- Audio & Video
What HDMI cable should you buy?
Every day, the number of people using HD devices is increasing. And rightly so, watching content in HD is the best way to do so since it gives you an amazing picture. If you've got a Blu Ray player, then you'll need to buy an HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) cable to connect the Blu Ray player to your HD TV, otherwise you won't get a picture at all.The big problem though is that there are so many makers of these cables out there, along with there being different types, such as high speed and ethernet cables. Then there's the issue of price, with cables ranging from £5 to £899 (no, I'm not kidding on this one).
A higher price means better value, right?
Wrong! When it comes to HDMI cables, the signal is digital, in that the signal is either on or off. Contrary to what shops might tell you (Currys PC World are notorious for this), spending more money on a cable will not get you a better picture. When you think about it, how can it? It's not like analogue cables that were prone to colour bleeding and the like.
Now, if you're going to a retail store, and you're buying a Blu Ray player and HDTV, you will be prompted to buy a cable, especially if both of them are 3D. Please don't buy the cable from them though, except in two cases. The first one being that you simply can't wait a few days to get a cheap one from Amazon, or the second being that you can get the cable under £10. Otherwise, you'll be throwing that money away.
Back to the point of this Hub though, which cable should you get. Well, currently, the standard is HDMI 1.4, which comes in a high speed variety. You need this cable to be able to display your Blu Ray discs in 1080p resolution, as well as watching 3D content. However, even if you don't had a 3D TV, or a 1080p TV, I would still recommend you buy the HDMI 1.4 cable, simply because it's backwards compatible with older equipment, and when you buy a new TV, you won't need to buy a new cable.
Currently, as mentioned above, the price range of these cables are vast. After doing a comparison myself with a cable priced at £5.99 to one priced at £40 (from Panasonic), in both cases running The Empire Strikes Back on the same TV and the same Blu Ray recorder (running in 1080p), I could see no difference in between either cable. The quality of the picture is down to your Blu Ray player and TV, not the cable. Therefore, it can be seen that there is no benefit in spending extortionate amounts of money on a cable. Why spend the extra when it could be spent better else where?
It's not just movies that prove my point
I also did a comparison of playing Grand Theft Auto IV on my laptop hooked up to the TV using both cables. As with the Empire Strikes Back, there was no discernable difference between the picture quality that I was getting with the cables. GTA IV is a game that has a massive amount of detail in it, and as such you can normally pick up the subtle things on a larger display that you may have missed on a smaller monitor such as that on a laptop.
This further proves that getting a cheap cable is of benefit when you go down the HDMI route. It makes no sense to spend a fortune on the HDMI cable when you'll not see any difference whereas that money could be spent elsewhere, like games!
Personally, I recommend the Amazon Basics HDMI 1.4 High Speed cable and is 3m in length. What I like about this cable from Amazon is that the connectors are chunky showing that they're extremely durable and will withstand a lot of moving around, which is ideal if you use your HDMI cable to hook up your gaming PC to a monitor and are taking it to LAN parties.
It's also gold plated, which is something I would recommend in a cable since it reduces the chance of oxidation occurring on the contacts of the cable. Please don't spend more then £10 on a cable, it won't make any difference. Those that tell you that it will are simply doing so to scam you out of your money. For more information on what the best HDMI cable is, please have a look at the video below which will go into more detail.
I've also included a handy widget below that will take you straight to Amazon to purchase the cable. If it's the case that you live in the UK instead, this link will take you to Amazon to get the cable.