CNET Says Cheap HDMI Cables Just As Good As Pricey Ones

CNET has weighed in and agrees with what we’ve been telling you: cheap HDMI cables are just as good as pricey ones.

Do you really need to spend that much money on a single HDMI cable? Absolutely not–those cables are a rip-off. You should never pay more than $10 for a standard six-foot HDMI cable. And despite what salesmen and manufacturers might tell you, there’s no meaningful difference between the $10 cable and the $50 cable…The editors at CNET are so confident that cheap HDMI cables offer identical performance, we’ve been using inexpensive Monoprice HDMI cables in the CNET Home Theater Lab for more than a year with no issues.

They recommend buying from Monoprice.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Bizdady says:

    Monoprice ftw!! Ive been using them for all my cabling needs! No probs what so ever. Great prices and fast shipping, my two favorite things when buying stuff.

  2. John Whorfin says:

    Has any checked Monster’s stock? Are they even publicly traded? If so, should be a junk bond.

    I’m happy with my Big Lots HDMI’s.

  3. TechnoDestructo says:

    There IS a meaningful difference. Many retailers no longer CARRY the 10 dollar cables, so your reasonably-priced no-bullshit cables must come by mail.

    Big-box electronic retailers would rather sell one 50 dollar cable to one moron than five 10 dollar cables. As long as they have a steady trickle of morons, it will be worth their while to only stock overpriced crap.

  4. privatejoker75 says: cheap and taldir is :bowdown:

  5. thewriteguy says:

    Now I’d like to see them test coat hangers to compare.

  6. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Can’t you just use coat hangers and duct tape?

    “Just jam it in there.” -William Shatner, Airplane II

  7. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @thewriteguy: Curses, beaten again (but I added a nifty quote).

  8. mantari says:

    No link to a CNET article?

  9. ChewySquirrel says:

    No duh. It’s a digital signal….

  10. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I use the $10 cables and I have no complaints whatsoever.

  11. Kilotonne says:

    Where can I get a $10 HDMI cable? Our BB only carries the $50 and up.

  12. Ben Popken says:

    @Kilotonne: or are good place to look.

  13. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    I bought mine off ebay. 7 bucks with shipping. Bought my component cables for my Wii there also, same price.

    The only difference I’ve seen on a cable was the actual cable TV line that was run from my wall to my TV the other day by the charter guy. It could just be a coincidence, but he put in the new higher grade standard cable which has more insulation and is meant for digital tv (his words not mine) . The signal now comes in crystal clear to that TV. It is all possible though that the cable that was there before was just badly made when the connectors were put on.

  14. haimtime says:

    hasn’t this been published and discussed ad nasuem(sp) by now? Not to snark, but this has been on gizmodo, more than once.

  15. differcult says:

    I want to go to best buy with a few copies of this article and leave them around the store. :)

  16. dandd says:

    HDMI = Digital. Digital either works or it doesn’t, there is no in-between.

    If you are running analog cables (and extremely long ones at that) better cables do provide somewhat of a better signal. That being said, even analog Monster cables are a complete rip off.

  17. parad0x360 says:

    I got my HDMI cables (1.3) from for 28 cents plus $5 shipping. High quality, very thick and no issues at all.

  18. nealb says:
  19. Xerloq says:

    @haimtime: Since the coax runs a long way, the shielding will help. That said, a shoddy job on the connectors will quickly nullify any advantage you get from the extra/thicker shielding. When it comes to coax, make your own.

    My HDMI and Wii component cables came out to a flat $10 with shipping from Monoprice. I also just ordered some USB extension cables for $5 shipped. They were here the next day, even with USPS delivering.

    Buying cables from best buy is like buying milk from the convenience store – it’s something you do only in an emergency and then you pay a high price to do so. So ask yourself, when was the last time you had an HDMI emergency?

  20. balls187 says:

    while true, not all cables are HDMI 1.3 compatible. Just make sure when you buy, you’re buying a cable rated for HDMI 1.3 (assuming thats what u need).

  21. Corydon says:

    @socalrob: If you live in a house that has older coax cabling (RG-59 that was used inside many homes years ago) then I’m sure you did see an improvement. RG-6 actually has a thicker core and does better with the higher frequencies where a lot of digital channels are carried.

    It’s also possible that the connectors on the old cable were shot and/or loose. Any time you’re having trouble with your TV or cable modem, it’s worth checking to make sure all of your connections are tight and to remove any extra splitters you don’t need.

  22. Kilotonne says:

    Thanks y’all!

  23. ludwigk says:

    I used to make a lot of my own cabling from high purity, oxygen-free copper, and hand terminate them with good quality plugs just so I’d know what was going into each of my interconnects and cables. I don’t really have the time to solder so much any more, but I could make all kinds of fancy cables (well shielded, with heatshrink and nylon sheathing) for pretty damned cheap.

  24. LordieLordie says:

    I help a friend buy an all in one “surround sound system” by Phillips and it cost less then $200. Best buy recommended I buy the Monster HDMI cable ($99), which costs more than half the whole system!!! The system has a DVD player, a FM receiver, 6 speakers, an amp, MP3, USB, etc. etc.. and some how the HDMI cable was worth more then half the system…. I ordered on line a pack of 2 cables for $9.. I hate bestbuy and Monster cable… I hate to think that some people fall for the BS..

  25. Mr. Chip says:

    @socalrob: That’s likely because he used RG-6 instead of RG-59 cable. They’re actually physically different cable specifications, even if they’re both coax, so in this case it makes sense that the picture is better.

  26. Beschizza says:

    “HDMI = Digital. Digital either works or it doesn’t, there is no in-between.”

    That’s only true with error correction, which HDMI does not use. All sorts of horrid things can happen to a digital signal: with error correction, you merely lose throughput, but with a stream, the data gets mangled, just as the waveform does with analog.

    This does not, of course, make Monster cables any better than cheap competitors. It’s just best if we leave the dogma to their fans, and not indulge in it ourselves.

  27. Scuba Steve says:

    I use the 4 dollar cables.. You 10 dollar cable guys must love to throw your riches around.

  28. sleepydumbdude says:

    I feel so ripped off picking one up at a local store for 11.99.

  29. nadmonk says:

    Even at Radioshake you’d have a hard time finding HDMI cables less than $60. I am not going to pay more for the cabling than I did for my DVD player. HDMI cables have got to have the highest markup of any piece of audio equipement, even the optical cables.

  30. Scatter says:


    The reason retailers no longer carry the 410 cables is because cables are high margin items and they obviously make more margin selling a $50 cable than a $10 cable.

  31. radio1 says:

    I have had very good luck with:

    I would suggest buying your cables first online, before purchasing that new TV or video/audio accessory.

    I think the last time I even looked for ‘basic’ cables (a few years back in BB); I found a 6′ HDMI cable $30.00 which is still outrageous.

  32. sirwired says:

    Instead of saying “either it works or it doesn’t”, maybe he should have said “either it meets the spec or it doesn’t”. A cable that could meet some hypothetical HDMI 9.0 spec. is a colossal waste of money when plugged into a $50 upconverting DVD player.


  33. jonwilli says:

    The law firm of Price Waicukauski & Riley, LLC is currently investigating Monster’s representations that a more expensive HDMI cable will result in a higher quality picture and sound. We are currently attempting to learn as much as we can about consumer’s experiences regarding these cables and any representations regarding the more expensive HDMI cables. If you have recently purchased a Monster HDMI cable, please feel free to contact Chris Moeller ( or Joe Williams (

  34. jeff303 says:

    Everyone saying “it either works or doesn’t,” that’s not exactly right. Yes the payload is digital but it has to be converted to an analog signal for transmission. There is always some (astronomically small) chance a bit could become corrupted over the wire.

    Not saying Monster cables are better (I have no idea), just that “digital is digital” oversimplifies things a bit.

  35. vliam says:

    Is there a difference? In some cables, yes,

    Can you tell? Highly unlikely.

    If you only need a 2 meter cable, paying more than a couple of bucks is a waste.

  36. Said Not says:

    I want to go to Best Buy or Cicuit Shitty and pretend to be interested in buying some HDMI cables. When the salesperson tries to sell me the most expensive ones ( cuz they always do), I’ll just hand him a copy of the report and walk out.

  37. orielbean says:

    Remember that the big ticket items like monitors, tvs, etc, are going to be similar in cost to other retailers or online. The best buys mark up the cables to make the real profit. Everyone here has noted this before, but it bears repeating. monoprice is great. If you are local in massachusetts, U-Do-It Electronics in Needham or Microcenter in Cambridge are the best shops where you can walk in, get expert advice, and pay close to online prices. Love both of those stores.

  38. Mr. Chip says:

    Also, I don’t know if this is still true or not because I haven’t been in one for six months, but if you need instant gratification on your cables and can’t wait for mail order, the Apple Store used to have decent $20 HDMI cables.

  39. radio1 says:

    Yeh, I wish both those stores were on the South Shore though.

  40. RhymePhile says:

    I was happy to buy my HDMI cables from for my new TV after it was discussed here about a month ago.

    The best thing about the Monoprice cables (aside from quality) is that you can buy them in different colors. It makes keeping track of all your components that much easier.

  41. Mr. Gunn says:

    What, no company shill in here this time?

  42. drewkkake says:

    I’ve even convinced my dad, who doesn’t shop online, to buy through monoprice – I have nothing but great things to say about the company.