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HDMI Brands Don't Matter

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the but-the-monster-won't-die dept.

Displays 399

adeelarshad82 writes "I'm sure most of us looking for an HDMI cable have been in a situation where a store clerk sidles up, offers to help and points to some of the most expensive HDMI cables — because apparently these are 'superior cables' which we all absolutely need for the best possible home theater experience. Well, as it turns out the claims are, for the vast majority of home theater users, utter rubbish. According to tests ran on five different HDMI cables, ranging in price from less than $5 up to more than $100, HDMI brands really don't matter."

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True, for the most part... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128358)

For short cable runs, any old HDMI cable will do. When you get into the 50-100 ft lengths, the cable quality absolutely matters.

HDMI signals may be digital, so there's none of the subjective analog concerns, but it's also a real-time signal, which makes it susceptible to even small delays in transmission across the cable. This isn't a concern in a sub-20 ft cable, but becomes noticeable in the cheap longer cables.

Re:True, for the most part... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128368)

... but the delays in the cable will be governed by the laws of physics, not by the price of the cable!

Real time? (4, Informative)

overshoot (39700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128412)

No, sorry. 200 ns (flight time for 100 foot cables) is negligible. HDMI doesn't have critical round-trip timing and it's relatively insensitive to skew between conductor groups.

The only difference between cables that really matters is dispersion (frequency-dependent losses.) A difference of 1 dB/meter in loss between cables is going to make quite a difference at 30 meters. However, I wouldn't bet one way or the other on which brands have better or worse loss characteristics.

Re:Real time? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128768)

200 ns (flight time for 100 foot cables) is negligible. HDMI doesn't have critical round-trip timing

HDMI itself may not, but HDCP, used for major-label video sent over HDMI, requires devices to be in at least some semblance of proximity.

Re:True, for the most part... (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128462)

how many people in the work need 50+ft cables? most HDMI needs 10-15ft tops?

Re:True, for the most part... (2)

Lije Baley (88936) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128466)

Data point - A couple years ago I bought a pair of Newegg Nippon 50 footers for $50 each that have been working perfectly running the output of an HDMI switch and hub to a couple of HDTVs. You might pay that for a single monstrous 6 footer at the big box store.

Re:True, for the most part... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128484)

Okay, who idiot modded this up?
Reply here and you'll be forgiven.

Re:True, for the most part... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128524)

Who's the idiot? [bluejeanscable.com]

Cat5 (0)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128498)

I used to think the same thing about Ethernet cables. it's all digital right? And yet I've seen speeds increase 10 fold when replacing old one. Cheap cables can have bad performance that can lie under your radar for all the packet loss. Even a cheap cable connecting to another computer not related to you can cause so many packet retrandmits that all your other computers are affected. thus it's not simply a matter of testing your own connection. when you test it, it might seem fine till that other computer starts using it's connection.

Of course with HDMI you are probably going to have a pretty good test: does the picture look crappy. So maybe this is less of an issue for things with screens.

Re:Cat5 (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128626)

Ethernet and HDMI are two very different digital standards. HDMI bandwidth is heavily slanted towards transmission, whereas Ethernet is considerably more bidirectional.

Re:Cat5 (1, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128686)

What really ruins Cat5 is how good the shielding wire is. You can get good, cheap cat 5 cable. But if the shielding wire is 28-34ga while the main conductor is 24ga you get what you pay for. That also really makes a difference when they 'stretch' out the twists for shielding. Both twist, and gauge count matter in Cat5.

Re:Cat5 (4, Informative)

DarthStrydre (685032) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128742)

You do realize that the vast majority of ethernet cables are unshielded right? And that the shielding actually decreases performance measurably?

Re:Cat5 (4, Informative)

tweak13 (1171627) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128770)

What are you talking about? The vast majority of Cat 5 is unshielded. On the off chance it does have shielding it's usually foil. The main noise rejection strategy with twisted pair is running a balanced signal, thus the requirement for signal lines in pairs.

Re:True, for the most part... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128518)

It's the shielding only, I've noticed.
There have been times a perfectly useable hdmi cable was moved to another system to test and it wouldnt sync to function. Pull it off, put it back where it came from and bam, back to work. Get a different brand hdmi for that one being tested and it'd work... Test the new one on the working machine after and it'd work.

Could be a number of things but in this (repeating) situation, I chalk it up to shielding since the placement alone is the variable.

Re:True, for the most part... (4, Funny)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128526)

Duh, a higher quality cable results in clearer digital signals, therefore clearer picture and sound.

Re:True, for the most part... (1, Insightful)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128650)

i'm blowing my mod points to reply to your bunk. It's digital, homeboy, it either shows up or it doesn't. if you are referring to error codes causing degradation, what could possibly be intermittent? It either connects (works) or it doesnt. It's not like a scratched CD with periodic errors. There is no middle ground. This analog holdover mindset is grating.

Re:True, for the most part... (2)

HisMother (413313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128704)

Whoosh

Re:True, for the most part... (0)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128792)

For short cable runs, any old HDMI cable will do. When you get into the 50-100 ft lengths, the cable quality absolutely matters.

HDMI signals may be digital, so there's none of the subjective analog concerns, but it's also a real-time signal, which makes it susceptible to even small delays in transmission across the cable. This isn't a concern in a sub-20 ft cable, but becomes noticeable in the cheap longer cables.

Mod parent REDUNDANT. This is CLEARLY stated in the article, MULTIPLE times, except using anything over 10' as the cutoff (and mentioning 25' numerous times). That is also why, as they mentioned, they picked 6' or 6.6' cables to test with.

Otherwise, not too bad for a first post, especially by an anon. Regardless, RTFA first...

no (2, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128364)

shit

Re:no (1)

mat catastrophe (105256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128416)

I'm shocked. Shocked.

Re:no (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128418)

Heh, here was be about to post this exact comment... I don't think really this article can be summed up any better.

Re:no (1)

mshenrick (1874438) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128584)

it is one of the best articles ive read. explaining everything i tr to tell friends. whats wrong with it? and have you heard of constructive criticism

Not digital like you know it. (0, Troll)

suso (153703) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128374)

For digital signals like HDMI, as long as there is enough data for the receiver to put together a picture, it will form. If there isn't, it will just drop off.

I think a lot of technical people are used to computers and checksums, checkbits, res etc. and think that HDMI is like this. Its not. That's about all I'm going to say because I'm not really qualified and you can read more about it yourself.

Re:Not digital like you know it. (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128396)

Yes, yes it is like that ;)

Re:Not digital like you know it. (1)

0x15e (961860) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128480)

There may be a little checking going on but if you've ever tried to cram a 1080p/60 w/ multichannel LPCM soundtrack through a cheap cable (even a 6 foot one), you will realize that cable quality DOES matter when you get tired of the signal dropping out in your movies. Not necessarily price, but definitely quality.

It's digital in that it works or doesn't. The problem with bad / cheap cables isn't that they don't work entirely. It's that they sometimes don't work.

Re:Not digital like you know it. (3, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128528)

The point of the article being that many people think that a better cable will give them higher quality video... It won't... It'll give them video at all if a lower quality cable will fail. Not only that, but given that all HDMI cable is required to meet a spec, unless the consumer is doing something out of spec (very very rare), all HDMI cables, including the $1 ones will give them a signal.

Re:Not digital like you know it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128442)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hdmi

When the entire line run consists of data connections, power, and clock, that's about as digital as you'd get without one fibre-optic connection transferring binary bits...

Re:Not digital like you know it. (4, Informative)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128482)

I think the point is more: Either the signal on the cable has distinguishable 0s and 1s, or it doesn't. Which is absolutely how it works. Over long distances, you might have some interference - that EVENTUALLY will lead to a 0 and a 1 not being that different anymore, or at least severely corrupted - but frankly it's entirely different than it was with analog cables, because so long as 0 and 1 are different enough for a given situation - it doesn't matter HOW DIFFERENT they are. Making them MORE different does NOT improve signal quality. Therefore - with HDMI, or any other digital cable - you should buy a cable that is the cheapest that will do the job. A more expensive cable will not improve signal in the situation where the cheaper cable works. A more expensive cable might have better connectors - by which I do NOT mean "plated with gold" I mean "designed in such a way that the cable does not fall apart on repeated unplugging and plugging back in" - so if that's a common use case, by all means, factor that in. If you are in the 0.00001% case where you absolutely need more sheilding around your cable, because there is just SO MUCH damned inteference, or because your cable run just HAS to be 200 un-amped feet over copper... well then, buy the more expensive cable. But there are $300 6-foot HDMI cables out there, with "features" that don't matter one damn, and nobody should be buying them.

Re:Not digital like you know it. (1, Informative)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128676)

About the only thing you said that is true here is that you're not really qualified to speak about it. There are more "checksums, checkbits, res etc" than you can shake a space worm at. See all thoes things that say "bit" and "stream" and "PCM". Ya, all those things have "checksums, checkbits, res etc". What I would really like to know is why you bothered posting when all you had to say was so much garbage? Does it somehow make you feel more important to "educate" people even when what you're saying is at best a guess and at worst totally wrong? I sort of understand HDMI, but you are more of a mystery to me.

Here's the link to the specifications: [wikipedia.org]
From the WIKI:

HDMI uses the Consumer Electronics Association/Electronic Industries Alliance 861 standards. HDMI 1.0 to HDMI 1.2a uses the EIA/CEA-861-B video standard, and HDMI 1.3+ uses the CEA-861-D video standard.[2] The CEA-861-D document defines "video formats and waveforms; colorimetry and quantization; transport of compressed and uncompressed, as well as Linear Pulse Code Modulation (LPCM), audio; carriage of auxiliary data; and implementations of the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) Enhanced Extended Display Identification Data Standard (E-EDID)."[42]

To ensure baseline interoperability between different HDMI-sources and displays (as well as backward compatibility with the electrically compatible DVI standard), all HDMI compliant devices are required to support sRGB video 4:4:4, at 8 bits per component. Support for YCbCr color-space and higher color-depths ("deep color") are optional. HDMI permits xvYCC 4:4:4 (8–16 bits per component), YCbCr 4:4:4 (8–16 bits per component), or YCbCr 4:2:2 (8–12 bits per component).[43][44] The color spaces that can be used by HDMI are ITU-R BT.601, ITU-R BT.709-5 and IEC 61966-2-4.[43]

For digital audio, if an HDMI device supports audio, it is required to support the baseline format: stereo (uncompressed) PCM. Other formats are optional, with HDMI allowing up to 8 channels of uncompressed audio at sample sizes of 16-bit, 20-bit and 24-bit, with sample rates of 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz and 192 kHz.[21][45] HDMI also supports any IEC 61937-compliant compressed audio stream, such as Dolby Digital and DTS, and up to 8 channels of one-bit DSD audio (used on Super Audio CDs) at rates up to four times that of Super Audio CD.[45] With version 1.3, HDMI supports lossless compressed audio streams Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.[45] As with the YCbCr video, device support for audio is optional.

The HDMI standard was not designed to include passing closed caption data (for example, subtitles) to the television for decoding.[46] As such, any closed caption stream has to be decoded and included as an image in the video stream(s) prior to transmission over an HDMI cable to be viewed on the DTV. This limits the caption style (even for digital captions) to only that decoded at the source prior to HDMI transmission. This also prevents closed captions when transmission over HDMI is required for upconversion. For example, a DVD player sending an upscaled 720p/1080i format via HDMI to an HDTV has no method to pass Closed Captioning data so that the HDTV can decode as there is no line 21 VBI in that format.

Tell that to my grandmother (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128380)

My grandpa would be alive today if he had purchased a higher quality HDMI cable.

Re:Tell that to my grandmother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128658)

Why? Did ongoing signal dropout issues cause her to take a cleaver to him?

very true (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128384)

i had a saleman at best lie the other day trying to push a $50 glad-platinum-titanium diamond edition $49.99 3ft (!!) hdmi cable on me. what the hell?

does no one under the term "digital"? i suspect the exspenisve cables are geared towards idiots and niggers.

Re:very true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128596)

i suspect the exspenisve cables are geared towards idiots and niggers.

How many niggers really have to money for those cables? The seller usually ends up eating the cost if they are using stolen credit cards, so it doesn't sound smart to be selling to them.

They are the same on the outside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128390)

They didn't cut them in half to see how much was wire or how much was insulation?

True, but $5 are still worse... (1)

Manip (656104) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128408)

Although I grant that HDMI cables are all identical electrically, you do have to look at least a little at the build quality of the joints between the head and the rest of the cable. In the really cheap HDMI cables ($1-5) some of them are build to a really low standard and if you move/tilt/rotate your TV/Monitor you eventually wind up with a loose connection.

That all being said, there is never a justification for spending more than perhaps $15 or $20 at absolute most. Gold plating does absolutely nothing.

Re:True, but $5 are still worse... (3, Insightful)

wembley fraggle (78346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128432)

Buy two and keep a spare.

Re:True, but $5 are still worse... (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128446)

Gold plating makes the contact points non-corruptible. However, gold itself is a poor conductor so its debatable if its better then nickel.

Re:True, but $5 are still worse... (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128474)

Worse than being a poor conductor it makes the things you plug it into more corruptible ;)

Re:True, but $5 are still worse... (5, Informative)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128522)

Actually, gold plating decreases signal quality (by a tiny bit). The thing is that when current flows over changes in conductor material, noise is added. With gold, you usually have other material below, as copper diffuses though gold layered directly on it. So copper-nickel-gold---gold-nickel-copper is actually worse than copper-nickel---nickel-copper. One of the dirty secrets of audio contacts. Not that you could hear the difference.

Re:True, but $5 are still worse... (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128628)

Except copper-nickel-tarnish---tarnish-nickel-copper is significantly worse than copper-nickel-gold---gold-nickel-copper. Gold electroplating doesn't add a whole lot to the cost, although it's often used as an excuse to jack up the prices.

Re:True, but $5 are still worse... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128534)

the only time my tv moves is when its going into a u-haul to a new apartment / house, so thanks for the non issue alert

Re:True, but $5 are still worse... (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128666)

mine's on a rotating stand that gets rotated daily, so your case is not universal.

Really? (1)

Tripp-phpBB (1912354) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128410)

This has been known for quite some time. There's been many articles on this issue as well as, IIRC, there's been ones here on Slashdot too.

preaching to the choir (1)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128414)

"I'm sure most of us looking for an HDMI cable have been in a situation where a store clerk sidles up, offers to help and points to some of the most expensive HDMI cables"

And anybody who reads slashdot pays them absolutely no mind. Whatever the situation.

I once asked one of them how upscaling on dvd players work.
Answer: "it makes the resolution look higher".
Me: "I meant *how* does it makes the... sigh. never mind."

Re:preaching to the choir (3, Insightful)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128508)

If they could give a competent answer to your question, they would have a better job.

Re:preaching to the choir (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128690)

To this day, I still don't get that. It stinks of CSI techno-scammery to me...

Re:preaching to the choir (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128748)

And anybody who reads slashdot pays them absolutely no mind. Whatever the situation.

Most slashdot readers probably don't frequent those stores in the first place. I can't remember the last time I was in a Best Buy, and I know I've NEVER gone there to look for cables. I either deal with stores where they treat me like a competent adult, or I buy stuff online.

I once asked one of them how upscaling on dvd players work.

I think the proper answer there would have been "it doesn't".

Not Exactly News, But Consider This... (4, Interesting)

Petersko (564140) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128420)

When you've been suckered into buying hundreds of dollars of cables for your system, and you either see/hear a difference or you were an idiot, you're going to notice a difference. It's good old fashioned self delusion.

Of course then it gets just awesomely ridiculous. [oregondv.com]

I keep asking myself how I can get some of that idiot money.

Re:Not Exactly News, But Consider This... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128536)

I hate to say it, but if the cables are running along the floor, and there is AC cabling in the ceiling of the room below, then the added separation might help. But why someone who cares about sound is running 7 meters of preamp cable is beyond me.

Re:Not Exactly News, But Consider This... (1)

h4x0t (1245872) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128548)

Some things may seem ridiculous at first, but lets get serious here. The floor is lava.

Re:Not Exactly News, But Consider This... (1)

farnsworth (558449) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128552)

I keep asking myself how I can get some of that idiot money.

Unfortunately, if you want cables et al that are not complete junk, you often have no choice except for the "audiophile" stuff. Not everyone who buys that stuff is an idiot, some just want a solid cable that will last for 20 years and will not break during normal use.

Re:Not Exactly News, But Consider This... (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128670)

some just want a solid cable that will last for 20 years and will not break during normal use.

Wow, you described some of my Radio Shack cables perfectly (actually, I think they've made it over 20 years)

Re:Not Exactly News, But Consider This... (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128778)

Excuse me, but WTF are you talking about? This argument works for, say, a guitar or microphone cable that is on a stage being stepped on; I shred about fifteen $10 cables in the lifespan of a $50 Monster cable. This argument makes no sense, however, for home theater. What kind of wear and tear is the cable going to have sitting in one place? Even if the $10 Monoprice cable broke down after 5 years (which it won't), you won't make your money back on a $100 Monster cable for 50 years.

Re:Not Exactly News, But Consider This... (1)

mjayde (1588731) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128568)

Those so-called "audiophiles" in the link don't realize that power cables and amplified speaker wire don't mesh well.

Digital signal (0)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128430)

Duh. It's a digital signal, so either the cable works or it doesn't, and if it doesn't, take it back.

Re:Digital signal (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128638)

That's just not true. If you are talking about differential signaling, the smaller the difference becomes over cheap cable, the more likely there are to be bit flips. Some of the bit flips will be significant and kill the signal. Some of them won't be so significant and just change the color value of a pixel, a little. And there is your lack of quality.

Re:Digital signal (1)

lucm (889690) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128714)

I knew something was fishy with that blueish pixel. Time for me to go to the store and get me some bit-flipping-resistant cables.

NO?!?!?! REALLLY?!?!?!?!? (1)

warrax_666 (144623) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128444)

What a huge surprise.

Denon Gets It (5, Informative)

Petersko (564140) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128448)

This is my favorite cable ever. [denon.com] Denon gets it - idiots want to give their money away, why not make it easy for them?

Re:Denon Gets It (1)

bromoseltzer (23292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128646)

You have to read the instructions carefully. The current wants to flow in the proper direction. Don't hook it up backwards, or the warranty is void! I wonder how many /. readers have their 1000bT cables reversed?

You might also want to look into the pre-charged dielectric cable. It needs a (premium - of course) DC supply to be sure the dielectric is operating in the linear range.

These things really do work. Just ask the users who spend $K on their system wiring!

Re:Denon Gets It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128716)

Thanks for clarification. I am just wondering, do I have to reverse the directional Denon Ethernet cable when I copy the data to NAS so the audio quality kept in premium condition?

Who's surprised ? (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128454)

Well, as it turns out the claims are, for the vast majority of home theater users, utter rubbish.

And who is really surprised by this?

Brick and Mortar shenanigans (3, Insightful)

sycomonkey (666153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128468)

I once wanted a 6ft HDMI cable right away. I noted that they were available at a popular online cable store for $10, and set out to find one for $20 or so, considering that to be an acceptable mark up for the immediacy required. Couldn't find any for less than $30, most stores sold them for $50 or $60. They are either price fixing or just individually deciding to rip people off. Either way I just went home, paid $12 after shipping, and waited for them to show up.

Re:Brick and Mortar shenanigans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128582)

Try your local dollar store. They have Hi-Speed HDMI 1.4 compliant cables for 10$.

Re:Brick and Mortar shenanigans (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128592)

Yep. I considered myself fortunate to find a shop that had HDMI cables for $15/10ft. And I've heard that it's possible to make your own HDMI cable, just like you can make your own Ethernet cable, which would probably be even cheaper.

Re:Brick and Mortar shenanigans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128600)

I once wanted a 6ft HDMI cable right away. I noted that they were available at a popular online cable store for $10, and set out to find one for $20 or so, considering that to be an acceptable mark up for the immediacy required. Couldn't find any for less than $30, most stores sold them for $50 or $60. They are either price fixing or just individually deciding to rip people off. Either way I just went home, paid $12 after shipping, and waited for them to show up.

Try calling your local cable provider. I got one from Comcast for $10 a couple of years ago. I guess they want to make sure you don't find a reason to cancel your service. You also don't need to be a customer.

Re:Brick and Mortar shenanigans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128616)

Not for nothing but my Amazon $7 HDMI 3m cables worked exactly as I expected them to without the 100% markup I find at Best Buy, etc.

This type of scam happens again and again (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128472)

Especially as modern digital signals are transmitted differentially with embedded (implicit per kine) clock, as long as the signal arrives at all, it will be good. There is no degradation at all until the connection breaks down. Now, to transmit these signals, you need twisted-pair, which is very, very cheap as the same stuff has been used in network cables for a long time and is cheap to manufacture in the first place.

The only possible differences are mechanical stability of connector and cable. But unless you are in a rough environment, or unplug them very often, that does not matter either. In any case, as long as you stay within spec, cable quality does not matter at all, and that is a mathematical "not", not a "you won't be able to hear/see the slight degradation" as there is provably none.

ah, HDMI (2, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128486)

None of the benefits of analogue combined with none of the benefits of digital.

Compression: nope;
Error-checking/correction: nope;
Optical fiber: nope;
Text channel (e.g. for closed captioning): nope;
Content "protection": yep.

Re:ah, HDMI (0)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128652)

Compression: nope;

Why does this matter?

Error-checking/correction: nope;

If you need ECC on a connection like this, then your equipment is broken.

Optical fiber: nope;

Why does this matter? I could see it for going long distances, but otherwise I don't get it.

Text channel (e.g. for closed captioning): nope;

You're doing it wrong. Horribly wrong.

Content "protection": yep.

And DVI, and DP, etc. The companies behind computing are gung-ho WRT DRM. No getting around it (well, you can now that the root key has been released!)

Re:ah, HDMI (0)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128750)

[compression] Why does this matter?

What might be some advantages of compression?

If you need ECC on a connection like this, then your equipment is broken. [optical] Why does this matter?

You're answering your own question:

I could see it for going long distances, but otherwise I don't get it.

For short distances, cable choice doesn't matter much either.

You're doing it wrong. Horribly wrong.

Enlighten me. What is the right way?

Re:ah, HDMI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128764)

Optical fiber has one advantage when dealing with audio systems: it eliminates ground loops between interconnected equipment which is a common source buzz from ac harmonics and digital switching noise. This is especially true when connecting equipment that is not designed for high quality audio (such as a PC) to equipment that is (an AV receiver.) If you use optical fiber between these it keeps all the hash generated by the PC out of the audio equipment.

Re:ah, HDMI (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128662)

There's a cable that includes error corection? In the cable? Or compression... in the cable? Because after all this article is about cables and their ability to transmit data, and not at all what that data actually is. Your only point that has any relevance is if HDMI is optical or not. But given that you can get fibre optic HDMI extension cables all over the internet - if it concerns you that much, then go for it, run HDMI over fibre optic.

Re:ah, HDMI (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128674)

He's bitching about HDMI, not the cables.

Re:ah, HDMI (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128718)

Optical HDMI is available via media converters.

http://www.amazon.com/Gefen-HD-1000-Optical-HDMI-Extension/dp/B0013LVJZA [amazon.com]

Compression, yes. DTS-MA and mpeg-4 are indeed compressed formats.

Text channel for close captioning? Maybe net, but what about CEC? Ethernet? etc.

Error-checking/correction: probably not practical given the data rates.

And you didn't mention things like being able to sync multiple data streams like voice and video and needing only one link.

So there are digital advantages

Re:ah, HDMI (1)

BlueScreenO'Life (1813666) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128724)

Not being optical fiber (which would make it much more expensive) and lack of text channel are issues alright. The rest are neither "yep" nor "nope"; they are optional.

Re:ah, HDMI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128744)

> Compression: nope

HDMI supports compression. I watch Divx all the time on my tv.

Re:ah, HDMI (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128794)

What's your point? Why would I care if they have compression? So I can watch my movie faster? It's not a general purpose cable. It's got a specific purpose and it fits that purpose perfectly without compression. You can send 8 channel bit-streamed audio + 1080p video (and much higher resolutions, actually) over it without a problem. Error correction? Who cares. I've never seen anybody that had signal problems with it that was caused by the HDMI cabling. And in the absolute rare case that it goes get a glitch, who cares? Oooooh, there will be a 1/4 second of blocking in your video or something. Shit, that happens regularly just in TV broadcasts. Not supporting closed captions? I'm not sure what your point is. It gets rendered into the video by the cable box/PVR. That's how the specification works. That's kind of like bitching that the audio isn't already pre-separated into high/medium/low frequencies.

And? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128494)

This even being on Slashdot kinda pisses me off. Do you think we're stupid?

It's one of those things so blatantly obvious that no one needs to do a study. A study concluding that cats like fish would have been more appropriate than this.

UL-like standards? (1)

george14215 (929657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128506)

Why don't HDMI cables have UL-like standards such that they can be treated like commodity items? And, perhaps I'm over-generalizing, why does our government/society encourage the consumption of imaginary assets (in this case, "better" quality HDMI cables)? It seems like "those in charge" think that the solution to our recession is to spend our way out of it, regardless of the efficacy of what we actually purchase (e.g., bottled water). It seems like "they" would rather have us work harder to maintain a neutral personal cash flow rather than to work the same amount, get ahead, and pay down our debt. Instead of manufacturing real goods, we manufacture imaginary goods.

Re:UL-like standards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128630)

Maybe the price of HDMI cables is actually not so important that it requires regulation?

However, no doubt one day you will get your wish and it will be regulated. Then you can work harder to pay the extra taxes needed to fund another entirely useless branch of government.

Shitty article is shitty (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128538)

A much better comparison was done months ago here: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-vs-hdmi [eurogamer.net]
It's a digital signal, so with the correct capture equipment, they were able to get a checksum of the image sent from different HDMI cables. And guess what, they were all identical.

NOOOO!!!!!!!!! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128540)

I still have 19 monthly payments left on my HDMI cable!!!!!!!!!

Bit Error Rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128550)

Can we just get the bit error rate? Instead of putting the SNR on the x-axis we put the cable instead.

DUH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128556)

Uh, DUH! The cables carry digital information, as long as you get the signal to the TV in a manner that the TV can interpret, signal loss/distortion doesn't matter! Welcome to the digital age people, I'm amazed that they even went through the effort of trying to test this. The only reason why you would need a higher quality cable would be for longer distance runs. I mean, what self respecting nerd hasn't been telling everyone that they know to go to monoprice and pick up the cheapest hdmi cables they offer?

I'm sorry, where is the news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128564)

Becouse this one is a few years old: "HDMI brands really don't matter."

Old news day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128570)

Brand doesn't matter.

Gauge, shielding, and construction can matter. What's needed depends on the environment, the characteristics of the two devices being connected, and on the distance between the two terminals. But the cost premium for addressing those factors is minor if it doesn't come with a brand attached.

Same thing goes for "audiophile" eqpt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128572)

And the idiots who buy that stuff. I love audio equipment reviews that start with "I'm an audiophile...". That's where I stop reading.

CAT5 to HDMI (5, Interesting)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128586)

To prove to my friend that super-shielded uber-expensive HDMI cables are a load of shit, I took a cheap 5 foot HDMI cable, cut it in two, soldered between the two molded connectors 100 feet (x3 cables) of CAT 5 cable. After un-sleeving and splicing what seemed like two dozen conductors I had a mass of unshielded twisted pair with two molded HDMI connectors between them, I ran the 100 foot cable on top of AC power cables, speaker cable, coax, plugged it into my monitor and it worked perfectly. The only reason I'm not still using the cable is because one of the dozen or so solder points broken in the rats nest of splicing and I would get a crazy scrambled screen (or no image), after a few dozen technical taps the splice came apart and I didn't want to take another hour to put it back together - and lets face it, it was ugly. So there it is if anyone is curious, you can run HDMI over CAT 5 for 100 feet without enough attenuation or noise to break the signal.

And someone else mentioned that the length of the cable adds to the delay in the signal. Cable times are measured in nanoseconds, monitor refresh rates are measured in milliseconds. It would be like saying: I dunno if my RAM can handle the speed of my new hard drive. The length of the cable might add a few nanoseconds to your response time, but you cannot see the difference, you are not a robot. Long analog signal cables on the other hand can't run 3 feet without getting signal noise and causing ghosting and all sorts of other weird artifacts. All I can say is thank god all the analog A/V cables are a thing of the past. If I ever have to hear (OR SEE!) a 60hz hum again in my life it will be too soon.

Re:CAT5 to HDMI (2)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128644)

Technically, signal noise, ghosting, all sorts of weird artifacts, and 60Hz hum happen on the digital lines, too. Good thing they just don't matter, as the 0s and 1s are still distinguishable. :-)

about digital.. (3, Insightful)

Jeek Elemental (976426) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128602)

Technically theres no such thing as a digital signal; look at it on an oscilloscope and its a far cry from the impossible squarewave used to represent them.
The receiver has to make a choice when to switch a 0 to a 1, with long slopes, noise and ringing this can cause problems even if its a "digital" signal.
Equipment today is good enough that its "never" a problem, signals get reclocked and cleaned up, crc etc.

So no, you shouldnt buy expensive hdmi cables, but you shouldnt mistake the abstract digital concept for its real, messy electrical representation either.

A cable still needs to be good (1)

zlogic (892404) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128604)

I bought myself a $4 DVIHDMI cable on Ebay (to connect an external monitor to my laptop with a digital interface - since the colors are worse on VGA).
No audio, no encryption, so no possibility to screw up (compared to HDMIHDMI conections), right? The cable worked OK for two weeks, then stopped working as if it was unplugged. To get it working I had to disconnect it from the monitor (the DVI end) and reconnect it a couple of times until the laptop detected the exernal monitor.
Bought a regular HDMIHDMI cable with a DVIHDMI adaptor for a total of $15 in a local computer styore, works OK. The only issue is that the monitor displays a "check cable" message when the laptop is powered off instead of entering sleep mode.

By the way, regular polyethilene insulation with a metal connector is better than the cool-looking kevlar (?) shield with gold connectors. Gold usually turns out to be paint and comes off after a few reconnections and the "kevlar" shield peels off.

True! (0)

mikeiver1 (1630021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128608)

For short cables, 1 to 2 Meters in length I totally agree. In the case of longer runs though, say 4+ meters and above it is essential to have a very good quality cable between the source and the display. Save your money and go cheap on the short runs for the digital cables.

Re:True! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128746)

I tried a 25' DVI-D run to my projector, but the signal quality was seriously degraded (blocky and greyish colors). Noise gets in the line and swamps signal at some point. This was an $80 cable for just the length, otherwise fairly generic. Annoying.

where i get 'em (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128618)

(i promise i'm not a shill)

monoprice.com

they do an awesome job of getting any type of cable i need, at an awesome price.

Watch out for those accessories! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36128624)

It's all about making margin. I used to work for a DJ supply company and the profit came from cables and other accessories. Where the electronic item had a small 10-20% markup, the profit margin on the various accessories ranged from 1000-2000+%. The trick was that the consumer would spend their time educating themselves on the cost of their main purchase, so that price was pretty much dictated. The salesperson-recommended accessories however, those were a different story!

It's okay though, my employee discount was actually 10% above cost, so my cable purchases felt like theft! :)

Well, Duh-Huh! (1)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128668)

Known this for years. Thought everyone with an IQ greater than 5 already knew it as well.

who'da thunk? (1)

internet_everyone (1864426) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128710)

Great surprise there!

In other news... (1)

johnwbyrd (251699) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128780)

Experts have determined that purchasing the most expensive chess set does not improve your ELO score. #noshitsherlock

Receivers should have error counters (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36128790)

HDMI does have some error checking. Each 8-bit byte is sent as 10 bits, to maintain DC balance. The receiving end can detect at least single bit errors. The reaction of most HDMI devices is error concealment, and the error counts are seldom if ever made visible to the user.

Some of the earliest CD players had visible error counters. This was discouraged in consumer devices by industry agreement.

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