Is an expensive HDTV cable really better than a cheap one?

vbimport

#1

Packing the Deal

Is an expensive HDTV cable really better than a cheap one?

Now that high-definition TVs are really coming down in price, competition among electronics retailers is heating up. Stores no longer enjoy the huge margins they did back in the days of $50,000 plasma screens. Big TVs are not sources of big profits.

Making up some of the difference is the art of “packing the deal.” In short, this means adding high-profit extras on to the core purchase. It can mean extended warranties, or home installation, or service calls. Or it can mean expensive accessories such as cables.

In this report, Erica Johnson takes a close look at the HDMI cable. This is the all-in-one cord that carries both sound and video into your HDTV, and you’ll need one to get the best picture from your new setup. The most expensive model we found in-store was a Monster cable costing upwards of $250. We found a generic one online for just $12, including shipping. The test? To see whether the extra money was worth it.

Yes this topic has been hashed several times but I though that this would be interesting for someone to watch. Erica Johnson works for a news program in Canada called Marketplace.

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/mrl3/8752/marketplace/packing_the_deal.wmv

:cool::cool:


#2

I would see what kinda connections each end has and the quality of the cable shielding. That would be where the interference would occur. Sometimes prices does determine the quality but also sometimes your paying just for the name and not the quality of the part itself so I think it pays to dig a little deeper. To see if your paying for quality or just for the brand name…Oh yeah another problem. Is if your equipment isn’t of good quality that also affect your display as well so it is all three that makes for a good entertainment system…HDtv must be of good quality and wires of good quality and equipment must be of good if not excellent quality so it takes three things to make a good output for good viewing…


#3

Intersting but they should have mentioned the versions of cable. 1.3 cables are capable of transfering 10 GBps while others are not. Like this onefor $19.95. Under features it says up to 5 Gbps, Not that it would matter becuase there is probably nothing out there that can deliver that kind if transfer rate at the moment. Monster cable are colour coded for transfer rates/bandwidth. Click



#4

[QUOTE=crossg;2007392]Intersting but they should have mentioned the versions of cable. 1.3 cables are capable of transfering 10 GBps while others are not. Like [/QUOTE]
Not really. Most, in fact will work fine.
Don’t confuse a speed rating with actual performance. Just because a cable isn’t rated for 10G doesn’t mean it can’t perform at that rate. For the most part, the 1.3 rating is just more marketing hype designed to sell you a new set of cables that you don’t need.


#5

[quote=CDan;2007414]Not really. Most, in fact will work fine.
Don’t confuse a speed rating with actual performance. Just because a cable isn’t rated for 10G doesn’t mean it can’t perform at that rate. For the most part, the 1.3 rating is just more marketing hype designed to sell you a new set of cables that you don’t need.[/quote]
Well my point was that Market place did not mention the speed capabilities of the cables which should have been mentioned IMO. No arguement from me that it’s marketing hype. I own 3 of the $19.95 ones I linked above and they work fine.:slight_smile:


#6

They are comparing $262 Monster cable vs $100 midrange cable bv Rocket fish vs $12 “online” cable and according to the test by CBC guy with all the sophisticated equipments, the 12 bucks one performs exactly the same with the pricey cables. “It’s perfect, it can’t get any better than this.” :slight_smile:

But did you guys hear that the CBC guy said: “The images we’re sending in to the cable from [B]DVD player[/B] output is coming out to the cable is exactly the same pixel to pixel, color to color, sharpness, black level, everthing exactly the same”. It’s around 7:00 mins in the video. So the guy didn’t test with hidef video and audio? Or bandwidth test doesn’t matter?

Btw, my HDMI cables are $5 from monoprice. :stuck_out_tongue:


#7

I agree with zevia, according to several cable manufacturers there is very little or none between the “Picture Quality” of highly expensive HDMI cable and the least costly ones as long as the least one being produced by well known and reputable cable manufacture.


#8

[QUOTE=zevia;2007491]They are comparing $262 Monster cable vs $100 midrange cable bv Rocket fish vs $12 “online” cable and according to the test by CBC guy with all the sophisticated equipments, the 12 bucks one performs exactly the same with the pricey cables. “It’s perfect, it can’t get any better than this.” :slight_smile:

But did you guys hear that the CBS guy said: “The images we’re sending in to the cable from [B]DVD player[/B] output is coming out to the cable is exactly the same pixel to pixel, color to color, sharpness, black level, everthing exactly the same”. It’s around 7:00 mins in the video. So the guy didn’t test with hidef video and audio? Or bandwidth test doesn’t matter?

Btw, my HDMI cables are $5 from monoprice. :p[/QUOTE]

It doesn’t matter if he’s testing SD or HD images, he’s testing the video signal for image degradation. It would have been better if he actually tested the cables for max throughput, if such a test exists. But they were only testing the sales clerk’s assurance that one could see a difference, so other considerations were not tested.

Considering that current HD players don’t exceed maybe 50Mb/sec data rates, I have a hard time imaging a time when we will need 10Gb/sec rates. But it would be interesting to see if the $15 cables could do that.


#9

Let’s keep an open mind, other perspectives.

Well these articles are almost a year old, the skeptical geeks over at Gizmodo did a three-part face-off between Monster and Monoprice HDMI cables, and–while their results weren’t exactly conclusive–overall, they supported the notion that bargain cables perform just as well as premium cables in the vast majority of real-world scenarios. In other words, if you’re not concerned with compatibility with future video bandwidth–which you might not encounter for years, if ever–the bargain cables are a much more cost-effective solution.

The Truth About Monster Cable, Part I

Link: http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/field-notes/the-truth-about-monster-cable-266616.php

The Truth About Monster Cable, Part II

Link: http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/hdmi-cable-battlemodo/the-truth-about-monster-cable-part-2-268788.php

The Truth About Monster Cable, Part III

Link: http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2007/07/the_truth_about_monster_cable_2.html

:cool::cool:


#10

Very good article and practical analysis with conclusion for consumers to understand pricy cable is not necessary the beast for your need at this time. Only those they could afford would buy the shining brand at any price regardless they have use for it or not.


#11

Intresting reading.

Where I work have just signed to sell Monster cables in store.

We got a 45 minute presentation all about them and what they stand for.


#12

[QUOTE=Womble;2008548]Intresting reading.

Where I work have just signed to sell Monster cables in store.

We got a 4 minute presentation all about them and what they stand for.[/QUOTE]

So what is you take on this issue? is Monster cable worth the price you have to pay for it or cheap cable like (monoprice could provide the same performance as monster does?.


#13

A friend of mine used to work at bestbuy. He scammed them out of several hundred dollars on hdmi cables. Employee discounts are based on cost of the product. He bought several hdmi cables for about 5$ each. He then had someone else return them (one per person) for store credit, 120$ store credit each. There was a 115$ markup on that cable if that tells you anything. The 120$ cables are 10$ cables. If you don’t believe me, heres someone else saying it.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=693711


#14

I’m using a cheap $5 (+$5 P&H) HDMI ebay cable between my PS3 & 7.1 Sound System.

It’s obviously 6ft (1.8m) of cheap chinese uber-crap and playing 7.1 uncompressed audio (I have a cheap receiver) with 1080p video works fine.

I have a slightly more expensive Kramer 5m hdmi cable between the receiver and the TV.

I’ve used other Kramer HDMI cables of varying length, and the difference between them is … zero.

If it complies with HDMI maximum tolerances, it’s compliant & works.

Even with the older analogue cables, [B]except when using extreme lengths[/B], you can substitute practically anything. It’s amazing how idiot-proof (I think the technical term is “robust”) technology is :iagree:


#15

At least with analog cables, there was a bit of a grey area, and they could show a measurable difference (even if it was one that the human eye or ear couldn’t detect). With digital, the salesmen are just flat out lying…


#16

[QUOTE=ripit;2159849]At least with analog cables, there was a bit of a grey area, and they could show a measurable difference (even if it was one that the human eye or ear couldn’t detect). With digital, the salesmen are just flat out lying…[/QUOTE]
That’s probably a bit harsh.

They’re probably just dumb, ignorant, or acting like parrots and spewing out what a bunch of twisted conniving marketers told them :iagree:

When I bought my PS3 & HDTV, I asked the salesmen what HDMI cables they had … and he recommended I pick up a $20 job from ebay - which I had all intention of doing, unless they had just slightly over-priced cables … which they didn’t. They were VERY overpriced … the cheapest HDMI cable was $100+.

Hurray for Walls of MONSTER!


#17

[QUOTE=debro;2160421]That’s probably a bit harsh.

They’re probably just dumb, ignorant, or acting like parrots and spewing out what a bunch of twisted conniving marketers told them :iagree:[/QUOTE]That’s closer to the truth. Anyway, I have an Electrical Engineering degree from Purdue so I am (somewhat) qualified to have an expert opinion. The more expensive HDMI cables are no better at conveying the electrons in the digital signal from point A to point B than the bargain cables. Copper wire is copper wire and physics is physics. Full Stop.

That said, if you think that paying 10x, 100x or 1000x times the price of bargain cables (speaker, HMDI, coax, etc.) gets you better sound, picture, whatever quality: GO FOR IT. The kids at video store, the marketing guys at Monster and the Electrical Engineering geeks in the back room of MIT Cable ($26,900 for 8 feet) all need to make a living, too.


#18

[I] I have tried 3 hdmi cables,Monster,Rocketfish that I got from BestBuy and Belkin that I bought at the Apple store for 20.00 bucks US.The Monster is used for going from my PC Video card to my LG 47’ LCD.I have my PC in my bedroom and all wires go through the wall at the same place together,Analog sound,remote wire,hdmi,and cat 5 ethernet wire for xbox 360.These are all crammed through a 1.5 in hole.The rocketfish did not preform well because it let in interference from the other wires.Also this hole in the wall is near a electric wall outlet which is where the strip is plugged in for the xbox and the Onkyo reciever.To clarify,my bedroom wall where my pc table is at,the living room is on the other side and thats where the entertainment center sits and I needed the pc in the bedroom.I also have HD cable from insight comm. I use the hdmi cable from the Apple store to my LG.I have switched the cables around just to see the difference.I could not find it at that time.The only difference was the Rocketfish did not have the bright colors and the clarity that the Belkin and the monster(mid-range not their high end) cables had.The Rocketfish had a metalic gray looking cover surronding the wire.I believe it was letting in interference as the others were coated in rubber.Again my opinion,I am not a electrical engineer. I could of just had a defected Rocketfish cable.But what surprised me the most was the preformance of the $20.00 6ft hdmi cable that I bought from the Apple store,It was made by Belkin for them I guess.So this is my experience on this situation.Hope this helps someone. [/I]


#19

[QUOTE=stinman47;2161821]The rocketfish did not perform well because it let in interference from the other wires…

Also this hole in the wall is near a electric wall outlet which is where the strip is plugged in for the xbox and the Onkyo receiver.

…The only difference was the Rocketfish did not have the bright colors and the clarity that the Belkin and the monster(mid-range not their high end) cables had.

The Rocketfish had a metallic gray looking cover surrounding the wire.I believe it was letting in interference as the others were coated in rubber.[/QUOTE]

HDMI = Digital = Either works completely, or doesn’t work at all … there is no shade of grey here.

The commonly accepted separation between signal cables and power cables is 150mm (6inches)

Once again, it’s a digital signal it either works fully, or doesn’t. Difference in colours can only be a matter of perception, or change in calibration on either the player or the Television. There can be a big difference among analogue cables, but not digital.

The thin grey substance around cheap wires is just thin rubber.

Rubber is an insulator to stop electrical contact & hence electricution - it doesn’t actually stop any random electro-magnetic noise from outside sources. Shielding will do this - usually a metallic film/sheet of some sort.


#20

[QUOTE=debro;2160421]That’s probably a bit harsh.

They’re probably just dumb, ignorant, or acting like parrots and spewing out what a bunch of twisted conniving marketers told them :iagree:

[/QUOTE]

Thats probably true for some. I have ran across salesmen that seemed to be making it up as they go, and always change the subject or give a rehearsed line thats off topic when you try to get technical. I even ran across a repair tech at frys that didn’t seem to understand the concept of different rails on a power supply or the fact that there are ratings for each rail/voltage. On the other hand, fry’s sales people are a good example of the worst (though some are still dumb asses). Fry’s salesmen work on commission that is based on margin. Ad items that have little markup have no commission. Items with huge markups have huge commissions. The best salesmen know what they are talking about enough to convince people who may have done a little research or have a little knowledge to buy certain items. A friend of mine quickly moved his way up to department manager there. He is a nice guy, but capable of being quite the convincing bullshit artist. Flat out lying to a customer if you think you can get away with it and it will bump up your commission is a used tactic (never trust fry’s salesmen). It only goes so far though. If you return it, they loose the commission, so its got to at least work for what you want, but with the highest possible profit margin…