HDMI Cable Scam

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by xlii, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. xlii macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2006
    Millis, Massachusetts
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    HDMI cable sales have been a scam from the beginning. There are some lower grade cables and those should be obvious but buying a $200 HDMI cable is also 100% unnecessary. People who fall for having to "upgrade" their HDMI cables deserve to be fooled.
  3. eawmp1 macrumors 601


    Feb 19, 2008
    It's a digital signal. If the picture shows on the screen without pixelation and the sound comes through without stutter, 100% of the signal is getting through. A $70 HDMI cable performs no better than a $7 one.
  4. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    I fixed that for you. Ever see those poor folks who don't know any better walk into a Best Buy to get a USB cable for their new printer? People get easily fooled by the marketing: "Unobtanium coated, triple duplex, optically pure, with diamond tips and adamantium connectors for unsurpassed digital quality!"
  5. bergmef macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2005
    Southeast of Baltimore, USA
    I love monoprice. We do group orders at work. When someone needs something, they let everyone know.
  6. smali macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2010

    Unfortunately I had to buy one of those over priced "high quality" cables in an emergency...at least the packaging kept me entertained on the ride home..:eek:
  7. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    I use monoprice cables for all my short runs, under 6 feet.
    In the HT there is one run that is 15feet. Two inexpensive monoproce cables had issues with the locking in on certain audio flags and some pixelation in 1080p presentations. However, 720p and the older surround formats were fine.
    Moved into an "expensive" (non-monster) cable and the issues disappeared.
    Even though HDMI is "digital" there is a lot of data and for the long runs, the inexpensive cables didnt work in my set up. Short runs, monoprice.
  8. NJuul macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2006
    Reminds me of a sales clerk who tried to sell me a gold-coated optical cable for "superior digital quality". Yeah, right :rolleyes:
  9. MCRunning macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2008
    *Cough Rockfish Cough*

    My friend who works for best buy says they get them for $5 and they sell them for $70+
  10. richard.torble macrumors member


    Jun 22, 2010
    That's actually wrong. And a common misconception. You ever heard of jitter? If not, look it up on wikipedia or wherever. To sum up, it means an inconsistency in the digital signal, i.e what leaves the source component does not get to the receiving end in the same order. This can happen due to a range of reasons, including crosstalk from other signals. One of the reasons cables can be more expensive is the screening is of a higher standard meaning this crosstalk is reduced.

    I'm not saying you should spend £/$200 on a cable, there is certainly an element of being sensible depending on the equipment you are using and there isnt always a perceptible difference in cables but to say all cables are the same is not true.
  11. BOSS10L macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Agreed. The problem is that the average user couldn't tell the difference between a $20 Monoprice cable and a $200 Monster cable. People in the know (and that have the money for high-end setups that take advantage of quality) don't buy Monster.

    For Joe Sixpack, the $10 Monoprice HDMI cable works just fine.
  12. richard.torble macrumors member


    Jun 22, 2010
    You're talking about using cables that are appropriately priced based on the systems they are being used with, which is of course completely correct and is valid for all types of cables, digital or analogue. If you have a $200 receiver you aren't going to use a $200 Monster cable but a $10 one will suit just fine. The differences in spending more will not be easily perceived due to the equipment it is being connected to. On the flip side, if you have a $2,000 receiver, using a $10 HDMI cable is not maximising the performance of your fancy pants amplifier.

    You are also correct that people in the 'know' don't buy Monster. It's strange that I see Monster cables sold in most warehouse type stores where the average price of the electronics is not much less than the cables. Why are they rarely sold at specialist stores? Oh, yeah, I know ;)
  13. Lostanddamned macrumors 6502a


    May 3, 2009
    London, UK
    What annoys me is that my local source for cables - tesco - often doesn't have the £3 cable in stock, only the £13+ cable. When all I wanted was a 3.5mm - 3.5mm audio lead, I feel insulted to be spending more than a single note.

    I also get annoyed when I ask the staff about this and they inform me that I would be "better off" with the expensive cable. Even though the only difference is that one of them is in a box.

    The cheaper cable was even 20cm longer.
  14. rymack macrumors regular


    Apr 27, 2010
    Thunder Bay, Ontario
    Sad story: I recently moved around one of my equipment racks and foolishly snapped my subwoofer cable off inside of the subwoofer... It was a decent (but overpriced) $25 subwoofer cable that I had been using for years. Well, when I went to replace it at the local FutureShop, all they had were the $70 Monster cables. I have a few friends who work at FS and who would usually ring me through a bit closer to cost, but of course they weren't working that day. I gently asked the guy if there was anything he could do for me on the price and he very seriously looked at me and said: " Oh, no, I can't touch the price on this at all! It is already pretty much at cost!" :rolleyes: I didn't feel like arguing so for the first (and I swear ONLY) time in my life, I paid full-price for a Monster cable. I am still ashamed.... :eek:
  15. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Monster is a 100% complete scam. (Although I do like their screen cleaner).

    When I worked at Circuit City years ago a Monster person came in and directed some people how to set up a monster display.

    ANYhoo the display was showing monster component cables vs box component cables...the problem is with the set up the "competition brand" was composite cables, not component. But we weren't allowed to touch the display or correct it in any way shape or form since monster paid for the display.

    Also their cables are nothing special and I got a set for free once, my in the box cables looked better then the monsters that retailed for $90. The monsters had static!!!
  16. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2007
    Midwest America.
    I worked at Circuit City years ago too. Back when they still paid commission. I also had my own very small computer consultant/reseller company. I worked around the hours and clients I had with that.

    Yes, the cables were a rip off, but that wasn't the only thing that people got screwed over. Practically all of the accessories were priced hundreds of times over cost. Some would walk up proudly and put down their hard earned bucks for that 3 foot $90.00 component cable. The power strips were the worst. Especially the Monster ones. And those 'power monitors'? Hah! Pure profit...

    It makes me wonder that if Circuit City wasn't run by a bunch of mental midgets, if they wouldn't still be in business today (with brick and mortar stores). (Last time I checked, Best Buy marked up all of their ink cartridges $5.00 over the local OfficeMax. Normally you'd expect dinner and a movie with such a reaming. And people happily pay the premium...) Is it Best Buy's fault because so many people throw their money at its feet?
  17. tdmac macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2008
    HDMI can be a real finicky thing. Cheap cables at small lengths may work fine. However, as you start getting into higher bandwidth applications, HD audio, etc. cheap cable can cause real problems.

    Problem is the the HDMI organization sets the specs and licenses products but will not evaluate the performance of any. So its buyer beware. Most people think that just because it says HDMI on it well it has to work. This is the case not just for cables but everything HDMI. so just because a device has an HDMI port, does not guarantee that it will function properly in your setup. A simple point in fact was with certain cable boxes and having a HDMI capable receiver in between the cable box and the TV. The signal would not pass through to the display.

    I do home theater installations. There is one independent organization called DPL Labs, that certifies cables from any manufacturers that want their products evaluated. Trust me not all HDMI cables, connectors and devices are equal. DPL Labs is well known in the custom installation world and are pretty much an authority on the subject. They have proactively taken the approach of establishing standards a cable or device must pass in order to be guaranteed to work.

    I only use certified cables, in the appropriate certified lengths to avoid any issues and rule out cabling as the source of problems. Just because one shorter length of cable passes the rigorous tests does not mean that a longer one would pass. Many cases they wont. I also think Monster is overpriced and over rated. As a matter of fact I do not even see their cables on DPL Labs site.

    DPL Labs Approved Products

    I am not saying that other manufacturers cables, not on this list, won't work. But in my line of work I am looking for certainty and lowest chance for call backs, problems or troubleshooting.

    Not to mention there are various HMDI versions. A cable that may work for 1.2 or 1.3 may not work for higher bandwidth requirements needed under 1.4 devices. There are also ethernet capable cables, to allow networking over the HMDI connection to a device and non-ethernet versions.
  18. santaliqueur macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    Best Buy's employee discount policy (at least it was when I worked there about 9 years ago) is you can buy anything for 5% above Best Buy's cost. Very little markup on computers, decent discount on DVDs, ENORMOUS markup on cables and service plans. A $100 service plan on an item was never more than $7 or so. Shows you how much of that service plan is pure gravy. If $7 represents 5% above cost, then Best Buy (and all other retailers) are raking in the cash.
  19. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Yep. I worked at Ccity and Best Buy and here is the breakdown of those stores:

    Computers - Little to no profit
    Printers - no profit
    Videogames (hardware and software) - Little to no Profit, a loss on systems
    MP3 players - Little to no profit
    CDs/DVDs - Little to no profit
    Digital Cameras - very little profit

    The items above are all things to get you into the store to look around.

    Computer accessories - PROFIT
    Printer accessories - PROFIT (not so much on ink but on cables)
    Videogame accessories - PROFIT
    Mp3 player Accessories - PROFIT
    Digital Camera accessories - PROFIT

    TVs and Audio equipment is a little different. TV and Audio always make large profits, especially audio. TV and Audio accessories make a TON of profit.

    Service plans, sometimes they are worth it, but they make a lot of profit too.

    Computer services like Firedog or Geeksquad - Depends. If you are tech savvy, you will say ripoff, but you'd be surprised how many customers love that service.

    They actually don't see a ton of profit either despite what people think. Yes, its profitable for the in-store stuff (sometimes) but when you also factor in what the techs get paid (especially the in-home technician at Circuit City when it existed and the double agent at best buy) the inhome services don't make a lot of profit in my opinion (and I worked both positions years ago so...I have an opinion :p ) The cost of renting the fleet vehicles (circuit citys scion or best buys beetle) and paying insurance on them alone + gas is ridiculous. I never understood why companies though the inhome service was worth it unless you are in an area that does a TON of business and the houses aren't 2 hours from the nearest store.

    ANYWAY that is my experience with electronics retailers. I worked many positions at Circuit City but was only like 4 months at Best Buy then I went to work for a company overseas as in house IT lol.
  20. DanMacApple macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2010
    I worked at Circuit City several years ago also and we were always told to sell any customers the Monster cables, even though just a view isles down were the lower priced cables that we were not to mention to the customer:confused:. Stuff like that is probably the reason CC went out of business.:cool:
  21. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Agreed. There was always a push for monster stuff. I also noticed CCity started tanking when they got rid of the commission. That was a HUGE mistake.

    The commissioned sales guys left to go work in car lots and other places and CCity thought that people would care what they sold if they only made $7 an hour. Wrong.

    Even though commission was a pain in the ass for the customer sometimes (lots of sales people) it had its advantages because the people selling had to know what they were selling inside and out, or else the product would get returned, they'd lose the money, and possibly end up in subsidy or fired.

    Customers were also able to learn a lot about the technology since back then, most of the sales people were really knowledgeable and would share that knowledge in hopes for a sale.

    After Phil Schoonover took over things plummeted.

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