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Buyers Beware of Cheap HDMI Cables

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.

The Bose® Lifestyle VS-2 Video Enhancer® is A Must for All Lifestyle Owners

Bose® Lifestyle® Home Entertainment Systems are world renowned for their superior technology, top-quality sound and simplicity. With the introduction of the Bose Lifestyle® VS-2 Video Enhancer , Bose Lifestyle® Systems will also be known as some of the most versatile home theater systems on the market. The VS-2 gives Lifestyle® owners 2 HDMI connections, Automatic Video Upscaling capability and One-Button remote control simplicity. The addition of the Bose Lifestyle® VS-2 Video Enhancer takes Lifestyle® Home Entertainment Systems into the next generation of High Definition Home Theater. When connected to the VS-2, the Lifestyle® has the ability to control both the Audio and Video inputs rather than just the audio. This feature makes the Lifestyle® act more like a traditional home theater receiver. The VS-2 Video Enhancer works seamlessly with all Lifestyle® DVD home entertainment systems except for Lifestyle® 18, 28 and 35 Series I systems. HDMI Inputs Two HDMI inputs have been added to the VS-2 Video Enhancer to give the user the option of connecting a High Definition Cable/Satellite Box, Blu-Ray Disc player or any other component that uses HDMI to your Lifestyle® Home Entertainment System. HDMI gives you high definition video and digital audio all in one cable. HDMI is the future of high definition and will give you the best possible viewing and listening experience. *If your cable or satellite picture is there some days and gone others, you are probably experiencing DRM (Digital Rights Management) problems. In this case, use Component for the CBL/SAT Input, it will still be upscaled to HDMI through the output. Automatic Video Upscaling Another great feature the VS-2 provides is the ability to automatically upscale a video signal to the next highest format or resolution over HDMI. A composite video connection will be upscaled to S-Video format and S-Video is upscaled to component video format. This is also the case with high definition signals, for instance: a 1080i signal will be upgraded to 1080p format over HDMI. This feature allows you to get the full potential from all of your components. One-Button Simplicity Since the VS-2 allows your Lifestyle® to manage all video and audio sources together, it only takes the push of a button to get them to work together. If you press the CBL/SAT button on your Lifestyle® Remote you will get audio and video without having to change the input on your TV. This feature makes your home theater experience a lot less complicated. The Bose VS-2 Video Enhancer allows you to upgrade your Lifestyle® Home Entertainment System for the ultimate high definition experience. Even if you don't use high definition the one button simplicity and video upscaling are great tools by themselves and will still give you a better overall experience. The VS-2 Video Enhancer is also very easy to install. You simply run the update disc which takes about 5 minutes (don't eject until the system says update complete), connect to the Lifestyle® Home Entertainment System and make your video connections from your components to the VS-2. Bose is a company that makes their products last and the VS-2 is a testament to that. With the Lifestyle® VS-2 Video Enhancer connected to your Lifestyle® System, you will be ready for the high definition experience of your choice. *please note, the HDMI video out only transmits video -- a separate audio connection is required.

How to get the most out of your HDTV Part 2: Connecting Your HD System

Now that you know what components and connections to use for your High Definition System you need to know how to properly connect everything to your home theater system . This is a very crucial part of the process because a wrong connection can cause you a problem that you may mistake as a flaw in the component itself. Connecting HD components to a TV or home theater system is not as complicated as many people think. Inputs can look intimidating but are actually very easy to figure out once you know what they are used for. There are so many different options you can choose in order to connect HD components and I obviously can't go over all of them, that would take forever. To make things easier I will go over the most commonly used approach which is through a home theater system consisting of a TV , Receiver and whatever components you are connecting to the receiver. If you are hooking components straight into your TV without a home theater system simply cut out the steps that involve the receiver and go straight to the TV. Set Up Your Home Theater System First Before you start connecting all of your components to your receiver or TV, make sure you have the basics down first. Set up all your speakers in the position you want them, connect them to the receiver , make sure your TV is plugged in and get all your components arranged in your cabinet or stand and plug them all in. Make sure again that all of your components and cables are the correct ones for your system. Once you have the basics down everything from here on out should be fairly easy. Connect your Receiver to Your TV Connect your HDMI Cables and/or Component Video Cables from the HDMI and Component Video Outputs on your Reciever to the proper Inputs on your TV. This is very important, the signal must be passed from your component to the receiver and then to the TV or you won't have a picture. Connecting with HDMI This is probably the easiest connection you will ever have to make since it only involves one cable. There are many different components that are HDMI compatible: Blu-Ray Disc Players , HD DVD Players, DVD Players and Cable/Sattelite Boxes just to name a few. An HDMI connection requires a single plug-in from your component to your receiver or TV. If you are hooking up a Blu-Ray Disc Player or similar component, simply connect the HDMI cable from the output on your Blu-Ray to one of the HDMI inputs on your receiver. If you are connecting a high definition cable box/satellite receiver you will need to connect your cable wire from the wall to the input jack on your cable/satellite box, then connect the HDMI cable from the output on your cable/satellite box to an HDMI input on your TV or receiver. The TV or Receiver will usually have an HDMI input designated for Cable/Satellite use. Connecting with HDMI is quite a simple process and should work no problem considering you connected your receiver to your TV like I talked about in the step above. Don't celebrate just yet though, you might not be totally done. Most components and some receivers require you to go to the systems menu and change the connection type manually to a component video or HDMI connection depending on what it is connected with. Make sure that you check to see if your components require you to do this. If you don't you may see a picture in a purple hazy color or no picture at all until you change the settings. Connecting with Component Video Although there are a few more connections you have to make, component video is not very hard to connect. Lets say you decide to connect your cable/satellite box and an Up-Conversion DVD player with component video. The cable/satellite box will be almost the same as the HDMI setup but with a few more connections. First connect the Component Video cable from your cable/satellite box to your receiver (make sure you match up the red, green and blue cables with the proper inputs). Then make sure that you also make an audio connection. Hopefully you inspected your cable/satellite box to see what kinds of audio connections that it has. If you have a digital audio connection I suggest using a Fiber Optic Cable or a Digital Coax Cable because they carry a cleaner digital signal, but if they aren't available Analog Audio works just fine. You only have to make one connection with audio cables, which means you dont have to go from the receiver to the TV with audio. A Few Things To Remember If you don't get a picture right away don't panic, you may have to manually switch your component to the video mode you want it in like Component or HDMI. Consult your owners manual. Not everything will be broadcast in HD, there are certain channels that your cable or satellite service will provide in High Definition but the rest will just be standard. You need a High Definition Cable/Satellite box to receive a high definition signal, regular digital cable will not broadcast high def. You should now be ready to enjoy your High Definition Home Entertainment System. High Definition will give you a viewing experience like no other if you set it up correctly. If you have purchased any components or cables from us, our technical support team will be glad to assist you in your installation free of charge, call them at 1-866-224-6171.

How to get the most out of your HDTV Part 1: The Basics

Remember the days when the only connections available on TV's were stereo audio and composite video (the red, white and yellow inputs) and it only took about a minute to hook up components? Well those days are over and things have gotten a little more complex. For those of you who have never owned a high def or flat panel TV , you might be a little intimidated by the back panel the first time you look at it. High Definition TV's these days can have over 10 inputs with many different kinds of connections available. A person who isn't used to dealing with home theater systems will probably have no clue what to do with them or what they are even for, and even some tech savvy people might get confused. The cable guy isn't necessarily your best option either. Some know exactly what their doing while others could take the easy way out just to get the job done. Hopefully I can explain what these inputs are used for and which cables you should consider when connecting components to your new HDTV in order to get the best possible picture and sound. There are a lot of people out there who think that anything connected to a High Definition Television will play in High Definition. This couldn't be farther from the truth, just because your TV can show an HD picture doesn't mean that it will. Now don't go throwing your new TV in the trash-because the TV is not the problem. Before you spend a lot of money on components for your TV you need to make sure that they are able to produce a High Definition signal. You also need to make sure that any components you currently own are capable of handling High Definition if you are planning to use them for High Definition viewing. Older components like VCR's will not handle HD because the technology was not available when they were produced. Having the wrong components can cause you a lot of wasted time and frustration in the HD process. A component is probably HD compatible if somewhere on the box it says: HD Compatible HDMI Capable of 720p, 1080i or 1080p Resolutions SimplayHD The next thing to keep in mind is that not all high definition televisions are created equal. You need to look at the specifications of an HDTV before you buy it. Some HDTV's can not accept every High Definition resolution available. If the TV you are buying only has a native resolution of 720p, you may not get to see images in 1080i and won't see them in 1080p because the TV simply can't do it. If I were in the market for a new HDTV, I would buy one that gave me the option of using every connection and resolution available for High Definition so I could use it in any way I wanted. This is a big investment, don't sell yourself short by getting a cheaper TV that limits your options. High Definition Connections Probably one of the most overlooked parts of the HD process is the connections. You need to have the right cables in order to pass a High Definition signal from one component to the next. There are 3 types of video cable that will carry a high definition signal: Component Video Cables (720p/1080i) HDMI to DVI Cables (720p/1080i) HDMI Cables (720p/1080i/1080p) These are the only three cables that will give you a high definition signal! To figure out which ones you can use for your system, you need to check what connections are available on both your HDTV and your components. For example Blu-Ray Disc or HD DVD players require HDMI cables for full 1080p but also have component connections, regular DVD players can come with both component video connections, HDMI connections or both. A few more things to consider before making expensive High Definition purchases The Right Connections - Be sure that the home theater receiver, HDTV and components you are connecting have the connections that you need for High Definition. After you are sure of your connections, get the cables that are compatible with them. Number of HD Connections - Make sure that you know how many High Definition connections your TV and/or receiver have. Most HDTV's and receivers have only two HDMI inputs. If you only have 2 HDMI inputs, pick which two devices you want to run on HDMI and use Component Video for the rest. Look for the SimplayHD Logo - When looking for High Def components, we suggest looking for products that contain the Simplay HD logo on them. This assures you that the product is compatible with all fromats of HDMI and has been regulated by Simplay Labs the leader in HD testing. Monster HDMI cables and Yamaha Receivers are examples of Simplay HD certified products. Get Enough Cables - If you are going to run components from a home theater receiver to your HDTV, make sure you get an extra HDMI and/or Component Video Cable for the receiver's output to the TV. Example: If you are hooking up a Blu-Ray Disc Player and a High Def cable box with HDMI, you will need 3 HDMI cables. One for the Blu-Ray to the receiver, one for the cable box to the receiver and one for the receivers output to the HDTV. Keep it in the Family - Consider buying the same kinds of cable. Example: don't buy one expensive HDMI cable for the cable box to the receiver and one cheap one from the receiver to the TV. This is not a must but can help save you from compatibility problems. Don't Forget About Sound - If you are going with component video or HDMI to DVI cables you will also need audio cables to get sound. HDMI cables carry both video and audio in one cable. NOTE: Some receivers will not repeat the audio signal through HDMI, if you are getting no sound but are getting a picture this is probably the case . We suggest using a fiber optic audio or digital coaxial connection if  available, but analog audio will work just fine if not, it just won't be as good as a digital connection. This is a lot to take in but if you do your research and plan out exactly what you will need, this whole process will be a lot easier. If you have any questions or want suggestions from us, post a reply to this article and we will try to answer your questions as best we can. Part II of this article will involve the actual connection of your High Definition components to your home theater system and which connections will maximize your HD experience.

Warning: The Wrong HDMI Cables Will Ruin Your Home Theater Experience

When you look on the packaging of an HDMI cable, you'll see lots of specifications and statements explaining why that particular model is the best HDMI cable for you. Almost every HDMI cable on the market makes the claim that it has 1080p compatability, has a 4.46 Gigabits Per Second transfer or is HDMI 1.3 compatible. These are all hot buzz words in the HDMI world. But we can't judge the quality of HDMI cables on statements and claims alone. Since the data carried by HDMI cables is digital, it can be tested and allows us to truly see how good an HDMI cable is. The easiest and best way to judge the quality of an HDMI cable is to run it through the Eye Pattern Test. Eye Pattern Test for HDMI Cables The Eye Pattern Test uses two pieces of expensive machinery that measure electrical parameters like attenuation, impedance, crosstalk and EM/RF Interference. The Eye Pattern Test Machinery works together by generating a digital signal then reading the data and showing on-screen results of how well the HDMI cable performed. The way to tell if an HDMI cable passes the Eye Pattern Test is to see if the digital wave carried by the cable crosses into a small hexagon shaped eye (or mask) in the middle of the screen. The eye represents how much space separates the 1's and 0's in the digital signal to ensure they don't cross. The more space around the eye the better the signal and a less chance that the 1's and 0's in the signal have of getting mixed together. When there isn't any space in the eye of the signal errors can occur due to the fact that the display (TV) can't determine whether it's reading a 1 or a 0. These errors then become visible in your TV picture in the form of color misrepresentation, digitization of the picture and in extreme cases no picture at all. Monster HDMI Cable Eye Pattern Test Result The Eye Pattern Test is the scientific proof that Monster HDMI cables are far superior to any HDMI cable on the market. When Monster HDMI cables are put through the Eye Pattern Test, they show a very symmetrical digital signal with ample room around the eye which gives very small room for error. The screen shots in the picture above show the results of a Monster HDMI cable compared to a Generic HDMI cable that can be found in the box of an HD Satellite or Blu-Ray Disc player. Monster also tests their cables at bandwidth speeds that go beyond the 1080p signals of today to ensure that they will work with future technology. Many other manufacturers only test their cables at the 720p/1080i spec that have much slower data rates. This results in some HDMI cables not being able to transfer a 1080p signal. The Consequences of Going the Cheap Route Not all HDMI cables are created equally although many people will say otherwise. Just because HDMI cables all carry digital signals made up of 1's and 0's doesn't mean they will all produce a high quality picture! Cheaper cables are not as carefully constructed and typically don't have enough shielding to reject outside interference. Poorly constructed ends are another contributor in degrading the digital signal. Signal degradation will show up as streaks across the screen, unsynced audio and video, snow, dropped pixels or even total picture drop. A cheap cable is going to get the signal from point A to point B, but the real question is whether the signal at point B can be recognized. Cables without shielding have a much greater problem with signal interference, especially over long distances. High signal interference will make 1's and 0's indecipherable at the display end. Differences in the quality of the HDMI cables are not going to be nearly as noticeable when watching a standard DVD (480p). But once you get into higher resolutions (720p/1080i and higher) the signal degradation gets more noticeable even to the untrained consumer's eye. Length Makes a Difference Another important factor in HDMI signal quality is length. Keep in mind that the same cable that passes the eye pattern test at a 3 foot length might not pass at a 10 foot length. A poorly constructed cable will not be able to hold to the proper impedance rating necessary to run over longer lengths which cause errors in the picture. This occurs when the conductors in the cable are twisted. Monster Cable uses a very tight DoubleHelix construction that allows for a greater bandwidth over longer runs of HDMI. The Eye Pattern Test proves that a cheap, knockoff HDMI cable is not as good as a Monster HDMI cable. Monster HDMI cables are the best investment in the HDMI market today because they give you longevity, extreme durability and unequaled performance. Monster tests their cables under the most rigorous conditions to make sure that their HDMI cables will give you the best possible results regardless of what component they are connected to.   Actual Eye Pattern Test with Noel Lee, The Head Monster
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