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Any difference between cheap and (quite) expensive HDMI cables?

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by Beastie Boy, Feb 27, 2005.

  1. Beastie Boy

    Beastie Boy
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    I am currently in the process of gathering all my equipment together for my new HC installation. I intend running a HDMI cable from the DVD player to the projector and keep within the digital domain where possible.

    After looking around, there seems to be a very larger difference in price between these cables. For example, Cable Universe sell this one for £18.54 whereas named brands such as QED Qunex cost around £75 (both prices for 5m length which I require).

    I once read (can't remember where) that HDMI specs were designed with better signal integrity than DVI which does have issues with long lengths. Since the data is pure digital, I would have thought that any half decent cable would be able to carry the signal without any loss, provided it has some screening.

    I realise that this issue has been raised in the past but I have been unable to find any posts where anyone has compared cheap/expensive cables and reported any or no differences.

    Is anyone using a cheap (less than £30) HDMI cable at a length of 5m or greater that can share their experience.

    Cheers, Beastie.
     
  2. Filbert

    Filbert
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    As part of our tests that we carry out on every cable before we sell it, I would have to say yes, there is a difference! The difference is less the shorter the cable is.

    We carried out tests on the following brands, Molex, Gefen, Supra and Wireworld. Which as you may know covers a very wide spectrum of prices.

    For a 5m HDMI cable consider Wireworld's Chroma as a minimum, Ultraviolet if budget allows.

    For further evidence of the fact that quality (and therefore price) is relevant for HDMI cables, consider this...

    Wireworld's Chroma 5 HDMI cable only goes up to 5m, Wireworld's tests showed that this cable should not be made/sold in longer lengths than 5m. The same holds true for the Ultraviolet which is only made/sold up to 15m.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Beastie Boy

    As Filbert says there are differences - though sometimes more noticeable on Test Patterns than on actual video sequences.

    You also have to factor in what signals your likely to be sending over the cable - some inexpensive 5m cables are visibly indistinguishable from the heavier grade and generally more expensive offerings with 480P and 576P but start to fall apart with 720P.

    I'd suggest trying out a couple of cables with your source and projector and see for yourself.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  4. Beastie Boy

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    Thanks for the replies chaps.

    How does the degraded picture present itself. I can understand that with an analogue signal, attenuation and interferencr could result in less detail reaching the display giving a slightly softer and visibly different picture. With digital, is it not all or nothing?

    I assumed that any signal loss would result in either no picture, or degredation that is very severe such as total picture break up, with no inbetween stages.

    I suppose the best thing to do is as you say, try the cables and see. I need to find a retailer that will sell me the cables on the basis that I may return one if there is no improvement in PQ.

    Cheers, Beastie.
     
  5. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Beastie Boy - its not just the image that's being transported over the cable.

    The HDCP encryption signal can also get screwed up - resulting in intermittent or no signal with some cables.

    The video signal can exhibit 'sparkles' - you get white dots or flecks on screen as you increase the signal above Standard Definition.

    With a video image up on screen and no sparkles run a test disc and look at the noise in the upper frequencies - some cables give you clean sharp edges and some produce very soft and badly defined edges.

    Some folk also claim colour reproduction is better via one cable than another.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  6. HDMI_Liberte

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    hi all,

    here are my idea of cheap and expensive hdmi
    when u consider HDMI cable over 5m, did u aware of the wire gauge used?
    Most of case, 5m<cable length<10m, AWG26 is enough. 10m<cable length<15m, AWG24 is a must for best uncompressed signal traveling.
    what i mean enough is that the display can be upto 720p/1080p.

    somtimes higher price may have same performance as cheaper price, if u know how to choose. For long digital cable upto 15m, wire gauge is the most critical factor, and then the EMI shielding method. Of course it depends on the application and resolution of your display unit.
    u will know more at www.hdmi.org

    Or it is welcome to discuss more about HDMI
     
  7. Beastie Boy

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    Thanks for the info. That's very helpful. It is quite rare for manufacturers to state conductor size in their product info though, which is a shame.

    Cheers, Beastie.
     
  8. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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  9. HDMI_Liberte

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    but AWG24 is very expensive, heavy and large OD (around 9.5mm)

    AWG24 only appears at long digital cable. (>5m)




     
  10. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello HDMI Liberte

    Not sure what you mean - the complete BetterCables Display Magic range (HDMI, DVI and HDMI to DVI) all use the same 24AWG cable (OD 11mm) no matter if they are 1m or 15m.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  11. kourosh

    kourosh
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    so can sum1 please tell me my £50 1m qed hdmi leads would do the same job as a cheap set thanks :smashin:
     
  12. Beastie Boy

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    At a length of 1m, I personally think a budget cable would be fine. The Profigold cables are well made and don't cost a futune, although there are cheaper ones available.

    My 5m Profigold arrived yesterday and I am more than happy with the construction, triple screening, flexible, gold plating etc.

    Cheers, Beastie.
     
  13. kourosh

    kourosh
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    thanks beastie people are always telling me i waist money :suicide: but at least they look good lol :D
     

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