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Premium HDMI Cables: More Of A Ripoff Than You Think

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By Evan Ackerman

A couple years ago, we posted about some self-described “audiophiles” who pitted premium Monster Cables against soldered coat hangers to see if there was any audible difference. And shockingly, shockingly, there wasn’t. Those cables were analog, and in the world of digital signals, cables should make even less of a difference, but that hasn’t stopped companies from betting that people are rich and dumb and trying sell you on them. After the jump, check out the rest of the above graphic, which makes it perfectly clear that you only buy expensive HDMI cables if you hate starving children.

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[ Mint.com ]VIA [ DVICE ]







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  • mcman

    What did you expect? These are the same people that elected Obama President.

    I say more power to Monster! If people are gullible enough to buy their cables (and it would seem they're not hurting for business) then who am I to complain? On top of that Monster doesn't really have to work hard as it's the salesmen in the store that talk people into buying them.

    Before my very first cable purchase I did my own digging and it wasn't long before I was making my own cables for pennies. Funny, they always worked quite well.

  • MagicWuff

    I actually just have 19 coat hangers going from my PS3 to my TV.

    and no, monster isn't “hurting for business” because of this per say. but according to them, “monster golf,” an indoor mini-golf company here in New England, US, is getting the public confused about their image. look it up. @_@

    They have also attempted to sue the TV show “Monster garage” and Fenway park because of “the green monster”

  • Jessicat

    I got my cables in a two pack for like $6. So $3 each, that's not too bad, but this is ridiculous. I don't understand why people spend money like that…

  • mcman

    What did you expect? These are the same people that elected Obama President.

    I say more power to Monster! If people are gullible enough to buy their cables (and it would seem they're not hurting for business) then who am I to complain? On top of that Monster doesn't really have to work hard as it's the salesmen in the store that talk people into buying them.

    Before my very first cable purchase I did my own digging and it wasn't long before I was making my own cables for pennies. Funny, they always worked quite well.

  • MagicWuff

    I actually just have 19 coat hangers going from my PS3 to my TV.

    and no, monster isn't “hurting for business” because of this per say. but according to them, “monster golf,” an indoor mini-golf company here in New England, US, is getting the public confused about their image. look it up. @_@

    They have also attempted to sue the TV show “Monster garage” and Fenway park because of “the green monster”

  • Jessicat

    I got my cables in a two pack for like $6. So $3 each, that's not too bad, but this is ridiculous. I don't understand why people spend money like that…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=517327201 Quyen Nguyen

    AHHHHH!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/nuthman Rick Nuthman

    you are a douche bag.

  • http://twitter.com/nuthman Rick Nuthman

    It's unfortunate that these companies are able to continue charging extortionate prices. I flew over to England for a vacation and was amazed at how expensive technology is over there. They 'only' supply the most expensive cables. I tried to buy a cheap hdmi cable for my girlfriend's father, and after searching all over Cambridge I could not find one under $60.

  • mcman

    Typical. People that aren't very bright resort to name calling quite often. I see you are no exception.

  • kniteli

    No, don't worry he's absolutely right on this one. Just let it go, accepting it is the first step.

  • XG3N

    I agree with the article the HDMI and other digital cables really have no impact on the signal quality. On the other hand I will stick up for Monster cables and being bar-none the best cables on the market. Being a musician I swear on Monster cable for there quality and customer service. Monster cable has the best warranty service than any company I have ever dealt with…Ever!!! Monster Cable also has more patents on there cable technology then every other cable company combined. It's not always about status when buying name brands.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-Jones/100000034376147 Aaron Jones

    i think you might be legally retarded

  • http://twitter.com/MattuPattu Matthew DeNard

    Technically this is not correct. HDMI has specifications defined to standardise certain performance criteria required of an HDMI cable. For example, a cheap 4' HDMI cable, 6-8 years old can easily handle displaying a 1080p Blue Ray DVD but it no way can it outputting 3D over HDMI at 2560x1600p or higher resolution as the cable cannot provide the bandwitdth required. Remember that this signal is digital so the more data that is sent (high resolution, multi channel sound, 3D, network data, higher colour depth) the more bandwidth required of that cable. At the moment, what we normally require from our basic HDMI cable does not exceed the cables specifications; hence why you dont see any differnce. Upgraded your TV to 3D, displaying 4096×2160p24 resolutions one day and you will find your currently cheap cable just dont cut it no more.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/VEHLCOYLOWLCRQAZ7AJXDEVOVQ Secret

    Except of course, 5-10 years from now when that is actually happening, you buy another $8 HDMI cable that _is_ capable of handling it, if the ones today actually didn't (and they do; there is no bandwidth difference between a cheap HDMI cable and a monster HDMI cable), the bandwidth limitations is in the protocol, not the cable.)

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/VEHLCOYLOWLCRQAZ7AJXDEVOVQ Secret

    So in your flawless logic, you somehow know that people who buy Monster cables voted for Obama? Also, telling someone that they are not bright is the same thing as name calling.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pwnzord Andrew Gribat

    Troll in the dungeon

  • http://www.facebook.com/pwnzord Andrew Gribat

    I think you might be someone who works for Monster.

  • mcman

    The Obama comment was meant as a joke.

    I'm not going to get into a big thing here. You think and believe whatever you want.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Van-Koughnett/584551705 Daniel Van Koughnett

    Proof positive that being a musician does not make you an expert in electronics engineering.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LUH2YRXNNW7NRKOVONJ7JDJPJA Dirt455

    I'm so glad I never fell for that racket!!! Although, it had everything to do with me being poor…. Best Buy is really bad about doing this, they honestly tried to sell my sister a $30 USB printer cable. She had thrown it in her basket, no questions asked. I told her we could find won on Ebay for $10. Was I wrong… we actually got one for $3.99.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BCPCKV6Y4HAIJSVC5GKXIOCYWY Adal

    What do politics have to do with cables?? I've heard some absurd things in my time, but you are almost right up there with the worst of them.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BCPCKV6Y4HAIJSVC5GKXIOCYWY Adal

    I used to work at a certain retailer and the markup on cables was sometimes over 1000%. Very commonly the retailer would purchase cables sometimes for as little as $.87 then turn around and sell them for $35-$40. A total and complete ripoff, but 100% legal. It really was up to the consumer to look out.

  • Anonymous

    Douche Nozzle = Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Christine Donnelly, John Boehner

  • Anonymous

    You are a total Douche Nozzle. I am the Inspector, so I can certify you.

  • Anonymous

    Why are you, a certified Douche Nozzle, posting on this site? Tsk, tsk.

  • Douche_Nozzle_Inspector

    I loved the phrase, “douche nozzle.” I will add it to my lexicon. I think that the entire Repubican party is a bunch of douche nozzles and the Tea Party are the biggest DN's the world has seen since the Know Nothing Party of the 19th century. Ah, John Boehner = douche nozzle; Sarah Palin = Douche Nozzle Grande, Michelle Bachman, Christine Donnelly = Douche Nozzles del Perfectione!

  • Crazy_Librul_Inspector

    Crazy Lib = Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barack Hussein Obama!

  • Crazy_Librul_Inspector

    Yes, they're douche nozzles because Barack Obama is spending us further into the ground. Stupid librul. Go buy your Monster Cable.

  • parkay909

    You could not possibly be ore wrong in your definition of bandwidth. While bandwidth of cable used is part of the HDMI specification, that is not what bandwidth means. Bandwidth is a physical property existed by all conductive material – this includes cable. Bandwidth is the highest frequency signal a cable can pass without attenuation. There are many factors that contribute to the bandwidth of a cable like capacitance which is directly influenced by the type of dielectric (cheap plastic insulation) that is used. Signals in frequency above the rated bandwidth of a cable begin to pass through the insulation as if it were a short circuit.

    An other factor to consider is the quality of cable construction. If you have a TV and Blu-Ray player sitting on top of a cabinet and your wires are just hanging out the back is the $50 HDMI cable worth the extra dough? Probably not, after three or four years when the cable starts to get staticy you toss it and buy a new one for $8. If you have a more permanent type of install where your cables are bundled and dressed or installed in walls, cable runs, racks, etc. it's a pain in the rear to replace the cables and you will want to install one that will outlast your equipment/installation. This is where the expensive cables are a good investment.

    If you look at a television station you will find incredibly expensive cables in the racks (Gepco, Canare, Belden – not Belkin, Monster, Mogami, etc.) connecting the equipment for the reasons mentioned above. TV stations tend to upgrade equipment frequently, and by having a wiring infrastructure that is specked above what is required in 2010, when the gear of 2011 comes out the wiring infrastructure will not have to be re-installed.

  • parkay909

    Barack Obama uses Monster Cable…

  • parkay909

    Thats because their $$ is worth more.

  • parkay909

    Even though the HDMI signal is “digital” all digital data transmitted over wires is actually an analog waveform. Yes that's right analog. This applies to HDMI, ethernet, coax, etc. That is why cables have bandwidth ratings and the physical properties of a cable that affect analog video also affect digital data.

    I am probably the only engineer that wastes time posting on these forums!

  • http://twitter.com/nuthman Rick Nuthman

    I just get bored with people comparing everything to Obama. Where you you crazies when Bush was in office.. at least then it made more sense to blame random things on the president.. such as a bird pooping on your shoulder, or someone trying to sell you a Monster Cable..

  • toomanyairmiles

    Go back to your school and demand the education your parents paid for.

  • C4LV1N

    I love all kinds of cables, check out http://www.buythebestpc.com for the best computer hardware and builds around!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BCPCKV6Y4HAIJSVC5GKXIOCYWY Adal

    Let’s see, all those people sound pretty reasonable to me -except for Harry Reid, but he’s more of a weakling than a crazy- so, no, you make no sense.  On the other hand, Palin, Bachman, O’Donnell, and Boehner -though he’s more of a slimeball- do sound pretty crazy and if you take them seriously then you must be just as crazy.

  • Mbird

    I am sorry but I don’t think any significant purchases of monster cables are used for “permanent” installations (wtf is a permanent cable install anyway? Sounds like a poor cable installation to me). Moreover, no cable, or plug, or connection has survived long enough to warrent this anyway. How long did the CD-ROM last? It’s all going to be optical very soon anyway. I agree with the original poster. When you boil away the fat, and look at the engineering of it, it is designed to rape customers who don’t know what else to spend their money on.