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The True Story of Overpriced HDMI Cables

by on March 31, 2010

After dropping a few grand on that new HDTV and BluRay Player combo, dropping an extra $50 or $100 on HDMI cables almost makes sense.  Afterall, you want the best picture/sound you can get right? Unfortunately, that $100 Monster Cable is really no better than the $6 Amazon Cable, and a new Infographic from Wallstats.com & Mint shows us exactly why.

To understand why you shouldn’t pay extra, you need to understand the difference between analog and digital. With analog cables, the signal degrades, with digital cables such as HDMI, it either works or it doesn’t. The signal doesn’t degrade any more than your JPEGs degrade when you put them on a thumb drive.

See the graphic after the break.

via The Rip | MintLife Blog | Personal Finance News & Advice.

  • Andrew

    i paid 5 US for mine lol 6ft 😛

  • in my opinion Monster is not to blame for this … they can ask as much as they want for one of their cables … the real morons are the ones that buy these cables

  • BillDWP

    I hate Best Buy. I called a local store to check on a Chromebook; I wanted to see how well it worked. While on hold I found one on line. Best Buy didn’t have one in stock, but the sales person stated she could order be one. Then they referred me to a store 30 miles away, but she didn’t have the phone number to that store. The only purpose for Best Buy is to sell technologically ignorant people $100 HDMI cables.

  • This is all dandy information, but what happens when your cable just STOPS working? What happens when you decide to unplug and the plug remain stuck in your TV? You are stuck with a dud cable, buy a Rocketfish or any other <$10 cable. With cables that Monster offer you receive lifetime warranties and replacement for when your cable becomes outdated. Sure it is expensive, but it is worth it.

    • That logic makes no sense. I have 10 HDMI calbes in my home that all cost less than $5.00. All have worked great for 5 years. I could buy 10 backup cables, and still have spent less than you would on ONE monster cable. There is no logical reason to buy a monster cable.

    • Paul

      Ha. Apply logic = illogical response.

    • I’m Jay I buy them !!

      this just in: you’re a sucker. And kind of stupid.

    • Ashkelon

      you are the reason why have a consumerist planned obsolescence economy..

      you should feel proud

  • Mongo

    How ’bout this: I’d rather spend $6 on a cheap HDMI cable and find out I’m wrong BEFORE purchasing a $100 cable than to buy the $100 cable and not know if I’m being ripped off or not.

  • John Cook

    I’m still using a 30 foot cable that was only $9.00. As a techie I realized the reality long ago. It truly is foolish to buy expensive HDMI cables. My cable company tried to tell me that I needed to purchase a $100 10ft cable for my set to work correctly. There was nothing I could do to convince them that as a digital cable, it was unimportant. Now, with the cheap cable in place and working perfectly, they tell me I an extremely lucky, and that it’s a rarity that it worked at all.

    Some people will only believe, they won’t make the move to logical or rational thinking.

    “Ah know there is a God in mah cable an thet are whut makes it work rite! AH BELIEVE and that settles it! Y’all caint tell me nuthin bout no science stuff nohow!”

    Ahhh, the voice of reason…

  • Chris

    Nice article. Picked up two cables for €1.49 in a discount store recently. Unsurprisingly it connects the tablet to the TV/Projector perfectly without fault and if it does flicker or whatever in the long run I’ll have a spare for when I can’t get my hands on $1.91

  • just saying

    I have been an AV installer for nearly 10 years now and although I will agree that in short lengths cheap HDMI cables work fine there are some caveats to this claim. From in field experience I can tell you the claim that “the cable either works perfectly or nothing at all” is totally false. You can expect to see any number of issues ranging from flickering video to “sparkling” in low level detail or causing certain devices to not properly complete HDCP handshaking. These problems get much worse on cables longer than 15′.

    • David Perry

      As “an AV installer for nearly 10 years now” your pocketbook relies on people buying the expensive cables. While it is true that signal loss becomes a problem in very long cables, it would still be cheaper to us an HDMI repeater than to buy these monster ripoff cables. Hell, there’s at least one product that will run an HDMI signal over Cat6 ethernet cable – nearly 100 feet before you need to boost the signal.

      Someone who installs AV for a living should know all of this so you’re either a liar or an idiot and I’ll let the readers decide which.

    • shufflemoomin

      He’s neither. See how packet loss affects a digital signal and get back to me.

    • Check out the categories of HDMI cables (hint: category 1 or 2) and get back to me. 50ft is reaching the maximum for cat 2 and most people have had success with HDMI to ethernet adapters up to 75 ft. There’s even HDMI to wifi for cheaper than most high end cables. Many good installer will skip a pre terminated cable anyway, they’ll opt for a cat 5, 6, or 7 and terminate it themselves.

      Packet loss depends on the electronics your sending and receiving from. Garbage in = garbage out and vice versa. Generally David is right, there are other alternatives and just saying is trying to run a load of crap.

    • Obuk

      A simple standard cable will perform the same as an expensive one, as long as it meets the basic level of quality. I’ve seen soldered clothes hangers do just as well as monster. It is not totally false, it’s considering that there’s a baseline of quality of function. I’ve got a 6′ cable from Newegg for $2.99 that validates this.

    • Have a 30 foot hdmi cable running from computer to TV monitor, works flawlessly…Spent less than $12.99 on it. I have never seen any flickering or “sparkling” as you call it that was the result of an HDMI cable… As with anything, I understand it is possible to have a defective HDMI cable, Also I have never seen a non mistreated HDMI cable stop working randomly. If you plug a cheap HDMI cable in, and it works, which I imagine it does 99% of the time, then you can bet your money that it will outlive the devices it is connected to.

  • Except that rape indicates an unwillingness on the victim’s part. People are *choosing* to walk into a Best Buy store and buy one of these $700 6.6′ HDMI cables. That’s not rape, that’s stupidity.

    • Axlin

      No, it’s ignorance. People just don’t know any better, and retail outlets such as Best Buy are fully aware of the ignorance of the masses and, like predators, take advantage of it by misleading them to believe they must purchase the more expensive cables and that there aren’t any other viable alternatives. That’s why it’s up to us, the informed, to convey this information to those we know who are not and help them to avoid being taken advantage of.

      Nice attitude, though.

  • Hmmmm

    I purchased a cheap HDMI cable a few years ago for $9 on eBay – it works great still, three years later. A family member works for Best Buy – their coast for an HDMI 6 foot cable is roughly under $3. That’s right under $3. I believe in a company making a profit, but that is just raping the consumer!

    • Mike

      I know firsthand the markup on all tech cables is ridiculous. I used to work at the world’s largest distributor of computer products from 1998-2001. The CAT5 standard for ethernet cables came out around that time, and the distributor cost for most belkin CAT 5 cables under 3′ – 50′ was less than a $1.25. We’d sell them to places like compusa (the best buy equivalent at the time) for $3-$10, and they’d sell them for $10-$40. I literally bought a no-name 50′ cat5 plenum cable for $1.25 which was my employee price. The retail for the same no-name cable was something above $20. Never pay retail for cables.

  • I have bought a Wal Mart HDMI cable, and after one year, it went out on me. I cannot explain it. It just stopped working. The Blu-Ray player would not connect to the TV. When it did connect, and I played a movie, sometimes the connection would drop during the movie. That was frustrating.

    So I bought a Amazon HDMI cable. Problem solved.