I became a forum member after purchasing my first HDTV this year. I'm guessing that the term handshake refers to a cable connection, with implied concerns about how good the connection is. I realize that much has already been posted on AVS about HDMI cables--their cost, and how they can be quirky to use. Nevertheless, I would like to pass on the following, which I wrote for a Morningstar.com forum. It describes PC World's and my own experiences with HDMI cables. According to the PC World article, the industry is aware of the HDMI handshake problem, and may actually try to fix it. Here goes:
Last July, a few of us teamed up against buying luxury-priced Monster brand HDMI connector cables. (See the tail end of ST #1451, "HDTV Question?".) In The Cable Game
, PC World (Sept 2005) tested five brands, including Monster. It begins,
"Salespeople may tell you that exotic video cables deliver a better picture. But the results of our exclusive lab tests could save you money. ... the question is not whether a good cable is essential, but whether you need to spend a lot to get a good one.
"The HDMI cable prices ranged from $31 (CableWholesale.com) to $300 (Monster Cable). And since cable length is an important factor in testing--each additional foot has the potential to worsen the signal--we chose cables that measured about 4 meters (12 to 15 feet) each, long enough for the majority of home theater setups.
"Our conclusion: You don't need to spend a fortune on cables. The HDMI cables performed comparably in both our instrument tests and our visual tests. ... Once you get a good HDMI connection, our tests indicate, you can expect flawless performance from any 4-meter cable, regardless of price."
They noted that HDMI "digital cables are inherently more dependable than analog ones." My sole complaint is that they don't attach as solidly as many of my computer connections do. I was extra careful, so that none of the cable pressed against a room wall, or parts of the cabinet for my STB, that might vibrate over time. One little nudge can break the connection. There is a proposal to cure this by adding latches to make the connections more secure.
"One obstacle we did face involved establishing solid connections with our devices' HDMI ports. In some cases, we connected the cable but no image appeared. Sometimes wiggling the cable fixed the problem, and sometimes it didn't. But the trouble seems to stem from the standard HDMI connector design used by all cable vendors.
"If you jiggle an HDMI connector, one or two electrical lines in the connector might have intermittent connections," says Chad Nelson, an engineer with Maxim Integrated Products, which manufactures chips for digital and analog signaling.
"We don't believe that there is a fundamental problem with the design of the HDMI connector," says HDMI Licensing's Chad. However, he notes that his organization is evaluating proposals for a connector that latches in place.
"For now, the best strategy is to position the cable carefully so that it applies no stress to the connector. In our tests, we had the most trouble when trying to attach Monster's $300 M1000HDMI cable to the Epson's HDMI port. Easily the thickest, stiffest, heaviest model we reviewed, the Monster cable pulled away from the projector's HDMI port, often causing the screen to go blank."