The Difference Between Low and High-End HDMI Cables

The Difference Between Low and High-End HDMI Cables

If you have ever gone to a big box store with the mission of purchasing an HDMI cable, you probably saw that there are many different HDMI cables from which to choose, and they come in a huge array of price points.  How do you know which HDMI cable is right for you unique application and is there really a difference between an inexpensive, low-end HDMI cable, and an expensive, high-end HDMI cable?  The answer – it depends.  Yes, there is a difference but whether or not you experience any difference depends highly on what you are using the HDMI cable for.

When it comes to home theater equipment, you want to ensure that you are getting the highest quality sound and video from your system.  When you have invested in a high quality home theater or audio/video system, the last place you want to skimp is the HDMI cable.  For a minimal expense, a high quality HDMI cable can make a noticeable difference in the video and audio quality.  To understand what makes an HDMI high quality, Digital Trends provides some helpful insight into HDMI certifications, “‘Cables are rated by speed,’ Jeff explains. ‘There are only two certifications: The original HDMI 1.0 Standard cable, designed for the first HD transition, so 720p, 1080i support, which are very rare now.’ ‘With the introduction of HDMI 1.3 we doubled the bandwidth from about 4.9 Gigabits per second to over 10 Gbps, and these cables are called ‘High Speed HDMI’ cables. Any cable that claims to be high speed must support the full bandwidth.’ ‘HDMI 2.0 makes the signaling method more efficient, so with the old method, a High Speed HDMI cable could handle 10.2 Gbps; now it can handle 18 Gbps.’

That means that existing High Speed HDMI cables, which should always be labeled as ‘High Speed,’ both on the packaging and the cable itself, can handle 4K content at 60 frames per second. If you’re buying a new 4K TV and you already have a High Speed HDMI cable, then there’s no need to buy a new one. ‘People don’t realize, but we actually supported 4K at up to 30fps back in 2009,’ says Park. If you have a High Speed HDMI cable then you’re set for watching anything up to 4K right now, and the price is not going to impact the picture quality. But are there other, valid reasons for spending more on a cable? There are major durability differences between different cables and many manufacturers offer additional features, beyond the ability to carry an HDMI signal, that could add value and cost’ says Park.”

A high quality HDMI cable does not necessarily mean purchasing an extremely expensive cable, it just means buying a well-made High Speed HDMI cable that is compact, durable, and from a reputable company.  If it looks flimsy and cheap, it probably is and it may not last very long or provide the quality that you want.  Invest in a well-made, high-end HDMI cable and it will provide better image and signal quality and ultimately better support your custom home theater system.

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