Question from Denise A.: Rick, I went and bought a new flat screen TV a couple of days ago after asking the sales rep for a recommendation.
Long story short, I absolutely love the TV he recommended, but something is bothering me.
He insisted that I also needed to purchase a super-expensive HDMI cable to connect my Blu-Ray player to the TV. He said the video quality would be greatly reduced if I bought a cheaper one.
The one he talked me into buying was $70! Did I get ripped off?
Rick’s answer: Denise, I wouldn’t go so far as to say you got ripped off, but I’ll definitely say you were horribly mislead.
It’s true that back in the days of analog audio and video the quality of the cables used to connect the components together often made a noticeable difference in the quality of the sound and picture, and higher quality cables came at higher prices. But times have changed.
We live in a digital world now, a world where data (audio and video signals) are no longer transmitted via the finicky and unreliable analog signals of yesteryear.
HDMI signals are transmitted as steams of zeroes and ones just like the ones floating around inside your PC, and those zeroes and ones are remarkably stable. What’s more, the HDMI ports on your devices handle those zeroes and ones in a special way that ensures that your TV will receive an extremely reliable signal.
Although the cable manufacturers won’t tell you this, $10 HDMI cable will deliver digital video and audio signals just as efficiently as the one you just paid $70 for at Best Buy.
Will a $10 cable last as long as a $70 one (cables can and do go bad over time)? Probably not. But it also probably doesn’t matter since even the cheapest HDMI cable will likely outlast your new TV by several years.
You don’t have to take my word for it either Denise. Just do a Google search for “Do I really need an expensive HDMI cable?” and you’ll find links to a number of independent tests that confirm what I just told you.
Need more proof? Check out this dirt-cheap 6-foot HDMI cable (#ad) that’s currently selling for well less than $10 on Amazon.
Even though this particular cable costs about what you’d pay for a burger and fries, it has over 18,000 overwhelmingly positive user reviews. That means literally thousands of people have used this particular cable, and almost all of them seem to love it.
My advice: Return that expensive cable right away and demand a cheaper one. In my opinion, $20 or less is reasonable. $70 is not.
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Notes: Since the prices on Amazon change frequently, any prices or savings listed in this post might not be in effect by the time you read this.
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