$100.00 HDMI vs $9.00 HDMI [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-04-2010, 07:11 PM
Hi ,

I was under the impression that all you need these days is a $5-10.00 HDMI cable. Well, I bought a $100.00, 4 ft Monster HDMI cable, from Best Buy. some specs include, rated for 240 hertz , 14 bitcolor, and 15.8 gbps.

I tested this cable from the Cable HD box to my new LED 46 inch Samsung 8000 series tv.

Then, I tried a $9.00 HDMI cable I picked up from Target on black friday. It is 6ft and is made by GE, but not to many spect on the packaging. 1.3 industry cert cable, 10.2 gbps, 1080p. Also used only from cable HD box to the new tv.

YES, at times there was a difference, but not always. Overall, the 100.00 cable was more clear and consistant. If I had to use the cheap one to get by for a while, one could probably do so.

So, what is the deal with this HDMI cable thing lately, does it mke the difference or not??

I don't feel like dumping another 100.00 on an HDMI, i still need to hook up the Blu-Ray which will need the very best cable available since it is carring a true 1080 and more info from what I hear.

Do the newer 240 hertz LEDS need the better cable??

what's you take/opinion etc?


Mr Peabody
01-04-2010, 09:04 PM
This is a heated debate in which I don't care to fight any more. I will relay my experience and take it for what it's worth. I will say there are articles out on the net that tell people a $9.00 cable is the same. Funny you can't buy a USB or Ethernet cable that cheap. I also would urge you if paying $100.00 you look for something other than Monster. They may have some good products I haven't tried them all but Monster is mostly marketing. A really decent cable for the money is Bluejeans cable. They sell via the internet. http://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/hdmi-cables/index.htm You'll find them quite a bit cheaper than Monster. They have a return policy. Maybe you can try one and compare it to the Monster. Most higher end shops that carry quality brand cables will have some around you can take home to demo or at least let you bring them back if not happy.

I bought my Marantz A/V preamp to upgrade to HDMI capability. All the reviews were glowing. I hooked it up and used a $40.00 Belkin HDMI from Target. I was less than happy with the sound quality. I talked to people and even started a thread disputing all the great reviews. I had some serious buyers remorse and was debating what to do. My dealer gave me a Tributaries HDMI to try. I can't remember the price but it was over $100.00. With the more expensive cable the audio improved greatly and I felt a more detailed picture. My wife is no help when comparing picture and my eyes aren't good. I did feel I could see more background detail in the picture. I am positive though the sound quality improved. I took the Belkin totally out of my system and bought two other Tributaries. I don't know why the expensive HDMI was better but it was and saved me from returning my preamp.

On HDMI bigger and heavier is not necessarily better. The ends have to make a good connection and if the cable is too heavy it could cause a problem with the connector working loose.

01-05-2010, 01:12 AM
I bought my HDMI cables from www.bluejeanscable.com Check them out. Excellent prices and high quality cables.

01-05-2010, 04:22 AM
ok, so I see it is a tough topic, so let me ask 2 more questions please,

I visited Bluejeans, there are tons of HDMI cables, which one should I get?

I'm gonna need 2 , one for the new 240 hertz LED samsung TV and one for the Sanmsung Blu-Ray.

Next question, I have a Harmon Kardon AVR 110, purchased around 2001, and it does not have HDMI. A few people have suggested I go buy a new reciever that has HDMI, but my problem is, I would have to spend another 300-600 dollars. I just can't do it right now.
So, In the mean time I will have to run optical from the Blue-Ray to the reciever, and since I only have one optical on my reciever, I will have to run component cable out of cable box to component in on the reciever. Make sense so far?

It appears I do not have an optical cable, so which one and where would you reccomend?

I used to run, I think a digital coax cable from reciever to dvd or tv approx 7 years ago, does that sound right? because I don;t see any jacks on the new Samsungs tv or bd that says dig coax.

Ultimately, I know it makes more sense to get the newer reciever, and I will do that eventually, but for know I wanna take advantage of the items I have and listen to these killer movies through a 5.1 ht system.

Thoughts please , and thanks to all helping me get back into this stuff.


Mr Peabody
01-05-2010, 06:41 AM
Tim, you can use either optical or coaxial from the BD player. If you have neither one of them on hand the BJC would be fine. Component video from the satelite box would be fine. Then you'd need to run a digital audio connection to receive 5.1 when available. You also need digital audio connection to receiver from BD player. If you are limited on digital inputs you can use optical for one job and coaxial for another.

For HDMI from BJC, read there info and pick what cable meets your job. For instance, if your run is longer than 15' then you'd need there best cable which meets the standard for long runs. If you have a typical 1 or 2 meter, my choice would be either the best or the step down. If you email them they will give you a recommendation. I tend to buy better cables though. If they say that Chinese stuff they offer is just as good you can give it a try. I haven't compared their different series. I know this may not be much help but it's hard to tell some one else what to spend.

01-05-2010, 07:09 AM
If your HDMI cable run is going to be just a few feet, BJC's info indicates there's no benefit in going to their most-expensive cable and that its stiffness might be a bit of an inconvenience. But then a 6-foot cable is only $17, which is far closer to the $9 cable than the $100 cable...for those arguing a good cable can't be cheap.

I don't know if you already know this, but the high-def audio program on Blu-ray requires either the HDMI cable or a full set of analog connections. The optical connection gets you the same compressed audio format that you're hearing on DVD.

Mr Peabody
01-05-2010, 07:32 AM
Actually, even with optical or coaxial the digital audio from BD is slightly better because it's less compressed than DVD. They will pass Dolby Digital Plus. If you wanted all the details you can check it out on Dolby's website. tp's just trying to get by until he can afford to upgrade his receiver.

01-05-2010, 08:08 AM
The ability to pass Dolby Digital Plus would seem to help you only if the Plus program is on the disc. I don't see it listed on the Blu-ray discs I have here in front of me. I am well aware tp is just trying to get by, but I think it's reasonable to point out a shortcoming with this approach...a shortcoming that is probably more significant than the difference in the high-priced vs. low-priced cables we're discussing.

01-05-2010, 09:46 AM
Oh boy, why did I suspect this would get more involved.

I'll start off by saying that I looked at the back of the reciever, and I do have have 2 Digital Optical inputs. Looks like the optical out on the cable box and the Blu-Ray can go to the in optical on the reciever.
However, I'm not sure I fully understand what Mr Peabody and 02 audio, Are you telling me that I can use the Optical connection and it will work, however I will get the same compressed audio format that one may get on DVD??? not the high-def audio program?

Also, how much of an audible difference is there between optical (compressed audio format) VS HDMI (high-def audio program) ???


Mr Peabody
01-05-2010, 09:50 AM
Dolby Tru HD and DTS-MA have the core 5.1 encoding included in order to be backward compatible by bitstreaming via optical or coaxial. The less compressed DD+ and DTS-HD are the core. They may not necessarily be listed on the box but they are there nonetheless.

I have noticed that DTS-HD has been misused or now being applied in places where it should be DTS-Ma. The point is though that we can receive a less compressed bitstream from BD players than from DVD. The core DD bitstream is 640 kps, I'll have to see what DVD was and I will also try to find a link to this info.

Mr Peabody
01-05-2010, 09:55 AM
Tim, you can use your optical from Blu-ray and satelite box to your receiver in order to get 5.1.

There are basically 3 levels of bitstream.
1. compressed sound from DVD
2. less compressed via Blu-ray via optical or coaxial
3. Lossless, supposed to be equal to the origianal master soundtrack, called Dolby Tru-HD or DTS-MA, these can only be received via HDMI from a BD player.

The difference is roughly like comparing a mp3 to a CD.

01-05-2010, 10:07 AM
This page at the Dolby site lists the connections for their sound technologies and doesn't indicate Dolby Digital Plus until you get to HDMI 1.3.


01-05-2010, 10:16 AM
Ok cool, It's all starting to make sense. I'll read these links.

01-05-2010, 10:33 AM
Just ordered 2 Digital Opticals cables and 2 HDMI cables from Bluejeans.

Thanks Mr P and 02.


Mr Peabody
01-05-2010, 10:42 AM
The info I like on Dolby's website is a bit more difficult to find now. I did find this info from Wiki. I didn't quite have my explanation correct according to them and could be why DD+ isn't listed. Apparently, in order to be compatibel with optical/coaxial (SPDIF) the bitstream has to be transcoded into AC-3. It is a higher bit rate though from Blu-ray than from DVD which will yield a slightly better sound. But technically the bitstream that can be backward compatible is not DD+.


It does have a nice table that shows the various bit rates. You can also see why DTS sounded better on DVD and we may not get such an improvement there unless going to DTS-MA.

01-05-2010, 10:50 AM
I've gone through a number of HDMI cables now (I do a lot of plugging & unplugging) and I'm of the opinion that the biggest factor is the connection. Specifically, that which is part of the cable and that which is in the component.

In the component, the cable has to fit snugly and there can't be any play. As I swapped cables over time, these often became looser, especially on cheaper components. I suppose that was one huge advantage with DVI - you could screw it in and it would stay put. They make locking HDMI cables too, but you have to have a component that supports the screw-in lock. The weight of the cable is also a problem, with some really cheap players easily being tipped by a heavy cable. Of course, that heavier cable will put strain on the jack over time as well.

On the cable side, I now look for cables that are actually lighter rather than thicker because of the problems mentioned above, but I make sure the connector is very solid. While there are many after-market cables out there, very few are made well, most of them being machine mass-produced with little attention to weak solder points and cheap moldings. Also pay attention to the boots, the reinforced portion where the cable meets the connector. Even expensive hand-made cables don't always come with solid boots. As an example, I acquired some top-of-the-line expensive Monster cables as part of a lot, and while they sound great, they are still built rather badly. Not to knock Monster too much, but for what the previous owner paid for them, they should have been made better.

When I consider the wear & tear that my cables may get, the list of cables I will spend good money on shrinks quickly. There are bad sounding cables and good sounding ones, but IMO, most of the degradation we often attribute to the cable, is actually the result of a poor connection to the component.

Mr Peabody
01-05-2010, 11:11 AM
NF, any brands you want to recommend?

Here's an article from DTS that explains what I was saying. Tune in about 3.0. It's a PDF file I hope this works. http://www.dts.com/~/media/B962F033C9254AD4B62ECFC6293C9E86.ashx

01-05-2010, 11:18 AM
My Monster 100.00 cable fits nice and snug, the 9.00 Target is sloppy and loose. I understand.


Sir Terrence the Terrible
01-05-2010, 12:22 PM
Dolby Tru HD and DTS-MA have the core 5.1 encoding included in order to be backward compatible by bitstreaming via optical or coaxial. The less compressed DD+ and DTS-HD are the core. They may not necessarily be listed on the box but they are there nonetheless.

This information is incorrect. The core for DD is DD not DD+, and the core for Dts is Dts, not Dts-HD. Dolby Digital core has always had a maximum data rate of 640kbps, it was the DVD format that limited it to 448kbps. DD+ only comes into play with data rates above 640kbps and more channels than 5.1. Dolby TrueHD does not have a core, and any movie with DTHD must have a seperate DD track for backwards compatibility. Dts-HD and Dts-HD Master audio are both extensions of the core Dts track, so its backward compatibility is completely automatic to all receivers and pre-pros. If the reciever or pre-pro does not have the decoder for the extension, it will ignore it and see the core track.

I have noticed that DTS-HD has been misused or now being applied in places where it should be DTS-Ma. The point is though that we can receive a less compressed bitstream from BD players than from DVD. The core DD bitstream is 640 kps, I'll have to see what DVD was and I will also try to find a link to this info.

DVD imposes a 448kbps limitation on DD on disc.

01-06-2010, 06:35 AM
I've been using the Belkin hdmi cables from amazon.com. Don't know if it's any good. I don't have anything to compare it with.

01-06-2010, 01:20 PM
Sure. I like the PPC cables since they also have reasonably solid boots:
PPC brand - doesn't need special jack (http://perfectpath.com/pages/hdmi.html)

Here's a jack reinforcement for your existing cables. This is great if you've already spent a bundle on premium cables: Blue Echo (http://www.blueechosolutions.com/hd-ez-lock.php)

Here's a generic, made in China version that I haven't tried:
Generic locking Cables (http://www.bestdealcables.com/c-31-hdmi-cables.aspx)