Customer Review

106 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Quality For the Money, June 14, 2010
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This review is from: Mediabridge Component Video Cables with Audio (6 Feet) - Gold Plated RCA to RCA - Supports 1080i (Electronics)
As someone who does quite a bit of home theater installations, I have to say that I was very impressed by these cables the first time I purchased them. They are now my "go-to" component video/audio cable for both personal use and my freelance A/V work. In my opinion, they represent an exceptional value for this price point.

Within the nondescript cardboard box they come in, lurks a very well-made cable. They have:

1) an enclosed, 5-in-1 design for the length of the cable, meaning the 5 individual cables are sealed together up to about 3" before termination. This makes it very easy to run through walls, cable ports, or organizers compared to a bundle of separate cables. It also helps cut back on overall cable clutter, and helps save space behind your components. Cable identification also benefits from this design.

2) a braided cloth jacket. Not only is it elegant, but the smooth cloth will help prevent snagging on other cables and components.

3) solidly made, gold-plated connectors. The collar around the center pin is segmented; this is an expected feature on any good quality cable, and it means you can easily crimp the collar if you need a tighter grip on the component's I/O jack.

4) good shielding. Although I have not cut open the cable to investigate its shielding, they evidently are above average as determined by my informal "interference inductance" test. This is a test I do whereby I pass a strong magnet near the cables while they are conducting a signal, and look for signs of interference or signal degradation. While this is not a "lab-quality" scientific test, it does help simulate EMI that might be encountered by the cable from electronic components or power cords and transformers, and if a cable can stand up to this test it will generally perform well against lower-power EMF, and probably exhibit no 'crosstalk'. These Mediabridge cables passed, and this is one of the reasons I am now using these cables so extensively in HT installations, where there a lot of other cables and various electronic gear.

In general, I can see no flaws in the design. Because you have 5 cables bundled into 1 they are somewhat stiff, but not significantly inflexible. Keep in mind that usually the point of weakness and failure of most any cable is at the junction between cable and connector. I don't know if these cables have any stress-relief inside the terminator body (none is visible), but unless you do much repeated hooking and unhooking of your components I would not expect any problems with these cables. Just make sure that when you unhook these (or any cable) from a component, you grasp the end connector's metal body and pull-- never yank on the end of the cable itself (sometimes a slight clockwise twisting motion of the connector while pulling will assist with very tight connections). However, if I notice any unusual or premature failure of these cables I will post back and amend my review.

It is amazing to consider that the major-chain electronics stores regularly sell "premium" (and not so premium) A/V cables for $50 or more. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with those cables, they are almost always dramatically overpriced. It is simply unnecessary to spend that much if you know what to look for. Although it may be possible to get a slightly better cable for more money, I have not come across a better value on a component video + stereo audio set with this kind of build quality. In conclusion, I would confidently recommend these cables to any discerning buyer, and will buy them again myself when the need arises.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 18, 2012 9:43:16 AM PDT
redlaw55 says:
I agree these cables are likely to be high quality, but in staying with the general idea, I'd like to say that the magnets gave you great gas mileage. So if the picture is okay with a satellite receiver in use, key a cell-phone just to be sure.

Posted on Jan 12, 2013 5:09:13 PM PST
D. Braun says:
Great review, but I also have one question: Is a Component Video hook-up superior to HDMI for picture quality? The Comcast tech that visited our house, to replace a faulty DVR, suggested it WAS.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2013 10:37:56 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 3, 2013 11:28:08 PM PDT
D. Braun,
I'm sorry I could not respond sooner.

In most respects, HDMI should be superior to the older component video technology. For one, HDMI is point-to-point fully digital, so there should be no signal loss or interference through the wire, or over longer distances, as there is with analog cables. This also means that the anal-retentiveness which goes into selecting high quality, highly shielded analog cables need not apply, i.e., there is absolutely no reason to spend $50+ on an HDMI cable.

Second, it also means that there should be no signal degradation due to conversion. For example, when you have a digital source (like digital cable tv, or a DVD) and you use component video to connect that source to your TV, you will have a digital->analog->digital conversion, and there will be a certain amount of signal loss (and/or distortion) at each step. Using a digital connection like HDMI obviates the need for these signal conversions and their associated quality loss.

There is also the convenience factor: as HDMI carries both video and multi-channel audio, you have 1 cable versus 5 or more.

So by most metrics, HDMI IS SUPERIOR. However, you can find controversy with almost all technology discussions, and this is no exception. There is a small contingent of people who claim that the analog signal from component video has a certain visual "merit"-- much as there is a certain enthusiast contingent who claim that the sound from vinyl records is superior to the "cold", compressed digital audio from CDs.

There can also be other assorted issues with HDMI, like the fact that there have been multiple revisions to the spec over time, which can lead to compatibility issues between different devices (and the cabling), but this is not very common. Digital compression protocols are also sometimes cited as an issue. However, most of these things are somewhat esoteric, and I'd be surprised if this is what the Comcast guy had on his mind when he said that component was superior. Maybe he had other motives?

In any case, either one will give you a decent picture, and a lot of people can't tell the difference. I'll never forget the time I was over a wealthy client's house, and the guy was bragging about his new home theater setup: 7.1 surround sound, a $5000 video panel, probably over a $1000 worth of wires alone. "So whaddya think?" he asks, after putting in a DVD and proudly beaming at me. Wonderful, except that I noticed the picture on his expensive TV had an interesting greenish tinge. He apparently did not even notice. I asked him if he calibrated his television. His response: "Umm, I have to calibrate it?"

So, my long-winded answer is, yeah, HDMI is better, BUT...
It's not going to matter whether you are using component video or DVI or HDMI, when in many cases the ultimate point of weakness is somewhere else, like a crappy TV; or in many cases a GOOD TV, but with the brightness and contrast misguidedly cranked up to 100 (because that's how it came from the factory) and the colors out of whack.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the specs that we forget to use our EYES or our EARS.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 30, 2013 6:24:16 PM PDT
D. Braun says:
Thanks Robert.

Your post makes a lot of sense, and I also appreciate all the effort you put into it.

Dennis

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2013 1:45:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 3, 2013 11:23:54 PM PDT
You're welcome, Dennis!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 18, 2013 10:14:16 AM PDT
Great info Robert, both the original review & the HDMI question. I agree about the HDMI vs. component, unfortunately my TV only has 1 HDMI (used for Blu-ray) and the A/V receiver has none. Both are older but quality products which work perfect and I'm not changing them until I have to. I only have a less expensive set of cables on hand & I'm in the process of installing a new piece of gear, Roku 2 HD. I'll try the magnet test before buying new cables, thanks for the tip.

Now a question: What if I want to utilize the the advanced sound from my receiver. DTS? 7.1? I'm going to buy a Samsung or Panasonic Blu-ray, the only two in the $150. price range with separate 7.1 audio outputs. It's the Roku I want great sound for. The cable box has digital audio out.

Thanks again, Tony

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2013 11:33:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 25, 2013 11:52:08 PM PDT
Hi Tony, thanks for the compliments.

Since your TV only has the 1 HDMI input, it's a question of what takes precedence for you-- the Roku or the Blu-ray player. It's actually funny that you mentioned the Roku 2 because just recently I was having a heated conversation with somebody about it. I happen to like the Roku, but I've often criticized them for their ill-conceived output options: it annoys me that on the Roku 2 they give you HDMI-out (best quality) and as your secondary option they only provide Composite-out (lowest quality). To save money they left out Component Video-out, which would have been a nice fall-back option for people with slightly older TVs--which may not have many HDMI inputs (or lack them entirely)-- but who still want high-definition. Anyway, bottom line with respect to video is you have to decide who gets the HDMI jack on the TV.

You have another option, which is to purchase an HDMI switchbox. This will allow multiple devices to share the one HDMI input on the TV, but you have to manually change the source, either with mechanical switches or electronically (some higher-end units even come with remotes). A good switchbox will run you from $20 to $50 or more, depending on the specs, although I used to have a decent 3-to-1 box made by SYBA which I think I only paid $15 for.

In any case, you do have more flexibility when it comes to the audio. Since the receiver doesn't have HDMI, you'll be running that out to the TV (which I usually do anyway, even when the receiver has HDMI) and run separate audio out to the receiver from each component, depending on what they give you as far as output options (I usually examine beforehand what my connectivity options are going to be for each device versus what my TV/receiver provides, and then sketch out a little "map". That way I know how everything is going to fit together, what cables I will need, and avoid stress because I'm not flying by the seat of my pants).

So, to clarify, we can use your digital cable box as an example. Since the typical cable box usually has a good assortment of I/O options, you can usually choose your best video/audio option to the TV, e.g., EITHER:

a) HDMI-out (which obviously covers both video & audio)

OR

b) component-video-out (or even S-Video or composite if it's older equipment or standard-definition) + analog stereo audio

AND THEN

run an audio-only lead to the receiver using an available digital audio output on the cable box (either coaxial-type, optical-type, or sometimes they give you both and you can choose).

In summary, for most of my personal setups, I use the wiring strategy from the cable-box example above pretty much for ALL my devices. I usually ignore any digital video inputs on the A/V receiver, preferring to go direct to the TV/video display (or sometimes a switch-box), but each device gets its own audio line-out to the receiver (preferably digital, but sometimes analog if nothing else is available). There are at least three reasons why I do it this way:

1) Video switching circuitry is usually a lot better on the TV, or a well-made dedicated switch-box, when compared to that on a combined receiver/amplifier unit, even relatively high-end ones. This typically makes for a cleaner video signal.
2) Video inputs on a receiver are usually "active", meaning the system has to be on all the time just to do the switching and signal routing to the video display. So you're using energy and putting out heat even when you're not interested in putting out sound from the receiver/amplifier.
3) Extending the concept from #2, you have more flexibility. For example, if you want to watch some sedate cable tv documentary late at night, you can just turn on the tv and switch to the cable input. Sound is coming from the tv and you're good to go. Alternatively, if you just got a new action movie on Blu-ray and really want to crank things up, you can now turn on the audio system, select the Blu-ray/DVD output, maybe a theater pre-set, and you can have your walls shaking with DD5.1/6.1/7.1/DTS/DTSHD or whatever else your system supports.

Assuming you have understood my ramblings, the above ideas should give you a very good connection strategy that will work with 1 device or 10. While there are always exceptions, this strategy will work for a majority of use-cases, and it can be set up (and upgraded or expanded, if necessary) with a minimum of fuss.
I hope that I've helped!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2013 9:54:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 29, 2013 10:25:54 AM PDT
*** Another reader, Allen I believe, was kind enough to point this is component/component not the HDMI_to_component I am looking for. I had so many results in my search I failed to read the entire description. I'll check to see if Mediabridge offers a converter cable. Thanks.!

Robert,

Understood your explanation .... ramblings no way this is great information. At least I know I'm doing most of this wiring correct. I'm a former electrician and have notes and schematics for almost everything.

Now another situation has come up and I have two applications for the cable, is the cable bi-directional? Application one is an HDMI source to component A/V receiver (Roku 2 to Marantz SR8400). Which you answered in the reply above. The other is we purchased a secondary HDTV with 3/HDMI and 1/component input. Neither the JVC DVD player nor the Wii have HDMI outputs. For now I'm running the DVD through an RF switcher via cable input and S-video. I'm surprised at the picture quality; not bad considering it's the most basic of connections.

I was happy you mentioned the HDMI splitter option. I have been considering this but don't know that much about them. I currently have the Monoprice 4x1 HDMI Switcher on my Amazon wish-list. I'll use this as a link between our SONY KDF-55WF655 LCD TV & the Marantz receiver. Both devices are "older" as electronics go but they are quality products which work very well. We also have a first generation SONY media player SMP-N100 (this is where I will use the Roku) connected to the main TV because of the output choices as you mention as well.

I was told the A/V receiver's video circuitry will clean up or improve the source material. Therefore; I wired the cable box digital audio, media player, VHS, CD changer, dedicated computer, cassette player, and Blu-ray audio through the receiver (two of those can go if necessary) In addition I have the Logitech 650 remote programmed to turn the TV on with or without the A/V receiver. By splitting the cable signal I can get 2 separate PIP's at once. I don't worry about the drop in signal strength because the cable is fiber to the house and only 20' of copper to the TV. Nonetheless four TV shows at once is over kill, I rarely use regular PIP.

Thanks in advance for your reply, if understood my ramblings,

Tony

BTY: Do you have any experience with Linksys range extenders? And ... any suggestions on a Blu-ray player with 7.1 outputs other than Samsung or Panasonic.
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