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

12 comments on “Warning: The Wrong HDMI Cables Will Ruin Your Home Theater Experience

  1. Hi, hoping you can help me out. I just purchased a Sony TV LCD model KDL52W300. Not really knowing what HDMI was until ready your website I find that I may need High Speed HDMI cables for the best picture/audio quality that should get on this beautiful TV set. I am not sure what to purchase and I am a little confused on regular HDMI high speed HDMI or quality and etc etc. I am in hopes you can direct me on what to purchase and possibly purchase the right product from your company. Thanks in advance for your inforamtion.

  2. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    Glad you are thinking about utilizing your TV’s HDMI capability. I know you have the HDTV but you didn’t say anything about the other components you have. HDMI will give your TV a high definition connection from another component like a cable/satellite box, Blu-Ray Disc Player or a gaming console like the Playstation 3. You need to make sure that your other devices have HDMI outputs, if they don’t then you won’t be able to use HDMI but will be able to use other High Definition connections.

    When you figure out what you will be using HDMI for (cable box, blu-ray,etc.) write another post on this article telling me exactly what you have and I will be able to assist you on what to get for your system. You may also want to read our other articles that discuss HDMI to get a better understanding of HDMI (How to get the most out of your HDTV Part 1: The Basics and How to get the most out of your HDTV Part 2: Connecting Your HD System. Hope to hear from you soon.

  3. In reagrds to your response on January 22 2008 at 3:42 PM I am writing another post to explain in more detail my questions regarding HDMI cables. I own a Sony Bravia Model KDL-52W3000 TV set. I had a digital cable box originally then I bought the Sony and had the cable company install a Hi Def cable box to enable true HD 1080P according to the book. I understand that 1080I is as close as it gets which is fine. It also has other features such as Tru 24P Cinema,all the bells and whisles. I am running also a Samsung DVD player Model DVD-V4600. It is not HI DEF just HI-FI. So I am guessing I would also need to upgrade to a Sony Blu Ray or another HD DVD player. Or is it just sufficient to get great video/audio quality from HDMI cables. I notice that the only channles that come in crystal clear are the ones shown in HI Def. The analog channels seem to pixelate and tile when you are close or within 2 to 3 feet of TV. So will the Super high speed HDMI Cables rectify the problem ? Also I see alot of HDMI cables that are male to female and female to male ??? Would love to purchase the ultimate cable for the ultimate viewing pleasure. Your articles listed on your prior answers were truly helpful as well. (How to get the most of your HDTV Part 1 and part 2 Connecting your HD System. Thanks so much

  4. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    A few things before I answer your questions. I see that your TV is capable of 1080p, thats great but the only way you will see 1080p is on a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD player. Nothing else currently produces a 1080p signal and cable or satellite will probably not broadcast in 1080p for quite some time. You will get 720p and 1080i on your High Definition Channels depending on the station. As you have already seen 720p and 1080i produce a very good picture. Also you mention something about male to female and female to male HDMI cables. The cables you will be looking for are going to have a male end on each side which is what almost all HDMI cables have. Your TV will have a female input and so will your components so you need cables that have 2 male ends like the ones pictured in the article above.

    To answer your first question about your DVD player, an HDMI cable would improve your picture on the DVD player but would not get it to high definition quality. If you are going to use an HDMI cable to connect your DVD player you will not need the Monster Ultra High Speed HDMI cable because your DVD player will never put out high enough bandwidth for it to be of any significance. I suggest you get the Monster Standard Speed HDMI cable, this will work just as well for your DVD player and will save you some money. Having said that, I highly recommend you get an HD-DVD or Blu-Ray Disc Player because the picture will be absolutely stunning on your TV. If you were to get one of these systems, then I suggest that you get the Monster Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable to better handle the higher bandwidth.

    You say that your analog channels are pixelated when you are close to them. This could be two different things. 1)This might be the way your TV reproduces an analog signal. 2) You may have a low quality cable connecting your Box to your TV which causes errors in your picture. I suggest that you get the Monster Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable for your HD cable box because it will improve your picture on both regular and HD channels. This particular cable is built to work with any high definition signal now and in the future because it can handle the highest bandwidth available through HDMI. This is basically a one time purchase because you will never need another HDMI cable. If the performance cababilities of this cable are ever exceeded by future generations of HDMI, Monster will replace it at no charge. So even if cable companies start broadcasting in a 1080p high bandwidth signal, this cable will work no matter what. I am not guaranteeing that it will fix your pixelation problem (although it could if your current cable is the problem) but it will improve your picture quality.

    I have provided links to the cables that I suggested, click on them to go to their product pages. You can buy them directly from us. I also provided links to our HD-DVD and Blu-Ray Disc Players just in case you wanted to browse through them.

  5. how hard is it to assign inputs on a yahama RX-V863 RECEIVER? I was looking at a friend of mine manual and it made no sense to me. also does the HDMI inputs have audio also or do you have to go to another outlet perhaps optical or whatever is available and assign it to that outlet?

  6. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    It is quite simple to assign the inputs, I don’t know what kind of receiver your friend has but the Yamaha manual will tell you exactly what you need to do. To answer your second question, yes the HDMI input will accept the HDMI audio signal, then you would run an HDMI out for the video. If for some reason you wanted to run audio out to the TV (which I don’t know why you would) you would then have to run an additional audio cable.

    So to clarify, the HDMI inputs will accept HDMI audio and you will hear the audio through the speakers you have connected to your receiver. If you need any HDMI cables, here is a link to our HDMI Cable page.

  7. will robinson on said:

    I have a Panasonic 50″Plasma 1080p and a Blu-ray disc player. My question is, I am using an HDMI MONSTER CORD(700) AND I have regular stereo and speakers hooked up to play.I turned off my t.v. speakers. Does my HDMI cord filters through my stereo speakers because all of a sudden, my stereo speakers sound Better.I imagine this is the HDMI working through my stereo speakers. Just two speakers, no surround yet.

  8. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    HDMI delivers digital audio which is why you have better sound. Just one of the benefits of HDMI.

  9. Bruce Komrofske on said:

    I purchased a jvc television twice in one month my hdmi board fried I was watching a dvd from my player both times is it my dvd player or is the television just a bad set.

  10. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    I would say that it is that particular model TV, I would suggest going with another manufacturer. Here is a Link to our Televisions and Projectors page.

  11. dominic on said:

    hello! i have new ps3 slim and it wont display1080p. it can only display 480p 720p 1080i. now my old fat ps3 displayed 1080p just fine. i read that ps3 slim hdmi is very picky. i use a cheap hdmi cable now and also tested another cable and no luck. someone claimed that your Monster M1000HD worked fine after they exp. same hdmi problem. can you confirm that a ps3 slim not displaying 1080p on cheap cables will work using your Monster M1000HD hdmi cable? if so ill buy one.

  12. Electronics Guru on said:

    Dominic (11):

    I don’t have a PS3 Slim to test, and even if I did, each unit is different. So I can’t “confirm” that it will work. I have also read quite a few reviews and forums that talk about problems with 1080p, so you’re not alone. In fact, it sounds like Sony has an HDMI problem in their PS3 Slim units.

    The best advice I can give is to use the highest quality components you can afford. If that means using a better HDMI cable it’s worth a try. But you can also reset your PS3 Slim so it auto-detects connected sources — just make sure the TV and everything else is on before your Playstation. I think you hold the power button down for like 5 seconds…should beep a couple times.

    A few things to keep in mind: HDMI devices use what’s called “HDCP”, a digital handshake that aims to protect copyrighted material. If that digital handshake between devices isn’t done fast enough, or if there are problems communicating, the signal is often kicked down to standard resolution, or you may even just see nothing! Also, many games are produced in 720p because of technical reasons, much like sports (action looks better because of the higher frame rate, basically). So if you have just the 1080p output selected and the game is 720p, then you will have problems. Select all HD outputs: 720p, 1080i, 1080p. Finally, make sure other stuff is connected properly and turned on first. That way when the PS3 is switched on it can instantly make connections and establish HDCP handshakes. Of course running any updates to your Playstation and connected devices is a good idea, too.

    Hope this helps!

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