Ramblings from a Boston Boy stuck in New York
Product Review: 15ft HDMI Cable
12-October-2010Posted by on
I recently purchased a new Sharp Aquos 60-inch 1080p 240Hz LCD HDTV a few weeks ago after my Mitsubishi 55″ Rear Projection TV supposedly dumped out on me – it’s a long story that culminates in me not checking the cable box and that being the culprit. Anyway, I had been running three-wire HD component video for years on the old Mitsubishi and decided that I wanted to upgrade to HDMI cables. There were many reasons for this decision: A) they take up less room, B) when I buy a receiver, it will be easier to integrate everything and C) everything I read said I would get a better picture if I changed from component to HDMI cables.
So, I was in. Changes things up and see where we go. When I was buying my TV, I looked around the store (name withheld to protect the guilty) and was appalled at the prices I was seeing. They were honestly asking $100 or more for a 8′ cable. Are you serious? Highway robbery at the best. Let me just say that, as an engineer working with electronic communication equipment in defense contracting, I deal with cables on a regular basis and have a good idea how much they cost. The cable I deal with – and these are ruggedized, We-can’t-afford-failure-in-the-sandbox cables, not your rinky dink home theater cables – cost about that to manufacture. And most of that cost is the heavy-duty MIL-SPEC connectors on each end. I can’t believe that a home theater cable could cost so much.
Obviously, I was not about to spend a couple hundred dollars on these cables. I politely said no thanks to the sales guy, took my TV and went home. But, being the tech junkie that I am, I didn’t give up. I started doing some research and found that Amazon.com had 15ft HDMI cables for $4.59/cable and were eligible for Amazon Prime shipping (note: they have now been reduced to $1.05/cable but are not eligible for Amazon Prime shipping). That meant that for under $20 – $18.49 to be precise – I would be able to have four HDMI cables at my house in two days. Done! How could I not take advantage of this deal?
The cables arrived right on time. The packaging was great – each cable was rolled up properly in its own sealed plastic bag and wire ties held them in a coiled position. The connectors on each end had a plastic cover on them to protect them from foreign material entering the connectors. The four sealed bags were in a cardboard box that contain enough packaging material to hold them in place and protect them while not being over bearing.
The construction of these cables is great. Super durable with overmolded ends allow for a level of trust in the cables that I’ve sometimes lacked in ‘cheapo’ equipment. I pulled all four cables through the wall (so that my cables were hidden running up from my equipment boxes to my TV) and I never once felt that the connectors were in a position where they might pull off. All the cables fit into their matings connectors snuggly and firmly.
As far as quality goes – I believe they are as good as any $80 cable out there. My friend had one of those super-expensive Monster cables lying around, so we did a quick comparative analysis by playing the TV on that cable and then on my new cables. No discernible change was noted between the two cables. Truth be told, the picture may have looked a touch better with the newer cables than the Monster cables, but I’m chalking that up to my disdain for companies that are there just to rip you off. We then did the same test with my laptop (I have HDMI output on my laptop) and had similar results.
Overall, I give these ‘cheapo’ cables two big thumbs up! Save yourself a few bucks and get these cables. You won’t regret it!
- Sound Byte: Do you really need pricey HDMI cables? (blogs.consumerreports.org)