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Retailer Calls Rivals' Bluff On "HDMI Scam"

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the digital-snake-oil dept.

The Almighty Buck 664

nk497 writes "Retailer Kogan is offering customers of rival stores free HDMI cables to highlight the 'scam' of selling the cables for £100, saying its own £4 cable works just as well. 'An HDMI cable is an HDMI cable,' Kogan said. 'It's a digital cable. You either get a picture or you don't. Don't get conned into buying a 'fancy' HDMI cable because it will make no difference!' Rival retailers Currys and John Lewis said they preferred to offer customers a 'variety' of cables. 'Each of our HDMI cables offers excellent quality and value for money, and by providing our customers with a range of different cables which offer different specifications, we are able to help them find one to suit their specific needs, with features such as different cable lengths, ultra slim and high speed,' said a spokesman for John Lewis, which sells cables for £20 to £99."

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But the Best Buy guy said it does (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#36659740)

You mean the oxygen-free wiring and gold-plated connectors don't make for an "extra dynamic picture" and "much better sound resolution"?

Re:But the Best Buy guy said it does (5, Funny)

VAElynx (2001046) | about 3 years ago | (#36659784)

See, it's all to do with the fact that while the zeros of a digital signal are smooth and pass through well, the ones can get caught and cause a data block, if the cable is of poor quality, or bent.

Re:But the Best Buy guy said it does (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36659812)

I'd have thought it was the other way around - ultra slim cables will let a 1 pass through, but a 0 will get blocked.

Unless those 1's are sideways. Why doesn't the manual for my new HDMI cable specify this?

Re:But the Best Buy guy said it does (4, Funny)

jonbryce (703250) | about 3 years ago | (#36660014)

They are European style 1s with long tails. They can get confused with Anglo Saxon style 7s.
That's why the directional indicator is so important.

Re:But the Best Buy guy said it does (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660058)

The problem with the 1's is that, when they go in backward, they work like a fish hook and get stuck.

Re:But the Best Buy guy said it does (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 3 years ago | (#36660186)

You may need to change the font of the 1s and 0s. We could get a box from Japan to do that, but supply is limited these day. It costs more than we were happy with, which is why we took it off our website. Your choice, for $499, it does complete your home cinema.

Re:But the Best Buy guy said it does (1)

JamesP (688957) | about 3 years ago | (#36659790)

No, but it stands for better slarvardation, higher image snognation and improved kaplast!

Re:But the Best Buy guy said it does (4, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#36659894)

Just make sure you don't connect your golden cable backwards - the bass always sounds thin and reedy when the electrons are forced to flow 'uphill'.

Re:But the Best Buy guy said it does (4, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#36660114)

PS: Don't forget to "break-in" your cables by playing music at full volume for 150 hours when new, and for another 10 hours or so every time you disconnect/reconnect them.

Re:But the Best Buy guy said it does (2)

plover (150551) | about 3 years ago | (#36660002)

And "truer reds". The salesman wouldn't shut up about how much better Monster cables were at improving reds.

I bought my cables at Radio Shack, but I regret not having walked away from that idiot salescreature on the spot.

Re:But the Best Buy guy said it does (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660084)

I just asked the salesman if he was actually ignorant enough to believe that, or if the best buy job was really worth ridding himself of all personal integrity.

Re:But the Best Buy guy said it does (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 3 years ago | (#36660162)

Heh, I had a similar experience at Radio Shack, complaining about the "gold cable scam," since all their cables were gold.

The sales guy tried to say that gold was the best, and I should trust him on this. I tried to explain that both copper and silver have better conductivity than gold (by a significant percent, greater than gold beats aluminum), and he more or less told me to shut up, because he was educated in these matters.

Re:But the Best Buy guy said it does (2)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 3 years ago | (#36660144)

Actually, there is still a difference, durability.

And, as far as my experience goes, Radio Shack's cables are pretty damn well near the bottom of that list.

Re:But the Best Buy guy said it does (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660024)

This Amazon review [] says it best.

Re:But the Best Buy guy said it does (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660132)

I will only buy high speed HDMI cables from now on. I bought a regular one, but eventually got sick of the 10 minute delay when watching a movie, and my PS3 was just unplayable. Thank god the salesman set me straight. Also I really recommend Monster cables because they produce whiter whites, blacker blacks and the coloriest colors while preventing bits from static cling and creating the softest fuzzies.

The emperor has no clothes! (5, Insightful)

Vasheron (1750022) | about 3 years ago | (#36659754) essentially what Kogan is saying...and they're right!

Re:The emperor has no clothes! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36659806)

Yes they are.
BUT a certain level of quality on the connection (connector & cable, screening, manufacture [ie did they bother to twist?]) does make a difference

BUT we are talking about the bottom of the barrel cables to just above it.
You can very easily make shit cables, likewise you can very easily make very good cable for not alot of extra effort.

These cables really are ripoff.

Re:The emperor has no clothes! (4, Funny)

plover (150551) | about 3 years ago | (#36660030)

The monster has no clothes!


NO it depends... (5, Interesting)

johnjones (14274) | about 3 years ago | (#36660034)

its a bit like saying you can plug in a CAT 5 cable and get gigabit...
the answer is it depends...
the longer the cable the more the signal degrades and just because its digital does not mean it will produce the same results..

have a read of this

I guess the Kogan cables are not very long... dont get me wrong I think they are right most HDMI cables are a scam... but someone needs to actually test them before commenting...

but honestly who is going to listen... they are after fast bit of press... slashdot used to be about technical things..


John Jones

Re:NO it depends... (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 3 years ago | (#36660128)

That's why one should use Cat5E becuase it is specced to 1gbps

Re:NO it depends... (5, Interesting)

reashlin (1370169) | about 3 years ago | (#36660226)


Network speeds will degrade with poor quality cables. This is because data will become corrupt and be re-sent. Speeds "appear" to decrease because the ratio of data:noise will decrease.

With HDMI there is no "re-sending" of data. So when the corrupt data comes through, no picture comes through.

You _will_ _not_ get a lower quality picture from a cheap HDMI picture. You will get no picture at all.

Re:NO it depends... (1)

PIBM (588930) | about 3 years ago | (#36660260)

I dislike Audioholics as they are not very scientific in a lot of tests.. Just take a look at that graph, with the axis labelled Cables > 3m while they are referencing Cables 3m ... Anyway.. =)

Re:The emperor has no clothes! (1)

rvw (755107) | about 3 years ago | (#36660110) essentially what Kogan is saying...and they're right!

I remember a Dutch tv-program that tests different consumer products (Tros Radar [] ). They did a blind test with a bunch of HDMI-cables, from €3 to €140, with a panel of professional video-editors. They chose two cables as the best, the cheapest and the most expensive. Their conclusion was that the most expensive was probably better for the professional who had to change the cables a lot. The connector was of better quality. Then for cables longer than 5 meters, a more expensive cable could be better. Other than that, the cheapest one was as good as the others...

An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (4, Informative)

master_kaos (1027308) | about 3 years ago | (#36659820)

Sure a cheap $2 HDMI cable is just as good as a more expensive one for a short run (50') they sure as hell do matter. I used to think the same thing, and I needed to do 3x60' runs. So I bought some cheap hdmi cables and ran them, no signal. Tried other 2.. same issue. Returned them, bought better quality ones (no monster cables, but better quality ones), and they ran perfect.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 3 years ago | (#36659914)

This doesn't change the fact that most customers are going from the Xbox/DVR/Roku to the screen, which is usually a 3 foot run. So why do these people need a $50, or even $20 HDMI cable. Does anyone even know where I can go out and buy and HDMI cable today for less than $10? It seems that getting it shipped from China is cheaper than driving down to Best Buy.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (1)

master_kaos (1027308) | about 3 years ago | (#36659932)

you are right, and I agree with that, The short cables for $50 are a huge ripoff. I am just trying to point out that quality in an HDMI cable does matter for longer runs.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36659954)

ebay... got a 25' one for $10

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (1)

Damastus the WizLiz (935648) | about 3 years ago | (#36659984)

I buy my HDMI cables from Big Lots. $6-$10 for a six foot cable.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660224)

I'll second buying cables from Big Lots. I've purchased at least 10 for myself, friends & family over the last few years, excellent quality every time. I'll also note that while others are saying cheap cables are fine for short runs, I've only purchased these in 3 or 6 foot lengths.

For work, I've purchased more expensive, higher quality cables when we can to run 25 feet to a laptop on a presentation stand.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (1)

hvm2hvm (1208954) | about 3 years ago | (#36660012)

I bought a 10m or 30ft cable for about 20$ from the store near me. There were cheaper ones too but I thought they could be badly made or something. In retrospect, I probably should've bought the cheap ones...

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | about 3 years ago | (#36659942)

Devil's advocate: did you try two different brands of $2 HDMI cable? Maybe the workmanship on that brand's longer cables was just shoddy if made by the same company.

Refund (1)

AwaxSlashdot (600672) | about 3 years ago | (#36659946)

"Returned them"

Sure you returned them : they were deceptive products ! To bear the HDMI logo, a cable needs to be certified.
No signal : those were not HDMI certified cables and you should get a refund.

So, taking a dirt cheap cable is a no risk situation : either it works or you get a refund.

Re:Refund (1)

localman57 (1340533) | about 3 years ago | (#36660168)

To bear the HDMI logo, a cable needs to be certified.

Actually, to bear the HDMI logo, a cable maker needs to have a .png of the HDMI logo. Just like to make a Coach Purse, you need to have a copy of the Coach logo (cheap HDMI cables and imitation Coach purses come from the same place...). To legally bear the HDMI logo, you need to be certified. But makers in the $2-$4 market often break the rules. Not saying that the cable won't work, but buyer beware. Don't trust the logo if it doesn't look like the HDMI association could figure out where to mail a cease-and-decist letter.

Re:Refund (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660184)

Unfortunately master_kaos is right: Not all HDMI cables are created equal. It's a digital signal, encoded in an analog waveform, transmitted over an analog cable. The cable is absolutely not digital.

Some standards have length requirements. For example, Ethernet (100BASE-T) says that a Cat5 cable is sufficient for carrying the signal 100m, so if you get a Cat5 cable, you can be sure that the signal will be OK within that limit. HDMI does not make any guarantees about possible cable lengths. If you make a better cable, you can transmit the signal over a longer distance or in worse electromagnetic environments or with lower quality transceivers. Therefore there's something very analog to HDMI, even though the signal is digital. All of this doesn't matter for typical cable lengths, but when you approach the limits of the technology, cable quality actually makes a difference.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36659948)

ugh, reading your garbled nonsense is giving me a headache. How about you bone-up on your grammer.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660064)

Sure he will only after you use a browser with a spell check. grammar not grammer.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660104)

ugh, reading your garbled nonsense is giving me a headache. How about you bone-up on your grammer.

Oh, the irony.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (1)

broggyr (924379) | about 3 years ago | (#36660122)

Wouldn't that be 'grammar'? Muphry's Law [] is in full effect.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36659956)

Why in gods name are you running >50 foot HDMI runs.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#36659970)

That's exactly what he's saying. You either get a signal, or you don't. It's not like an analogue system, where there's a wide spectrum between perfect and nonfunctional. Either the error rate is below the correction threshold, in which case a better cable won't make a difference, or it's above and you can easily tell because there's no picture.

For some uses, such as long runs, you really do need a better cable. For most, you don't.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | about 3 years ago | (#36660166)

To the best of my knowledge, there is no parity in HDMI (nor digital audio coax/optical intefaces), and in fact, you can get degraded quality, which can show up as artifacts, skips, or drops in audio/video. Additionally if the clocks on the sending and receiving side are not matched properly, there can be jitter which may or may not be noticeable small corrections in time.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36659976)

3*60' is not you're average run. The article is making an assumption around the type of consumer and their setup, namely that you have a TV and other devices close to each other and are using relatively short cables (mainly 6' cables). For 60' runs you would need a heavier gauge and good shielding to ensure the signal makes it from device to device.

There is a reason electricians don't simply use extension cords in the walls, they use proper wiring as that is the right tool for the job..

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660032)

And that point demonstrates that there is some basis in fact. A cheap cable may have more loss/ft. and may not have optimal impedance matching and may introduce an occasional bit error. Any problems with the cable will only get worse with longer lengths. So, get decent quality unless you need to operate in unusually bad conditions, and then cables that offer slightly better signal integrity may be worth the money.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660076)

I've had issues with cheap HDMI cables too.

I bought a cheap cable with flexible ends (for about $5) - worked fine at 720p but the picture/sound kept dropping out every few minutes at 1080p. Replaced it with a $30 cable which worked fine.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#36660250)

All HDMI cables should have a certification on the packet:

Category 1 - 720p or 1080i
Category 2 - 1080p

$30 is a complete rip-off for a normal length Category 2 cable.

These days it would have to be a *really* cheap-ass cable to only work at 720p.

Re:An HDMI cable is not just an HDMI cable (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | about 3 years ago | (#36660130)

Sure a cheap $2 HDMI cable is just as good as a more expensive one for a short run (50') they sure as hell do matter.

Having some trouble parsing this sentence... But I'm going to assume that you're saying that over a short run, a $2 cable is just fine. Though I don't think I'd call 50 feet a "short run"...

I used to think the same thing, and I needed to do 3x60' runs. So I bought some cheap hdmi cables and ran them, no signal. Tried other 2.. same issue. Returned them, bought better quality ones (no monster cables, but better quality ones), and they ran perfect.

Most people aren't going to be going more than about 10 feet from their DVD/bluray/roku/satellite/whatever to the TV.

There is certainly going to be a difference in build-quality between a cable that costs $2 and one that costs, say, $20. And I don't generally use the ultra-cheap cables because they tend to fall apart if you're moving things around much. I had the end come right off of some ultra-cheap cable that I was using to plug into a laptop routinely.

So I guess I'm not surprised that you had some issues getting a signal through 60 feet of ultra-cheap cable... But that isn't really what this article is talking about.

There are companies out there that will sell you a 10 foot length of cable for $200, just because they can. They'll claim that the gold plating and lack of oxygen and whatever else will result in a better picture and warmer sound. But, as you saw, with a digital cable you've either got a picture or you don't. Assuming the cable doesn't fall apart, and the signal gets from one end of the cable to the other, there'll be no difference between a $2 cable and a $200 cable.

Now, you can certainly argue that for $200 the build quality is going to be higher than that of a $2 cable... And you're probably right. But that stops mattering at some point...

Ok, the $2 cable falls apart after being plugged and unplugged a few dozen times... But the $20 cable holds up just fine after a good year or two of use and abuse - so, do you really need to spend $200 on some cable that's hand-rolled on the bellies of nubile women?

This one wins the prize (5, Funny)

jrq (119773) | about 3 years ago | (#36659826)

Re:This one wins the prize (1)

plover (150551) | about 3 years ago | (#36659958)

And that's why I'd mock anyone who buys ANYTHING by Denon. If they're going to lie this bad about their cables, who knows what other lies they told about their amplifiers, tuners, or other gear?

It's a Boolean state: as long as they maintain this lie, they're nothing but liars.

Re:This one wins the prize (1)

happydan (948604) | about 3 years ago | (#36660178)

Denon make great DJ gear.

Re:This one wins the prize (1)

Technician (215283) | about 3 years ago | (#36660086)

All that info and they don't even mention if it is CAT5 or CAT5E.

Re:This one wins the prize (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 years ago | (#36660094)

Only $499 for a CAT5 network cable? What a bunch of amateurs...there's people charging more than that for replacement volume knobs.

Re:This one wins the prize (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660096)

That cable is the best. Ever try one? No, then "don't knock it till you've tried it" (for 31 days). Everyone should try one of these wonderful cables for a period of time just greater than the return policy time so they know what they're talking about before they speak.


"Denon's" Frank Footer
Denon Ft. Worth

Re:This one wins the prize (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660136)

That cable is a discontinued product. It's unavailable for sale.

One can wonder if they ever sold one.

If customers pester them for cables like that, who is to blame them for creating one?

I got a BIG TV (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36659836)

There is no way of those ultra slim cabels can fit a picture big enough for my TV.

I don't know how the salesmen go to bed at night (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36659842)

Long ago I used to feed this crap to customers at Best Buy while i was in college, but my sin pertained to "gold plated USB cables" and "printing better quality pictures." I knew it was bogus and eventually I just couldn't keep up the bull without feeling dirty and transferred to cameras and cellphones.

Glad to see someone do this.

Re:I don't know how the salesmen go to bed at nigh (1)

metalgamer84 (1916754) | about 3 years ago | (#36659936)

Cameras and cellphones made you feel less dirty?

Customer: "Which camera should I buy?"

Best Buy sales rep: "Either this one that has more mega-pixels or this one that costs more, which means it takes better pictures."

I guess if that made you feel like less of a con-man...

Re:I don't know how the salesmen go to bed at nigh (3, Interesting)

Glothar (53068) | about 3 years ago | (#36660242)

I seriously heard some "sales associate" at Best Buy tell someone that documents would print faster if they bought a parallel cable with gold connectors. While it wasn't the first time I'd heard Best Buy's sales people spouting blatant lies (1998: "You'll want the best CPU you can buy if you want to run Word", 1999: "Sound cards fail all the time. I'd never buy one without the extra warranty." 2000: "WindowsME is way faster than Windows98, and if you don't upgrade now, you'll never be able to.") it is still the winner for sheer absurdity and blatant attempt to bilk another $10 from a customer.

I was just passing by on my way to find a new printer, but when the guy said it, I couldn't help myself. I broke out laughing. Pretty loud. The guy and his two gullible customers looked at me. I was in an odd mood, so I asked the guy how fast electricity traveled in gold. Then I asked how fast it traveled in copper. He didn't know either. I told the customers that he was lying to them. Pointed at one of the cheapest cables on the shelf, and told them that was the one they wanted. The sales guy looked pissed. A few other people nearby were watching. As I walked away, some manager-looking guy asked if I needed help. I told him that I came to buy a printer, but that Office Max was only a few blocks away and their sales staff didn't lie to their customers.

Since then, I probably spent only a couple hundred dollars in Best Buy, almost entirely on DVDs. When given the choice, for any piece of hardware (even cables) I'll go to any other store. While I'm sure that in the long run, Best Buy makes decent money off lying to customers, I'd easily estimate that its lost a few thousand dollars of sales just off me. At the very least, it lost about $160 ($150 printer + $10 for uselessly-upgraded cable) that day for that guy's stupid attempt.

Still too much? (1)

dreamt (14798) | about 3 years ago | (#36659844)

According to Google, UK£ 4 = $6.42800 which is still at least double what an HDMI cable goes for on Monoprice (depending on length that they are selling)

Re:Still too much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36659902)

Yeah, but everything costs about twice as much in the UK.

Re:Still too much? (1)

rafe.kettler (1946264) | about 3 years ago | (#36659960)

I can get 6' cables on Amazon for $2.27 with free shipping, so I can confirm that this is very expensive.

Re:Still too much? (2)

Nevynxxx (932175) | about 3 years ago | (#36659988)

Most of the time the real exchange rate is $1 = £1 to actually buy stuff. Yes, we basically pay twice as much for everything as you do. Yes it sucks.

Re:Still too much? (1)

AliasMrAlias (1445453) | about 3 years ago | (#36660010)

mmm but the cheapest lead you'll see in a high street store over here at the moment is gonna be at least a fiver. I work weekends at a large electronics retailer here and our cheapest is 12.99£. So 4£ is really cheap for an actual shop.

Re:Still too much? (1)

afidel (530433) | about 3 years ago | (#36660022)

I was thinking the same thing, heck when I order from monoprice I usually throw in a couple extra 6' HDMI cables to give away to friends and family since it costs me so little (my monoprice orders usually have more in shipping due to weight than the cost of the extra couple cables).

Future Shop does it too now (3, Informative)

canajin56 (660655) | about 3 years ago | (#36659858)

After Future Shop in Canada got bought up, they've dumped their non-monster cables and stuff. "Oh, you want an HDMI to go with that TV? That'll be $80. Do you want a fucking $400 god damn power bar? It cleans the power gremlins out of your filthy filthy wall socket. Without the filter the gremlins will take a hammer to the inside of your TV, and eat all your bags of chips. It also somehow makes the sound one hundred times crisper because resonance waves from your dirty power account for a huge portion of the signal noise from home amplifiers and receivers. It also has a display to show the current voltage, so you know just how dirty your power was before we made it sparkling fresh!"

Re:Future Shop does it too now (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 3 years ago | (#36660056)

Power conditioning power strips are worth while for the protection against over and under voltages as it seems they do extend the life of electronics. For a while there I was going through a DVD player every 6-8 months and I wasn't buying the cheep crap ones (you know the $5 ones) but was purchasing decent ones. About 2 years ago I bought a power conditioning power strip at the hardware store for $24 haven't any issues with electronics since. The computers are connected to a UPS so I never noticed issues there.

You have stumbled upon the difference between music lovers and audiophiles. Music lovers listen to music, where audiophiles listen to stereos.

Re:Future Shop does it too now (2)

Pionar (620916) | about 3 years ago | (#36660092)

Dirty power can affect audio output quality, especially in cheaper amplifiers that don't have their own power filters.

You wouldn't plug your computer straight into the wall, so why would you plug your very expensive home theater equipment directly into the wall? They are far more sensitive to power fluctuations than your PC.

You ever seen a flatscreen with a line drop? Not a pretty sight, and often caused by power surges. Plasmas used to have this problem we used to call "the sparkles" when a power surge would hit them. Not sure if that still happens, haven't been in the TV "game" for a few years.

But this HDMI stuff is pure bullshit. The only time it matters is when it comes to 3D. Some of the older (and newer cheaper) cables don't have the bandwidth for it.

never ordered from Cisco? (2)

IZN0GUD (804758) | about 3 years ago | (#36659874)

My client insisted we buy cables from Cisco, too. We ended up paying 80 US dollars for one 2-meters long (like, 6,5 feet) straight un-shielded cable. That was the biggest 'client induced retardation' I've experienced, although your price of 100 quids for HDMI cable surely beats Cisco prices.

Re:never ordered from Cisco? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36659944)

Yeah, sounds stupid. However, not having to argue hours with Cisco tech support that "yes, our non-Cisco cables are working perfectly fine" also has a price, unfortunately... Having a single nail to hit in case of trouble is not necessarily a bad idea.

Re:never ordered from Cisco? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660062)

Seems like your failing if your client doesnt trust you enough *not* to buy that garbage from Cisco. Tried saying 'I don't think thats a good idea' to them Mr beta male?

How about £9,936 for a 2.5 meter HDMI cable! (1)

kaptink (699820) | about 3 years ago | (#36659880)

Thats nothing. How about £9,936 for a 2.5 meter HDMI cable! - [] - Now that is pushing the envelope to the maximum. Sadly there will always be idiots with too much money in their pockets who buy this stuff. Everyone should do Digital Electronics 101.

Re:How about £9,936 for a 2.5 meter HDMI cab (1)

stewbee (1019450) | about 3 years ago | (#36660176)

And through in a good electromagnetics course to learn about transmission lines and possibly basic EMI. However, the first time the see Maxwell's equations might blow their minds.

HDMI Spec 1.0 to 1.4a? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36659888)

About the only relevant difference between HDMI cables I've ever heard of what the HDMI spec is. I believe they are up to HDMI 1.4a now. Which supports ethernet over HDMI. for more info

Re:HDMI Spec 1.0 to 1.4a? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660108)

This is true, and if you shop around the price difference is negligible.

Re:HDMI Spec 1.0 to 1.4a? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660182)

Even that one has me wondering: Is there any actual physical difference between these 1.0, 1.3 or 1.4a cables? If yes, what is it?

1.3 brought certification - 1.4 ethernet (1)

AwaxSlashdot (600672) | about 3 years ago | (#36660222)

Until 1.4, all cables were the sames but had different qualities. This quality was not "certified" until 1.3.

In 1.3, they defined cable Categories :
- Category 1 (renamed Normal in 1.4) was certified for 1080i
- Category 2 (renamed HighSpeed in 1.4) was certified for higher resolutions and frequencies (like 3D)

Category 1 is certified for displaying 1080i but would generally work for 1080p 2D content.
Category 2 is required for 3D. In 2D, it is required for insane resolutions or frequencies no consumer video source or display support.

1.4 added Ethernet over HDMI using a connector pin that was previously reserved hence not soldered (pin 14). This is called HDMI Ethernet Channel and HDMI ask to label it HDMI HEC. So far, I haven't found a single HDMI HEC TV.

It looks like HDMI really wants to avoid consumer confusion to slow its adoption and with 1.4 cable specification and guidelines, it seems they REALLT wanted to cut the BS on cable "quality".

High speed! (1)

deadhammer (576762) | about 3 years ago | (#36659904)

with features such as different cable lengths, ultra slim and high speed,

There's two HDMI cable specs, supporting 720p/1080i or 1080p. What you mean is "high resolution", but since people don't know what a resolution is because all you do is sell them shiny gold plated voodoo cables you can call it "high speed" and bilk them some more. The price difference is $2 on Monoprice. Incidentally, this doubles the value of the cable. But you wouldn't know that since your cables start at twenty pounds and go up to the stratosphere from there.

Re:High speed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660212)

The proper name for category 2 HDMI cables is indeed "high speed" not "high resolution" as the cable in and of itself does not have nor care about resolution. The added bandwidth could be and often is used for higher resolution, but is also used for 3D, higher refresh rates, or supplementary data like ethernet over HDMI.

Signal integrity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36659912)

Digital signals can still degrade.

Fucking signal integrity, how does it work?

Unfortunately... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#36659940)

Thanks to some questionable design decisions(eg. simultaneously dumbing the standard down because it is "just consumer"(compare to what SDI and its descendants have been doing over simple BNC or fiber connections for ages now) and tacking on every feature that makes it to "fad of the month" status for at least one hype cycle. HDMI cables are, arguably, more complex than would be idea. Worse, they've been tacked on in a very unsystematic way: You've got a very high speed unidirectional bus, and a slower bidirectional one for CEC, DDC, etc. However, because both of these weren't really designed for elegant expansion, when they added ethernet, they couldn't just dump it into a logical slice of the bidirectional aux channel. Instead, there are two different cable types: the ones that support running ethernet over some extra signal lines and the ones that don't.

It is certainly true that(particularly for short runs, long runs pretty much cannot be saved by any passive cabling; because it's 'Just Consumer') as long as cable A and cable B check the same checkboxes, they are the same, and it isn't worth paying more; but there are rather more checkboxes in the feature matrix than one would like for a basic cable...

An old coat hangar works best (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 3 years ago | (#36659990)

Un-twist and gently hammer both ends in place. Great picture quality at a fraction of the price. Best of all it's made from recycled components.

Re:An old coat hangar works best (1)

Technician (215283) | about 3 years ago | (#36660218)

You might want to invest a little bit more to get reliable connections on the end and an impedence somewhere in the ball park.

They are to be 4 twisted pairs, each pair shielded.

Every manufacturer's HDMI cable is built to meet a nominal 100 ohm characteristic impedance, The best one can do is to hold impedance within a range, centered on 100 ohms; the official HDMI spec calls for 100 ohms plus or minus 15%, which for a coax would be horribly sloppy. The tighter that tolerance can be kept, the better the performance will be.

Yep.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36659998)

As far as I know, the only time you should pay more for a cable is when making an extremely long cable run, but for short distances, it doesn't matter.

Best Buy tried to sell me an HDMI cable... (5, Interesting)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 3 years ago | (#36660020)

When I went to buy a new TV, Best Buy tried to sell me a HDMI cable. I actually needed one so I said sure how much? $35. I got in to an argument with the sales rep about how it would do nothing for my picture quality. I told him I'd give him $10 for it, and I knew that was about 700% profit for him so it works out for both of us.

So he told me he couldn't do that and I asked for a manager, maybe he could. Manager says he can't do that and this is an amazing HDMI cable and will make the picture better than any cheap cable I could buy. I told him I'm an electrical engineer and I know he's lying straight to my face to make a couple extra bucks. At that point I was pretty fed up so I said you can keep your $1000 TV. I guess the real mistake was thinking I'd get an honest sell at Best Buy

Re:Best Buy tried to sell me an HDMI cable... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 3 years ago | (#36660118)

Okay thing is that they where probably not lying to you. Lying is when you know what you are saying is not the truth. They have been told by people that it is the truth and where just repeating what they have heard. They where ignorant. It is the same kind of mentality I get from people when it comes to things like anti virus. They believe if it is free that it can not be good. The people at Best Buy where told these cables are better, the box says they are better, and they cost more. It is only logical that they are in fact better. They can not believe that a company could be scamming them that much.

Re:Best Buy tried to sell me an HDMI cable... (0)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 3 years ago | (#36660214)

I don't know, it seems that there's a great deal of people who know the whole thing is a sham. Ignorance isn't any better anyway. These are people who are supposed to be experts in what they sell. Why does best buy need sales staff if all they do is read what's on the box and parrot it back to me? I can just read it myself! Is it really so much to ask that I want some place that is knowledgeable about their products and/or won't lie to my face?

Re:Best Buy tried to sell me an HDMI cable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660180)

The word 'lying' is a little strong. You're an engineer, they're not. They've been trained to sell stuff and to the best of their knowledge, it's all true.

Re:Best Buy tried to sell me an HDMI cable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660196)

The problem is you were probably angry at the wrong guy. The corporate suits at Best Buy set the prices, not the manager. And the manager and salespeople probably actually believe the nonsense. You took the wrong tack. You should have educated them and tried to get a better deal on the TV for your efforts and then just bought the HDMI cable(s) from Amazon for $3 each. Or course, you would have done much better all the way 'round if you had just purchased your TV online too.

Cables are a scam (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | about 3 years ago | (#36660026)

There are so few things affect the quantify the quality of a cable. Not the least is the current, frequency, and voltage of the signal. Too high a current? You need more metal. Too high a voltage? You need better insulators. Too high a frequency? Then you need noise immunity and impedance matching with coax or twisted pair. Yes, I know this is an over simplification, but a little bit of research will show how nonsensical the high quality cable claims are.

This is my favourite audiophool scam:
"Simply put these are very danceable cables. " []

Why can't we prosecute these criminals for fraud?

Does the high end cable have comparison specs? (1)

Technician (215283) | about 3 years ago | (#36660044)

My main background is in Radio. This is the same thing that was repeated for High End Audio, then for USB for printers. I used to sweep test cables for phased antenna arrays.

I was able to sweep many audio patch cables. Most would work fine for short runs of video. Very few had high dielectric loss at video frequencies. Most were about 70 ohms impedance. The rest were between 60 and 85 ohms. Most old VCR stereo audio and video cable used the exact same wire for audio and video. It was all about 75 ohms impedance.

I like to give the sales people a very hard time by asking for the specifc cable specifications that make it better than cable B. What is the impedance? What is the near end cross talk? What is the attenuation at the highest frequency in the carried signal per foot? How much does the impedance and attenuation vary over the pass band? What is the % shielding?

Then I leave the salesman a copy of the cable sweep report on cable B and have him ask his supplier. I want a better cable, not just a claim of a better cable.

Definite answer: Normal or HighSpeed (w ethernet) (5, Informative)

AwaxSlashdot (600672) | about 3 years ago | (#36660048)

Directly from : [] []

Since 1.4, there are only 5 differentes cables and correctly labelling them is REQUIRED by HDMI (there is a grace period until the end of 2011).

It's simple : 2 speeds (Normal or HighSpeed) and a feature (with or without Ethernet).
Basically, Normal supports up to 1080i and HighSpeed supports above.

The last category is about automative cabling so we can forget about it.

At last, it is FORBIDDEN to make reference to a HDMI version number for cables ("upgrade your 1.3 cables to 1.4" : those are the same - except for Ethernet but your pre-1.4 devices did not support it).
And for products, if you want to use a version number, the manufacturer have to specifically list the feature added in this version supported by its product.

The usual snake oil. (1)

hebertrich (472331) | about 3 years ago | (#36660050)

The 4 dollar one will do just fine.And that's exactly right.Digital is digital.Works or don't.
The only place where we lay the bucks down is on 15 meters lengths ( 50 foot )
For the rest standard run of the mill cables do fine.We don't buy/sell junk on our installs.
We need connectors that are resistant.Which is the main trouble in HDMI.The wire part is quite
fairly standard.Quality of the connectors matter a LOT. Specially in tight corners ( thin walls when we put
hdmi on connection plates.) is where we separate the good from the ordinary.
But for home use ? Get the 4 dollar one and buy something for the missus with the savings.Take her out to dinner
, or if you are a true romantic : get her a few gigs of RAM :)

Disclaimer I'm a AV construction specialist. I do this for a living

Bah. Posted this yesterday. Got ignored. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#36660072)

Good old Slashdot, Why have fresh news when you can have old stuff a day late? Not that I'm moaning mind.

Just runa VGA cable from your computer (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 3 years ago | (#36660082)

Just do what I do and run VGA cable from the computer to the TV. then you don't have to worry about the HDMI cable scams.

Hmph. Proles. (1)

pshumate (1004477) | about 3 years ago | (#36660124)

Whatever. I'll keep my analog HDMI cables (with wooden knobs!). I can get 5298p on a good day.

Yes it matters - error correction, protocols, etc. (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about 3 years ago | (#36660152)

While there might be a "scam" it is only half a scam.

The protocols used in HDMI data transfer have mechanisms that handles loss of data or minor errors in the stream. So yes - a cheap cable will seem to work even if there is semi-severe interference and signal degradation. The damage sound and image will be auto-corrected in the receiving end, and the user will be none the wiser. Same goes for common network protocols uses in LAN and WLAN. If a packet is lost underway, or its integrity check reveals data corruption, the packet will be resend again. If the protocol is lossy, the receiving client will simply skip the data and move on with life.

While selling a high quality shielded HDMI cable for 99,- GBP might feel like a "scam", don't let yourself be fooled into buying the cheap cables. There IS a difference in quality, and for high-quality signals it does matter. Especially if the cable-mess behind your PS3 / X-Box / DVD player / Amplifier is filtered around external power adapters. I can visually see if my own HDMI cable is passing too close to the power adapter of my SqueezeBox when the signal is Full HD. The difference is subtle - but definitely present!

The scam is not the fact that there are different cables. The scam is the high prices being asked for the quality cables.

- Jesper

SHH (1)

moozh84 (919301) | about 3 years ago | (#36660240)

Don't forget that most big box retail stores set their pricing based on selling these cables and selling extended warranties. They often lose money on the TVs. If you're savvy, you'll buy the cables for $5 from elsewhere, and you'll buy the TV for below cost when there's a sale at a big box store. I respect what Kogan is doing but I'm not going to be a crusader for lazy consumers so I can pay higher prices.

a fool and his money... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 years ago | (#36660244)

A fool and his money are soon parted... I'm all for idiots buying $100 cables. It helps sort the wheat from the chaff. If someone tells me such and such speakers are great and then mentions their $100 cables, I know not to take their advice on the speakers. etc...

The problem is, the box stores use the $100 cables as an excuse to sell the $2 cables for $30+... So now, when I have a cable go bad, there's no place in town to get a replacement at a reasonable price and I have to wait 3 days for it to arrive from newegg.

Digital Foundry has the proof (1)

Eraesr (1629799) | about 3 years ago | (#36660258)

Eurogamer's Digital Foundry blog did some extensive testing with HDMI cables which shows that it really doesn't matter what type of cables you buy: []

Best Buy Loves Selling Snake Oil (3, Interesting)

MoldySpore (1280634) | about 3 years ago | (#36660264)

I literally just had an argument with a Best Buy employee over this the other day. Me and a friend went to the mall because I needed some emergency thermal paste for a PC build I was doing (I was visiting friends 5 hours from my house and had forgot some). I went to Best Buy because they had some for $10 (probably the cheapest thing in the store). After buying the paste, we hung around in the store while my friend's brother went and got a haircut. My friend and I went to the cable section and he asked me about HDMI cables for his HDTV. He showed me the cable he bought (Insignia for ~$40) and asked if it was good. I said it was fine, but that he over paid even for that. I then proceeded to pick up a Monster cable that was only 4 feet long and cost $129 and explain to him that this cable and that cable were the same. A Best Buy employee then came over and started a conversation with me.

Best Buy Employee: "Can I help you with anything?"
Me: "No, I'm all set."
BBE: "I see you have a Monster HDMI cable there. What kind of TV do you have?"
Me: "Oh I am just explaining to my friend that there is no reason to spend over $100 on a 4' cable when a $5 online will do the same thing"
BBE: "Well that isn't true. That cable will give you superior sound and video quality. It also has Ethernet over HDMI capability and compatibility for 3D"
Me: "Well I'm sure it does all of that, but any cable will do that for you as long as it is rated for HDMI 1.4 spec."
BBE: "It will but that cable will give you better picture quality because it has gold connectors and better shielding"
Me: "No, it really won't. Unless you have your TV inside a power transfer station with unshielded electrical cables, you will not really need to worry about interference. And picture quality will not be better regardless of what cable you are using."
BBE: "You are giving your friend bad advice. This cable is better and will give you better -"
Me: *interrupting him* "If I hooked up the same exact TVs to the same exact source with my cable and this cable, not only would they be the same quality, but my cable would be 15' longer and be able to connect across the room where as this is only capable of connecting to a device close by, and my cable will have cost around $5-20 and this one costs $129. I'd bet you any amount of $ that the difference in picture and sound quality would be indistinguishable."
BBE: "I'd take that bet, but only if I saw the cable you were going to use first"

We then went to the computer in the department and I went to Newegg and showed him this cable [] . He said "Right but that is a nice shielded cable like this one". And I said "Yea, but look at the length and the price." He then basically dismissed what I was saying and said that the Monster cable was still superior.

I wonder if they train people to be this ignorant? Or could places that sell cables for this price just attract people who buy into the BS?

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