HDMI 101: The Truth About HDMI Cables

HDMI 101I know I can’t speak for everyone, but I know for sure that I am not a proponent off spending one-quarter the value of my A/V equipment on expensive cables.  That same philosophy of mine especially applies towards the magical must-have HDMI cable and all its marketed flavors it supposedly comes in.  So what’s the real deal with picking an HDMI cable out?  Give me a few moments of your time and I’ll give you my 2 cents on the matter. 

Let’s be perfectly honest.  I want to see a show of hands.  How many people are just totally perplexed and confused when I blurt out techno jargon terms like “Category 2,” “1.3B,” “xvYCCYC Deep Color,” “bitstream,” “PCM,” and so on?  This is the language us techno geeks love to speak, but it can be damn right confusing for the lay population of casual electronic users who just want to see a sharp picture and be audibly impressed every time a random onscreen airplane flies by. 

So where’s the happy medium here?  Do you really need to spend the $100 for that 3 foot Monster HDMI cable the Best Buy clerk is telling you that is mandatory for your new equipment or will the $30 Phillip-Magnavox one at Wal-Mart work just fine?  The honest answer to that question is simply no on both accounts.  Sure the Monster cables are built really nice and come with a lifetime guarantee, but really, once you hook your HDMI connected equipment up, how often will you be fussing with and/or moving it?  If you answered not too often to both of those questions, then I have the solution for you!

The truth is that Joe Best Buy clerk does not want you to know that even a HDMI cable that costs fewer than $10 will work just as good as any $100 Monster cable.  Now pay attention to this next part.  There are only a small handful of specs I want to point out that you should pay attention to when buying an HDMI cable.  I will get to them momentarily below.  So let’s get down to business!

Thankfully, the good folks over at PS3HDMIcable.com were nice enough to let us play with and test drive one of their 6 feet HDMI cables they market towards the Playstation 3 gaming community.  That’s perfect since I already own a PS3.  But here’s the real kicker.  This HDMI cable we received doesn’t cost the 100-dollar blood bank charge associated with Monster cables and it doesn’t even cost the $30 price tag normally found at Wal-Mart.  Actually it’s less than half of that.  Try $12.99 on for size!  So how does it hold up against the “monstrous” competition?  Let’s find out!

Remember I said just a moment ago that there are a handful of specs I want you to pay attention to when shopping for an HDMI cable?  Well here we go.  If you do not have any equipment capable of or any desire to get into the 3D market anytime soon, then HDMI 1.4 is not for you.  It is backwards compatible with all HDMI sources, but I just don’t want you to get ripped off thinking you have to have it.  Now if you plan on bitstreaming your audio from your Blu-ray player to your HD capable receiver, then a HDMI 1.3 Category 2 certified cable is a must.  Almost all HDMI cables on the market support this whether or not the box says it does is a whole other story.  By the way, bitstreaming means letting your HD capable receiver decode the Hi-Def audio from your Blu-ray player.  All your Blu-ray player does is pass the raw data over the HDMI 1.3 cable.  If you let your Blu-ray player decode the audio, then you are just passing PCM signals over the HDMI cable to your receiver.  In that case, any HDMI cable would work fine for you.  Just make sure that your hardware on both ends of the HDMI cable support the same specs.  For example, if your Blu-ray player is HDMI 1.3 compliant, but your receiver is not, then the most expensive HDMI 1.3 cable in the world is not going to be able to bitstream HD audio.  Understand?  Good.  I hope I did not lose anyone there.  Just in case there is still any confusion I graciously clipped the below chart from Wikipedia that I think does a pretty good job of reiterating visually what I just stated above.

A Comparison Chart of the Different HDMI Versions

All right, let’s get back to talking about this HDMI cable I received from PS3HDMIcable.com.    For $12.99 this HDMI cable gives you a sturdy triple shielded 28 Gauge protection capable of 340 Mhz 10.2 Gbps.  The gold plated connectors perfectly support resolutions of 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p (you beautiful Blu-ray picture) and even 1440p.  It also supports the coveted DTS-MA and Dolby TrueHD Lossless audio codecs over 8 channels to give you true 7.1 surround sound nirvana.  And best of all, yep…it retails at only $12.99.  What a value!  Why spend the $100 on a Monster cable that will give you the same results as this equal counterpart does?  Notice I said equal counterpart.  How can I be so bold in my words?  Well that’s simple.  Are you ready for this?  This $12.99 PS3HDMIcable.com cable is certified at the same HDMI facility as Monster cables, making this essentially the same “premium” quality as the Monster brand.

Skeptical?  So was I at first.  But I gave this cable a test run and it truly delivers on giving me not only the razor sharp pristine picture I know and love, but also the dynamic HD audio my ears always come back begging for more of.  If you are still confused about the HDMI technology and tired of paying ridiculous prices for you’re A/V cables, then give PS3HDMIcable.com a call at 866-966-1733 or simply stop by their website to try one out for yourself.  Their warranty covers every cable they sell against defects in material and workmanship for the life of the HDMI cable.  With that being the case what do you really have to lose?  Leave us a comment below if you have any questions, comments and/or concerns about the HDMI related topic discussed above.  Thanks again to the folks over at PS3HDMIcable.com for letting us test drive on your cables and for giving me the inspiration to write this article.  After all, I was once an uneducated HDMI consumer so many years ago, so I know what it is like to be confused over which HDMI cable is really necessary.  As always, thanks for reading! 


Shop with confidence at PS3hdmicable.com!




Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

5 Responses to “HDMI 101: The Truth About HDMI Cables”

  1. brad wise

    thanks for the clarification Brian — I often wondered about that and did think the MOnster cables were only monster in price and commission for Joe Best Buy clerk

    thanks again

  2. Bob

    Thank you Brian for such a wonderful article. I have been in TV sales for over 30 years and can’t agree with you more. Best Buy’s is a great store but they tend to over sell you on cables. If a $100 Monster cable did make a difference Best Buy’s would have a demonstration with both cables to show that it is important to buy better cables.
    They will never compare HDMI cables. Wonder why? There is no difference! Save your money!

  3. Jody Zampedri

    This brand name is quite great in top quality and value. It’s reasonable.

  4. Gerard

    I still don’t pay more than a couple of dollars for my cables.

  5. James J

    WOW! I unfortunately fell into this marketing scam of pricey cables. The salesman made it seem like the HDMI cable was just as significant as the TV itself. I put down more than hundred dollars on a gold plated HDMI cable, and other than the whole oxidation factor, there is no further importance. I practically let the salesman delve into my wallet! Fortunately, I kept my receipt. My employer, DISH Network, gave me a free HDMI cable when I upgraded to HD service. I will undoubtedly swap the cables and get my money back. Thank you for the article, and for saving me the extra cash!