TVs & Home Theaters

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Monster Cable - good or evil????

by keman58 / February 11, 2007 3:12 AM PST

We just purchased a 40" Sony Bravia XBR2 and the salesperson at Best Buy really pushed me into buying the Monster 400 2 meter (6.6 ft) HDMI cable as well as the Monster Power HTS 1000 MKTI power bar. We paid approximately $500.00 Cdn for these.
Our question is this....Were these items absolutely necessary? We're just running the TV/DVD off of the high Definition box/cable.
We saw some other HDMI cables that were less expensive on Shopzilla....is the picture as good with these?
Thanks!

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They push because it's great margins.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 11, 2007 3:15 AM PST

And they make more. I've used both and can't tell the difference except the monster's do seem to have better aesthetics while the cheap cable may not be a colorful a plastic or fittings.

Bob

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Monster cable - Good or Evil??
by keman58 / February 11, 2007 3:30 AM PST

Thanks Bob... which ones would you recommend?

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At the risk of being called cheap.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 11, 2007 3:41 AM PST

I use cables from newegg.com or geeks.com. Some are even from radio shack.

Bob

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Are they gold-plated?
by keman58 / February 11, 2007 3:45 AM PST

We heard that they need to be gold plated... is that true? Thx, Kevin

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Looks better to some.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 11, 2007 3:47 AM PST
In reply to: Are they gold-plated?

But the picture looks same here gold or not.

Bob

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all cables are not alike
by holyconsumerbatman / January 2, 2008 3:12 PM PST

rocketfish cables on the whole fail "eye test" (a badwith test on cables) when you get over 720p, which is fine for the majority of plasma TV's at the moment, but not most LCD's.

simply put, high definition works on bandwith (similar to the internet). some cables do not put out the 1080p signal properly. true, you may not be able to notice the difference unplugging a monster cable, unplugging it and then putting the rocketfish cable in it's place, but there is a difference.

if one were to argue the difference in the bandwith (which IS tested) you need to not argue the difference between 1080 and 720 because simply put, some cables will do it and some wont.

i'm not saying that monster is your only option, but i can tell you that unless you get into philips upper range cables (not the sam's club or walmart ones by the way) they are only 720.

some consumers amaze me. they'll pay the $800 extra for the t.v. and then say that all cables are alike. that's like saying that your base model 1080P Lcd is as good as the upper one simply because they are too cheap or uneducated to relize that high def is a little more complicated than 1's and 0's.

just to let you know as well, i currently work for best buy canada and i make $3 more off the rocketfish cables. the monster is a harder sell and i make less of them. do you really think that i'd work harder to make less for no reason? of course not.

like i said, you don't necessarly need to buy monster, but they were on the development team for HDMI. wouldn't you rather buy one of the cables from the devolopment team than a cheap knock off with cheap solder points and a pretty sheild around it?

i can't wait until simplay starts regulating high def claims on cables. it's going to be classic to have everone see that really when it comes down to it, there are different high defs and you might as well get the maxium signal quality you can.

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Sorry, I trust Robert Herron's opinion
by minimalist / October 25, 2009 11:13 PM PDT

This guy knows HD inside out and he knows overpriced HDMI cables are a scam:

http://revision3.com/bestof/hdnation-0003

Even Apple, king of the absurdly overpriced accessory, only charges 20 bucks for the HDMI cables they sell in their store. 100 dollar HDMI cables are a rip off.

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Both
by HTHMAN / February 11, 2007 3:23 AM PST

Monster products=good. Monster prices=evil.

You can get as good a picture at a much lower price.

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Monster cable - Good or Evil??
by keman58 / February 11, 2007 3:43 AM PST
In reply to: Both

Which ones would you recommend?

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Sams Club
by HTHMAN / February 11, 2007 4:00 AM PST

Bought some Phillips HDMI, Optical and component cables from Sams Club. Nice heavy duty cables. Think they were all 20 dollars or less each.

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MONSTER IS EVIL (ESPECIALLY ON THE WALLET!)
by Riverledge / March 20, 2008 12:31 PM PDT

MOMOPRICE IS VERY GOOD. PHILIPS ALSO HAS A LINE OF DECENT BUDGET CABLES AVAIL. @ WAL*MART, among others.


Riverledge.

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Monster...
by grc24 / February 11, 2007 3:50 AM PST
In reply to: Both

You can get great cables from monoprice.com at a fraction of the cost of Monster. If you can't wait for them to get to you then you can go to Wal-mart and get a 6ft. HDMI for around $30. The Wal-mart cable is Phillips brand and has great picture quality.
I also bought my TV at BB and also was really pushed to purchase Monster products but didn't fall for it. You can get a battery back-up line conditioner made by Geek Squad at BB. The one I purchased was around $140. I believe. Works great.

Hope this helps.

grc

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Monster = bose
by sirroundsound / February 11, 2007 4:55 AM PST

Monster is the bose of the wire world.
They do not sell you something that doesn't work, just the value for the product is in question. They push it in stores like BB because they can make good money on it, it makes up for the crappy money they make selling you the TV.
It's expensive, and yes you can find cables etc that are just as good for less.

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"hey, we got to pay for "high class" stuffs.
by ahtoi / February 11, 2007 5:02 AM PST

Not necessary better stuffs. Isn,t that how things are in this world most of the time?

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here is my take (i work for bby)
by masterying01 / February 11, 2007 12:08 PM PST

from a consumer point of view: i would never go with monster cables. ebay is amazing with the stuff you can get off of it. as long as i'm not running a cable thats longer then 15 feet...i'd just pick up a "shielded" hdmi cable off of ebay for like $20.

from a sales point of view: if i wanted to make the most money...i would sell you rocketfish branded cables. monster 2m hdmi cables are around $99 with cost at $30 to the store. rocketfish is $80 with cost of $5 to the store. i'd make more money with the rocketfish. (btw, NEVER buy rocketfish....they break very very very easily and are very very bad quality cables as far as how they were made).

now suggestion: the two products you got were $400 canadian. with high margin. use their pricematch policy. say a local competitor will give you the tv at a good price plus $100 or $200 off your accessories. they would do it to prevent a return and they would still be making money. plus you wont feel as guilty.

it sounds like you were pretty happy with your purchase. use their pricematch policy, keep the stuff they sold you and enjoy your new equipment.

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When I worked at FRYs.
by jcrobso / February 12, 2007 2:07 AM PST

The sales people pushed Mon$tor cables because they made BIG$$$$ commission on them. A $100 Mon$tor cable nets $49 profit for the store.
Go to Sam's club and buy the Phillips cables. John

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Monster Cable = Excellent; Acoustic Research = better value
by R-MgX / February 11, 2007 4:24 PM PST

Monster Cables are excellent quality and well worth the money. Monster is the flag ship of the cable world. One thing to look out for when shopping for cables is the construction of the cable itself. Most Monster cables have a greater amount of shielding to avoid any kind of interference from signals being transmitted through the air. Also, the cables have a nitrogen gas injected dielectric so if the cable is kinked or bent you will not lose any picture or sound quality. Besides the 18K or 24K gold connections, these are some of the bigger features you are paying for. So when people say that they found an HDMI cable for 20 dollars, you will want to make sure you are comparing apples to apples.
In my experience though, Best Buy carries another brand called Acoustic Research. They make high quality cables at a more affordable price. They manufacture their standard line of cables and Pro Series cables. The Pro Series is very comparable to the quality of Monster, but is priced a little better. I would recommend these for value, and I would recommend Monster for the highest quality.
I noticed that you mentioned a power center. This item is an absolute necessity. A good home theater setup starts with clean power.

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Just some FYI on cables!!!!
by jcrobso / February 12, 2007 2:13 AM PST

The law of diminishing returns applies here!!!!
If a $30 cable(AR,Phillips,etc) is good a $120 cable(Mon$tor) will NOT BE 4 TIMES BETTER!!!
You will NOT get 4 time the picture quality or sound by using Mon$tor cables. John

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People forget that digital signals are either ALL or NOTHING
by MultiMuse / February 15, 2007 11:42 PM PST

People forget that digital signals are either ALL or NOTHING, not like analog signals that can be degraded progressively all the way from 100% pure down to 0%. So whereas cable quality and shielding can make a big noticeable difference on analog output, it's not so with digital. Either you get the uncorrupted bit stream output (100%) or else it's corrupted and the output is virtually garbage, so the cable and shielding for digital isn't such a big deal. Binary 1 and 0 bits are not really subject to RFI and EMI interference, which hit analog waveform signals in a corrupting way. The logical 1 and 0 are read as extremely transient voltage levels that are either above or below the required specified voltage level threshold. There's no valid "gray area" to function as a "degraded" but readable signal.

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I disagree... Digital cables are NOT all or nothing
by donjsquires / February 17, 2007 8:59 AM PST

I have seen a lot of pervading posts suggesting that "it doesn't matter what quality of digital cable you buy because digital cables either work or they don't work."

This simply is not true.

While I do agree with the overall sentiment of this statement in regards to over-priced cables, this statement is not correct; and I would like to offer some words to steer the general public away from this myth.

Digital signals transmitted through the air or even through a cable can, in fact, be corrupted by electromagnetic radiation and otherwise induced voltages. If this wasn't the case, then we wouldn't need things like "error correcting" bits and protocols to handle digital signal errors.

While it is true that the integrity of a digital signal is far superior to an analog signal, a digital transmission can still produce less than optimal results but still be considered as "working". If you don't believe this, consider your cell phone and the types of resulting quality you get at any given time; A cell phone uses all digital transmission and processing.

A digital signal transmitted through a cable does suffer LESS from typical forms of electromagnetic interference but it is not totally immune. An inferior HDMI cable, for example, could cause pixel drop outs, reduced color fidelity, picture artifacts, and audio artifacts if the circuitry on either end of the cable is not robust enough to handle the errors.

As an aside, most people don't understand the difference between a $1000 DVD player and a $50 DVD player. In part, it is the quality and robustness of the internal circuitry to effectively process the digital signals. If digital signals either worked or they didn't work, then you wouldn't see a quality difference between various DVD players or other components.


I think where people are coming from is this: Exactly how much should you be expected to pay for an acceptable quality digital cable? And is a $20 HDMI cable as good as a $100 HDMI cable?

The big factors that determine a cable's quality are the materials used for shielding, the type of shielding, the quality of the internal conductors, the internal arrangement of the conductors, the length of the cable, and the quality of the interfacing connectors on the ends. Most people seem to understand that shorter cables will have less issues than cables with longer lengths.

Historically, there have been two major camps of consumers: There are those that would like to enjoy the new level of quality but without the fuss of nit-picking over all the inner workings (my mom and dad, for example). I understand and appreciate this. Alternatively, there are those that want to push the technology to its fullest capacity to squeeze EVERY OUNCE of quality possible from the technology (all of us know someone like this). The engineering part of me appreciates this too.

There IS a potential difference between the quality of circuitry and signal processing in DVD players (and all audio/video components). Likewise, transmitting and moving digital signals around can be accomplished in varying degrees of quality and attention to detail as well.

For those attempting to milk the technology for everything it's got, the entire chain of components from player, to receiver, to cables, to display, to speakers has to be of the utmost quality. Any weak link in the chain diminishes the potential quality of the other devices. For these types of users, pristine quality cables are a must because their equipment is generally more sensitive.

But for most, that same pristine quality cable is going to be overkill given the types of equipment they are connecting. For example, using 4 AWG Monster speaker cable to connect a cheap audio device to its 20 Watt speakers is not going to result in any quality improvement whatsoever. In a similar fashion, I agree that there are going to be a class of digital cables that simply "work or don't work" because the weak link in the chain of equipment is not going to be the cable itself.

Now, from a practical standpoint, I would offer this:

* If your cable comes packaged in anything other than a simple plastic bag, simple box, or envelope, you've paid far too much. (Wise words, not my own.) i.e. Best Buy, Circuit City, Crutchfield, etc.

* Monster Cables ARE good cables, but they ARE ALSO too expensive, and maybe overkill in a lot "typical" environments in which they are used by consumers.

* Try RAM Electronics (http://www.ramelectronics.net) or MonoPrice (http://www.monoprice.com) for quality cables at good prices. Other good cables are by Gefen, Comects, and Wireworld. I prefer RAM for price/quality.

* Here are HDMI cables reviewed by those who hate paying too much for cables (mostly geared toward long lengths): http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/other/cable-benchmark/hdmi-cable-benchmark.html

Thanks for reading!

"Now let's cuddle up and watch that movie... because sometimes spooning leads to forking."

-Jeremy
B.S. EE, M.S. EE/CS
Los Angeles, CA

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A superior brand w/same price entry level prodct: Audioquest
by bryankean / February 13, 2007 10:53 PM PST

Monster and Bose have big marketing costs. The mark-up doesn't surprise me. Audioquest has several levels of interconnects and are found at the higher end audio stores, e.g. Tweeter Etc. or the single owner stores that carry HIGHER end merchandise (such as Pioneer Elite, Sony ES, Krell, Martin-Logan or Wilson Audio speakers, Rotel, B&K, etc.,) not Circuit City or Best Buy. Is there a difference? I believe so; it was proved to my ears with speaker cables Audioquest sells, all other factors set to equal. Ironically, the entry level products from Audioquest cost no more than those from Monster that are above their "standard" level, without all the hype and fancy packaging. They also have multiple levels of product that get into the hundreds of $, not all a waste, but as usual, it's one's values for logarithmic performance return vs. $ cost.

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MONSTER = GOOD
by jadedpanther / February 16, 2007 4:21 AM PST

COME ON WOULD U BUY A FERRARI AND PUT REGULAR GAS IN IT ALL THE TIME.
NO... CLEAN POWER IS KEY. FOR monster hdmi try a comparasion on the same tv one monster one "phillips,ar,or one of those free hdmis that come in a box. The signal clarity is very noticable. Plus u buy a 3000 dollar tv and u complain about paying a couple hundred more. BAck to the monster power center, Even if it didnt have power filters the amount of joules of protection is well worth the cost.

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Pure EVIL
by gypsylounge / February 12, 2007 1:26 AM PST

Monster and other expensive cables are ripping you off! In the days of Analog connections (from your receiver to your speakers, between components like your cd player and your receiver via RCA cables) a quality cable made some improvements in the quality of your audio and video. Today we live in a digital age and that information flows through a cheap cable just as well as an expensive cable. There is no improvement in a $100 cable and a $10 cable.
Good luck and bring back those cables and get some cheap ones. Try it out yourself and see if you can tell a difference.

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If you bought an Aston Martin would you use cheap tires?
by sears_guy / February 12, 2007 12:41 PM PST

First...I agree to an extent about Monster Cables, yes their overpriced, and yes they are a high profit margin. BUT they are your best quality cables at most retailers, so if you buy a GOOD (not cheap) hdtv and want the best picture for it I think you made the right decision. Second, please do your research about your accessories as you do about your tv (i.e. what it needs to operate for dolby digital and hdtv), otherwise trust your salesman's recommendations....well at arms length at least.

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I run good Michelins, but tire quality is vital to safety.
by NM_Bill / February 13, 2007 2:22 AM PST

Digital signal cables are not. The 23 bucks or so Philips HDMI cables at Sam's Club do the job fine.

Monster Cable has good wire, but not nearly the ultimate nor is it a good value.

You are probably more earnest than most Sears guys, but if I shop you for HDTV I will do much research then focus on seeing how the pictures compare as shown. You may be able to be very competitive for the set but, no thanks, I'll pick up the cables at Sam's or online.

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picture quality is vital to your hdtv.
by sears_guy / February 16, 2007 1:25 PM PST

Here's an easy way to shop for your hdtv accessories.

1) HDMI cables - Your best picture for hdtv, plus video & audio thru one cable. (soon will be able to dolby digital also, but with right the reciever)

2) Component cables - Best for your older units that have that connection, i.e. dvd players or games systems.

3) Optical cables - Easiest way to get Dolby Digital surround for your HDTV, i.e. cable boxes, satellite, or game systems.

3a) A good quality home theater with at least one optical connection.

Other things you might consider,
The PS3 has a blu-ray player. Plus a whole lot more, check it out.
Rent Blu-ray movies on netflix or blockbuster online.
On a budget?..a up-converting dvd player with hdmi.

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re : if you buy a GOOD (not cheap) hdtv and want the best pi
by pzul_wisner / February 15, 2007 11:53 PM PST

It's a data cable. If you buy cheap HDMI cables the signal loss is zero. If you buy premium cables do you get some improvement on an already perfect signal?

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Have you seen the difference between 720p vs 1080p?
by sears_guy / February 16, 2007 12:23 PM PST

yes hdtv has leveled the playing field, but there is still a difference between a sony hdtv and a magnavox hdtv....so the same is said for monster cables and philips cables, doesn't mean that the philips cables aren't worth it, it's just...quality in picture.

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Trust your salesman's recommendations?
by Barrister33 / February 16, 2007 2:49 AM PST

At BB? Is this the same BB that invariably tries to sell you a $30 USB cord to connect your printer to your new computer, and suckered this poor individual into spending a ridiculous sum on grossly overpriced cables? Sorry, but trusting a sales person is never a substitute for doing your homework. Unfortunately, folks who research the centerpiece purchase - TV, Receiver, Computer . . . whatever - rarely think to research the peripherals, and unfortunately BB is one of the masters at exploiting this. Who wants to get home and not be able to use their sweet new home theater right away because the store wanted to rip you off on the price of the cables?

In any event, this "should I lay out vast sums on premium cables" subject has been explored in great depth on several audiophile/home theater specialist websites, and the consensus is nearly always the same: unless your trying to carry your signal over an unusually long distance, don't waste your money. Even the techno-geeks with the $20k systems generally admit that they can't hear or see the difference.

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There was a searstv_guy a while back
by jcrobso / February 16, 2007 6:57 AM PST

are you the same one??? John

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