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Monster HDMI Cables Not Worth the Money

by jbothell / February 16, 2007 10:45 PM PST

Consumer Reports says of HDMI cables, (and I will paraphrase because I don't feel like looking it up again), 'when it comes to HDMI cables the rule is simple: use the cheapest reasonably constructed cable you can find'. I firmly believe this and here is why:

1. It's digital. It's 1's and 0's. Your monitor either received ALL the data or it didn't. If there is a loss of this "signal" (which is better described as a data stream) you are pretty much going to lose it all in the form of no picture, skips or pixelation artifacts. But picture quality, sharpness, color brightness, etc...are not improved because you bought a $150 cable instead of a $35 cable. Period.

2. Monster HDMI cables are - in terms of physical construction - just too rigid. I spent several weeks adding to, and making improvements to, my "A/V empire" (as my wife calls it) and after moving and shuffling equipment around for a couple of weeks the monstor HDMI cables (partly due to poor design of HDMI plugs and jacks in general) had tweaked out the jacks on both my monitor and other components such that they were loose and would actually lose connection if you wiggled them. Pathetic. I took them all back to Best Buy and returned them in favor of more pliable cables. And put $300 back in my pocket. Picture and audio are, of course, just the same and now I don't have to worry that I am damaging the HDMI jacks on my equipment every time I try to service or upgrade my system.

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same problem but worse
by BFLIII / March 1, 2007 4:06 AM PST

I also added a Monster HDMI cable between my Denon AVR-2807 and Mitsubishi WD-62725. After several moves back and forth on the stand to complete connections from other componants I began getting a scrambled video signal. Upon investigation I determined that the pins were grossly misaligned in the TV's HDMI input, the pin plate was cracked and the Monster cable was damaged. I have an authorized Mits repair tech coming out tonight for repair. To make matters worse, I'm told by the tech that the input can not be replaced alone but is attached to a circuit board. A Mits CS rep confirmed this as well and only offered that the TV should have "adequate" clearance. My problem is that no one initially suggested that the combination of this stiff cable with the less than robust design of the HDMI input would so easily create damage. No warning from the manufacturer of the cables or the TV or the dealer. In fact, the dealer was pushing the Monster cables. All this leaving me in the middle with a yet to be determined repair cost. Has this been an issue for others? My repair guy told me on the phone he has replaced numerous HDMI inputs on various models due to the same issue.

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by Riverledge / March 9, 2007 11:16 AM PST
In reply to: same problem but worse

NEWCOMERS who don't know better, and are easily caught up in MONSTERS hype. THEY bought their way to the top by false advertising.

Stay away.

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not improved because you bought $150 cable instead of a $35
by jcrobso / March 2, 2007 2:17 AM PST

This is what I have been saying for long time!!!
The HDMI connector is basically a very bad design, they should have stayed with a DVI type connector. Now when you put a thick ridge cable cable on it like Mon$tor uses you are really asking for trouble! john

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by Riverledge / March 4, 2007 10:19 AM PST

THE PRICE SEEMS TO BE DICTATED by how much MONSTER spends on advertising.
And there's also the "law of diminishing returns," which most folks who buy Monster products seem to ignore.

Say goodbye to your money for me,


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by bevillan / March 2, 2007 3:55 AM PST

Do any of you suggest that I stop using my 10 ft Monster HDMI cable? I guess I don't see why it would cause problems as long as you don't jam it in the input over and over.

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As long as it is not putting stran on the HDMI jack.
by jcrobso / March 2, 2007 4:46 AM PST
In reply to: so...

It should be OK!
Now if you can still return it and get your money back and but a good cable that cost less??? but that is up to you. John

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by bevillan / March 2, 2007 5:01 AM PST

The cable is so long for a HDMI cable that the only 'strain' on it is the weight of the cable itself, no tension from pulling. I've had the cable for about 6 months so I doubt I could get my money back. I bought it because it was the only one long enough I could find for what I needed.

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Monster is snake oil
by Insight Driver / March 2, 2007 10:33 AM PST
In reply to: strain

The marketing claims of Monster are snake oil for the 21st century. A data stream is digital. You either have the signal or you don't. Go buy the cheapest cable you can find because there is absolutely no added value in a Monster version of the cable. You pay for bling only.

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by jostenmeat / March 2, 2007 11:01 AM PST
In reply to: Monster is snake oil

Ive got a monster cable that I got suckered into when I started the HT thing. Ya, hate the rigid construction. Bought the lowest end monster cable after I realized the higher end one had an enormous casing that wouldnt even fit, which loosened up one of my hdmi slots.

Gefen is known to have a very good physical connection as far as hdmi cables go. About 40 dollars for shorter/regular lengths. They have many lengths and boosters and such.

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Thank you for the lead in!!!!!
by jcrobso / March 5, 2007 12:25 AM PST
In reply to: Monster is snake oil
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Not worth the money!!!
by christopher78130 / March 3, 2007 12:07 AM PST

I agree 100%. Radio shack cables have always been my choice. The people at Circut City really push MONSTER. I was able to return my HDMI cable, and saved a bunch of cash by going to Radio Shack.

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Poor Construction
by Esw88 / March 3, 2007 1:45 AM PST
In reply to: Not worth the money!!!

I have used an HDMI cable from my Cable Box to my TV for well over a year. I noticed at the start that it was a flimsy connection, prone to being bent out of shape. So far so good, except for the fact that some newer TVs have 2 HDMI inputs and they have reduced the other jacks (component). I see problems in the future.

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Surprised, people fall for rip off, where is C/Net ???
by sbrasch99 / March 3, 2007 9:27 AM PST
In reply to: Poor Construction

No Electronic Engineer has thus far not made comment on the fraudulent advertising of this M product to rip money from the average unknowledgeable John Q public?s pocket. There are some who mentioned the binary 1-0-1 etc signal that is transmitted, which is correct and is not affected by interference like analog sign waveform transmission where shielding is important.

Anyways, these cables are made in Hong Kong or in some other eastern country in a alley. And are not made of any better material or constructed by some supreme craftsman that thereby would make this a better product then any other medium reasonable priced brand name cable .

Maybe I am jealous because I did not figure a way to rip big bucks from peoples pockets, which is not true. One important thing to me is I can sleep at nights.

With a double EE


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Feeling is the same my man
by kdjackphd / March 4, 2007 8:06 AM PST

I too can sleep at night also. i think it is a shame that when you walk into these stores and here the sales guy pushing this sh.. on to people whom have no idea of the basics of electronics.oh by the way i found out it cost the M company all of $1.32 to make the avg 6 ft run of HDMI cable and we all know what the markup is. Kenneth Jackson PH.d

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by thinksnow / March 4, 2007 10:35 PM PST

Did you drop your degree to give creedence to your claim? If so, in what field of engineering is your degree? It's evident that you kept a safe distance from the written sciences.

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Not trying to give credence to any thing , sorry if i step
by kdjackphd / March 5, 2007 3:32 AM PST
In reply to: Professor

on toes here.No i did not drop my degree to give credence to ANY CLAM, but if you must know i have a B.S.E.E. Master's in computer sci and i did my PH.d in artificial intelligence's. and no i do not keep a distance i just disagree with some of them i worked my *** for it and i shall use it proudly

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Forget the stepping on toes concern for your credentials by
by NM_Bill / March 6, 2007 12:52 AM PST

thinksnow. Glad to have you acknowledge pertinent credentials. We like to have pertinent, well intended information & opinions expressed here by a diverse background group. Hope you stick around.

Good recommendations come from just those with similiar experience & how they solved situations. When someone misinterprets technical things credentialed correction is the order of the day.

Yes, we make jabs at opposing opinions, usually with a touch of good natured humor.

I am also one who dedicated some serious years earning some acknowledgment of some field of study. Also in my case is the fact my education doesn't pertain to the matters at hand. In other words, in some manner it doesn't mean crap. My interest just comes from long time interest in things audio.

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This is not the first time that we have talked about M cable
by jcrobso / March 5, 2007 12:19 AM PST

It has been given a through going over.
Sales people use a shamming routine to on people,"you just spent $3000 on HDTV don't you want to get the "BEST" cables, you won't get the full picture quality if you don't but the Mon$tor cables" This make you feel like your a "BAD" person it you don't get them!
I'm Electronic Engineer and I have mad a lot of comments about Mon$tor cables FUD policies. John

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To Bobwilliams, post deleted.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / September 22, 2008 6:51 PM PDT

Your post was off-topic, ("The growth of C/Net"), and you included a link in your signature advertising a web site.

That's two reasons your post contravened Forum Policy, and two reasons why I deleted it.


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Monster HDMI
by bevillan / March 5, 2007 4:21 AM PST
In reply to: Not worth the money!!!

I bought a Monster 10ft HDMI cable at Target because a) it was the longest I could find at a department store and 6) was about $50 on sale so it wasn't a huge cost for the Monster name.

I will be sure to not have any tension on the cable in fear of screwing up my HDMI inputs on my components.

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Monster Cables, Monstrous mistake!!
by Hi-def Jeff / March 3, 2007 8:05 AM PST

Having serviced many HD satellite systems, I have replaced most of their products to remedy customer problems. I have replaced HDMI, Component, even their splitters($20.00!!!) and coaxial cable! Who are these guys, anyway? One last note: DO NOT USE MONSTER POWER WITH SATELLITE SYSTEMS! A surge protector should be used, but not MONSTER. MANY times I have unplugged from Monster power sources and plugged directly into the wall to solve a receiver issue.

Hi-Def Jeff

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Monster Power & Satellite
by rossguy / March 3, 2007 9:54 AM PST

I read your posting with great interest when I saw your warning about Monster Power. I am using Monster Power with all of my audio/video components which include Direct TV TIVO HD250 as well as a Direct TV DVR Receiver. These are the only satellite receivers that I have connected to the Monster Power and as far as I know, after about nine months I haven't had any problems with it.
I had problems with the Direct TV DVRs (I have three) but that was due more to their cheap construction and lackluster features when compared to the TIVO's they were supposed to replace; but that's another thread. Could you elaborate on the problems you encountered or if I should unplug the HDDVR from it. Thank you!

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If you don't have a problem, don't fix it!
by Hi-def Jeff / March 4, 2007 4:55 AM PST

First of all, Monster power products do not always interfere with a receiver. Second, I don't believe they cause any damage, at least, I am unaware of any damage; just inhibited function. All of the receivers that I have dealt with were fine once they were plugged into a different source. If you don't have a problem, don't fix it! Don't, as they say, "throw good money after bad", and go get a different power source.

Specifically, the problem is the "cycling" of a receiver. If you had this problem, you would know. It will lose signal and produce a "searching for satellite signal" message. (This is a common message, though, that appears every time signal is lost.) The key to this problem is "cycling", we'll describe as: Repeated loss and re-acquisition of the signal. It may happen in conjunction with changing channels. It may occur at pretty regular intervals, every so-many minutes. Sometimes cycling will include the receiver shutting off completely. When I see this type of behavior, I always think "electrical". First I check for Monster power. If that is not it, I test the house electrical power. Hot/neutral reversed will also cause this type behavior.

I don't believe that Monster power is a problem for any other type of electronics, but satellite receivers (DISH and DirecTV) are different. Their electrical needs "vary" a bit.

The reason that SOME satellite receivers have a problem is this: Satellite receivers back feed voltage. Mostly, 13 or 18 volts, according to the channel you select. It seems that the Monster products ARE very sensitive to power surges and such. Some monster power products will "sense" this change in potential that happens when the receiver is back-feeding a change in voltage. It then attempts to counteract this change, which interferes in the receivers ability to send the correct voltage, and loses signal. A voltage meter hooked to the "Sat IN" port will give you two distinct 13v and 18v pulses, normally. When plugged into one of the problem power sources, it is erratic, seemingly fighting to get a steady voltage. There you have it! (That's my explanation, anyway. If there's a better one, someone let ME know!)

Hope this answered your question, Ross. I apologize for it's length, but, half an answer, is really much more like a question.

Hi-def Jeff

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Monster Power w/satellite receivers
by rossguy / March 4, 2007 6:02 AM PST

Thank you so much for taking the time to explain such an esoteric issue in a very clear and concise manner.
I believe that I have experienced one or more of the examples you mentioned which I dismissed as a temporary inconvenience or "satellite reception" problem. Because the signal would correct itself in less than ten seconds, I may have blamed other possible factors such as my previously stated problems with the HDMI connection which after powering off both units for a minute or so, appeared to syncronize appropriately without any additional signal loss.
At this point it wouldn't hurt for me to try a different power strip and see if the problem surfaces again down the road.
Again, thank you for taking the time to educate me about this. I'm sure it will be helpful to many others.
Now if only I could reforge a relationship between TIVO & Direct TV. They don't seem to have a clue regarding customer desires to network all existing DVRs and continue to produce stand alone systems.
That's a whole other issue. Thanks again!

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Off subject "quickie"
by Hi-def Jeff / March 4, 2007 9:47 PM PST

It sounds to me that your total solution has little to do with HDMI cables, but service providers...

Check out Dish Network. The best HD-DVR available, to my knowledge, is the VIP 622. An incredible unit! Few people know all that it can do.
With an off-air antenna (you have one don't you?), you have 3 recordable tuners (2 satellite tuners, 1 OTA tuner) that can be available in 2 different rooms. DirecTV and TiVo can't compare. I will be expounding the wonders of the VIP 622 on the website. Please be patient, the website has only been in development for about two weeks now.

"The most worthless piece of technology is the one you don't know how to use." Hi-Def Jeff

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No they are not.
by Muad Dib / March 4, 2007 6:04 AM PST

No they are not. Unfortunately Monster is very goo at selling hype. Reputable HDMI cables can be purchased for as little as 10% of Monster's monster prices.

Also, if you don't need more than 6 feet then you definitely don't need the heavier gage cable (maybe as long as 10-12'!). This will allow a more flexible cable with less potential weight on the connector.

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So....which cables require high quality?
by Gortner697 / March 5, 2007 3:39 AM PST

So... HDMI cables don't have to be expensive Monster variety. But what about component video, optical audio and other cables?

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A lot depends on how long they are.
by jcrobso / March 5, 2007 11:39 PM PST

For home use we are usually talking about 6~10' cables and 20~30' for speaker wire.
Component video cables are 75 ohm coax, you could make your own if your good with a soldering iron!
I usually suggest Radio shack house brand, or the RCA brand that Home Depot carries.
For optical cables $15~30 prince range is good.
For speaker cables any 16ga lamp cord will do the job, unless your runs are over 40', then maybe go to 14 ga wire.
My big objection to Mon$tor cables is the high cost if all stores sold the cables at prices like MCM then I would say go buy them. John

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Please, don't get this started again...
by Hi-def Jeff / March 6, 2007 1:20 AM PST

Experience in the field says, Monster products can, and do cause issues. The problem is more than ridiculous price, it's function. I would not buy them for a dollar, I would not buy them if you holler, I would not buy them for a dime, they make problems, all the time!

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where do you get thos info????
by tech fan / March 6, 2007 3:30 PM PST

wow. Monster products do not cause issues. Yes they might be more than some other brands but some poeple feel they are worth it. And not just salesmen either.

Digital is 1 and 0's yes. But have you ever heard of bit depth loss? When the signal starts it has, say, 1 milion 1 & 0's. By the time it gets to its destination, the siganl only has 750,000 1& 0's. These 'lost' bits mean lost detail in the picture, or lst color info, or lost something. They meant something. Better cables will help to get "more" info to the end point. Yes there is sme diminishing returns. But they do make a difference overall.

SPEAKER CABLE IS NOT CALLED LAMP CORD FOR A REASON!!!! If you people would come into my store so I could show you in person just how much of a difference speaker cables can make you would be amazd!!!!!!!!!!!! I was the first time I heard a no games 3 cable test. We had the cable that comes in a HTIB, a major brand(Can you guess which? lol) and Audioquest's CV-8 line (a couple hundred bucks for a 8 ft. pair with pure silver spades and banana plugs). The demo was Cl;apton unplugged. You went from hearing nothing before the song to hearing some croud, to actualy hearing Clapton talk to someone before the son started. No joke, we physically could not hear the sounds we heard later. And just so you know one of my guys was switching cables there was no gimmick or trick involved!!!

Sorry, just ticking me off. I do not lie it when people make uninformed comments.

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