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Never Buy Expensive HDMI Cables [SCIENCE!]

If you believe the advertisements, the holiday season is all about buying expensive electronics.

If you perused any of the Black Friday ads, half of the deals were for televisions. Now, if you bought a television, chances are you’re going to need some cables and this fantastic little company called Monster would love to sell you a 35 foot cable for three hundred dollars [3]! You can “see and hear every detail, every nuance, without compromise.” … or you could use your brain and pick one up at Monoprice for less than thirty bucks.

But are the two really the same? Is it possible that a $300 HDMI cable could be worth the price tag?

My friend Mark sent me this epic cable [4] – 3.3′ for $1,095.99 (free shipping!) at Best Buy. Stunning.

Clearly this is something Jamie and Adam of Mythbusters has tackled… right? Kinda. [5]

Tested is the online home of Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, of Mytbusters fame, and covers anything that’s awesome. In the above linked article, Jamie and Adam didn’t do the testing but instead it was Zsolt Malona, the owner of an A/V installation company. Using some crazy boring equipment, Malona looked at the Gamut CIE and RGB Balance of the image sent through four HDMI cables of the came category but of different prices.

Result? The tests showed that there was some variation between the four cables but they were minor and “within acceptable limits.” Proof positive that you can get the $30 cable from Monoprice and spend the other $270 on something actually worth $270.

What was important? Getting the right category of cabling and staying within the limits of the specifications. Also, it might make sense to buy heavier duty cable if you’re installing it in a while so that it’ll last longer but even then it’s about longevity and not quality.

Lastly, and I believe everyone knows this… gold plated connectors are bullshit.