HDMI Cables (vs. component) (expensive vs. inexpensive) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-12-2007, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Nothing technical here, but wanted to post some simple results of my testing of HDMI cables. I compared picture quality using HDMI and component cables and then using expensive and inexpensive HDMI cables. My summary is that HDMI beat component video (and it was noticeable to the naked eye) and that the inexpensive HDMI performed as well as the expensive one.

I have the following:
- tv - Samsung DLP HLR4667W
- cable box - Motorola DCT 3416i (Comcast DVR/HD service)

I compared a 6 foot HDMI purchased from mycablemart, a Monster 6 foot HDMI purchased from Best Buy and Monster 6 foot component audio/video cables purchased from Best Buy.

My tv allows you to split-screen picture-in-picture, so I was able connect my cable box to my tv using both HDMI and component cables at the same time and watch the video each delivers at the same time using the split-scree picture-in-picture. I watched about 15 minutes of tv doing this, and noticed a difference between HDMI and component. HDMI was a bit crisper and the colors were a bit more vivid. Dr. Doolitle was on HBO HD at the time, and it was easy to see that the HDMI was better, especially during a few scenes where there was a tiger on screen (the colors in the tiger's face popped more on the HDMI side of the screen). So, for what it's worth, I'd recommend that you use HDMI instead of component, though this is probably old news. What some might find interesting is that, at least with my setup, I was able to see a difference between the two (I'd figured that they'd be about the same to the naked eye, but I was wrong).

Next, I compared the picture using the HDMI I purchased from mycablemart (about $8.50) vs. a Monster version (about $75). I couldn't do the split-screen with this test, so I had to DVR a HD movie and then watch part of it two times, once with the expensive HDMI and once with the inexpensive HDMI. I did not notice any difference with my naked eye. Therefore, my recommendation would be to buy an inexpensive HDMI (mycablemart or monoprice seem to be cheap and good). Oh yeah, I already returned the Monster HDMI to Best Buy. Too bad I can't return the component cables I bought (or, rather, was sold by a Best Buy stooge) 18 months ago.
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-12-2007, 04:29 PM
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There's more than just cables involved when using component (analog) video. Theoretically there should be no difference in PQ using digital or analog video. There's too many variables involved to compare the two except in you own particular setup. But you are correct about the expensive vs inexpensive HDMI cables.

larry

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post #3 of 6 Old 03-12-2007, 08:41 PM
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Nice post and thanks for the comparison. Only question is what would be the benefit for purchasing more expensive HDMI cables? Personally its very difficult to pay 140 bucks for the 10' Monster cables when I could get 10-12' Sony/Philips cables for 50-75.
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-15-2007, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by payman00 View Post

Nice post and thanks for the comparison. Only question is what would be the benefit for purchasing more expensive HDMI cables? Personally its very difficult to pay 140 bucks for the 10' Monster cables when I could get 10-12' Sony/Philips cables for 50-75.

Unless you're looking for long runs (>25'), its unlikely to make any difference whatsoever, other than being able to say, "hey, I spent more on HDMI cables than you did!"

Also, you should probably be asking the question why anyone would buy a $50-75 cable when you can get a fine cable from monoprice for under $10...

Not being directly involved in the creation of the HDMI specification, but being in the computer industry, I've got to believe that the spec was crafted (much like USB and other computer/consumer connections) to expect and utilize inexpensive cabling. Anyone should be able to make these (in reasonable lengths) and the specification itself should be tolerant of "cheapness"... I absolutely cringe when I see "gold plated USB cables" for $30+ at Best Buy. Even worse were the $30 gold plated IEEE-1284 cables. Yeah, pull out the not-so-well-known industry definition for "parallel printer cable" and suddenly the price goes up from $5 to $30.

Now, that said, Monster and others make fine quality cables, with excellent connectors, color matching, and materials that drape well (not stiff and finicky) around the back of your equipment. They're very nice. But don't expect to see performance differences in the digital data stream passed through them. At least as the cable is concerned, bits is bits. [footnote - ancient comparisons about CD red-book digital audio differences between cables were actually due to jitter caused by the transceivers, not the cables themselves]

Jeff

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post #5 of 6 Old 03-21-2007, 09:20 PM
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LOL! Many years ago, while trying to locate a digital audio cable, a salesman at a well known outfit tried hard to sell me monster cables because of the better sound I would get. I patiently explained the differences between digital and analog transmission, transmission line theory, and the sort, and told him my background as an electronics engineer and audio consultant. "Oh yeah, then why are they more expensive" was his reply. I then patiently tried to explain that construction was a big plus, but not worth 5-10 times the price to me.

I was wasting my breath as he never got it -- I never seem to learn....

- Rich
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-02-2007, 01:43 PM
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As mentioned in our FAQ sticky:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=794088

The HDMI spec did take into account the need for a compliant cable to be manufactured using reasonably priced methods and materials, so that the end cost to a consumer can be reasonable. In most cases, the cable is rarely the cause of compatibility issues.
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