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Poll: Do you pay a premium for HDMI cables?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / November 20, 2012 7:34 AM PST

To give you some context to this poll, read this CNET blog:
HDMI cable buying guide

Do you pay a premium for HDMI cables?

-- Yes, I believe that quality comes with a price. (Tell us why in this case?)
-- Sometimes. (When do you?)
-- No, they are all the same. (Why is that?)
-- Other. (Please explain.)

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Depends how badly you treat them...
by skycatcher / November 20, 2012 9:23 AM PST

If you treat a cheap cable gently, and with respect, it should last as long as an expensive one. Abuse it and you can wreak a high prices one.

Try - they start at around £3.27

I've been using for many years without any problems.

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Every generic cable I've used has worked just fine
by Crash2100 / November 20, 2012 9:56 AM PST

From my experience, all cables are the same. Just some are a little better made. Just about everything I've used usually cost a lot less using somebody's generic cable type. HDMI Cables, Ethernet cables, and everything else, there's always somewhere you can buy it cheaper, and they all seem to work the same if you get something with the same specs as the expensive one.

Two of the cheapest places I've found were and If you're careful, two other place you can get things cheap from are the stores CompUSA or TigerDirect, their actual stores or online stores sell some cables pretty cheap.

You can buy a 6ft (2m) gold-plated HDMI cable for $3 from the, or even a 16ft(3m) one for $2 more.

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Poor people cannot afford to buy cheap.
by airakalanr / November 20, 2012 10:17 AM PST

Rich folks can afford to buy cheap. They can afford to buy the same thing many many times and when it fails, buy new and just put it down to "cheap". Think rich folks at Walmart or Apple buyers. Buying cheap is an addiction of the rich folks. The 47% or 1%, but a percentage no less. It's those folks that think they know how to buy "cheaper best", and have no idea why our economy is down the toilet! No thought is given to the old adage " Think global, buy local".

Most folks today have no idea what a micron is, but that is all that separates them from a good connection or a crap connection. Vacuum deposition has made the working part of contacts very very thin; a few microns. Herein lies the problem; the cheap connectors have that same few microns of conductor, but the uncoated contact is crap metal.

Life is too short to buy cheap beer, or cheap connectors.

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We are talking HDMI cables, not politics
by John-Tropi / November 20, 2012 4:22 PM PST

It has been tested and satisfactorily proven many times that expensive HDMI cables are a complete waste of money. HDMI cables (and USB also) either work or they don't, regardless of price paid and this has been born out by my own purchases over many many years. I have NEVER had a cheap one fail, not once, not ever.

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Same here
by Bladactania / November 24, 2012 12:07 AM PST

Agreed. I always buy the cheapest HDMI cables I can find. The technology in HDMI cables means that you either get a picture or you don't. HDMI cables are immune to the signal degradation that previous AV cables were susceptible to if they had no insulation, cheap contacts, and uber-thin cheap wires. HDMI cables either work or they don't. There is no middle ground. If you get a picture, then it's 100%.

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You are painting too broad of a brush stroke
by Pepe7 / November 21, 2012 12:58 AM PST

There's plenty of wiggle room in your argument regarding 'buying cheap', and for buyers of HDMI cables too.

One can certainly buy a 6 foot, $3 cable and have good success, regardless of whether it has the 'magical' mandatory micron connector thickness you allude to. If that same person feels the need to shell out $100 for Monster cables to feel like they are necessarily getting some sort of added value with their purchase, I say let them. Even better, I challenge most people to take a blind test to see if they can notice anything distinguishable between several HDMI cable brands of different quality/prices.

FWIW, I've only had one or two of the very cheapest generic cables cause obvious issues (if this is what is meant by "fail"). Never have I had anything from Monoprice, Amazon basic or BlueJeans cable perform anything other than adequately.

Your implication that rich folks need to somehow act in a different way to stimulate the economy somehow is fantasy fueled at best, amigo. I'll only agree with you about the importance of buying good beer(!) [my own kryptonite]

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Why pay more?
by BobHei / November 20, 2012 8:06 PM PST

The cables are binary.... either they work or they don't. If a cheap one doesn't work, take or send it back and get another one. Yes, there might be a difference in the quality of the connectors, and almost certainly in QC in general, but most computer users have quickly learned that QC has become a user responsibility. Sellers recognize that and will exchange any item that doesn't work when first purchased.

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Cable Quality
by l8rb / November 20, 2012 11:41 PM PST

For the bulk of --most-- users, the cheapest cables that actually function as required are just fine.

My personal corollary is long runs. Especially buried in conduit or walls/attics. I --will-- spend a little more for a better quality cable in those instances for the peace-of-mind that I DON"T have to crawl around to do that again. I'm not talking "Monsters", just mid-range with silver or gold contacts for longevity.

For economy, see, or (limited to stock on hand) and watch for the sales.


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Geewhiz factors...but NO
by Willy / November 21, 2012 4:05 AM PST

Provided the cable itself is well made and not cheap as in cheap materials it will deliver the goods. What I find are totally over the top cosmetic issues or colors, etc., that really don't add anything to the actual signal quality. It's the wires that do all the work, so anything on the outside other than produced with respect to proper handling. I don't see where a cable differences on those factors make it any better. Maybe, "gold plating" could offer less corrision or such but even that isn't something most users worry about. ------Willy Happy

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by mayres / November 23, 2012 7:06 AM PST

No Sorry Guys have tried all Types and they all do the same job great Picture Great sound so my advice is buy the Cheap one it Just does the Job

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it depends...
by Tomofumi / November 25, 2012 3:04 PM PST

Since it is digital signal, the price you pay for mostly determined by its the build quality and materials.
For longer cable length, you need a better build quality cable to preserve the signal across such length and prevent interference from nearby EM sources. I've seen some installations that the projector screen will turn black or flash for a few seconds from time to time.
For short cables (0.5-2m), a cheaper cable is fine as long as it is stable to transfer signal and the plug will not break down or loose easily.

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I think you have that backwards.
by asdgfhjk / November 26, 2012 11:59 AM PST
In reply to: it depends...

You have that completely backwards. Analog cables are affected by build quality not digital cables. Between background nose and interference the better made the cable is the more clear the peaks and valleys in amplitude are. The difference is that in a poorly build analog cable, the minor variations in amplitude are lost and it only peaks up the larger peaks and valleys. Use the link below as an example. A "poor" cable might chop off some of the variability in the amplitude of complex sounds (sounds within other sound), but a "good" cable would keep the signal clean and pick up both the primary sound and the various inside the main wave. This doesn't apply to digital signals what so ever.

It is still possible to get interference with digital signals, but it is much less common and would require a fairly massive EM field like running your HDMI cable parallel with the main power line into your house or running it behind the circuit breakers.

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Buiy the cheap cables!!
by njwaterguy / November 27, 2012 11:20 AM PST

When I got my first flat panel TV, it was Black Friday and the price was right; the store sold me a cable too. When I got home, I checked the price elsewhere and bought another one for half the price at Staples. Years ago, I needed a USB cable and checked 5 or 6 local stores. Prices ranged from $25 to $30. I wound up buying the same thing--even the same brand--on Amazon for less than $5.

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