HDMI - Does the quality of the cable really make a difference?

cartmg91

Standard Member
Hi Folks,

I'm about to purchase a plasma telly which will obviously have HDMI connections at the back. I'll also purchase a dvd player and probably will go for Sky HD sooner or later.

I keep hearing of people who have went out and spent £60+ on a "higher quality" HDMI cable. Do these cables really make any difference? I can understand that better cables can help analogue signals but HDMI is digital.

How can a cable improve on a digital signal? I would have thought the bits either get to your TV or they don't. If they don't you won't get a picture.

I'm sure someone will put me right :)

Thanks

Glenn
 

pjclark1

Well-known Member
cartmg91 said:
How can a cable improve on a digital signal? I would have thought the bits either get to your TV or they don't. If they don't you won't get a picture. I'm sure someone will put me right :)

Not me, I totally agree, more than a fiver is just wasting money.
 

rooo

Active Member
I personally could not tell the difference between a cheapo ebay 1 metre cable I used for testing and my current very expensive 8 metre BetterCables cable.

However, I had been through 2 other 'good brand' 8 metre cables which simply would not deliver a picture when it came to delivering the picture over 8 metres. The BetterCables cable was the only one that did.

The general consensus is that over a short distance, as long as the cable is well made, you will not notice much, if any difference. Over longer distances, it is a different matter though.
 
C

connections

Guest
Hi Glen yes it can be very frustrating hearing different views as to wheather
more expensive cables offer a better quality picture that cheap ones, i have tested and tried many HDMI Cables and found startling results, however if you have spent your well earned cash on a plasma, DVD player, or SKY box come to that [the hideff one] why is it then we question the quality of cables. Well i can not give you a diffinitive answer if i am honest, because there is not one, it is true that HDMI carrys digital data, and therefore is the same what ever the cable, but whats important to remember is how it gets to wheres its going and what the cable is doing, what is its purpose? this small innocent cable is taking all the information [picture] to your screen.
So the question is, is there a difference yes there is, and i have to tread very carefully here, its down to how its made the quality of the components used to make the lead, does it fit snug in the socket both ends, i have used cables that have very nearly fallen out of the back of a DVD player, the actual plating on the plug loose, and the moulding around the collar frayed and this is a cable that would set you back £100. but on the other hand i tried a £20 cable and its performance was brilliant, so its about getting a cable that will give you the best performance for your money, but you will get what you pay for, the well known brands out there are excellent cables you only have to look at the awards they have, and thats a good start take a bit of time to read the reviews these will guide you, the way i look at it is if you spent £6000 on DVD, Plasma, etc would you use the cables from the box?
possibly, and they may serve you well, but spend £6000 on HiFi and use the cables out the box, and people would frown WHY? is the difference in sound quality that much better buying more expensive interconnects than those in the box, of course it is, so why should you not have better performance from your picture with a better quality HDMI cable, you can get superb performance from a cable costing £40-50. and beating alot of the big boys out there, and this cost is nothing, think of it as investing in your system to give you the best viewing pleasure.another good tip for long distance cables is if its ATC certified [Authorised test centre] thats a good sign, these are usally made for very long lengths upto 20m plus. this does not mean that other cables will not deliver a good performance on long lengths, but ATC approved will give you peace of mind.
Andy... i enjoyed that.:confused:
 

pjclark1

Well-known Member
If you need a HDMI cable, this one costs £5.35 plus delivery
http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/88017

If for some reason it doesn't work, they will give a full refund.
If it does work the picture will be just as good as the picture from a £500 cable.
The only reason to spend more money, is if you need a longer cable.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello all

We ought to ban all reference to Cables 'improving' anything and talk about them degrading the signal - you start with a Reference Grade with Zero negative affects and work down from there; mind you the marketers would take an age getting to grips with that one.

As you increase the resolution of the Digital signals your carrying and increase the distance your carrying your signal over you increase the reliability on the construction and design of the HDMI cable you are using.

If you want to ensure the cable you are purchasing meets the required specifications then you often have to pay a little more to get a Certified design - though you needn't pay out a fortune for a 'reference' grade HDMI cable; see http://www.bettercables.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=3

An HDMI signal may be Digital but it can still be affected by the cable and the environment the cable lives in - as others have said you tend to mostly get an image, no image or an image with drop out or sparkles; though some folk do report they see other artefacts that they put down to one cable and not another.

Best regards

Joe
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Its just a pity no one told the cable 'experts' that in reality lots of people do require HDMI cables over 4m :)

And its just a pity everyone's 150.00 GBP up-converting DVD player is not built to the same standards as a 3,000 USD pattern generator.

And its just a pity that HDCP is such a mess.

Best regards

Joe
 
D

Deleted member 30535

Guest
JohnWH said:
Hmm, strange, must've moved it...
Even stranger that your link is working now! :confused:

EDIT DOH! Just realised you've probably edited your link!
 

JohnWH

Active Member
Joe Fernand said:
Its just a pity no one told the cable 'experts' that in reality lots of people do require HDMI cables over 4m :)

And its just a pity everyone's 150.00 GBP up-converting DVD player is not built to the same standards as a 3,000 USD pattern generator.

And its just a pity that HDCP is such a mess.

Best regards

Joe

Joe, yes its a crummy standard in many respects, however the key thing is that the cables either do or don't work (be it the fault of the player or the cable), and for longer runs we have the likes of BetterCables heavier duty cables, and for even longer runs you can always stick a repeater in.

And HDCP? Well, we'd have that _whatever_ digital interconnect had been chosen as standard.

John.
 

SlinkDaddy

Well-known Member
I went from the cable that came with my DVD to a 0.75m kimber HDMI when RA had it in their sale. I think the pic is slightly better on fine detail and things appear slightly more 3D, but as a lot of people might suggest its quite possible i might just be convincing myself.
 

Nic Rhodes

Distinguished Member
Joe Fernand said:
We ought to ban all reference to Cables 'improving' anything and talk about them degrading the signal - you start with a Reference Grade with Zero negative affects and work down from there;


Wise words again from uncle Joe. The understanding DVI ppt from Silicon Image is well worth viewing for those who think digital cables like HDMI work or don't work. One day I will record some eye diagrams for cables and post but I am fearful it might get too technical. In the mean time get a cable fit for purpose that stays in the socket. This does not necessayily mean 99p on ebay but I doubt it is £500 either, in fact it can be achieved for modest amounts of money if your demands are modest, if they are more demanding, then your purse has to match as well.
 

Knyght_byte

Distinguished Member
its simply a case of using some common sense.......regardless of the price of the cable, if it looks a bit flimsy, probably best avoiding it...lol....if it looks well constructed and sealed then it should do the trick (on shorter runs....obviously as mentioned on longer runs there is a bit more to making sure the signal actually gets there..heh)

when i accidently stuffed up my QED 10m HDMI cable it ended up with a parting in the rubber near the connector......and altho it got the signal there essentially, i got jaggies, like a PC image badly in need of antialiasing....lol.....i'm guessing because the HDMI port was next to the power port so the mains cable was interfering through the gap in the rubber....i assume anyhow......still, that HDMI cable along with my screwed in VGA cable helped my projector survive another day when it slid off the shelf after owning it for only a few months last year....heh...damn was that a scary moment.......one minute i'm watching a film, next minute i see the image sliding down off the screen with a crack as the shelf gave way.....tinkle as glass breaks.....me dreading the worst, turns out to be a drinks glass that was on the shelf, and the PJ is dangling by its necessaries....LOL....luckily only the HDMI cable got damaged, everything else was fine.....but still, just think, if i'd bought a cheapo non screw VGA or cheapo HDMI it coulda been a different story and i'd be back to a 28in widescreen CRT...heh
 

JohnWH

Active Member
Nic Rhodes said:
Wise words again from uncle Joe. The understanding DVI ppt from Silicon Image is well worth viewing for those who think digital cables like HDMI work or don't work. One day I will record some eye diagrams for cables and post but I am fearful it might get too technical. In the mean time get a cable fit for purpose that stays in the socket. This does not necessayily mean 99p on ebay but I doubt it is £500 either, in fact it can be achieved for modest amounts of money if your demands are modest, if they are more demanding, then your purse has to match as well.

The key is there is _no_ subtle degredation, the slides are pretty clear on this, the slides at the beginning even makes the 'they do or don't work' statement, although I think this is in reference to obvious errors.

John.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello JohnWH

HDCP would be easy enough it everyone had to implement it in a uniform way - as it is its a free for all and can cause all sorts of problems.

Joe
 

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