Q. So, Mr. Answer Man, what kind of HDMI cable should I get for my TV and how much should it cost? The dude at the store tried to sell me some cable for around $80. Said they were the best, but that didn’t sound right to me. So, what’s the deal here? — Rochelle, Dayton, Ohio.

Rochelle, your instincts are on the money, so to speak. The HDMI cable, which provides a one-prong connection from a set-top box to your TV, and delivers both video and audio, does not have to cost a fortune. (By the way, you plug one end of the HDMI cable into the ‘HDMI In’ port of your TV and the other in your set-top’s ‘HDMI Out’ port.)

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, 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-$15 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-$15 HDMI cable to replace your old one.

Over the years, many consumers finally caught on to this little salesman scam. But the introduction of 4K TV has given retailers another opportunity to sell overpriced cables. They tell their customers that a 4K TV won’t work effectively unless you buy the $100 HDMI cable. Not quite understanding the complexity of 4K, many people are falling for it.

But, once again, this is wrong. You can get a perfectly acceptable 4K HDMI cable such as this one for under $15. (Note: For 4K TV, you will want an HDMI cable that’s labeled ‘high-speed’ and ‘2.0.’

Rochelle, hope that helps. Happy Viewing!

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— Phillip Swann