March 24th, 2008
High quality HDMI vs. Cheap HDMI is always one of my favorite debates just because I like hearing some of the ridiculous things people come up with. If you go into any forum that discusses this topic it will be filled with people who are trying to convince everyone to buy the cheapest HDMI cable they can find because all HDMI cables are the same. This statement could not be further from the truth. High quality cables will give you better results and are going to become more and more important as technology advances. Lets first look at this argument from a logical sense. You have just bought a brand new 50 inch 1080p HDTV, a Blu-Ray Disc player and have topped it off with a surround sound system. So you have spent at least $5000 probably more around $10000, that's a big investment. Now you just spent all that money on top-of-the-line home theater equipment and are going to connect it all with $5 HDMI Cables? I would compare that to buying salvaged engine parts for a Ferrari. What a lot of people don't understand is that a quality HDMI cable could make the difference between an average picture and a great one. Signal Quality The most common argument in favor of cheap HDMI cables is that a digital signal is a digital signal and no matter what it is run through, it will either work or it won't. While there is some truth to this statement it can be very misleading. Yes a digital signal is a digital signal and a high quality HDMI cable will not transform it into some super digital signal. What you should be concerned about with a cheap HDMI cable is the digital signal arriving at its destination intact. The ability to deliver the digital signal intact is the main difference between a high quality HDMI cable and a cheap one. HDMI cables have no way of telling if there is a problem with the signal, this means that if there are errors in the signal you will be able to see them on your TV. This problem is most apparent in longer lengths of HDMI cable. Digital signals are harder to keep intact when they travel over greater distances. A high quality HDMI cable like a Monster HDMI Cable is made to keep the digital signal from degrading over longer lengths. Though this problem is less of a factor at shorter lengths (like 3 feet) because the data doesn't have to travel very far, a lot of people say that any HDMI cable will do. Again only some parts of this statement are true, there may not be as many errors but that doesn't mean that there won't be any at all. A quality HDMI cable will assure you that you are always getting the best picture possible at any distance. In-Wall Installation If you are going to be running an HDMI cable through a wall or any other surface it is very important that you get an HDMI cable that can handle that kind of abuse. Cheap HDMI cables are not made for in-wall installations and can easily be damaged during installation. This can happen several different ways. They can be cut when being pulled through the wall, the connector can be separated if too much pressure is applied or it could be damaged by the elements once installed. Make sure you get an HDMI cable that was built to endure this kind of abuse. Monster M-Series HDMI cables are the ultimate cable for in-wall installation and performance. Not only are they able to handle the highest amount of bandwidth possible, they have heavy duty molded strain relief conductors for reduced wear and tear. They also have Duraflex protective jackets that protect them from damage and extreme temperatures. Don't go cheap when you are doing in-wall installations with HDMI, it could end up costing you a lot of wasted time and money. Future Proofing This is something that is almost completely overlooked by most electronics consumers. We all know that technology these days improves at a rapid rate, the Blu-Rays and HD Cable Boxes of today will probably be outdated in the near future. In a few years newer high definition technology with higher resolutions that call for more bandwidth will be the norm. So your HDMI cable that works on todays technology might not work on tomorrow's. Cheaper HDMI cables will start to get pushed out in the future since they are only made to handle the low bandwidth of today's digital signals. It would not be much fun to wire an in-wall HDMI cable now and have to replace it every couple of years because of technology change. You might as well get an HDMI cable that is going to work throughout the years. Some of Monster's HDMI cables are guaranteed for life which means that they will be able to pass any bandwidth over HDMI both now and in the future. HDMI is a great tool to utilize and can really maximize your home theater experience. Can you get by going the "cheap" route? In some cases you can, but there are a lot of factors you should consider before doing so. My suggestion is to get HDMI cables that will assure you the best possible picture both now and in the future. Don't sell your home theater system or HDTV short by going the cheap route. It may save you some money now, but it could wind up costing you in the future.