If you’re ready to shell out $3,000 for a new 3D-capable TV (plus as much as $150 for each additional set of goofy goggles), you can still save a few bucks in one place: cables. Despite what the aggressive electronics dealer might say, any high-speed HDMI cable will work just fine with today’s 3DTVs and Blu-ray disc players. And those so-called HDMI 1.4 cables? They’re not even allowed to mention them.
According to Consumer Reports,”any high-speed HDMI cable is sufficient for sending and receiving 3D video streams.”
…[C]ontrary to what you may have read or been told, you don’t need special “HDMI 1.4 cables,” and frankly you shouldn’t be able to buy one, because cable manufacturers are prohibited from marketing cables as such. Instead, cable marketers must label their cables using one of five new logos: HDMI Standard, HDMI High Speed, HDMI Standard with Ethernet, HDMI High Speed with Ethernet, and HDMI Standard Automotive.
If you want to connect a new 3D Blu-ray player to a new 3D TV, you’ll just need a high-speed HDMI cable, which is already recommended for connecting 1080p TVs and Blu-ray players. (HDMI Standard cables are generally sufficient for handling video with up to 720p or 1080i resolutions.) And you don’t have to pay a lot to get a good high-speed HDMI cable: You can buy a 6-foot cable for less than $10 from an online retailer such as Monoprice.com or Blue Jeans Cable.
This hasn’t stopped cable vendors from pitching so-called HDMI 1.4 cables at inflated prices. In a quick search, we turned up several, with prices as high as $47 (though some were available for under $10). Why can’t vendors call their cables HDMI 1.4, even if they support the new standard? According to the organization that controls the trademarked term, confusing spec numbers are being phased out, and vendors “are not allowed to make any reference to Version 1.4 of the HDMI Specification in any circumstance.” The numbers will be replaced with equally confusing terms, like High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet or Standard Automotive HDMI Cable. Okay, maybe they’re not that confusing, though retailers will no doubt still try to sell you the most expensive version available.
So, should you ever upgrade to HDMI 1.4, er, High Speed HDMI with Ethernet? According to Consumer Reports, you can wait until there are “new TVs or Blu-ray players that will let you combine audio/video and Internet connections via a single cable, which will require a High Speed with Ethernet cable.” Of course, you’ll need to upgrade once again if you want to use those TVs and Blu-ray players, so getting the right cable may be the least of your worries.
Save your money: You don’t need fancy “HDMI 1.4” cables for 3D TV [Consumer Reports Electronics]
[HDMI Trademark and Logo Guidelines]