Are Expensive HDMI Cables a Rip-off?

What's Hot

2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

There are few products that look the same, do the same thing, but range in price from 1 cent to $300. Despite years of expert testimony, some consumers can still be talked into paying more for a cable than a TV.

If you’re in the market for a new television set, Best Buy is selling a Toshiba 32-inch flat-screen HDTV for $290. Not a bad deal, right? But you’ll need something called an HDMI cable to get that high-definition signal from your cable box or DVD player to your new TV. And Best Buy sells those too. For example, you can buy a 3-foot-3-inch AudioQuest HDMI cable – for $295.

You read that right. The cable costs more than the TV.

Of course, Best Buy sells cheaper cables. A 4-foot Monster cable costs $120 – it’s longer and cheaper. So what’s the difference? And why does RadioShack sell a 20-foot Monster cable for $200? That’s five times longer for less than twice the price.

Even more confusing, you can buy HDMI cables for as little as $10 for 6 feet or as much as $1,100 for 65 feet. The cheapest ones don’t feature fancy names like Vodka, Pearl, and Cinnamon, but do you really need cables sporting names more suited to strippers?

If you’ve fallen for this pitch before, don’t do it again. Because cheap generic cables are just as good as pricey name brands. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson explains why in this video report. Check it out and read on for more details…

Another triumph of marketing over common sense

If people are willing to pay $60,000 for a bottle of water, I guess it should come as no surprise they’d pay $300 for a TV connection cable.  But at some point common sense has to win over silly hype. Or, at least, it should.

You heard what the salesman said in Stacy’s story: “It is definitely worthwhile to invest a little bit more in a cable because it’s going to last you for a long time and you’re going to get the picture quality you paid for when you bought your TV.” No doubt this line or something similar is repeated thousands of times weekly in electronics stores nationwide. But that doesn’t make it true.

Lest you harbor doubts, here’s the Popular Mechanics comparison Stacy mentioned. These are the cables they compared…

  • 13-foot generic: $13
  • 13-foot Monster HDMI 1000 HD:  $200
  • 16-foot Honeywell with CURxE Light Technology: $300

The price difference is significant. But what about the audio and picture quality?

“None of our editors could tell the difference,” the magazine reported. “The fact is, HDMI is digital, meaning you either get the feed or you don’t. High prices and gimmicks like gold-plating don’t affect 1s and 0s.”

Here’s the kicker: The Popular Mechanics study dates back to 2008. It’s four years old, but the price of HDMI cables in electronic stores is still off the charts. Obviously, people who don’t know better continue to take their advice from commissioned salespeople rather than experts.

More evidence: In 2010, tech website CNET agreed with Popular Mechanics.  Two years ago, they declared

The editors at CNET are so confident that cheap HDMI cables offer identical performance, we’ve been using inexpensive Monoprice HDMI cables in the CNET Home Theater Lab for more than a year with no issues. … If cheap HDMI cables are good enough for the eagle-eyed video professionals at CNET, we’re betting they’re good enough for your home theater.

CNET says you shouldn’t pay more than $10 for one, and I agree: I bought a 1.5-foot cable from Monoprice for $3 a few years ago, so I could hook my Xbox 360 up to my computer monitor. It’s works just fine, but it turns out I overpaid. Because you can buy HDMI cables for 1 cent, plus a couple of bucks shipping at Amazon. Other cheap places to buy include Newegg, and, of course, at the technology section of our Deals page.

Bottom line? If you feel the need to throw money down the tube – or behind it – on marketing silliness, well, it’s a free country. But if you paid more than $100 for your HDMI cables, I’ve got a bottle of water you might be interested in…

Want to save even more on your TV habits? Check out 3 Steps to Cut Your Cable Bill 90 Percent.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 8 Great Travel Freebies You Can Get in 2017

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,019 more deals!