Still, Monster is a ripoff and they’re just upset because the cat’s out of the bag.

    Now let’s do the same with jewelry…

  141. walterny says:

    Well, Monster has a lot to protect. They have built a brand based on telling folks there is a difference. But as a broadcaster, I can tell you it’s all marketing. There are a hundred stories on the web all showing that Monster cables do no more than any others. cablestogo.com sells great cables far cheaper than Monster. If they were so good, we’d use them in our broadcast work. We don’t!

    [gizmodo.com]

  142. walterny says:

    ANd my favorite comment and the one I most agree with as a person with the same engineering qualifications:

    BY S1965 AT 06/06/07 06:28 PM

    I am a 25-year veteran of the broadcast and audio/visual industry. I’ve been observing the deal with Monster Cable, ever since it came out. The answer between me and my colleagues is simple: People are stupid…and no matter what you tell them they will continue to be stupid. I remember back in the early 90s, when Monster made only their overpriced speaker cable. I colleague of mine who had a pretty heavy-duty electronics shop in his business. They did a very complete “sweep” of the cable and they found that any difference in quality was neglibile, and essentially nullified by commonly bad installation, lousy equipment, poor signal management, and improper use. It’s prettymuch the same way today.

    Monster resorts to a commonly used practice known as “specs-manship”. If you can prove on paper that your product performs in a certain way, under certain circumstances (usually in a laboratory environment), you can claim superior performance and a resulting premium market price. Total nonsense. Lordargent made an accurate statement in the prior posting: “Who uses 33 feet of cable?” Most people need about 5 feet. I recently outfitted my masterbedroom with a nice Sharp Aquos 1080p LCD with all the trimmings. I balked at the non-sensical price of Monster Cable. Instead, I purchased some $7 HDMI cables online. They work perfectly. No artifacting…no dropouts. Oh yeah…and for anyone who talks about Monster having greater “clarity”, tell them to get their head examined! Just as we discovered in the 90s that Monster speaker cable produced frequency performance advantages that were beyond the physical capabilities of most people to hear, if you can see bit-related errors from an HDMI signal, you need to get a job with the circus.

    All kidding aside, here is my advice. Go to a retailer, buy the cheapest one, if it doesn’t work, take it back and get the next better product. (For HDMI cables at Best Buy, this means you have three levels of pricing choice for the same type of product.) If you’re really smart, buy the cheap ones that get endorsed here on Gizmodo.

  143. walterny says:

    And my favorite comment and the one I most agree with as a person with the same real world TV engineering experience:

    BY S1965 AT 06/06/07 06:28 PM

    I am a 25-year veteran of the broadcast and audio/visual industry. I’ve been observing the deal with Monster Cable, ever since it came out. The answer between me and my colleagues is simple: People are stupid…and no matter what you tell them they will continue to be stupid. I remember back in the early 90s, when Monster made only their overpriced speaker cable. I colleague of mine who had a pretty heavy-duty electronics shop in his business. They did a very complete “sweep” of the cable and they found that any difference in quality was neglibile, and essentially nullified by commonly bad installation, lousy equipment, poor signal management, and improper use. It’s prettymuch the same way today.

    Monster resorts to a commonly used practice known as “specs-manship”. If you can prove on paper that your product performs in a certain way, under certain circumstances (usually in a laboratory environment), you can claim superior performance and a resulting premium market price. Total nonsense. Lordargent made an accurate statement in the prior posting: “Who uses 33 feet of cable?” Most people need about 5 feet. I recently outfitted my masterbedroom with a nice Sharp Aquos 1080p LCD with all the trimmings. I balked at the non-sensical price of Monster Cable. Instead, I purchased some $7 HDMI cables online. They work perfectly. No artifacting…no dropouts. Oh yeah…and for anyone who talks about Monster having greater “clarity”, tell them to get their head examined! Just as we discovered in the 90s that Monster speaker cable produced frequency performance advantages that were beyond the physical capabilities of most people to hear, if you can see bit-related errors from an HDMI signal, you need to get a job with the circus.

    All kidding aside, here is my advice. Go to a retailer, buy the cheapest one, if it doesn’t work, take it back and get the next better product. (For HDMI cables at Best Buy, this means you have three levels of pricing choice for the same type of product.) If you’re really smart, buy the cheap ones that get endorsed here on Gizmodo.

  144. ecwis says:

    @Instigator: Just so you know, it’s “au contraire”.

  145. Jeff asks: "WTF could you possibly have been thinking? says:

    I guess buying my USB cables at the dollar store instead of paying best-buy 30.00 is really slowing down the transfer of my illegally downloaded music to my MP3 player. Or maybe I would get better printing quality if I had a “real” USB cable attached to my printer…

    If the dollar store had HDMI cables I’d buy them there too.

    And last Sunday I watched the Daytona 500 on my HDTV by tuning in the over-the-air digital signal I received on my dollar store UHF antenna. I guess I was missing something by not having a 100.00 self tuning, self aiming antenna.

  146. wdnobile says:

    Regardless of what standard they want to claim, the bottom line is I can get at monoprice a 6ft HDMI 1.3a CL2 rated cable for like 12 bucks whereas Monster charges something like ten times that. By my, and most practical peoples definitions -thats a…. wait for it… RIPOFF. I just ordered four HDMI cables online and with shipping it was still less than half of what one such cable would’ve cost from Monster.

  147. banmojo says:

    why do they even bother defending themselves? just keep on producing overpriced cables and f$#@ing your clients, Monster – that’s what you do best, so do it while you still can.

    d-bags.

  148. banmojo says:

    @ecwis: bite moi, te derriere. (jk) heh heh heh

  149. BearTack says:

    With regard to the confusion over the arithmetic, many trades use jargon that is industry specific. The retail trade uses a specialized meaning for markup that is at variance with the usage found in the way the rest of the world uses percentages. When retailers speak amongst themselves they should feel free to use their jargon, but not when they are talking to the rest of us.

  150. hnkelley says:

    As your typical capitalist pig, I have no problem with Monster selling cables for whatever price they can get. HOWEVER, lying or misleading information is wrong and even illegal under certain conditions.

    Many have claimed that the cable doesn’t matter, others disagree. The confusion is in the definition. Better cables transmit data better. But the standard is in, well, the defined standard. So is Monster cable better than el-cheapo? Not if they both meet the same standard.

    The standard is what is critical here. Network cables are where I have more experience. Cat-3 cable has a different standard than Cat-6. It has to do with wire gauge, jacket/insulation, and the ever critical twist. Data moving at different speeds produces different effects in the cable, mostly capacitance, and the standards take that into account. Cat-6 cable is designed for a higher bandwidth than Cat-3.

    So the cable does make a difference, but if the manufacturer making the cable lives up to the promise implied in claiming to adhere to the standards, then it doesn’t matter who or where you get it from.

  151. taka2k7 says:

    preach it, Consumerist! The stuff monster sells is good for niche applications and waste of money for 90% of the world.

  152. EnBuenOra says:

    There are in fact differences between HDMI cables, but not because they’re monster, or because of the brand necessarily, or even the cost.

    Most of them fail at accurately sending 1080p over anything but the shortest distance, and almost no one does any real lab testing beyond the minimal HDMI license certification.

    Begin to check for the DPL (not DLP) rating. Or for longer runs try devices which send HDMI over Cat5e or, soon, RG6.

  153. moozh84 says:

    Here’s the real story behind Monster Cables:

    Big retail stores make almost zero profit from TVs, game consoles, and other high profile items they advertise heavily to get people to buy.

    When you go shopping for a TV, you compare the prices of the TVs, not the extras, so anywhere that has the lowest price on the TV is going to get your business.

    These items purposely come without adequate accessories, warranty, etc. The actual profit that the retailer should have got on the TV, is instead made up for on the accessories and warranty.

    The employees at these stores are being trained by Monster on how to sell their products and given commissions for doing so.

    Yes you can pay less money by buying your TV at Bestbuy and getting your cables online.

    As more people do this, the price on the TVs will just go up to offset lost profits.

    As was stated earlier, a 44% profit margin (which is the correct calculation, you take the sale price of $179.99 calculate the percent of that price which is profit) is not large at all for cables. “Markup” refers to the percentage increase over the original price (ie. $100 cost, $200 sale price, is 100% markup, but 50% profit margin). Most $20 cheaper cables people are buying are probably a 100% markup. And that’s for HDMI/DVI cables which are more expensive. RCA/Component/S-Video cables, even the cheap ones, are probably 300% markup or higher.

    Keep in mind that any store that offers cheap cables, probably does not actually sell or carry big box items like TVs. They wouldn’t be able to have competitive prices. TVs are heavy, cost a lot to ship, take up a lot of room, and are impossible to sell without the best price in town, period.

    Basically, there’s nothing wrong with what the retail stores are doing. And yes, you can slip through the system by buying cheap cables elsewhere. If you’re too lazy to have to go to another store and blame stores like Best Buy for not giving you a one stop free ride, that’s your problem.

  154. Acoyani Garrido Sandoval says:

    Lies! We all damn know the PR department is the Department of Motherfucking Lies! They’re all about masquerading evil as good intentions.

    And just to prove that, I’m currently holding a 2-meter DVI-HDMI cable my dad bought at Steren here in Mexico, for $30 dollars.

  155. Anonymous says:

    Ive done tons of test on Monster products. They do out perform other HDMI cables. Anyone that buys a 10 dollar cable on Amazon is a moron for arguing otherwise. I know all more about this than anyone that posted anything and there is a significant performance difference between High end monster cables and ANY other cables. Monstrers low end performs like the standard stuff. Their Monster 1000 HDMI cables are unsurpassed in any testing. The shielding is unmatched and the connections are very well done, thus negating cross talk and supplying a higher bandwidth throughput. Stop complaining because you can’t afford something doesnt make it evil. You can buy speakers for $20,000 a pair so does that mean that any other speaker that makes noise is equivalent? No. The fact is there is a lot of engineering that goes into these cables and if you are uneducated to how it works then you shouldn’t complain just don’t buy it. But don’t say someones a ripoff just because you can’t afford something. The piece of shit HDMI cable you bought is probably on a bargain priced HDTV which will NEVER come CLOSE to looking as nice as a higher end one therefore you wouldn’t notice a difference anyway. Ive done the tests, and I wouldnt buy it myself if I didn’t see a reason.