HDMI cables

Discussion in 'Bob & Don's Electronics Forum' started by jimbo, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    Being a bit of a luddite, I have not been in this arena before. But thanks to some impressive labor day sales, I replave TWO televisions today, you know...weighs 120 pounds, 4 feet deep...etc. With a slick 46 from Sony and a 42 from Samsung. Both LED-LCD types. Pictures are incredible.


    Anyway, on one, I feed my cable straight to a tuner-equipped DVD player, so decided to use an HDMI cable to go from there to the TV. Sp tje question: is there really a significant difference between an HDMI cable that is $19 and one that is $89 ?? yikes!!!!!
    I am talking 6' length in both cases.
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    I would sincerely doubt it. It's a digital signal. It's either a 1 or a 0 or you don't even get a picture.
    But I can imagine the extra profit the store gets from it.
  3. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    Jimbo, I have bought 6 buck 6ft HDMI cables on the Internet, and a 70 dollar monster cable HDMI cable. I have a 40 inch Sony Bravia, ane when I first installed it 3 years ago, I tried both cables and could see absolutely no diffence in picture quality, The expensive cable was better looking itself, and seemed physically sturdier, but picture quality? these eyes could see no difference and I have fiber optic service to the house from Verizon FIOS. I returned the expensive cable for a refund. And as Terry said, its all about profit!:mad:
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    8,997
    Location:
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    Thanks for the info! I bought the $19 job, and have since found as you mentioned that I could have got it on Amazon for half! But I needed it NOW!!!

    Outsmarted myself a little by getting an ultra slim wall mount, only to find that all the connections on the TV point straight out, not down which logically they should. Had to go back and install a 1" spacer on the mount arms so the HDMO connector would fit!
  5. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Hello all,


    A lot of the cost for the cables is the quality of the Connectors.

    Gold Plating cost more, but for indoor use the tinned ones work as well.

    Picture quality is no difference as long as the connections are good.


    Save your money, and have a spare on hand, for testing.


    Have a Great Holiday.


    DonL
  6. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    Hi Don. I tried sending you a PM here the other day, but it said your inbox runneth over.
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    On my HD I have the component cables that Comcast installed and HDMI for the Roku HD box.
    The other day my engineering student was dusting and he knocked off one of the component cables. He noticed that the color was off, but instead of checking the cables, he started adjusting the settings on the TV. There wasn't any red.
    I was able to show him how to check the cables on the TV to make sure they were all pushed in.
    They don't teach that at Wentworth.
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    8,997
    Location:
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    If that is the Wentworth Institute in Boston, that was right in my old stomping grounds....I worked for 4 summers in HS/College days at my father's facory in Brighton, just a couple of miles up the road. Used to play in a summer lacrosse league at the MIT fields, in the evenings after work.
  9. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    15,002
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    Bothell, Washington
    Yes, Boston. He went there last year, and this year the first quarter will a local school and then back Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. I've been trying to improve his mind this Summer.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
  10. Gary in NJ

    Gary in NJ New Member

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    NJ
    I purchase all of my cables from monoprice.com.
  11. mar3232

    mar3232 Member

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    Location:
    Indiana
    been in electronics all of my life and overpriced cables are a SCAM -- pure and simple. HOWEVER -- be careful with HDMI, I've seen some real crap.

    go with a reputable dealer like MCM electronics for cables -- an AV installers favorite and great pricing.

    if you buy monster cables rather than lamp cord -- call yourself an idiot.
  12. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    Thing is, places like Best Buy and others like to sell expensive cables when a customer buys a new fancy HD TV and the inexperienced customer is advised to avoid any inexpensive cable. There are decent quality inexpensive HDMI cables to buy.
  13. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    That is true.

    The salesman and company make more money on the Accessories then on the HDTV that you don't really need...

    I agree that www.mcmelectronics.com is a good place for your electron needs.

    You can run HDMI over Ethernet cable and save big money on long wire runs.


    I think that setting in front of a TV is a waste of time.


    But I do like the Electronics.


    DonL
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  14. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    I don't watch a lot of TV, but I do enjoy watching some shows, like the Closer, Rizzoli and Isles, Psych, House. Mystery,comedy stuff.
    Actually, the more I think about it, I watch more TV than I should, but I enjoy it. Takes my mind off of every day problems, which do crop up. Healthier (and cheaper) than drinking myself to oblivion.
  15. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    I heard it was the same with toilets.
  16. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    BUTT not here:D
  17. cmjones70

    cmjones70 New Member

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    Location:
    Ohio
    I word from a pro

    Hello Gents.

    I found myself on this forum as I was researching an area, (plumbing) while searching for reviews on a shower valve product - "IO Digital" my search came up with this thread. I own and A/V Custom Integration company, I've been in the industry since I was first out of Engineering School, and I've been on the manufacturer's side for 12 years prior to my current business which is really a fancy way of saying I install A/V, automation, lighting, and remote controls. I just had to comment.

    Since I'm not trying to sell anyone here any actual products I'll be as up-front as possible. Take it for what it's worth... feel free to comment, complain, or tell my why your think i'm wrong.

    Here's a few general points:
    - Where you buy cables makes no difference: online or from a retailer. Most brands are available to anyone with a resale certificate.
    - Brand of cable alone makes little difference: As in any product, most brands provide a good, better, best
    - Cables are overpriced. Well, that's subjective. Yes, there is typically more margin in any accessory.
    - "It's digital, 1's and 0's - it doesn't matter" = WRONG!!!! VERY WRONG, Ignorance abounds! see following diatribe:

    I certainly can't explain the detailed principals - but, I can explain essentials in layman's terms. There are three primary concerns with digital signal transmissions as they pertain to HDMI (but, they apply to any type of transmission really.)

    1. Voltage drop: Most signals are 5 Volt. The receiving device has a tolerance spec / threshold -- typically something like 4.6V

    -- This means that the "1's" must be at least 4.6V to be accepted... if your inexpensive cable is using 28AWG conductors (or smallar) to save $$ on copper, or to be a thin wire (like the Apple iOS device cables) the result is that your maximum wire length is very short. A 6' cable should be fine regardless.

    -- If the transmitting device has an acceptable output tolerance of 4.8V - 5.2V you may only have .2V of acceptable attenuation in the cable... That's not much! This is not the same as comparing the use of "lamp cord" compared to speaker cable with an analog signal and much higher Voltages.


    2. Signal skew: This is complicated. there are many factors at play. Timing, amplitude, bit error rate.
    -- If the signals that are on the multiple pairs within the cable are not time aligned, of the proper amplitude, and have a clean signal to noise ratio -- you don't get a picture, or you get artifacts.
    http://www.dpllabs.com/page/what-does-dpl-test
    http://www.cepro.com/article/re_defining_hdmi_performance/
    http://www.audioquest.com/resource_...I_eyepattern_BER_and_cliffeffect_rev_1_00.pdf

    -- Shielding / Isolation: This is where you see the differences in the good, better, best products. This is also where you could being to assert that there's no difference between better and best. It is simply about the environment. Are there EMI issues, are you willing to hot-plug your components if the HDCP misses the first time? A better quality cable has countermeasures built-in... such as a small "equalizer" on the receiving end that actually takes power from the receiving device and balances the eye pattern before the signal gets to the display.
    To summarize, a poorly constructed cable can pass at short lengths, without adaptors, in-wall plugs, extensions, and with hardware that is within spec to begin with... but, as the cable get's longer it must use lower gauge wire pairs 24 or 22 AWG, better quality shielding, connectors that fit snugly and maintain the EM isolation.

    3. HDMI Spec 1.3 / 1.4 "High Speed" -- there have been several revisions to the standard. Newer cables can transmit Ethernet, an audio return channel, higher resolutions a.k.a. "4k", these are all contributing factors. A pre "1.3" spec cable might work fine with your cable box -- but, not with your new Blu-ray player.


    Cable debates are subjective like arguing over wine. There is science though. There is an objective way to compare them. Unfortunately, there is marketing and there are people selling over-priced garbage simply because higher priced alternatives make the crap look like a good deal. Buyers beware -- but, please - don't be ignorant if you're going to share opinions.

    -Matt
    Columbus, OH.
  18. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    Thanks for the info Matt. Welcome to the forum.

    Sounds about right to me.

    I think PF per foot is a bigger problem with Analog and the 4.5 MHz bandwidth than with HDMI.

    Voltage drop should not be a big problem with HDMI as long as you do not exceed cable Lengths.


    Stay aboard and play with us.


    DonL
  19. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    We have not heard anyone say that they bought the $20 cable and it didn't work, so they had to upgrade to the $100 cable.
  20. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Some people believe that the more you pay the more better you get.

    I do believe that you only get what you pay for, But I am no sucker.

    If it works , it works...

    The Gov uses the $1000 dollar ones at your expense...

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