Originally Posted by Bigterpsfan
So I am 90% sure that I am taking the plunge and buying a 77" A9G and doing some home automation as well. I spent 3 hours yesterday with a very nice and knowledgeable home advisor. We put the build together and he was very transparent on what he thought I needed and what I didn't. However, the one thing I can't decide on is HDMI cables. He says he uses the AudioQuest Vodka cable for his setup and recommended the AudioQuest Chocolate HDMI in wall cable (2 actually) for my setup. I am a pretty good judge of character, and I believe he believes that there is a significant difference in video/audio quality with AudioQuest cable. However, the more I research the less I can determine if I need "expensive" HDMI cables or not. They are ~$500 for 2 cables which is crazy to me. I know they get a lot more expensive than that but I was hoping to stay under $200 at most for 2 cables.
I am a novice and really don't know what to do here. I don't want to buy something I don't need, but I don't want to spend $8K+ on this entire setup and not realize the video/audio benefits because I went cheap on cables. Please, if anyone has any advice, I would greatly appreciate it. If you think I need the "expensive" cables please elaborate and explain why (i.e. you bought cheaper cables but they didn't produce the result you were look for, or visa versa.) Thank you so much!
How long is your cable run?
Keep in mind that a lot of "home advisors" will recommend cables like AudioQuest, Monster, etc because they usually get some sort of discount that can be passed back to the retailer.
If your run is in-wall then you need to seriously consider installing your cables in a conduit because that will be the ONLY way to future proof your cabling. Video standards are changing and what works today may not, probably not, work later on so you need a way to easily and safely swap your cables out when it becomes necessary.
The discussion on whether a cable can actually modify the signal it is carrying for improved pq/aq can be lively to say the least. The cable is just a data pipe. It can not make greens any greener or reds any redder. The testing data that some cable companies make public looks really good, but a lot of the "specs" they show for audio and video are outside of the normal human perception so while the cable may offer better performance, in your living room you can't tell the difference. The signals are digital ones and zeros. You either get the signal as it is intended from the source or you don't (sparkles, drop outs, etc).
The bottom line is this:
For 4k HDR, and runs up to about 25', a Premium High Speed HDMI cable (with the QR label for authenticity) should work just fine for the HDMI 2.0 hardware specifications.
For 4k HDR, and runs over 25', the recommendation is to use a hybrid fiber cable (Ruipro4k) for HDMI 2.0 specifications. Those cables are active and are not cheap but they do get the most positive reviews by actual users here.
I wouldn't be too concerned about HDMI 2.1 yet. There aren't any consumer devices that are available yet that have validated HDMI 2.1 chipsets that are capable of delivering all of the HDMI 2.1 feature sets (48Gbps) and there isn't any source material. That's where using a conduit comes in handy.
There are other factors that come into play as well for a successful cable run. Bend radius is one to keep in mind. You don't want any sharp bends in your cable run/installation because that can adversely affect the signal path over time. Wire gauge is another consideration. The thicker the wire, the better the signal path but a thicker wire drastically reduces the bend radius and can lead to increased strain on the HDMI input, which is not a good thing. Hybrid fiber cables are active so the wire gauge is thinner resulting in an excellent bend radius.