Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I've always been skeptical of Monster's pricing schedule for digital cables. How they justify charging $100+ more for an HDMI cable than the lowest priced Brand X counterpart has always been beyond me. So I took interest in this blurb from Gizmodo, and even more in this story from PC World that someone linked to in the comments section. Turns out that the ol' gut feeling was actually right this time: a digital cable is a digital cable is a digital cable.

Once you get a good HDMI connection, our tests indicate, you can expect flawless performance from any 4-meter cable, regardless of price... For its part, digital carries just ones and zeros. In HDMI, if the signal voltage is high, it encodes a one; if low, a zero. The voltage encoded as a one can drop a fair amount and still be distinguishable from voltage encoded as a zero. After a certain point, however, the signal voltage drops so low that ones and zeros look alike, and the TV's receiver chip attempts to guess their value. So rather than gradually diminishing in accuracy, the way an analog signal does, a digital signal may remain perfect up to a critical level and then fail catastrophically.
In other words, the only relevant metric in comparing two cables is their low-end voltage threshold (and who the hell runs 0.3 volt sources, anyway?)

I've got 2 HDMI cables right now; one came with the up-convert DVD player I bought and I ordered the other one from Newegg for 20 bucks. These guys are selling them for under $7. I'm glad I didn't fall for the lure of the Monster brand name.


At 3:58 PM, June 13, 2006, Blogger john said...

Yeah, someone told me not to buy the generic memory cards for my camera. I didn't listen--they work just as well as the brand names.


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