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Never Buy Expensive HDMI Cables – Buy Lots Of Cheap Ones and Still Come Out Ahead

Bobby Travis

This is a post by Bobby Travis, who wrote with me at 40Tech from 2009 through 2012. Bobby has since moved on to bigger and better things, but I've left all of his great contributions up on the site. - Evan
Bobby Travis

Never Buy Expensive HDMI Cables | 40Tech If you haven’t already heard, or discovered for yourself: Monster cables are a rip off — especially when it comes to the world of high definition digital cables. Salespeople at your local electronics store (and Monster itself) will do their best to convince you that, to get optimal video and audio quality out of your new hi-def system or video card, you need that top of the line, $150 6-foot hdmi cable. What most probably won’t tell you is that the store gets a much higher profit (and salespeople get more commission) on your expensive cable purchase than they do from your new LCD TV or Playstation 3. What they also won’t tell you is that you will get the exact  same results from a $10-$20 HDMI cable that you will from it’s super-expensive counterpart.

HDMI cables are a digital medium, not analogue. There is no line loss or any other form of signal degradation. It simply works or it doesn’t. HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) is simply a transfer of bits and bites from one place to another, and no amount of gold plating, shielding, or gas compression will make any difference in signal quality. The worst you will have to fear from a low-cost cable is poor construction — as in a break in the line that causes the signal to not pass through properly between devices. This can happen in an HDMI cable of any price range, make or model, and $10 is lot easier to walk away from than $150! Monster and other companies present a varied list of HDMI products citing everything from shielding to data transfer speeds. So far, none of these things have made any difference whatsoever in signal quality tests; and if data transfer speeds ever become an issue, there will soon enough be inexpensive cables that do the same work as the crazy pricey ones. This stance on HDMI cables is widely supported by CNET.com and other sources — CNET even uses cheap cables in their Home Theater Lab, where they do all of their product testing, and they point you at Monoprice.com, Amazon (one for $2.43…), and Newegg (as well as their own site) as good places to get HDMI cables on the cheap. Imagine: with a $10 price-point you could get 5 HDMI cables and a 4 Port HDMI Switch box to connect your PS3, Xbox 360, computer and hi-definition cable box for more than $50 less than the price of one 6ft Monster HDMI cable (HDMI 1000hd Ultimate). With no loss in quality. At all. I don’t know about you, but that’s more than enough to give me pause… In fact, that’s how my current media centre is configured. Check out this infographic by WallStats.com (from the article The Rip on Mint.com) that illustrates the idea: Budget Planner – Mint.com So how much are you willing to pay for an HDMI cable?