Video Games Tutorials and News - I Spent A Thousand Dollars On Hdmi Cables. For Science



We told you we would test the most popular HDMI cables, and we're doing it, but it turned out to be a lot more work than we bargained for. The good news is that it was all worth it. 53 cables from 17 different manufacturers totaling a thousand dollars, and after painstakingly labeling, testing, and logging all of them, we've got the juicy details for you: which ones are top-notch, which ones aren't even worthy of being used as a skipping rope.

We're going to tell you and also give you some guidelines that you can follow to make sure that you are not getting ripped off on cables. After this message from our sponsor, Honey, who helps you not get ripped off on anything. Honey is a free-to-use shopping tool that helps you search for some of the best promo codes on lots of your favorite sites.

Get it today at {897}. You should just buy the cheapest cable every time. Well, not quite. The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in between you.

Hdmi basics

Hdmi basics

On the surface, an HDMI cable is basic. You've got your plugs on the ends, 19 conductors in between, and some kind of plastic sheath covering the whole thing. They're basically commodity items. But as we learned on this journey, there is a lot that can happen in between the two ends, and some of the bold performance claims actually change the user experience.

Well over 10 percent of the cables that we bought and tested failed to meet their claims. Let's start then with a handful of things that don't matter. One, while it looks nice and feels premium, this right here is not a signal carrying component of the cable and as long as it isn't so corroded that it literally cannot fit in the slot, the inclusion of gold plating on the HDMI connector housing doesn't matter.

Shady back alley deals

Two, and this is going to blow your mind, but I give you my personal Linus Tech Tips guarantee that anyone selling you a cable based on the conductors inside is probably selling you better conductors or better construction can. Improve signal integrity, which will increase the chance that a cable will need spec and we'll talk about that more in a bit, but that is the manufacturer's problem.

For digital signals like HDMI, all that matters is that the signal arrives reasonably on time and at a high enough amplitude that it can be read. What that means is that whatever materials are used, if the cable meets the spec, there will be no loss of ones or zeros, and therefore, there cannot be any discernible difference in quality.

Hdmi specs

Hdmi specs

If you say you believe otherwise, you're a sucker or a liar, but Here's the thing: doesn't mean that all of the marketing is snake oil. In order to meet the spec or to improve the user experience, there can be numerous physical differences from one cable to the next, many of which wouldn't be obvious to the eye, at least not without cutting them.

Open Category 1 and Category 2 cables have four twisted pairs to carry color sync and clock signals, but the versions with Ethernet took some of the extra conductors and added a fifth twisted pair to carry Ethernet. The Category 3 spec, by contrast, includes the fifth Twisted Paris standard, so there you are.

All HDMI cables with Ethernet are the same. No, not even close. Remember how I said materials don't matter? Well, they do, in theory. Because we're still using the same conductor count and connector from nearly 20 years ago, a cable that was made in 2001 could conceivably carry a modern 8K 60hz signal just fine.

Not very far the, thing is, each new generation of the HDMI spec has approximately doubled the maximum data rate, putting much greater demands on cable quality. That is why certification is so important. So a manufacturer who cracks the code, so to speak, might be able to stay in spec over a longer distance or create a lighter, more flexible cable using thinner conductors. But from a performance standpoint, if you are comparing two compliant cables at the same length, you don't need to care what's inside them with.



That in mind, we set off and purchased a whack load of cables from The Usual Suspects: Amazon. Best Buy. Monoprice, and a few others for good measure.

For the majority of these, we bought three or more of each cable. Why, well, one failure could be a fluke, two is a coincidence, but three is a pattern. Before we get to the results, though, one really important note here is that we were initially aiming to test only HDMI 2.1 cables because that's the latest and greatest, but because neither Amazon Basics nor Best Buy's Insignia brand offer HDMI 2.1 cables, we decided to test those 2.0 rated cables as well.

I mean, they're both category three, right? Hey, beautiful work, Colin. that's a lot of tests , something is there's more than 53 here yeah. I got it okay.

Initial results

Initial results

Of the normies, though, of the 53 cable tests, nine failed. These failing cables were made by four different manufacturers: Delkin, Monoprice, Amazon Basics, and cable Decon. Doing the math here means a 16.9 percent failure rate. That means that the odds of buying an out-of-spec HDMI 2.1 cable even if you shop with reputable brands is nearly one in five.

Two of them passed the signal integrity test, meaning you'd probably never know something was wrong. Where they failed was in continuity. That means that some of the wires were outright not connected where they were supposed to be pretty lame. The other seven failed on either signal integrity alone or a combination of the two at HDMI 2.1 speeds.

Video Games Tutorials and News - 2.1

None of our cables failed in the third category of DC resistance, which means that any of them would comfortably power a low-power device like, say, an early generation Chromecast. It kind of makes sense because DC resistance increases with length, and most HDMI 2.1 cables are quite short. We found that this is a much bigger concern with passive cables at lengths of 25 feet or more.

Let's start with the most surprising of our failures. Amazon Basics was doing really well until they had one that failed. Number 28 is here now because this is the only one that didn't make it out of our batch of three. It looks more like a one-off, especially considering that it's also one of the 10 foot cables.

It's not that surprising. What is surprising, though, is that these three numbers, 25, 26, and 27, all of which are six-foot cables, not only pass the HDMI 2.0 spec but they also pass the HDMI 2.1 spec at 48 gigabits per second. That's pretty good. That makes Amazon's basic six-footers one of the best bang for the buck cables on the market.

Video Games Tutorials and News - 48gbps

The throne is reserved for infinite cables who not only guarantee their cables for HDMI 2.1 instead of just maybe it'll happen, but they even charge about 17 percent less per foot. Our next runner-up in the Olympics, then, is Mono Price. Hands down, they had the worst showing out of all the manufacturers we tested.

Similar articles: