All HDMI Cables Are Pretty Much The Same

MSNBC’s HD Guru blog skewers the shifty HDMI cable industry, which is based on ridiculous, unsupported claims of higher data speed, frame rates and refresh rates in exchange for exorbitant prices.

This is an issue we’ve brought up many times before, but it bears repeating as more and more people invite HDTVs into their homes. The MSNBC post goes into exhaustive technical detail to explain why all HDMI cables are basically built the same, although some are built with materials that can withstand multiple detachments/re-attachments better than others. Any numbers and claims of being “high speed” are basically gibberish.

Here’s the money quote from the post:

To summarize, buying a more expensive HDMI “High Speed” cable — regardless of labeling or what a salesman tells you — will not give you any improvement in picture quality.

You can find cheap HDMI cables at Monoprice.

Buyer beware: Misleading HDMI cable labels suggest needless upgrades [MSNBC HD Guru]
(Thanks, Steve!)

Previously: Never Pay More Than $10 For HDMI Cables

Comments

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  1. FreshPorcupineSalad says:

    And straightened out wire coat hangers make better speaker wire than $100 Monster Cables. If you didn’t get your cables from Monoprice, you paid too much.

    • daveinva says:

      Wait a second… I thought I could buy those at Monster Golf?

    • Traveshamockery says:

      Wrong…straightened out coat hangers sounded equally as good to Monster Cable speaker wire. They didn’t sound better. If they had sounded better, that would actually lend credence to the theory that magical speaker cable design and special copper could make better sound. They sounded the same, which is very interesting, but nobody’s going to argue they’re reasonable substitutes IRL.

      Also, it’s important to note that straightened out coat hangers would not work well as interconnects between devices. Analog audio cable, for example, is much more complex than speaker cable and there are indeed things you can do to make a bad cable. Will most people notice? No, but you can do it wrong. To be clear, though, it’s not hard to make a proper analog audio cable, and you sure don’t have to pay hundreds, or even dozens of dollars to get one.

    • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

      And if you don’t have time to wait for shipping, Big Lots (or your local equivalent.)

  2. Traveshamockery says:

    This is at least basically true.

    The only exception to what Gary’s saying is when you’re talking about very long distances. A higher gauge cable with more consistent impedance characteristics will be more reliable over a long run (say 40+ feet) than a cheaper, more poorly built cable.

    But for the purposes of the average home A/V system, literally any properly constructed HDMI cable will do.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      For extremely long distances, it’s better to get 2 HDMI/Cat5 converter, run the distance on Cat5 and then convert back to HDMI. MUCH cheaper than any HDMI solution.

      • Traveshamockery says:

        There’s plenty of alternatives, but a lot of the Cat 5 solutions just don’t work well. There is no one-size fits all solution for long distance HDMI extension, since each method has some drawbacks.

    • mac-phisto says:

      “properly constructed” is definitely the key phrase there. i had the misfortune of picking up an off-brand HDMI that couldn’t produce 1080p quality. initially, i thought the problem existed elsewhere within my setup, but when i replaced the cable w/ a better one – voila! – 1080p.

      “rocketfish” was the manufacturer of that crappy cable.

      • Traveshamockery says:

        Yeah, I should define what I mean by “properly constructed”.

        An HDMI cable is a very complex thing. It’s quite amazing that it works at all, frankly. But it’s very easy to screw up the connector, which throws off the impedance of the cable, which needs to stay within a tight range to function.

        I’m guessing that’s what was wrong with your cable. At the lower data rate of 720p or 1080i, it worked even though the connection was marginal, but when the data rate doubled (by activating 1080p output) it failed, falling off the “digital cliff”.

        • Harrkev says:

          Good job pointing that out. All cables are NOT made the same. At audio and analog video frequencies, yes. However, once you start talking gigahertz signals, things like impedance become a LOT more important.

          Also, if you are planning on running HDMI cable through a wall, get the best stuff that you can find. The cost of replacing it later when the latest-n-greatest HDMI spec comes out will be a lot more than putting better cable in there in the first place.

      • Beeker26 says:

        Rocketfish is a Best Buy house brand, in case you didn’t know.

      • Superdemon says:

        Rocketfish is a Best Buy brand. I can assume you paid 100X what it is worth and yet for some reason I am not surprised it didn’t work.

    • jefeloco says:

      I was going to type in basically what you said but then I read your post, good job :)

      Another exception would be if you’re using a switchbox and for the same reasons as an in-wall install, impedance. Monoprice even mentions to use at least 24 gauge cables if you’re using one of theirs.

  3. bizzarodave says:

    It is worth pointing out however, that the use of less expensive HDMI cables can cause loss of essence.

    On a different note, its too bad that the state of HDMI cables make it all the more difficult to explain the benefits of appropriate cabling in the analogue realm, especially where it concerns the proper reproduction of high quality 2 channel music.

    • trentblase says:

      I assume that by “essence” you mean “pompous jackassery,” as in “check out my new HDMI cable, it costs more than your car, LOSER!”

    • Shadowfire says:

      You should always, when you can afford it, upgrade to at least alpha (delta is possible) grade cables. The essence loss is negligible then… ;-)

      • bizzarodave says:

        Well done, I was going for part of the speech from Dr. Strangelove, but who doesn’t love Shadowrun?

    • Paul in SF says:

      I just crank up the “Essence” control on my receiver.

  4. Abradax says:

    Digital is digital.

    You won’t make the 1′s and 0′s more efficient.

    • RosevilleWgn says:

      Same thing for Toslink cables. Did the light pulse make to the other side? Yes? Perfect digital signal.

    • TerpBE says:

      But if you buy the Monster cables, your ones and zeros will be much more oneier and zeroier!

    • MauriceCallidice says:

      Sure, a 1 is a 1 and a 0 is a 0. The problem is that those ones and zeros are being transmitted via an analog medium. You won’t make the 1′s and 0′s any more 1 than 1, but you might ever-so-slightly improve the the chance that the circuit at the other end of the cable will correctly interpret the signal as carrying a 1 or 0.

      If the signal quality is marginal, there’s a chance for a bit to be misinterpreted or lost. In order to transmit the ones and zeros the signal in the cable has to fluctuate between two electrical states an astonishingly high number of times in a second.

      By analogy, imagine if you wrote the number a big number 1 or a big number 0 on a piece of paper. Close up, clearly written, with lots of time to look at it, it’s obviously a 1 or a 0. But let’s say you write your 0 kind of narrow and squished vertically, or your 1 a little curved. Now imagine you have lots of those ones and zeros written as pages in a flip-book. You hold up the book in the backyard on a foggy day, and show it to someone 100 feet away, flipping through the book at a rate of (let’s say) three or four per second, and ask them to call out the numbers as you go. There will probably be some loss of information in the process. An occasional one will get misperceived and called as a zero, or vice versa.

      It’s digital information (just ones and zeros), but the information has to be carried via an analog medium. In fact, every one and zero in your computer is analog encoded. Voltage fluctuations on a signal line, bit state on a piece of memory, magnetic state at a location on a hard drive platter, reflective state at a location on an optical disk, all are digital information encoded via analog means. The information which is being stored and processed is digital, but the circuits and signals and media carrying that information are all, of necessity, analog. Purely digital information, divorced of interaction with and interference from analog effects, exists only in the abstract.

      • MauriceCallidice says:

        Noe of which is to say you should spend a lot of money on HDMI cables, since most cheap ones are still far better than necessary to fit the bill.

        But it’s just not true to suggest that there’s never any possible difference between cables.

      • Zowzers says:

        To bad the system doesn’t send actual 1′s or 0′s, but rather ON & OFF.

      • vastrightwing says:

        Which is why most transport protocols include CRC/Error concealment/error correction as part of the data so that corrupt data is retransmitted or reconstructed using redundant data. Sure, at some point the error correction can’t fix too much bad data.

  5. MustWarnOthers says:

    I bought a 25 foot HDMI cable from Newegg for like 20 bucks, to hookup my Radeon card to my 42 inch HDTV.

    That same cable you’d probably find in retail stores for 60 or 70. Ridiculous.

    If you want to see the epitome of Bullshit, overpriced, ripoff cable hype, check out some of Pear’s audio products. The only possibly rationalization I can come up with for why anyone would pay that much for cable, would be if you were a high paid celebrity/sports star who couldn’t possibly care less how much your home audio/video equipment costs.

    http://www.pearcable.com/sub_products_anjou.htm

    Unless I’m missing something, that’s $1200 for a 1.5 foot cable.

    • Rachacha says:

      Assuming that all of Pear’s claims are true, they will certainly have a much higher quality than a cheap cable. The world of analog audio is significantly different than digital, and poor joints, contamination at joints and corrosion can have a negative impact on audio quality.

      That said, I suspect that $1200 for a cable would go completely unnoticed to most, and only those who have invested several tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in their Audio system might be able to hear the difference between the Pear cables and a less expensive cable in a blind test.

    • youbastid says:

      You are missing something. It’s $1500 for a 1.5 meter cable, not foot. And you missed that they are analog cables. Not that it justifies the $1500 price, but unlike digital cables, analog cables are most definitely not all created equal.

      • MustWarnOthers says:

        “0.5 meter pair RCA – $1200″ I thought .5 meters was around 1.5 feet?

        Pear cable was challenged to pick an audiophile of their choice to be a part of a double blind test to determine that they could hear a difference between Pear’s outrageously priced cables, and a Monster equivalent.

        There was $1,000,000 up for grabs, but since then, nobody has taken it. Pear chose someone but the challenge eventually fell through, and then they backed out.

      • bikerider008 says:

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

    • benh999 says:

      Audiophiles and the average HT consumer are two very different consumer groups.

    • jvanbrecht says:

      Lets not forget teh $500 Denon cat5 cables…
      http://www.usa.denon.com/productdetails/3429.asp

      Seriously. standard cat5 with a fancy sheath.. people with too much money tend to buy these.

      And as for the Pear cables, I cannot remember where (linked through either Engadget or Gizmodo), someone actually did a quick study of said cables, and found them to be of no better quality than cheaper (aka 1/10th the price) quality cables.

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Newegg rocks. I bought a 12ft HDMI from them two years ago for about 12 bucks, including shipping and they’re probably cheaper now days. As for my Cat5′s, I know a shop that makes them really cheap and my 25 foot Cat5 was $10.00 max. I can’t remember the exact price but I bought every length I needed last summer for my music/TV room and spent no more than $30.00 which included a 50footer, 25 footer, 15, 10 and 5. This makes them in every possible footage and they’re cheap.

    • Polarix says:

      Doesn’t HDMI signal degrade after like 12 feet or something?

      I might be wrong

      • shepd says:

        Only on crappy cables. I have a 50 foot one I bought from eBay that works fine for my computer. Although, unfortunately, it goes through a crappy switch, and I can’t get more than 1080p @ 30Hz out of it.

        Which is just fine, considering I use it to watch movies on a digital projector. :-)

  6. phunkjnky says:

    Unless of course, you want some of the newer digital audio formats… say DTS TRUE HD and a couple of others… Then you need v1.3 or later… w/1.4 the cables tend to be directional over 15′ in length… Though there are no applications for the new communication channel yet… So in a word, are they all created equal? No… But no point in paying for functionality you can’t/won’t use.

    • Traveshamockery says:

      Unless of course, you want some of the newer digital audio formats… say DTS TRUE HD and a couple of others… Then you need v1.3 or later… w/1.4 the cables tend to be directional over 15′ in length… Though there are no applications for the new communication channel yet… So in a word, are they all created equal? No… But no point in paying for functionality you can’t/won’t use.
      No, I’m sorry, but that’s incorrect.

      Except over longer than normal distances, iterally any HDMI cable will work for 1080p, 3D, or lossless audio applications. There’s nothing structurally different about the cable. That’s even true for HDMI 1.4 – it’s the same cable, structurally, than the first HDMI cable that was ever sold.

      HDMI 1.4 cables are directional over 15 feet? That’s just complete falsehood, sorry. There’s no such thing as directional copper or a directional electron, so that’s simply impossible.

      Also, there are applications for the “communications channel”, which is called CEC. It allows HDMI devices to control one another through the HDMI cable. It’s a pain, and I don’t recommend using it, but it’s there and operational.

    • darklighter says:

      HDMI pinouts haven’t changed between versions, so the vast majority of HDMI cables are perfectly fine for 1.3 and 1.4 signals; they just haven’t been certified as such.

    • ColHapablap says:

      These specs are more applicable to the interfaces themselves, not the cables. All that matters is whether the cables can handle a given bandwidth (and certain features) without too many errors. That’s why HDMI no longer allows the use of version numbers in cables. So, right now, “High Speed” can handle anything in the latest HDMI 1.4 spec.

  7. COBBCITY says:

    I buy all cables on eBay from sellers with excellent feedback dirty cheap. Many of the sellers are in Hong Kong and while it may take a week or two for the cable to get here, I pay 1/10th what I would pay at any retail store here and never have a quality problem.

    No idea why stores think they can charge $$ for lousy cables.

    • MercuryPDX says:

      For the same reason a dog will “lick himself”…. because they can and nobody cares enough to try and make them stop.

    • Traveshamockery says:

      Retail stores know people price shop for best deal on the main item they’re looking for. If the retailer can drop their HDTV’s price by $50, and make up the difference by selling $200 of high margin cables and other accessories, they’ll actually make more money than they would have with a more expensive TV, and they’ll lure in more customers to boot.

      So to answer your question – they do it because it works.

    • mac-phisto says:

      as a former RS jockey, i can tell you how they do it: it’s called “value pricing”. the sales strategy is to make the customer think that higher priced cables equate to a better quality picture. & trust me, it works. our store-brand HDMI cables (which were actually pretty well constructed) retailed at $99.99/6-ft. stock price? roughly $2. the sales pitch? “you’re spending $700+ for an HDTV because you want a better picture – why are you going to skimp on the cables that transmit that signal? get the most out of your HDTV – don’t spend all this money just to end up with an inferior picture because you wanted to save a few dollars.”

      & you know what? it works.

    • vastrightwing says:

      Why do cell phone companies charge $0.20/text message when it costs zero for them?
      A: Because people will pay it.

  8. ColHapablap says:

    To clarify the quoted excerpt, “High Speed” is in fact a higher-speed class of cable — the lower speed is “Standard” — but anything certified as “High Speed” is the same, regardless of price. (There’s the additional “with ethernet” feature.)

    I kinda like that companies can no longer advertise HDMI with versions (1.3c, 1.4, etc.), but can only use the “Standard” or “High Speed” certifications.

  9. sqlrob says:

    Unfortunately, I think the high speed claims are going to become true soon. The next HDMI spec is a mess from what I’ve read of it.

  10. Ivan says:

    I agree that higher priced cables do not necessarily make for better cables but specs do. I bought two cables not knowing one was lower speced than the other. The difference was very apparent when I tried to use it with my HTPC. I could not get the frame adjusted correctly until I swapped the cable. The old cable works fine for DVD players but not my HTPC. I liken the difference to that of CAT5 and CAT6 network cables. You could use CAT5 cables on a CAT6 network but don’t expect to get CAT6 speeds.

    • Traveshamockery says:

      What type of cable gave you the “improper frame” problem? Cables are totally passive, and can’t inject that sort of problem into a system.

    • jvanbrecht says:

      What you most likely had was a defective cable, probably somewhere in the hdmi jacks on either side, crossed wires, plenty of reasons, but as the other poster states, the signal is generated within the device, then sent down the line through the HDMI cable, then decoded on the terminating device.

      My actual bet would probably be the cable was not seating properly in your video card, or if it was a cable issue, since the HDMI spec does include error correction, there were too many errors being generated, overloading the cpu (or hardware encoder) preventing it from maintaining an adequate frame rate.

    • shepd says:

      Actually, CAT5 and CAT6 cables deliver the exact same speeds. There are no speed benefits to CAT6 cable. Gigabit ethernet runs on CAT5. 10GB ethernet (which you almost certainly don’t have at home) requires higher grade cable than CAT6 (It needs CAT6a).

      Sorry, but you were scammed.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10GB_Ethernet#Cables
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigabit_Ethernet#1000BASE-T

  11. phunkjnky says:

    HDMI 1.4 cables are directional over 15 feet? That’s just complete falsehood, sorry. There’s no such thing as directional copper or a directional electron, so that’s simply impossible.

    So sorry that you don’t work in the field. The built-in amp in cable over 15′ make it directional. If I didn’t phone calls every day from installers who complain that their HDMI cables don’t work until you ask them if they plugged them in with the arrows facing the display… So, its not impossible, in fact it is all too real. Ask a custom installer some day. In fact, there are many things that shouldn’t be on paper, but are in real life.

    http://homecontrolsblog.wordpress.com/2008/10/08/directional-hdmi-cables/

    FTW…

    Oops…. I forgot it was impossible because you said so.

    • Hitchcock says:

      Its the “repeaters” that are unidirectional, not the cable itself.

      • phunkjnky says:

        now, you’re just splitting hairs… The end result is that the cable has to be pointed in the right direction…

        • shepd says:

          But only because the electronics in the cable are designed to work in one direction. It’s like saying a garden hose is only works one way become the connectors on either side are different. Water flows both ways and so do electrons. And while perhaps all 1.4 HDMI cables over 15 feet have a built in amp, not all HDMI cables do. I have a 50 foot and a 30 foot HDMI cable that don’t and work either way no problem.

  12. Qolotlh says:

    Even monoprice.com is higher than you need to pay. Amazon(link below and no I’m not with the company that sells them, just a customer), has cables for as low as $0.01 yes a penny plus shipping. I have 2; one on my PS3 and one on my upconverting dvd/usb video player.

    http://www.amazon.com/Eforcity-HDMI-Cable-10-feet/dp/B000UHQVOW/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1282331544&sr=8-6

    • BurtReynolds says:

      I’ve also bought a couple of these. Work just as fine as the cables I’ve bought from Monoprice. Can’t say anything about the Best Buy ripoff cables, because I “caught on” on to this as soon as I bought my first HDTV.

  13. salviati says:

    “…the shitty HDMI cable industry…”

    Fixed that for you.

  14. MustWarnOthers says:

    “0.5 meter pair RCA – $1200″ I thought .5 meters was around 1.5 feet?

    Pear cable was challenged to pick an audiophile of their choice to be a part of a double blind test to determine that they could hear a difference between Pear’s outrageously priced cables, and a Monster equivalent.

    There was $1,000,000 up for grabs, but since then, nobody has taken it. Pear chose someone but the challenge eventually fell through, and then they backed out.

  15. scoosdad says:

    You can find this article and the rest of the excellent HD Guru blog unencumbered by MSNBC sponsorship and its ads here:

    http://hdguru.com/page/2/

  16. Tim says:

    I’ve bought all my HDMI cables at cablesforless.com. Never had a problem.

    Despite what all the comments say, Monster Cables cost too much. The key is to get the right cables, and the cheap cable companies usually have the exact cables you need, for a lot less than Monster.

  17. Turks says:

    There’s a local cable place out here (pchcables.com) that has dirt cheap version of every kind of cable imaginable. The owner used to have two identical TVs hooked up to identical Blu-Ray players, playing the same movie. One had a Monster cable (or something else outrageous like a glass optical cable), the other had his cheap version. Whenever someone would come in looking for a “nice” cable, he would ask them if they could tell the difference. The sad thing is, despite no one being able to tell the difference, people would still buy the really expensive cables.

    • jvanbrecht says:

      Atleast he gave them the choice to decide for themselves, rather then forcing expensive cables through brow beating the customer.

      Best buy on the other hand (and I am sure others do it), tend to use composite cables, or sometimes RCA which means no HD at all (relying on the TV or device itself to upscale), then try to use that as a comparison model to show to customers, effectively lying to them. Well they used to, not sure if they do that any more.

      • JoeTheDragon says:

        Best buy once did that with 1 tv on ESPN SD and the other one on ESPN HD.

        • mistersmith says:

          The one in Annapolis, MD used to use hi-pass filters on their speakers to make you think you needed to buy a subwoofer…no wonder there wasn’t any bass in the store, they were actively removing it.

    • vastrightwing says:

      When I lived in Keene NH, there was a retailer who bought a pair of Bose speakers so he could demo them against any of his brands. It was great because Bose normally won’t allow a retailer to demo them against any other brand. I presume it’s because the Bose don’t actually sound as good as a well made speaker when you can instantly compare them.

  18. Egregious Philbin says:

    Next time you are at Best Buy, go to their computer that is hooked up to the web and pull up this report. I have personally stopped many a greedy salesman that is trying to sell a $149 Monster cable to an unsuspecting person. Challenge the Best Buy droids! No one should ever pay more than ten bucks for a HDMI cable

    • consumed says:

      BB employees can easily look up the raw cost of the merchandise. They know it’s full of margin, that’s why they sell them because it’s easy money.

  19. dadelus says:

    Cnet said pretty much the same thing a while ago.

    http://reviews.cnet.com/2719-11276_7-226-3.html?tag=page;page

  20. kyle4 says:

    My dad finally got the home theatre of his dreams and he had me help set it up. A 52 inch Bravia, a Blu-ray player, the works. Since he needed more than one HDMI cable he knew the one he had wouldn’t cut it. We had gotten a heavy discount on Sony’s top of the line gold plated HDMI cable and for the other ones he went to a discount store and bought three for $6 each. I’m really into video quality and I couldn’t tell the difference. They’re all the same.

    I saw a guy at Best Buy splurge $100 on a Monster branded cable, insane!

  21. Frank The Tank says:

    What I NEVER understood was the expensive power cables.

    Really????

    I’ve read reviews of some EXPENSIVE power cables and how much better they sounded. What about the length of wire in your walls – well CERTAINLY replacing that will make a difference….oh no…wait…it won’t….

    YET people will still spend a couple hundred/thousand dollars on a COUPLE FEET of power cable? That makes the whole thing BS in my opinion….

    Higher quality analog cables might make a difference – but certainly there is NEVER ever at ANY TIME a need for a cable that costs more than a CAR!

  22. Torchwood says:

    My preference is Monoprice. For California residents (and parts of Nevada and Arizona), their cheapest shipping is through a company that does OVERNIGHT shipping for $5. They have a nice variety of cables too.

    And, yes, I’ve seen $50 HDMI cables at WalMart. The problem is that the margins are thin on the televisions, so they mark it up with cables. Apparently, there are too many suckers out there.

  23. Sword_Chucks says:

    Wait, this is news? I thought we determined the $3 packs of 4×6′ cables were designed the same as those $150,000,000 cables best buy sells? Or are you saying companies are marketing a “high speed” HDMI Cable? Its like the SATA+ cables, dont get fooled into that either.

  24. guroth says:

    I would like to clarify that there are indeed different specs of HDMI cables, and some are “hi-speed” while others are not.

    old spec HDMI cables will carry a 1080p signal just fine, with digital audio, but thats the max.
    a new spec HDMI cable will carry much higher resolutions, like 2650×1440.

    Most people don’t need this, but it is important to know for the people who do.

    With that said, the new spec cables are nearly as cheap as the old spec cables, and companies like Monster are still a huge ripoff

  25. TheGreySpectre says:

    1080p is not the highest bandwidth video signal. highest bandwidth in home theater perhaps, but computers have been using signals that require more bandwidth for a while now. My monitor uses a 2560×1600 video signal which has nearly twice as many pixels as 1080p, and I don’t even have the biggest resolution available. the Eyevis EYE-LCD6400-4K offers a display resolution 4,096 x 2,160 pixels @ 60 Hz, a video resolution that requires significantly more bandwidth then 1080p.
    That being said they are right about the fact that expensive cables are a ripoff.

  26. Sian says:

    from the ‘water is wet’ category of news articles.

    Quality of digital signal cables only matters if::
    1:the cable is so bad it wrecks the signal. Very hard to do.
    2: the cable is very very long.

    inside of 20 feet it really doesn’t matter at ALL, and $5 cable is just as good as $500 cable.

  27. mbgrabbe says:

    Gotta plug monoprice.com — they are the internet king of cheap (yet fully functional) A/V cables.

  28. shibainu33 says:

    Love it! Just got a new a cable the other day from Marshall’s for $5.99! Works Great!

  29. Beeker26 says:

    I buy most cables, adapters, chargers, etc. on eBay for practically nothing. Never got a bum one yet.

  30. Concat says:

    In other news, water is wet.

  31. edrebber says:

    Eventually the Dollar Tree will be selling HDMI cables.

  32. Extractor says:

    meritline.com 3 x 6′ HDMI for around $10. Have bought several sets without any failures as well as toslink cables. Now those make surround sound easy to hook up; 1 cable. That $159 surround sound system at Walmart works perfectly with the toslinks. PC hooked up to both TV via HDMI and the toslink plugged into the reciever.

  33. haoshufu says:

    And the best thing is that our government allows it.

  34. 4eyes2hands says:

    I bought my HDMI cables at one of the online stores at pricewatch.com a 6ft cable cost me $5… thats including shipping… got it in 3 days…. still the same practice back in the days from Good Guys, Circuit City, and COMPUSA. its unbelievable…. same sham pricing for the same things…

  35. JoeTaxpayer says:

    There’s a company http://www.Meritline.com which, based in China, will have about a 2-3 week (free) delivery, but cable selling at the Shack, or Staples, for $20 are often about $2 there. I watch for their sales and grab extra cables for the geek toolbox.

  36. muzicman82 says:

    Most of you caught on that you want high quality cables when running long distances. This is true, but higher cost doesn’t mean heavier gauge. Unlike Monoprice.com, many manufacturers don’t tell you the gauge wire they are using. It might be something crappy like 28AWG or thinner (larger number is SMALLER), with a heavier jacket.

    In any case, heavier gauge or better cable doesn’t give better picture quality even at long distances. With digital connections, it will either work or not work. If you see tearing, static, or distortion in your picture, it is not working. Period.

  37. odan says:

    got two of them from the dollar store for 15 bucks. Work amazing, next door neighbour offered to sell me his extra one for 1/2 the full price he paided.. he paided 80 bucks, least to say his tv looks just as good as mine , other then mine is new and his is a few years older now.

  38. george69 says:

    monoprice is awesome. I just ordered a thousand dollars of stuff from them this week for the theater I am building in my new house :)

  39. madtube says:

    Another brilliant revelation from the Department of Duh!

  40. Extended-Warranty says:

    This argument has truth, but it’s not complete.

    There ARE clear benefits of monster cables. Any head to head test with proper machinery shows that the monster cable outperforms most other cables. Does it usually make a difference to the naked eye? No. Does everyone need them? Not even close.

    Everyone likes to repeat the line of “digital means it gets there or it doesn’t” but that’s not the be all end all. If that was 100% true, you wouldn’t have differences in longer cables.

    The worst thing you can do is buy “any” cable online because you heard they are all the same. They are absolutely not all equal. You don’t have to buy monster, but you should get something decent. Too many people read these kind of articles and believe .01 cables on Amazon are the same.

    The only people noticing a difference will be video/audiophiles with 1080p 3D blu-ray movies in 24 bit color and 7.2 surround sound.

    • george69 says:

      not sure if you are a troll…..

      you live under a bridge eh?

      • mewyn dyner says:

        Well, except for the last part, it’s mostly true. As you increase cable length, crosstalk and signal attenuation at the higher frequencies needed for higher resolutions will cause sufficient signal degradation to be losing data packets. This could result in loss of signal or, what most people think is impossible due to the myth of digital, degradation of the signal. Losing a few bits here and there is entirely possible, and will lead to small amounts of degradation. While it isn’t the static that you can get with analog, digital links are most definitely not all-or-nothing.

        Crappy cables can lead to crappy image quality. The stuff from monoprice is good enough for getting all the bits from device to device in normal-length runs, but a poorly constructed cable still can lead to problems. (coat hangers will not work for HDMI.)

        Now, if the bits are all getting between devices correctly, I don’t care if you’re an audio/videophile or Joe-shcmoe who’s lived of a 1950s analog set for all your life, you won’t be able to tell the difference; but in the marginal case, one with sharper senses may be able to tell the difference between a good cable and one giving a few errors.

    • dadelus says:

      If there is no difference to the naked eye then there is no point in buying the cables. I don’t know anyone who uses magnification to watch their television. If you need thousands of dollars of highly specialized electronic equipment to tell the difference between the signal supplied by two different cables noone will be able to notice a difference when they’re being used to connect a TV to a blu ray player.

      Show me a single credible instance of anyone conducting a test where some self-described audio/videophile can consistently choose the higher quality cable over the cheaper one just by looking at the images produced side-by-side. Even if you could. What does it matter to the average consumer? If the only person in their group of friends is the anal retentive jackass who thinks his eyes and ears are magical, that is no reason to waste the money. If Cnet, Consumer Reports, and every other consumer group out there disagrees with you, you should probably rethink your argument.

    • AI says:

      HAHA, you’re just wrong. If a cable is not working, there will be obvious digital artifacts. The last faulty cable I had caused horizontal 1 pixel red lines to flash on the screen. If you aren’t seeing something like that, your cable is transmitting the signal perfectly. Look up the ‘digital cliff’, once you start getting interference, you fall off the cliff completely and get very noticeable artifacts.

  41. jim says:

    somebody saying they are the same does not make it so. tests last year showed that some long cables had difficulty in passing a high frequency signal. I am not saying the monsters are any better than the cheap cables, however it would be good to test them in a lab with different lengths and frequencies and show the results.

  42. Andrew360 says:

    Everything from Monoprice is of extremely high quality! I love them to bits!

  43. Paul in SF says:

    Don’t forget that one of the most basic methods used by retailers to sell overpriced cables is simply by not stocking affordable ones.

    I wince every time a friend relates to me that she or he has spent $30 on a 6′ HDMI cable. Usually they knew that they could have bought the same cable online at Amazon or through eBay for a 1/10th of the price, but “I didn’t want to wait to hook up my new TV”.

    Just check out the prices on the cheapest cables the next time that you are in Best Buy or another retailer.

  44. Mphone says:

    Working in a game store I get a lot of questions about this too. We have an HDMI cable that is $15 and it’s box is labeled for a PS3. It’s fun explaining the cables to people who play on Xbox.

    “Yes, HDMI is HDMI…”

  45. Rocket says:

    Monoprice is great. I’ve bought plenty of cables from them.

  46. Anadin says:

    can someone explain this “gold cables are better” thing? as far as I’m aware, silver is a better conductor than gold, and copper is better than silver. please educate me?

    • Rocket says:

      It’s so they can make money. Gold plated connectors are terrible, it’s just so they can be like “Gold, it’s expensive, and therefore better”.

  47. chbrules says:

    HDMI is a digital interface, not analog like component/composite/s-video/RCA in the past. What this means is that the signal from a digital interface will not be nearly as suceptable to EMI (electromangetic interference) as an analog signal, ie. a higher quality cable won’t yeild any better results.

    Digital signaling in HDMI has error correction, just in case the signal does become distorted during transmission. If it does become distorted, the digital processors can usually correct the corrupt data at the other end if the corruption isn’t too bad.

    The main point of all this is that you can buy those $5 HDMI cables on eBay and no one could ever tell the difference between it and a rip-off Monster HDMI cable. Digital signal processing, what a modern marvel!

  48. Mr.Gawn says:

    This seems like OLD news…

    well… to some

  49. WickedCrispy says:

    If you think about it, buying the best gold plated cables money can buy with nanosecond increases in speed won’t matter if the connections on your equipment aren’t up to the same standards.

  50. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Best Buy salespeople want the commission for their $100 monster cables.

    Monoprice.com is THE BEST, hands down. Fast shipping, quality products and pricing thats unbelievable.

    My wall mount for my 52″ LCD cost me less than $20 AT MONOPRICE. Best price for a similar wall mount was over $70 at Wal-Mart.

    Don’t drink the Best Buy / Monster Cable Kool-Aid!