Despite popular myth, all HDMI cables are not the same. Construction quality, cable design, cable thickness (gauge) and connector quality can all play a role in the success you'll have with an HDMI cable. Yes, HDMI is a digital signal but this does NOT mean that you either "have a signal or you don't." Cheaply constructed HDMI cables can have not only mechanical failures (worn out solder joints over time, ill-fitting connectors), but electrical failures as well, and these can be represented either by visible distortion ("sparklies," lines, dropouts or pixilation), or by incompatibilities with certain high bandwidth HDMI sources and displays.
This is not to say that you need to pay $50, $100 or more on well-known brand HDMI cables in order to get good results, but when you buy "no name" cables (particularly from unknown marketplace sellers), you're taking a risk - you might get something decent, or you might not. And is it really worth it, to save a couple of dollars on the cable, when it may cost you hours of debugging to determine exactly what's wrong with your picture or sound in your high end home theater system?
As the editor of a home theater publication (Big Picture Big Sound), I've had the opportunity to own, evaluate and use many high-end high definition components and displays as well as a variety of HDMI and component video cables. I've used the high-end name brand cables as well as no-name plain plastic-wrapped HDMI cables made in China. Some of the cables I've ordered via Amazon marketplace sellers don't even match the picture of the item. But the "Cables To Go" HDMI cables I've bought from Amazon have been consistently high quality, with strong mechanical connections and excellent reliability. Cables to Go (aka "Impact Acoustics") is an American company, based in Ohio, specializing in all types of cables, connectors and switching components. They may not be a household name, but they're a solid brand with a proven track record of quality and reliability.
Many of the "cheaper" cables offered by marketplace sellers come with hidden costs that you won't see until check-out, namely high shipping and handling fees. But Cables To Go cables bought from Amazon.com can be shipped free (orders over $25), which brings their price down to an extremely reasonable level.
Reliable performance at an affordable price. That's what I call a bargain.
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