Rip-Off HDMI Cables?

What's the difference between $50 HDMI cables and $5 ones? … The price.

Rip-Off HDMI Cables? Photo (cc) by Andres Rueda

You go to the store you buy yourself a new HD TV. But now you need HDMI cables to hook it up. So you look around and notice that prices are all over the place: from 30 to $130.00 bucks. The salesman offers his advice…

“If you bought a thousand dollar TV, I’d recommend you buy, depending on distance you’re going to move it from, any where between a fifty and eighty dollar HDMI cable.”
-Aaron Fleming, Radio Shack

Then you say, “But hey, I just saw HDMI cables online for a penny plus a few bucks shipping! Why would I pay 80 bucks?” And he says…

“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.”
-Aaron Fleming, Radio Shack

But there’s only one problem with that kind of advice: other than people who sell these cables, I can’t seem to find any expert that agrees with it.

“I would say rip-off. I would say definitely say rip-off. Obviously you could start at the lower end and work your way up. But when you start going 30, 40, hundred times what it obviously costs, then there’s a tremendous mark-up.”
-Eric Ackerman, PhD

Popular Mechanics did a comparison between cables costing from $13 to 300. Their conclusion? “None of our editors could tell the difference.”

And CNET agreed, calling $50 HDMI cables a rip-off and saying “You should never pay more than $10 for a standard six-foot HDMI cable.”

Bottom line? Since these things differ so much in price, there’s really only one solution. Get online, do your own homework so you can make a high-definition decision.

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