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.