Who would pay for a $1,000 HDMI cable?

Who would pay for a $1,000 HDMI cable?

Summary: There's always been controversy surrounding the claims of companies like Monster Cable that their $100 cables are superior to the ones you can buy online for $5. It just happens to be very "convenient" that these pricier versions are the ones Best Buy stocks right next to the HDTVs, but never has the dirt-cheap ones that seem to work just fine for many of us.

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There's always been controversy surrounding the claims of companies like Monster Cable that their $100 cables are superior to the ones you can buy online for $5. It just happens to be very "convenient" that these pricier versions are the ones Best Buy stocks right next to the HDTVs, but never has the dirt-cheap ones that seem to work just fine for many of us.

Anyway, it's one thing to argue the merits of these consumer-priced cables; it's another thing to consider the new Wireworld Platinum Starlight HDMI cable, which costs a whopping $1,000 for a one-meter version&#or more than many, many HDTVs. What do you get when you drop a grand on this glorified wire? According to the company's press release:

"The Platinum Starlight HDMI cable features molded carbon fiber connectors, the company's unique new 24-conductor DNA Helix™ design with solid silver conductors, and high-speed/high-bandwidth capabilities to meet even the most stringent system requirements - including the new HDMI v1.4 High Speed with Ethernet specification."

The design doubles the number of conductors that most other HDMI cables possess, which helps it have an incredible maximum throughput of 21Gbps, or more than twice that of the HDMI v1.4 High Speed spec. In addition to the one-meter version, Wireworld will also sell a range of these cables from 0.3 meters to 30 meters starting in February. (Imagine the price of the 30-meter version.)

So the Platinum Starlight HDMI cable is definitely designed for the future-forward home theater owner who wants to stay well, well ahead of the curve. Of course, that owner is probably named James Cameron or Jerry Bruckheimer, but the question is exactly when the technology that can actually make use of all that bandwidth will become available. After all, that HDMI v1.4 High Speed spec is new, which means it will be some time before someone will figure out how to use the 10.2Gbps of the spec, much less 21Gbps. (4k anyone?) And it once begs the argument as to whether you really need a $100 HDMI for a typical home theater, much less one that costs 10 times as much (or 100 times as much at MonoPrice.com).

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234 comments
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  • Who? The same idiots who pay premium for Monster cables

    They think that price equals quality.

    In some cases that is true, cheap is cheap. But for HDMI the specs are more important than price. For the most part a $20 HDMI cable is just as good and sometimes better than the cables Monster sell for $100+.
    wackoae
    • There's only a couple of situations that warrant a Monster Cable -

      1) You want to show off that you're an idiot that spent 5 times too much
      on your cable than you needed to.

      2) Analog cable runs longer than 3 meters, such as an older overhead
      projector or flat-panel TV mounted on a wall or fireplace and away from
      its primary source.

      Other than those two situations, I can't think of any other reason to really
      use monster cable. As long as the connectors are good, HDMI cable is
      HDMI cable in my book.
      nix_hed
    • Besides...

      The signal is digital, so the cable won't matter at all unless you need the bandwidth for something. What, I don't know.

      I just buy the cheap ones online and they work just fine.
      mustang_z
      • Digital Signal

        [i]The signal is digital, so the cable won't matter at all unless you need the bandwidth for something[/i]

        Uh, no.
        Just because the signal is digital it doesn't mean there can't be any interference. Any signal transferred through a metallic medium is subject to interference from magnetic fields. In the case of digital signals it translates into visual artifacts (squares) and loss of sound.

        Digital signals are composed by good ol' analog square waves. Look at a square wave on an oscilloscope and you'll see it's not perfectly square. There's always some amount of noise.

        That said, Monster Cables are a waste of money.
        tikigawd
        • Exactly.

          It shouldn't cost $100 just to shield a cable.
          AzuMao
        • Digital signal is relatively noise-immune....

          ...because the interference on a well-shielded digital cable never rises to a voltage level where it could be mis-interpreted as a digital signal. That, if I recall correctly, was the reason we went digital for home electronics in the first place - the relative immunity to the increasing welter of analog noise in the modern home.

          The few millivolts of "lip" on a digital square wave that you can detect using an oscilloscope have essentially no likelihood of degrading a digital video or audio signal. "Ones and Zeroes," remember?
          loupgarous
        • Yes, but

          that only matters on long cable runs. For a 1 meter cable, it's irrelevant. I doubt it's relevant at 3 meters, and even the better cables at Mono-Price, which can handle very long runs (which only an installer would use) for far less than Monster, nevermind this $1000 cable.
          notsofast
        • And you see a lot of this

          And how many of us with our much cheaper than a grand $US is seeing artifacts from interference ... I'd bet absolutely NIL!
          dookus
          • cheap cables are not created equal

            I tried a slightly more expensive name brand cable after having trouble with a cheapy from amazon and am now satisfied. The original would cut out occasionally making me doubt my ps3 and new lcd tv's integrity. Glad a high dollar cable ($15.00) as opposed to the cheapy fixed my problem...but at this cost it is simply a case of keeping up with the Jones' on appearance.
            justagallopin
        • Digital signal clarification

          I agree that digital signals are comprised of square waves. however if you have a digital signal with tip and ring the equipment will use a comparator circuit to rebuild the signal as long as the is sufficient signal (amplitude) strength to do so and the transmission is properly formed on at least one of the tip and ring conductors. The signal does not have to be perfectly formed on both conductors to be rebuilt as perfect or at least nearly perfect.
          That said I agree that Monster or more expensive cables are a waste of money. Your money would be better spent on power conditioning for your home theater equipment so that the signal being sent is clearer and erroneous signals are not being broadcast as often.
          hawkerSR
    • Monster cables I've owned have been inferior -- even to Ratshack!

      I was a recording engineer and gigging musician
      and the handful of Monster cables I've ended up
      with have been trash. Overpriced trash. But
      trash. (I usually got them as parts of
      "deals.") I would normally never buy cable at
      Radio Shack but I bought a couple of 25'
      stereo/RCA cables in a pinch there back in the
      80s. They still work and they work fine, even
      though they went on scores of gigs with me.
      They were quite inexpensive. I also had a pair
      of 25' Monster cables of the same
      configuration. They've never gone on gigs. One
      died years ago after developing a nasty
      "microphonics" (static build-up and crackly
      release) problem and the other is still around
      but is incredibly hinky. Look at it wrong and
      it goes intermittent. (I keep meaning to throw
      it out.)
      dogmo1001
      • Ratshack?? Cheap shot

        What's your beef? Great source of quickly needed home electronic stuff with knowledgeable employees. Not top quality but sure not top price, either.

        No, not an employee or stockholder. Just hate to see unwarranted disparagement of anyone or business.
        781lc
  • RE: Who would pay for a $1,000 HDMI cable?

    that's ridiculous... put 200 bucks more and buy a brand new hd 52" tv...
    DiegoRA83
  • Not necessarily

    digital is really an analog square wave. As such you still have problem like impedance affect the signal at very high frequencies, (>1GHz or so)
    Richardbz
    • But the point is the same

      It either works or it doesn't. True you can degrade a digital signal. Doesn't matter on the other end though as long as the bits are detected accurately. So as long a the bits get to the other end in a detectable state you won't get a better picture with an expensive cable as opposed to a cheap one.

      I don't know about hdmi but with ethernet you can certainly get retries and error correction that can effectively slow things down on a bad cable but that is protocol based. It just slows down. With hdmi it has got to get there fast enough or you would hear it or see it.

      I haven't had a spec of problem with my $2 hdmi cables and I am comforted that my picture is every bit as good as if I had monster cables.
      DevGuy_z
      • A few Clarifications

        1. At above ~.5GHz it behaves like an RF signal not an analog signal. This may seem like a petty distinction but the RF and Analog circuit models are highly dissimilar.

        2. Every HDMI cable that is legally sold as an HDMI cable should work fine, barring a defect. http://www.hdmi.org/pdf/HDMIComplianceTestingPoliciesandProceduresv13c2.pdf
        gtg781w
        • Exactly!

          I got my HDMI cable through amazon.com for about $3, and it works FINE - I've used it many times to send digital video from my laptop to my 32" LCD screen, with NO artifacts at all.

          Come to think about it, the HDMI cable from my Dish HD receiver (supplied by the Dish people and probably low-cost but HDMI spec-compliant) works just fine, as well.

          Monster Cable has a great scam going on. So do all the me-too guys whose HDMI cables sell for $25-$50 at discount outlets like Target and Wal-Mart.
          loupgarous
      • Mine are better. They were 7 dollars. (NT)

        NT
        clfitz
        • where?

          Great, tell us where to get them.
          wls
          • HDMI cables

            http://www.svideo.com/hdmicable.html 3ft/$5.95; 6ft/$6.95 - "GOLD PLATED" 6ft/$14.95

            http://www.stsi.com/video-hdmi-1-3-feet.html another source.
            RABinMD