Customer Review

1,218 of 1,233 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great inexpensive HDMI cables, December 1, 2009
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This review is from: AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable - 9.8 Feet (3 Meters) Supports 3D + Audio Return Channel (Electronics)
It is a relief to find HDMI cables that are inexpensive and deliver high quality video. I paid $40 for a 4ft cable at Circuit City a year ago, and less than half that price for the 10ft cable from Amazon.

As an electrical engineer I can tell you copper is copper. Unless Monster cable has coaxial wire for each signal line, which they don't because then the cable would be 10x larger than it is, then it's just copper wire inside a shield. There's still going to be crosstalk and capacitive coupling and all that stuff. All that "gas filled" stuff doesn't matter either. If you look at the mathematical equasions for the frequency response of an unshielded wire, you'd know none of this stuff makes any major difference.

The biggest thing to avoid, if you can, are ferrite cores on a cable. Ferrite cores are those black blob things that overmold the cable near one or both of the connectors. Ferrite cores act as high frequency filters and may cause signal degradation. They are typically used to comply with FCC laws and other regulatory bodies' radiated emissions laws. They add cost to the cable and typically degrade performance.

Regarding expensive cables, HDMI or otherwise, what no one asks is the most fundamental question - Why? Let's assume Monster cable isn't lying and they can provide 300 GHz bandwidth or whatever they claim. Why do you need a cable that outperforms so much? It's like owning a car that can go 1000 MPH but the speed limit is 55MPH. In my field, that's called "over-engineering" which equates to unnecessary additional cost, which is exactly the problem Amazon has solved by sourcing this simple low cost HDMI cable.

While I'm soapboxing, gold plating isn't necessary either. Silver is the best conductor, followed by Copper, and then Gold (third best). Stainless Steel isn't far behind. The only reason gold plating is "better" is Gold does not corrode (but neither does stainless steel... they actually gold plate the stainless steel, how dumb is that?). If you are using your cables in a house where the humidity & temp is relatively constant, you should never need gold. As far as I can tell, Gold is just a gimmick to charge more for cables.
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Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 32 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 17, 2010 7:28:37 AM PDT
This is a great resource - thanks so much!

Posted on Jul 1, 2010 6:16:23 PM PDT
My EE hubby would be proud! I read your review and actually understood what you were talking about! Great review!

Posted on Jul 11, 2010 1:36:25 PM PDT
David M. says:
My father is also an electrical engineer and says the same exact thing. Spot on review!

Posted on Aug 13, 2010 1:50:00 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 13, 2010 1:51:57 AM PDT
I receive e-mails from and tonight one contained a sale on components.

One item that I checked out was a Monster 6.56 foot HDMI cable for $129.99, but with FREE SHIPPING.

Needless to say, I passed up that "deal" and am now wondering what type of person would really spend that much money when the $7.00 Amazon HDMI cable will deliver the same signal.

Posted on Aug 25, 2010 10:37:20 AM PDT
J. Leonard says:
Wow you know your stuff! I took an operations engineering class and my teacher would love you. Anyways, I ordered this cable, thanks for the review, I would have spent 5X more and it sounds like I got just what I need. A++++

Posted on Sep 4, 2010 9:51:52 PM PDT
Brian Garvin says:
Thank you A. Cohen, about time someone cut through all the advertising BS and gave us regular folks understandable and direct information on some of these gizmos. But I still have one question, what ever happened to the fiber optic that has been promised for so long? 15 or more years ago at a reasonable and applicable price point. Again thanks, Brian.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2010 11:17:34 AM PDT
M. Markussen says:
Optical fibers are commonplace home A/V, and have been so for a long time in the form of optical S/PDIF interfaces. You'll see wide use of optical transmission in HTPCs and high-end television sets for both audio and video with Intel's Light Peak starting next year.

Posted on Oct 17, 2010 8:11:53 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 17, 2010 8:16:10 AM PDT]

Posted on Oct 22, 2010 7:21:17 PM PDT
Louie's Mom says:
A. Cohen - thanks for this review. I just bought my first HD television and was happy to find your review. As a newby to HDTV and purchasing things like HDMI cables, it was great to get information from someone who has the training to analyze the options available to consumers.

Posted on Oct 31, 2010 12:18:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 31, 2010 12:21:41 PM PDT
Ferrite Cores are something included in two of the HDMI I cables I've purchased.

I have to say that the Ferrite Cores have not affected performance in any way that I've noticed.

Ferrite Cores didn't add any cost to the cables I purchased, and they certainly didn't degrade the quality.

Would you be able to go into a little more detail regarding your hypothesis associated with Ferrite Cores?

To be honest, I have one piece of information that people looking at this review will find far more valuable.

These HDMI cables from Amazon are technically NOT considered true HDMI 1.4 cables, because they are not capable of being used as an Ethernet connection.

My advice is for people to make sure and purchase HDMI cables labeled as true HDMI 1.4 cables. Make sure the HDMI 1.4 cables are Category 2 cables, rather than Category 1 cables. Just so you know, Category 2 cables are referred to as "High-Speed" cables, while Category 1 cables are classified as "Standard" cables. We are now living in an era where HDMI 1.4 is the new standard, so why bother purchasing cables like these ones from Amazon when you should be purchasing true HDMI 1.4 cables that can also be compatible with Ethernet functions.
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Review Details



A. Cohen

Location: Portland, OR

Top Reviewer Ranking: 6,205,764