How to buy HDMI cables

HDMI cables

The High Definition Multimedia Interface aka HDMI, is the defacto standard for transmitting uncompressed digital audio and video. HDMI cables which superseded DVI and VGA connectors are the mainstay of HDTVs, laptops, DVD players, decoders, gaming consoles,  cameras, and more. Buying the right HDMI cable can be confusing, given that you can’t tell one cable from the other. You also have to contend with other factors, one of which is your reasons for purchasing an HDMI cable. Well then, without much further ado, here’s what to keep in mind when buying an HDMI cable:

HDMI cable types

  • Premium High Speed HDMI cable with Ethernet
  • Premium High Speed HDMI cable
  • High Speed HDMI cable with Ethernet
  • High Speed HDMI cable
  • Standard HDMI cable with Ethernet
  • Standard HDMI cable

Premium High Speed HDMI Cable and Premium High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet transmit data at a maximum bandwidth of 18 Gbit/s, incorporating a newer HDMI 2.0 standard. Premium High Speed HDMI cables offer HDR and a much high frame rate of 60 Hz for 4K resolution.

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As is the case with the rest, High Speed HDMI cables come in two variants, inclusive of, and without Ethernet. Notwithstanding their theoretical advantages, Ethernet-via-HDMI devices are few and far between right now. If the price is right, by all means buy High Speed with Ethernet, but if you can’t, it’s no biggie either way. High Speed HDMI cable supports video resolutions of 1080p, 4K (at 30 Hz), 3D, and deep color.

Read more: Beginner’s guide to HDMI: Features, Specs, speeds and release dates

Standard HDMI cables transmit audio and video at 1080i and 720p. The Standard cables with an Ethernet channel provide internet connection sharing and device networking. The above capabilities start from HDMI 1.4 specification onwards.

///When buying an HDMI cable, any of these will do, depending on your needs. A Standard HDMI cable will do for someone not overly concerned with crystal clear quality. Unless you have devices supporting Ethernet-via-HDMI, you shouldn’t concern yourself with these. Your best bet would be the High Speed or the Premium High Speed HDMI cables.

HDMI cable Length

Buy an HDMI cable of a length suitable to your needs. Excess wire for devices that will stay in the same place for the foreseeable future is a waste. Too short a wire is a inconvenience too if you intend to use your devices further apart. Cable length starts from 1 foot, 3 feet, 6 feet to over 50 feet. Camcorders/cameras, decoders, DVD players and the like which you don’t need to move around can work with 3 feet of cable.

Related: HDMI, USB, RF, Composite, Optical Audio Out, Ethernet : Understanding Smart TV connectivity

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Source/Output device

It goes to reason that a 1080p TV will only show a 720p video resolution if at all that’s the maximum output your source device can manage. For this reason, buy an HDMI cable with the features supported by both your source and output device. A Standard HDMI cable will handle your 720p and 1080i resolution on devices with corresponding features just fine. A High Speed HDMI cable will take advantage of 1080p, 4K, 3D, name it.

HDMI cable price

Here’s a trade secret: Cheap and affordable HDMI cables work just well as overpriced cables. Premium High Speed HDMI cables are relatively new on the market. As for price, Premium and plain High Speed HDMI cables go for roughly the same amount as do Standard HDMI cables. for this reason, it figures you might as well buy the High Speed HDMI cables or the newer Premium HDMI cables. Don’t you worry about the Ethernet bit, as Ethernet-over-HDMI has not yet seen substantial adoption among devices on the market. A 2-pack 6 feet High Speed Amazon Basics HDMI cable goes for a pocket-friendly $7.96 as of writing this post. That ought to be enough for most of your HDMI needs.


Featured image: Amazon


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