How Much Should You Spend On An HDMI Cable?

Q. I just bought a new HDTV and everyone tells me I will get a better picture if I use an HDMI cable instead of my old component cables. So, Mr. Answer Man, what kind of HDMI cable should I get and how much should it cost? — Toni, Dayton, Ohio.

Toni, first of all, you are right. An HDMI cable will give you a better HD picture and better sound than Component cables. I won’t say the improvement is dramatic, but it’s noticeable. Plus, the HDMI cable is a more efficient connection; it has just one prong compared to the multiple-prong Component cable set. Plug one end into the HDMI In port of your TV and the other in your cable or satellite box’s HDMI Out port and you’re all set.

Check out this low-cost HDMI cable.

So how much should you spend on an HDMI cable?

In the early days of High-Definition TV — and even now in some quarters — store salesmen would swear on a Bible that you needed an HDMI cable that would cost anywhere from $50 to $100. They said that anything cheaper than that would result in a inferior picture.

Well, that was nonsense then and it’s nonsense now. There’s nothing wrong with those expensive HDMI cables — you can even make an argument that some are more sturdy. But they won’t give you a better picture than a solid, name-brand sub-$10 HDMI cable.

And if the less expensive HDMI cable doesn’t last as long as that $99 HDMI cable, big deal. You can just go out and buy another sub-$10 HDMI cable to replace your old one.

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About TV Answer Man (529 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

3 Comments on How Much Should You Spend On An HDMI Cable?

  1. Cheap cables SUCK, see what comes in the box on direct tv and plug that one into your new 4k and watch it lock up…

  2. The Great Artiste // March 2, 2016 at 6:01 pm // Reply

    The ridiculously overpriced Monster and Audioquest HDMI cables are definitely to be avoided as ripoffs, but the crappy sub $10 ones don’t hold up and at lengths longer than 6 ft/2M start to lose signal integrity.

  3. Have a new 4k TV with HDR or Dolby Vision. You will need more that a cheap cable. Cheap cables only go to 10.2 Gbps when you need 18 Gbps for HDR. Also if you are running a longer cable in the wall, you should buy a good cable that will last as it is not easy to replace. For in-wall use, I would also run two CAT6 cables for future proofing.

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