HDMI Cables - How Much Do You (Want To) Pay?

Let's say 6 ft. for comparison sake. Before reading the next sentence, what do you think the lowest and highest everyday price is on amazon for a new working 6ft. HDMI cable? (Hint: You're a little high on the first and way too low on the second.)

The price range is absolutely astounding, any where from $3.00 to $50,000 with shipping. That's a factor of > 15000X! You think a $310 haircut is pricey, how about a $310,000 one? I've bought a bunch of .50 (plus shipping) ones and they can break if treated roughly for sure. But I'm not sure I could pick one from a $50 cable in a blind test, can you? What's the most you would let your customer pay and what's the most you would pay for your own use?

Is it common for home automation installers to charge > $100 for 6ft cable? Can anyone justify it? Is there a society of audiophiles turned securiphiles that can be milked tapped for big bucks? Here are the extremes.

Ah. The lovely story of the HDMI cable. I'm sure lots of salesmen cried then they learned they can't pull the same tricks with customers as they did with their SCART cables.

Numerous tests have already concluded that there isn't any difference between a € 500, or a € 5 cable. See The only thing you need to keep in mind is that the cable must be able to handle the bandwidth you require based on the resolution you want to use. Other then that it's free game.

Also, I'm amazed someone thought it was smart to have three 50k cables on stock at Amazon.

I think it's obvious that AudioQuest is an outlier (heavy emphasis on liar).

If you eliminate that particular manufacturer, a photography website with which I am familiar lists about 70 different 6 foot HDMI cables ranging from $2.99 to $47.50, 57% of which are under $15.

While there are differences in HDMI cables, in the build quality, level and amount of shielding and insulation, type and quality of connectors, HDMI cables are all pretty much the same. People have figured this out, too, which is why the price of HDMI cables have plunged in the past 18 months or so. Even Monster Cable doesn't get the kind of markup they used to.

If you eliminate that particular manufacturer, a photography website with which I am familiar lists about 70 different 6 foot HDMI cables ranging from $2.99 to $47.50, 57% of which are under $15.

There's still Wireworld, of course. Is your referenced retailer remiss in carrying the value-gouger, who through simple searching market research, noticed and filled a gap in the slightly down-market but profitable $1000 to $5000 segment, which it now dominates?

You know, sometimes I feel that by going into the security market instead of the high end audio market, I shot myself in the foot. Damn you, moral compass!

"Audiophile" USB cable - To reduce jitter, you see.

8 Ft. of "audiophile" speaker cable, only $53,500!

Man, do I wish I could sell Ethernet cable at $238.95/ft.

And here's a quote from that last one:

DIRECTIONALITY: All audio cables are directional. The correct direction is determined by listening to every batch of metal conductors used in every AudioQuest audio cable. Arrows are clearly marked on the connectors to ensure superior sound quality. For best results have the arrow pointing in the direction of the flow of music. For example, NAS to Router, Router to Network Player.

What are you smoking, and where can I get some?

Surely, this man can't be serious. It's all a joke, right? He'll get called out on such ridiculousness, just watch.

WHAAAAAT!?!?!?!? :head explodes:

Lol. I agree most of the audiophile community is bs. They are riduculous because they routinely pay 10x what they need to and then don't even blind test their equipment for fear of failing to discern the difference. But its more than that because, imagine that the cables do work witn 1000x more clarity or whatever. Most material would actually sound worse, not better.

The finest recording studios in the world routinely pay obscene amounts (> $20,000) for various microphones and tube pre-amps, and yet most would flinch at paying more than even $100 for a 6 foot quad cable. And if its not recorded witn a $50,000 cable, why would you want to play it with one?!

As a rule, you put your money where you mouth is, i.e. the closer to the signal source, the more its worth spending on quality equipment/cables. Because when you go the other way around and use greater resolution equipment/cables after lesser resolution ones, you just bring out the imperfections, as opposed to dulling the clarity. Just like when all those digitally remastered CD's came out sounding like crap! Was that because analog is actually more a faithful reproduction medium than digital? No, just the opposite, but it turns out we don't like hearing everything perfectly.

That said at the risk of sounding snobby, jitter does exist and sometimes it can be pretty bad. On a cd for instance there are 44.1 thousand numbers (samples), each one representing the average magnitude (loudness) of the sound over that 1/44.1K second. When those samples get turned back into electrical impulses, it must be done at the same exact uniform rate of one sample per 1/44.1K seconds. If the samples are delayed and bunch up, an audio smearing and loss of clarity result. There is always a little jitter so sometimes its hard to say when you really start to hear it. But if someone was not trained, would probably not even mention it, but it does happen with cheap digital equipment far too often.

Is your referenced retailer remiss in carrying the value-gouger, who through simple searching market research, noticed and filled a gap in the slightly down-market but profitable $1000 to $5000 segment, which it now dominates?

The photography store I'm speaking of tends to try not to carry value gougers, unless there's a demonstrable and persistant demand for it. This photography store thinks of itself as catering to educated consumers and professionals, and carrying value gougers tends to ruin your reputation with these folk. You can't always avoid it, of course, because demand is demand and if you don't sell what the customers want, they'll go somewhere else, but this photography store certainly sin't going to help create demand.

Amazon doesn't have the luxury of being selective. The cost of being the everything store is having to be the everything store. You can't not carry something you suspect or know is a rip-off, even if it damages your reputation (as the occasional look-at-this-ridiculous-thing-Amazon-sells blog post does). You can't stop carrying a thing that causes you to lose an unacceptable amount of money in return shipping fees because it's a badly designed and built hunk of junk. And, yes, billion-dollar diamond encrusted HDMI cables with insulators made of woven unicorn hair and HDCP chips made from the damned soul of a highwayman buried at a crossroads at midnight will have to listed if you want to inculcate in your customers the habit of only ever shopping at Amazon no matter what it is. Not to mention the risk of a customer Googling for a particular product and having another e-store come up instead of Amazon.

Case in point: I made my wife a coffee the other day. Noticing we had one more K Cup left, I pulled out my phone and ordered more on Amazon with one hand while adding Splenda with the other. A while later, I realized that the brand was Archer Farms. Archer Farms is a Target house brand, meaning that it's actually more expensive to buy it from Amazon than from Target (by, like, $2, but that's not the point).

It's like the arguments for and against "high performance power interconnect cables. Example:

Less*Loss High Performance Power Cables

The argument for is "Our Skin-filtering technology prevents this undesirable noise from entering your equipment—without impeding dynamics (unlike traditional power filters). The result is an all around enhanced performance."

The argument against is simple: Your power travels many miles on unfiltered cable, then up to 100 feet or more on 12/2 or 14/2 NMB wire. What makes you think the 6 feet or so of $600 power cord is going to make any difference?

I have found some cheap HDMI cables to be very thin, and on occasion, have had a bad cheap one (One time I purchased approximately 10 and 1 was defective at around $3 each). When I need a long cable, close to the distance limit of HDMI, then I do try to buy a thicker/better one, but I never spend more than approx. $25 each. For normal use, where I am installing a cable for monitor to pc and am done with it, the $3-10 range should be fine.

The only exceptions IMHO are:

1) Frequent plugging and unplugging, such as demos, projectors, etc. (of course size and weight is often a factory for travel as well....)

2) If you need some of the latest fancy features, such as Ethernet over HDMI, 3D, or ARC, then you need to make sure the cable is up to the latest spec.

3) If you are running the cable in the wall, I believe you are "supposed" to use a special UL rated "in-wall" application cable, where the price goes up and up....

It is amazing how so many retail stores are a complete rip off on these cables, because they know they can. I only buy mine online.

4) If you like the kind that are totally flat...

The biggest thing with HDMI is to check that they are the right version for what you need (1.4a is the latest).

Other than that, and long runs, I just buy whatever's cheapest.

That being said, if you're not using Monoprice's Redmere HDMI cables for long (>25 ft) runs, you really should be. I use them at home, and they're a life-saver.

They're expensive, but they beat running HDMI over Cat6 adapters. Just remember to double check that you're running the cable in the correct direction (they only work one way).

Don't get suckered into buying an HDMI 2.0 cable either. The cable can be your standard HDMI 1.4 cable but the device the HDMI is being connected to is what would be classified as HDMI 2.0 if sold as a HDMI 2 device.

One word: Monoprice. As low as $3.61 for 6' HDMI cables. Excellent quality on all of their products and some unique items.

As far as audiophile accessories, there are many suckers enthusiasts who believe in products like these:

Altmann Tube-O-Lator Lacquer

"The ALTMANN “TUBE-O-LATOR" lacquer is applied only on the top surface of plastic semiconductor packages of AD-converter-chips, DA-converter-chips, OP-amps and discrete transistors. After application, the overtone spectrum of these active devices changes immediately and permanently. The new sonic signature will be natural, full and tube-like. The ALTMANN “TUBE-O-LATOR" lacquer electromechanically balances the resonance-spectrum of the plastic chip package and semiconductor itself in such a way, that a natural sounding overtone- spectrum of the treated active device will be generated."

Codename Blue Meanies

Room Tuning Device

"Codename Blue Meanies, is a set of 4 adhesive-backed 3/4" blue dots that are attached to the walls of the listening room, one dot per wall.... Codename Blue Meanies operates via mind matter-interaction. The subconscious mind interacts with room boundaries, i.e., closed-in spaces, producing a claustrophobic reaction that interferes with and degrades the listener's sensory perception. It's like putting in a better set of interconnects."

SHAKTI's ground zero technology increases the resolution of audio and video systems!

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"Through an energy conversion, inductive coupling process, the "antenna-like" circuits within SHAKTI attract and then resistively convert EMI to non-interfering heat. This increases horsepower and speeds up 0 to 60 times in automotive engines and improves resolution in high definition audio/video systems."

On the pro-audio side there is a whole cottage industry of fake rack gear, like this totally fine, and totally fake, bloo audio compressor, designed to trick those who claim to have 'golden ears' into making fools out of themselves by endlessly twirling useless knobs, since the real meter is only really hooked to a real cheap internal microphone to make it move realistically, and embarrassingly. More cowbell, less cowbell, its all the same to bloo!

I've been shopping at SnapAV for over 6 years. I do not buy anything else. They are not expensive with option of multiple versions per distance and many 50' hdmi cable which were stretched withing walls did not failed me. I would Recomend them any time.

Multiple versions options would be... retail box, plain cable or fancy carbon wrap. They stand behind their testing results but my real world test what matters most and they passed.

Monoprice is great for value products, but if you need more professional oriented gear (like locking HDMI cable), you need SnapAV. We have used both and never had issues.

If you are looking for distributor level pricing, but want a reliable Chinese mfg, check out pimfg.com. PI has been around since at least the mid nineties. We used to buy all of our PC oriented cables from them back in our PC/IT days.

We used to spend a lot of money on HDMI cables, a couple weeks ago I was ordering a new LED monitor for my desk and saw "Add Amazon Basics HDMI $5.99". Thought why not? Cable works like anyother, seems to be built well, good connectors and guage doesnt seem "cheap". Only time will tell. I dont have any 3D or HDMI eithernet devices so I cant speak for that.