HDMI Cables

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by tombarnes, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. tombarnes macrumors 6502


    Feb 26, 2006
    Surrey, United Kingdom
    Hello all!

    I have a PS3 and a Samsung HD TV. When I bought my PS3, i bought the cheapest HDMI cable in the shop (£14.99). The guy said that you can notice a difference between the cheap ones and the ones costing around £100.

    I am contemplating buying a new HDMI lead to test if this is true, but obviously I don't want to spend a huge amount. I have found this cable. Is it likely to be better than the cheap one I already have? This is the one I currently have by the way.

    I know the price difference is only £5, but it is gold plated and is v1.3 and has raving reviews!


  2. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    There's no point in paying lots of money for HDMI cables – I've tried the ones that cost $100 here and ones that cost $5 and had absolutely no difference. I don't know if monoprice ships to the UK, but they offer extremely low prices for all sorts of cables. That link takes you to their HDMI 1.3 spec.
  3. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone 3D: Godzilla/5.0 (AppleWebKit/525.18.1; stereoscopic glasses 3.1.1) Mothra/5F136 Safari 3D)

    As I understand it, digital signals don't benefit from expensive cables. Here is an explanation.

    I think you should buy cheap HDMI cables and save your money.
  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
  5. tdgrn macrumors 6502


    May 1, 2008
    Little Rock, AR
    I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but you can tell a difference between cables. HDMI cables are like USB and Firewire cables, they have different transfer rates. Since you have a PS3, and you can upgrade the firmware so that you get to take advantage of all the new goodies with Blu-Ray, look at something that has a high transfer rate. You will notice a difference in your black levels big time.

    Saying that it is working either perfectly or not is like saying that a car that is running and catches on fire is working perfectly... there is a difference

    That doesnt mean that you have to buy the most expensive cable out there, but there is a difference.
  6. captain kaos macrumors 65816

    captain kaos

    Jan 16, 2008
    I'll second that.

    The gadget show (Channel 5, UK) did the exact same test and found no difference in cheap/expensive cables.

    In the end is just 0's & 1's so you cant make it any better at moving the signal from one palce to another. In my humble opinion!
  7. Chris Rogers macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

    Jul 8, 2008
    my house
    I paid less than $2 for HDMI cables on Amazon - NO PROBLEMS AT ALL, they work great
  8. Superman07 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 28, 2007
    There are certainly difference with cables bewtween categories (e.g. shielding level), but if one cable is $10 and the other $50 (in the same level) then I agree with others - you're likely to see no difference.
  9. spencers macrumors 68020


    Sep 20, 2004
  10. dizzlemizzle macrumors member

    Feb 14, 2008
    do not make a difference when we are talking about digital cables (hdmi)
    even analog cables there is little difference (very small) but HDMI cables it does not matter...the stores are lying to you if they say otherwise
  11. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    When people say that it's all 1s and 0s so the quality of cable doesn't matter, there is some truth to it. For instance, a cheap HDMI cable will not add visible noise to the video signal. However, a poorly designed or constructed cable can adversely affect the ability of the 1s and 0s to get from one end of the cable to the other. You can have dropouts or reflections that cause lost or erroneous data at the far end.

    So, yes, the quality of a digital cable can make a difference. The good news is that you don't have to pay outrageous amounts of money for good cables. The suggestions to use Monoprice.com are good ones. Their cables appear to be of good quality and are reasonably priced. It seems that the majority of folks over at the AVS Forum swear by Monoprice. I just recently bought several HDMI cables from them and I'm impressed so far.
  12. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone 3D: Godzilla/5.0; AppleWebKit/525.18.1; stereoscopic glasses 3.1.1) Mothra/5F136 Safari 3D)

    monoprice also sells some handy-looking HDMI switch boxes.
  13. wwooden macrumors 68000


    Jul 26, 2004
    Burlington, VT
    All my HDMI cables and my HDMI switch are from monoprice, great product. I haven't had a problem with a single piece. The HDMI switch I got even had a profile already in the Logitech Harmony remote so setup was a snap.
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You are wrong. Black level is not communicated in the digtal data stream. It is a function of the display device. What you say applies to analog cables such as component video or composite. What is send over HDMI is a stream of numbers.

    The analogy with a car is wrong. A car is an analog device that can move as various speeds. An HDMI cable move DATA not SIGNALS. Data is either right or wrong for example the HDMI cable send the value of a pixels at the numbers (134,67,34) it does not send it as a voltage level. The only way that the pixel can be wrong is if the number is changed some how as it moves down the wire. This is simply not going to happen.

    Back to transfer rates. Yes they do differ. But all FW400 cables can do FW400 speeds and all USB can do USB speeds and all HDMI can do all of the HDMI speeds.
    If the cable were defective what you'd see is not a subtle change in black point but big drop outs, torn up image and basically trash on the screen

    Next time some "expert" tells you one cable is better ask him to show you specifications for each cable that show it's electrical properties.
  15. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    Actually, it can happen. Due to problems with the cable (design or construction), the digital data can get corrupted. The most likely result would be data dropouts. It also could result in glitches where the devices have to renegotiate their handshake, which would be quite annoying.

    Not necessarily. The following is from Wikipedia’s page on HDMI:

    “HDMI 1.3 has defined two categories of cables: Category 1 certified cables which have been tested at 74.5 MHz (1080i/720p) and Category 2 certified cables which has been tested at 340 MHz (1600p) to reduce the confusion about which cables support which video formats.”

    Just because it’s an HDMI cable does not mean it will work well for all HDMI applications.

    I would categorically agree that it is not worth buying expensive HDMI cables for most applications. There are some instances where I believe it would be worth spending more. For instance, if I were going to run 30’ of HDMI cable through my walls and attic, I would probably spring for higher quality cabling that is less likely to fail or have shielding or other issues. In a case like this, I would probably go to bluejeanscable.com and spring for their higher quality long lengths.

    I am an electrical engineer and have extensive experience with digital data busses (though I admit I am not a transmission line expert). Cable problems can and do adversely affect digital data transmissions.
  16. Teos macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2008
    Well to be precise...

    More expensive HDMI cables can make a difference for a couple of reasons.

    First is HDCP Encryption, Even if it says 1.3 compliant doesn't necessarily mean it will work in all settings. Every HDMI device manufacturer has to register a HDCP r1.3 license for every model they design (not just produce and sell and they're not cheap to license) This includes Cables as well as devices. so sometimes, especially in cheap cables/devices, the actual implementation of HDCP r1.3 can be flawed and might not work properly resulting in no audio and video at all.

    Second is distance, I've installed HDMI cables of 100' without cat 5e baluns with high quality cable.

    I've also been called to troubleshoot poor video problems with a low cost 15' HDMI cable. Only to replace it with a good one and have all problems disappear.

    This is not to say that there aren't jackasses out there who are genuinely charging inflated prices for (sometimes even crappy) HDMI cables.

    Name brand cables should be fine but I would be a little wary of off brand cables especially in distances over 10'.

    And in case it matters I am a professioinal AV systems designer and installer with over 15 years experience in professional video so you can trust me when I say that there is definitely bad cheap HDMI cables out there.

  17. Teos macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2008
    beat me too it ;)

    I second everything here. Spot on except I would buy my cables direct from Belden, Extron, or Kramer electronics instead of bluejeanscable.com ;)
  18. illegallydead macrumors 6502a


    Oct 22, 2007
    As long as the HDMI cable is compliant with the latest and greatest profiles and such, the only difference between a $5 cable and a $100 cable is the name printed on the wire and about $95 :D

    Cables are where the electronics stores make their money. They mark the TV's down to within inches of margin, then get poor suckers to pay for cables they have marked up by 5000%. Same concept as with cameras: cheap camera, expensive lens, expensive memory card, expensive case, expensive tripod... you get the idea. Business 101 folks...

    If you have the money, I suppose it couldn't hurt to experiment with an expensive cable, just make sure that wherever you bought it from has a good return policy for when you don't notice a difference :rolleyes:
  19. Killyp macrumors 68040


    Jun 14, 2006
    There is no difference in performance.

    Just in the same way there's no difference in performance between CD/DVD transports. Digital is digital, it's all 1s and 0s. You would need at least 49% loss of signal/interference before the cable quality is an issue.
  20. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I figured out how monoprice keeps prices down. They don't spend a lot on proofreaders! I found these grammatical and spelling errors in their Knowledge Base:
    Question: What is the performance benefit of Tin and Silver Plating?

    Answer: Tin and silver plating refer to plating on the copper wire conduits inside the cable. The plating is to control the "skin effect." The skin effect is the tendancy of digital signals to travel along the surface of a wire and be more suceptible to surface disipation. The plating is suppose to lock the signal in the copper core.

    Question: Why are your cables so cheap? Are they as good as the name brand cables the retail stores are trying to get me to buy?

    Answer: Yes, the cables we sell are just as high in quality, construction, materials and reliability as those typically found in retail stores. We stand behind then with a life time warrenty.

    There are many reasons why we can bring you such great value. The main reasons would be as follows. Elimination of the middle man. We are a national distributor working directly the factories and because of this we are basically bringing the product to you at wholesale prices. Retail stores and national brand products have much more overhead including, nationwide networks of stores, distribution warehouses, large commissioned sales staffs, advertising budgets, packaging, etc. But the main reason would be mark up. Most retail work on a "Loss Leader" model of sales. They advertise high ticket items at great prices leaving them with little to no margin. They make up that margin with all the add on items they can sell you such as extended warrenties, batteries, cases and cables. They sell these items with a very high mark up.​
    That's not a reason not to do business with them, however.
  21. Jak3 macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2008
    lol, that's hillarious:D

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