I came across another ad today that advertised high end HDMI cables as offering “superior image quality”. You’d think with all the controversy surrounding Monster cables in the US consumers would know better by now, but apparently, that’s not the case. Most of that controversy was around cables that transport analog signals, but with HDMI it gets even more ridiculous. That’s because HDMI is digital.
The thing to realize about digital signals is that there’s no chance at all of the signal becoming degraded. Cheap cables will not add noise, wash out the colors or reduce sharpness. Ever. If the signal reaches its destination, with its ones and zeros intact, the image quality will be 100% as good as it was sent. That’s one of the main advantages of digital.
There will probably be cables out there that are so bad that they do not manage to screw up the signal. I’ve not come across a single one, but they are bound to exist. The result would either be no signal at all (most likely), freezes, or those little blocks you sometimes see if you have a digital set-top box and there’s a thunderstorm outside.
So instead of getting the absolute best in high grade gold-plated cables, get the bargain bin ones. Make sure they support HDMI 1.3 or 1.4 if you need them to. You can always return them if they don’t work. Spend what you safe on a couple of nice DVDs and laugh at the ludicrous claims on the packaging of the other cables. You’ll end up having a DVD or two extra to watch in perfect, digital quality.