Black Friday Shopping Tip: Don’t Buy HDMI Cables in Store

by     Posted 4 years, 247 days ago

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I’m sure an HDTV is on many of our readers’ holiday wish lists (I know it’s on mine), but if you’re planning on buying one for yourself or for someone else, do not buy HDMI cables in store.  When it comes to their major electronics, stores make most of their money not from the big-ticket item but from the accessories they’ll encourage you to buy along with it.  That’s why when you go from store to store, you’ll see HDMI cables as high as $150 for a 10-foot cable.  That’s fine except you can go right here and get a 10-foot HDMI cable for $11.90 with $5.95 USPS priority shipping.  Don’t let your “too-good-to-be-true” radar go off.  One cable isn’t $140 better than the other.  They’re the same and they do the same job.  Talk to any tech-savvy person you know (and savvy in that they actually understand technology, not that they own a lot of expensive tech) and they will straight up laugh in your face if you tell them you bought a 10-foot HDMI cable for 150 bucks.  It will be really embarrassing.  Happy Holidays.

Just so you know, Collider has no deal with Monoprice.com but they are the cheapest place you’ll find reliable electronic equipment and they have a solid return policy too.  We just don’t want to see you waste cash on something when you don’t have to.  You can also click here if you need a more technical explanation of why dropping so much money on an HDMI cable is ridiculous.




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  • Damon

    One more tip to consider… If you’re buying an HDTV for use with an HD set top box, in most cases, the cable provider will supply the HDMI cable for FREE with your box rental. This isn’t generally advertised, but it definitely pays to ask the question…

  • Damon

    One more tip to consider… If you’re buying an HDTV for use with an HD set top box, in most cases, the cable provider will supply the HDMI cable for FREE with your box rental. This isn’t generally advertised, but it definitely pays to ask the question…

  • Sam Blacket

    As a (tech savvy) technical person and cable manufacturer I know that there is a difference between HDMI cables. Just like most things in life as you move towards the extremities the truth starts to suffer and generalizations abound. The real question is whether the difference in quality between a cheap cable and one that is more expensive will affect your particular set up. Running a PS3 10 metres away from a display puts very different demands on a cable than running a DVD player 1.5 metres away.
    The recent move by HDMI Licensing to move away from version numbers to supported features hopefully will help reduce confusion and clean up the industry. If you want to know more about the technical aspects of HDMI cables download my eBook from http://www.hdmisystems.com

  • Sam Blacket

    As a (tech savvy) technical person and cable manufacturer I know that there is a difference between HDMI cables. Just like most things in life as you move towards the extremities the truth starts to suffer and generalizations abound. The real question is whether the difference in quality between a cheap cable and one that is more expensive will affect your particular set up. Running a PS3 10 metres away from a display puts very different demands on a cable than running a DVD player 1.5 metres away.
    The recent move by HDMI Licensing to move away from version numbers to supported features hopefully will help reduce confusion and clean up the industry. If you want to know more about the technical aspects of HDMI cables download my eBook from http://www.hdmisystems.com

  • Billy

    You should spend around 10% of what your TV cost on the HDMI cable. Freebie cables or no-brand cheapies will just undo all the hundreds of dollars (or pounds in my case) you’ve forked out on a shiny new set. Buying a decent cable by the likes of QED or Chord Company is one the cheapest and most noticeable upgrades you can carry out. As good as this guy may be a film journalist he isn’t too great with hifi.

    • Chas

      Billy,
      Sorry man, but you are dead wrong. What you are saying makes a certain amount of sense for analog signals like the component cable that terminate in RCA connectors. But digital signals like HDMI work differently. If a bit makes it through with enough fidelity to be identified as a one or a zero, then it made it through. If it gets degraded enough to be unrecognizable, then it doesn’t get through. There are no other options. That’s what makes digital signals what they are.
      If you are getting a sufficiently bad signal that you are losing bits, it will be very noticeable in the picture. This is pretty unlikely in your living room though. If you are running very high bandwidth signals over a very long distance (say a stadium rock show with a flown “jumbotron” type screen on the end of 100m of cable) then sure, buy a nice cable. 1080p in the living room, not so much.
      Also, for the record, you can see that Mr. Goldberg did his homework. The CNet review and the article at dansdata.com linked in the original post both support him handily. A bit of googling around about digital signals and cabling will find plenty more sources to back him up. This isn’t a case of a film journalist not being “too great with hifi,” it’s a case of retailers taking advantage of confusion about the difference between analog and digital signals to make free money with ridiculous markups.

    • Chas

      Billy,
      Sorry man, but you are dead wrong. What you are saying makes a certain amount of sense for analog signals like the component cable that terminate in RCA connectors. But digital signals like HDMI work differently. If a bit makes it through with enough fidelity to be identified as a one or a zero, then it made it through. If it gets degraded enough to be unrecognizable, then it doesn’t get through. There are no other options. That’s what makes digital signals what they are.
      If you are getting a sufficiently bad signal that you are losing bits, it will be very noticeable in the picture. This is pretty unlikely in your living room though. If you are running very high bandwidth signals over a very long distance (say a stadium rock show with a flown “jumbotron” type screen on the end of 100m of cable) then sure, buy a nice cable. 1080p in the living room, not so much.
      Also, for the record, you can see that Mr. Goldberg did his homework. The CNet review and the article at dansdata.com linked in the original post both support him handily. A bit of googling around about digital signals and cabling will find plenty more sources to back him up. This isn’t a case of a film journalist not being “too great with hifi,” it’s a case of retailers taking advantage of confusion about the difference between analog and digital signals to make free money with ridiculous markups.

  • Billy

    You should spend around 10% of what your TV cost on the HDMI cable. Freebie cables or no-brand cheapies will just undo all the hundreds of dollars (or pounds in my case) you’ve forked out on a shiny new set. Buying a decent cable by the likes of QED or Chord Company is one the cheapest and most noticeable upgrades you can carry out. As good as this guy may be a film journalist he isn’t too great with hifi.

  • Billy

    You should spend around 10% of what your TV cost on the HDMI cable. Freebie cables or no-brand cheapies will just undo all the hundreds of dollars (or pounds in my case) you’ve forked out on a shiny new set. Buying a decent cable by the likes of QED or Chord Company is one the cheapest and most noticeable upgrades you can carry out. As good as this guy may be a film journalist he isn’t too great with hifi.

    • Chas

      Billy,
      Sorry man, but you are dead wrong. What you are saying makes a certain amount of sense for analog signals like the component cable that terminate in RCA connectors. But digital signals like HDMI work differently. If a bit makes it through with enough fidelity to be identified as a one or a zero, then it made it through. If it gets degraded enough to be unrecognizable, then it doesn’t get through. There are no other options. That’s what makes digital signals what they are.
      If you are getting a sufficiently bad signal that you are losing bits, it will be very noticeable in the picture. This is pretty unlikely in your living room though. If you are running very high bandwidth signals over a very long distance (say a stadium rock show with a flown “jumbotron” type screen on the end of 100m of cable) then sure, buy a nice cable. 1080p in the living room, not so much.
      Also, for the record, you can see that Mr. Goldberg did his homework. The CNet review and the article at dansdata.com linked in the original post both support him handily. A bit of googling around about digital signals and cabling will find plenty more sources to back him up. This isn’t a case of a film journalist not being “too great with hifi,” it’s a case of retailers taking advantage of confusion about the difference between analog and digital signals to make free money with ridiculous markups.

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