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Do HDMI brands matter?

SpiderJ

Standard Member
New article from PC World about how all HDMI cables are essentially the same (assuming the same HDMI spec) in most normal uses. Is this right? I've never done any extensive testing myself, but trusted What Hi Fi when it recommended the QED Performance .

Could I have saved myself some cash and just used the bog standard cables that came with and never noticed the difference?
 

mjcairney

Distinguished Member
SpiderJ Could I have saved myself some cash and just used the bog standard cables that came with and never noticed the difference?[/QUOTE said:
Almost certainly yes unless perhaps you had runs of over approximately 5M.

Cheers,

Martin.
 
New article from PC World about how all HDMI cables are essentially the same (assuming the same HDMI spec) in most normal uses. Is this right? I've never done any extensive testing myself, but trusted What Hi Fi when it recommended the QED Performance .

Could I have saved myself some cash and just used the bog standard cables that came with and never noticed the difference?

Yes. There are no subtle differences with HDMI picture quality. The cable will either deliver the data to the display intact, or show with obvious glitches (green/purple pixels, flashing screen, etc.) In other words, if you have a bad cable, you'd know about it.

The review you linked to is written without an understanding of how HDMI works. Saying that "motion could be better" or that it has "a good colour palette" (what?!) in the context of a cable makes no sense.

Check these videos out - an HDMI expert explains it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MMDGkQ-w5s
Jump to roughly 3 minutes 20 seconds.
 
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Maxson

Well-known Member
I read the PC Mag article today as well (Slaying the Cable Monster: Why HDMI Brands Don't Matter | PCMag.com). Pretty good article. When I bought my Bluray player I was told in the shop that for a Bluray player I would need at least a £40 HDMI cable to prevent problems with the picture. So I bought one for £5 from Morrisons instead and it works perfectly. I have a £5 cable from B&Q which is also perfect and I don't doubt the ~£3 ones from Amazon are also just as good.
 

andy1249

Distinguished Member
It's a good article making an essential point, the undeniable fact that there are no sound or picture quality differences between HDMI cables , however, it makes a couple of mistakes that could mislead.

First, bandwidth.

None of the features of hdmi 1.4 silicon require extra bandwidth, the interface has exactly the same bandwidth as HDMI 1.3 which is 10.2gbps.

3d is [email protected] x 2 which is actually less bandwidth than a 2D 1080p signal at 50hz, likewise a 4K stream would be at 24fps and is the same bandwidth as a 3D signal. So there should be no bandwidth issues for any cable types with regard to any signal likely to show up in the near future.

Second, cables in this article are consistently referred to as HDMI 1.x etc. Compliant which is misleading and should never be done as it incorrectly implies a difference in cables needed for the different version number interfaces.
This is not now, and never has been the case.
Cables should only be described as either category 1 standard speed or category 2 high speed.
Even at that it should be noted that this just refers to what test was carried out on the cable.
Both tests are never carried out on one cable as the tests are very expensive so even if a cable is marked as category 1, this does not mean it won't carry category 2 signals, it just means It wasn't tested with those signals, indeed , in my experience , most cables below 8 meters will carry any signal, regardless of which category it was tested too.
 

lgv0000

Standard Member
Yes. There are no subtle differences with HDMI picture quality. The cable will either deliver the data to the display intact, or show with obvious glitches (green/purple pixels, flashing screen, etc.) In other words, if you have a bad cable, you'd know about it.

The review you linked to is written without an understanding of how HDMI works. Saying that "motion could be better" or that it has "a good colour palette" (what?!) in the context of a cable makes no sense.

Check these videos out - an HDMI expert explains it:
YouTube - ‪HDMI v1.4 explained‬‏
Jump to roughly 3 minutes 20 seconds.

Thanks. You just saved me some cash...I was looking for different brands that build 1.4 HDMI cables to get the best set-up from my newly formed "marriage" between a 3D Samsung TV and Onkyo 309 + 5.1 speaker package. Even though I have the sound for the Sky HD box coming through an optical lead, I thought that the 1.3 version that I currently have from the Sky box to the HDMI SAT IN of the AV receiver would not get the best from all the data required by a 3D transmission ...and that a 1.4 high speed cable would outperform the optical...but that idea I got by reading reviews on various sites, which obviously are trying to sell their products, rather than give you impartial advice. I'm still confused about the speaker cables though...the QED Silver Anniversary seem to deliver better , clearer sound compared to the standard very thin cables that came with the speakers...But maybe that's just my brain telling me non-sense... Thanks again for stopping me from wasting some cash.
 

Avi

Distinguished Member
Even though I have the sound for the Sky HD box coming through an optical lead, I thought that the 1.3 version that I currently have from the Sky box to the HDMI SAT IN of the AV receiver would not get the best from all the data required by a 3D transmission ...and that a 1.4 high speed cable would outperform the optical...

SkyHD will only output multi-channel bitstream surround sound i.e. Dolby Digital via S/PDIF (optical or coax). Audio by HDMI is limited to 2 channel LPCM so no Dolby Digital.

I'm still confused about the speaker cables though...the QED Silver Anniversary seem to deliver better , clearer sound compared to the standard very thin cables that came with the speakers...But maybe that's just my brain telling me non-sense... Thanks again for stopping me from wasting some cash.

The same rules that apply to HDMI do not apply to all signal and cable types.

Avi
 

Maxson

Well-known Member
I'm still confused about the speaker cables though...the QED Silver Anniversary seem to deliver better , clearer sound compared to the standard very thin cables that came with the speakers...But maybe that's just my brain telling me non-sense... Thanks again for stopping me from wasting some cash.
It is definitely true that thicker speaker cables are better up to a point.

More copper means less electrical resistance. Lower resistance in the speaker cable means less of the power from the amplifier is wasted in heating the cable and more is available to drive the speaker itself. There is a point where the cable is thick enough that it's resistance becomes negligible and further increases in cable thickness give vanishing benefit. This also depends on the length of the cable. The longer the cable the thicker it needs to be.

This doesn't apply to signal cables in the same way as they transmit almost no power due to what should be very high impedance on signal inputs.

The benefits of how oxygen free the copper in speaker wire is debateable. As long as the wire is thick enough in theory it should have no effect on the sound from the speakers. But then that's a whole can of worms... and I'm no expert and I don't have any audiophile equipment to test these theories with....
 
I just noticed the AV magazine you mentioned recommends an HDMI cable that costs £5.

British hi fi magazine who will not be named said:
Compare the ThatCable HDMI to the free stuff, and you'll immediately see – and hear – a big improvement.

Pictures are more stable and motion more assured, while even colours are a little more vivid and exact. Sound has more scale and detail, too.

Since it's so cheap, I decided to take them up on their offer, and I need an extra cable anyway. This will be a fun scientific comparison!
 

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