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AV and Multimedia Related Thread, Very cheap and expensive HDMI cables - what's the difference? in Technical; I occasionally take a look round our local poundland as sometimes you can find some cracking stuff in there. For ...
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    dgsmith's Avatar
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    Very cheap and expensive HDMI cables - what's the difference?

    I occasionally take a look round our local poundland as sometimes you can find some cracking stuff in there. For instance I noticed, and bought, a 1m HDMI cable for.. 1! I see HDMI cables retail at the cheapest in shops for 8 (Tesco value, etc) and the cheapest one I had seen before this was on dabs for 3.

    Just wondering if this 1 cable could be inferior in any way? Will it cause any damage or likely to transmit a poor signal? I must say it seems fairly rigid and has everything you'd expect!

    Fair enough some cables are a better build, but how could this differ to a Belkin one in Currys for 50 (or at least to warrant a price 50x more)?

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    eddyc's Avatar
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    I've used a couple of these cables myself and have to say I've been impressed... No noticable difference and a considerable saving... an all round winner

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgsmith View Post
    I occasionally take a look round our local poundland as sometimes you can find some cracking stuff in there. For instance I noticed, and bought, a 1m HDMI cable for.. 1! I see HDMI cables retail at the cheapest in shops for 8 (Tesco value, etc) and the cheapest one I had seen before this was on dabs for 3.

    Just wondering if this 1 cable could be inferior in any way? Will it cause any damage or likely to transmit a poor signal? I must say it seems fairly rigid and has everything you'd expect!

    Fair enough some cables are a better build, but how could this differ to a Belkin one in Currys for 50 (or at least to warrant a price 50x more)?
    Below 5m, nothing. Above that then you need good quality (but not vastly expensive) cables. If the cable is too long then you tend to get dots of interference, beyond that the signal will usually not sync. There are different standards but these only tell you tested bandwidth, if they meet the same standard then they should be the same no matter the cost.


    As the signal is digital, if it gets there then it cannot be somehow be made better by an expensive cable, the 1s and 0s are exactly the same, it cannot be clearer, more vibrant or any other marketing rubbish.

    It's pure snake oil, like audiophile power leads, fuses and gold plated optical cables (yes, they really exist!). In fact more expensive ones are often worse for end users as they are much heavier and pull considerably on the slightly fragile connectors.


    Has anyone ever felt their ethernet was faster and more responsive when using two different working patch leads? Did the ones seem more oney and the zeros more zeroey?


    I continue to await peer reviewed scientific evidence along with a double blind test showing there is any difference. I should think I will be waiting quite some time

  4. 2 Thanks to DMcCoy:

    dgsmith (6th January 2010), SimpleSi (6th January 2010)

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    mattx's Avatar
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    Lets not get into the debate then [ if there is one ] about the arrows [ directional ] on my speaker cable.......Or if the sound is better with shorter lengths....

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    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattx View Post
    Lets not get into the debate then [ if there is one ] about the arrows [ directional ] on my speaker cable.......Or if the sound is better with shorter lengths....
    The fuses with an arrow on which replace those on the AC side of a power supply are particularly humorous

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    mattx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMcCoy View Post
    The fuses with an arrow on which replace those on the AC side of a power supply are particularly humorous
    Gold plated Scart Cables anyone ?

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    I've got some quite expensive audio gear, but it's all liked together using the really cheapo linkups - never had a problem, no hums or interfearance at all. I use mains cable for my speaker wire - low resistance and cheap as chips in long lengths so I can run it all over my lounge to the right places and it doesn't cost me a bomb. I can't tell the difference if I wire it up with some decent speaker cable I've got, it sounds the same to me.

    The quality of the cable does make some difference for video cables however. Cheapo short lengths are normally fine, but you do get interferance over longer lengths in my experience.

  9. Thanks to maniac from:

    SimpleSi (6th January 2010)

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    ZeroHour's Avatar
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    The rule about HDMI cables I was told was to ensure they are certified 1.3 compatible. If thats the case then that means they have the proper shielding to ensure no problems usually and you shouldnt in theory have any problems.

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    dgsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMcCoy View Post
    Below 5m, nothing. Above that then you need good quality (but not vastly expensive) cables.
    Yes I did read somewhere that short cables don't really pose a problem, it's only once you start getting some length you need to ensure it is well built. In saying that, these 1 cables have the "gold plated" connectors that the sales pitches seem to focus on! Makes you wonder what kind of profit margin these 50 cables have.

    Zerohour, these 1 cables don't specify what they are certified to (on the packaging or the cable), but one would assume that f certifying a HDMI cable to 1.3 barely costs any more to produce, if any more at all, then there is no reason why it shouldn't be?

    Quote Originally Posted by mattx View Post
    Gold plated Scart Cables anyone ?
    Ha, yes the gold plated scart cables - when we bought our Samsung HD television early last year, we were nearly pursuaded (by Currys) into buying a gold plated scart cable, as with the normal ones, the nickel(?) can "react with the connector on the tv and cause it to rust, with severe degrading of the signal in the short term and total loss within 12-18 months" (i've tried to quote his statement as best I could). Needless to say, we used one of our existing scart cables from the old setup (no, not gold plated), and when we had it all unplugged a few weeks back to rearrange things, the cable we have used for a good few years now still looked in tip-top condition!

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    I got my cable from ebay recently, 2.95 including P&P. 1.3 certified. Exactly the same cable that Argos tried to sell me for 29.95.

    Their markup is huge.

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    ZeroHour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgsmith View Post
    Zerohour, these 1 cables don't specify what they are certified to (on the packaging or the cable), but one would assume that f certifying a HDMI cable to 1.3 barely costs any more to produce, if any more at all, then there is no reason why it shouldn't be?
    It will probably be fine but I just knew you could get cheap ones that were certified. Its only a pound anyway if it didnt work

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattx View Post
    Lets not get into the debate then [ if there is one ] about the arrows [ directional ] on my speaker cable.......Or if the sound is better with shorter lengths....
    Just make sure both cables are the same length.

    Ben

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Cable prices are ridiculous, particularly in places like Currys and PC World. Example: I needed a 5m Cat 5e cable but couldn't be bothered to trek across town to my usual supplier so went over to nearby Currys & PC Worl, both wanted 29.99 for a 5m cable! That exact same cable (I mean exact same cable, same make (Belkin) packaging and model number) cost me 7 in Comet, and all three of these shops were next to each other on an industrial estate near my home.

    As for the mythical gold plating, I guarantee the actual cable is the same inside all of them. Find me a lead with gold cabling and I might believe it makes a difference, but putting a golden archway over a motorway junction doesn't mean cars can go faster down it! (Please excuse the bad metaphor...)

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    Andrew_C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    Just make sure both cables are the same length.
    What, to within a wavelength at audio frequency? Makes NO practical difference!

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    Quote Originally Posted by maniac View Post
    I've got some quite expensive audio gear, but it's all liked together using the really cheapo linkups - never had a problem, no hums or interfearance at all. I use mains cable for my speaker wire - low resistance and cheap as chips in long lengths so I can run it all over my lounge to the right places and it doesn't cost me a bomb. I can't tell the difference if I wire it up with some decent speaker cable I've got, it sounds the same to me.

    The quality of the cable does make some difference for video cables however. Cheapo short lengths are normally fine, but you do get interferance over longer lengths in my experience.
    I find the same. I make my own audio cables using some cheaper than pro components, find no difference, and with digital - it's ither there or not. Qualitity affects analogue more than digital, and HDMI i think is mostly digital.

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