Was Jefferson right? Are all HDMI cables created equal?
Intuitively it doesn't make sense. How can a 150$ cable, designed by the finest engineers in the world, with gold-plated connectors, perform identically to a 5$ cable, designed by a Devry dropout, comprised of melted down Diet Coke cans?
Logically it makes perfect sense. Rather than rehash the 1's and 0's argument, I'll paraphrase West Side Story:
Once you're a bit
You're a bit all the way
Whether you got it from Bay Bloor
Or off of eBay
This leaves me with three questions:
1) Is it true that all (working) HDMI cables will produce the exact same picture and sound?
2) If 1 is true, how do pro-cable companies get away with this? I'm not just talking about Monster cables. How do boutiquey brands like QED and Supra even survive?
3) If 1 is true, how deep does this conspiracy go? When a magazine staffed by (ostensibly) qualified reviewers reports differences across HDMI cables, are they lying?
1 - No
2 - But, obviously they have close ties with retail outfits and cut them in quite well (from what I've heard), therefore these retail outfits push the pricey cables hard and a lot of the time don't even offer a cheaper cable that will work just fine. They can throw as much techno-babble into the cable description as they want, but it sure as hell doesn't cost that much to make one so it's pure profit and greed at work. Really I don't know who in their right mind would pay $250 for a cable to connect $75 upscaling DVD player or a $150 BluRay drive to their TV. The $10 cables I got at the StupidStore work just fine.
3 - Charging 10 to 20 times what a cable cost to produce leaves a lot of money for payola
To answer #2 its simple... consumer education.
Consumers have no clue and figure only places like Future Shop or Best Buy is the only place to go and don't realize they are getting ripped off.
Its because of this those stores exist.
Its mainly about profit.
For example the monster cable that goes for we'll say 150$ retail at the major stores, the amount the store buys it from (just knowledge from one of the big box stores i bought it from) would be we'll say 50$. They make a massive mark up on these things, on accesories since they are not making their money on the base products anymore. A lot of TVs you buy these days the store you're buying it from is making 100-200$ (higher on new technology) and in order for them to turn the profits they want/are looking for they have to sell you the accessories for a jacked up price. Another example are those stage 1 dynex/monster power filter surge protector. They retail 130-140$. I was able to get it on staff for about 15$ including tax.
I bought all my HDMI cables from friggin Wallmart and I really want to see someone show me a difference between those and a $100 cable.
Capitalism at its finest, people.... Prey on consumer mis-information. Real sly, guy.
Again, I understand that selling useless junk is the bread and butter of Best Buy and Future Shop. That I get. What I don't get is the existence of the super high-end brands. For example, there's this Dutch sounding company that has a 1 m cable selling for 300 GBP (500$!!). How is it possible to market a product for 100 times more money that does, as the argument goes, absolutely nothing different?
As for payola, I doubt every home entertainment magazine and website has been paid off. I was going to offer some sort of expectancy effect - the reviewer knows that it is more expensive so he expects it to be better - but I don't really think that's it either.
CBC Market Place documentary on Big Box Stores and HD TV accessories including engineering review on various cables
CBC.ca - Marketplace - Is an expensive HDTV cable really better than a cheap one?
I believe cable quality comes into effect with longer distances. Your typical 6ft cable probably doesn't matter, but if it was say 20ft, I think you'd start to find some differences.
I'm quite happy with the quality MonoPrice delivers. Hasn't let me down yet, so I'll stick with them.
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