MISINFORMATION Corrected By Facts on HDMI
I have been reading the posts claiming that high performance HDMI cables, such as Monster Cable, are not worth the additional expense. I would have to say that the information that is being spread on these series of posts are full of inaccurate and misleading information. It is simply not true and unjustified. Let me try to share some facts on HDMI.
Just as not all levels of high definition signals are the same, not all levels of HDMI cables are the same as well. Technology continues to change and improve. Every year we see higher resolutions, sharpness, color depth, and high-quality audio signals of which put high demands on the connection between the source and the destination, thus the HDMI cable. And there are large differences between different options available on the market.
There are cables on the market today that say HDMI on them but they simply do not meet HDMI specifications. There is the cable itself to consider, the dielectric, the shielding, the connector, and then how is it all assembled. Not all are created equal. I have personally seen the large differences in build quality between a high end cable and a inexpensive cable as well as the test results on said cables and it was staggering. For example, the high end cable had a connector that was completely encased with shielding, solid and neat connections in the connector, and then the connector attached to the cable with a solid metal band that was actually part of the connector shielding. The inexpensive cable was on the other hand just shielded on one side of the connector, messy connections in the connector simply covered with silicone, and then the connector attached to the cable with masking table. Yes I said masking tape. Better build quality results in better performance.
Next, attentuation. Poor cable/connector construction and poor materials results in higher impedance. Higher impedance results in lower quality signal, Lower quality signal results in poor or no picture and or sound, Poor or no picture and or sound results in frustration. It is a sequence of events. You must also consider the length of the cable. Have you ever seen an 'eye pattern'. An eye pattern is the test that is applied to HDMI cables for attentuation factors. The reason why it is called an eye pattern is because a reference test pattern looks like an eye when you view it on the test scope. You can clearly see that over a distance, and I am referring to distances as short as just a few feet, you see drastic collapsing of the test patterns showing how the signal is simply lost due to attentuation. High performance cables can maintain signal quality over long distances. Sorry for using a brand name of a HDMI cable but Monster Cable for example has HDMI cables available that successfully test all the way up to 75 feet at 1080p. This is impossible on the less expensive cables. Additionally Monster Cable has solutions to allow for even longer distances includes 100's of feet. Again not possible with less expensive cables.
Build quality was mentioned in some of the posts which one made mention of one cable being more 'pliable' than another cable after he/she frequently changed the cable multiple times (plugging and unplugging the cable many times over). I will be the first to admit that the HDMI cable solution is NOT the best type of cable that could be used but for today, it is the best type of cable for the highest quality signals. But the HDMI cable was not even made originally for the home entertainment industry. It was made for connecting PC equipment in very short distances, but was adopted for use in the CE space to allow for the passage of the higher resolutions. Solid construction on the cable is a good thing for the best reliably of the signal, more pliable cable is not always a good thing. Again I have personally seen the differences.
Then final point, and a very important point, bandwidth. There are HDMI cables on the market that can pass 480p, 720p, or perhaps even 1080i which have been standards in high definition signals up through 2006. But in late 2006, the game changed with Playstation 3, HD-DVD, and Blu-Ray. These sources are 1080p and the demands of the system components, including the connections, increased dramatically. The bandwidth requirements have gone from 0.81 GHz for 480p, to 2.23 GHz for 720p and 1080i signals, to now 4.46 GHz and 6.68 GHz for 1080p sources. And they are going up even further. In the near future you will see bandwidth requirements of 10.2 GHz and even 12.2 GHz for even higher resolution solutions. Therefore emphasis again comes back to the quality of the cable to pass these signals both today and even tomorrow. I know for a fact that Monster Cable HDMI cables meet and exceed this specification. Again many things go into the equation to ensure this can be done, of which many have been discussed above.
Then what about timing errors, known as jitter? What about tonal transitions between colors? That is the digital banding you can see between colors on some systems. What about gray-scale meansurements and contrast ratio? As you can see there are many things to take into consideration.
In closing, as I know I have gone on for a while, high performance cables are definently worth the money many times over. You always get what you pay for. If you look at Monster Cable again being it was mentioned so frequently throughout these posts, you will see mid-priced cables up to expensive cables for the same reasons. Not all cables are created equal. There are drastic differences between them. For some the visual differnces will be small, and for others they will be large differences. But the bottom line, higher performance cables are most definently worth the money,
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