Hardware Steven Kippel on 31 Mar 2010

Why you should not buy expensive HDMI cables

Why you should not buy expensive HDMI cables

The audio/video industry has had a long history of pseudo-scientific approaches to technology, especially when it comes to cables and other random knick-knacks (like the green CD marker). Retailers have never taken a stance against these gimmicks because, well, they’re profitable. They are so profitable that some retailers have taken to unethical sales tactics to “add-on” these items to higher-ticket products with lower profit margins (like TVs, and video players, which have virtually no mark-up).

I have heard anecdotes of retail employees flat out lying about a product to sell the attachments. (I’m sorry if it’s harsh to say they lied, but I know their employers provide extensive training on the products so they should know better.) Recently the HD Guru had Best Buy employees try to sell him “3D glasses syncing service” saying the USB cable had to be plugged in and the IP address updated (3D glasses have neither a USB port nor an IP address). This can be marked up to confusion surrounding new 3D technologies. However, telling customers an HDMI cable won’t work with a TV because the TV has 240Hz processing is just silly. The incoming content from any device is no more than 60Hz, and the display duplicates frames, or creates frames to fill in the remainder.

When you are shopping for a new Blu-ray player or HDTV, don’t buy into the salesperson’s tactics to sell HDMI cables. Mint.com teamed up with WallStats.com to create this informative infographic:


Budget Planner – Mint.com

Lesson learned? All HDMI cables will provide the same quality video and audio, regardless of how much you pay for them. The only legitimate differences in cables are longevity, and the fit of the connector. More well-built cables can work on longer runs (over 50 feet), but for less than that you should be OK with cheaper cables. Just be prepared to return a cheap cable if it doesn’t work; more expensive cables are usually tested before they ship.

Try Amazon.com where you can get a 6-foot HDMI cable for under $3.00. I’ve even found 10-foot cables under $1.00

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