HDMI Cable Hustle

hdmiThe big box store where you bought your HDTV might have made more on the sale of the HDMI cable than the TV. While the margins on big ticket items like HDTVs are small, the margins on smaller ticket accessories can be very fat. How do you sell a $229 HDMI cable when a $29 would work just as well? I guess you mislead consumers by mislabeling them.

HDGuru.com recently visited a number of local TV dealers:

Best Buy had the widest selection, offering "High Speed" HDMI cables from Monster, AudioQuest, Rocketfish (BB house brand) and Dynex (BB house brand). They all display labels that tout their own capabilities. The least expensive is a Dynex 4-foot "High Speed" cable and costs $29.99. The box says 1080p 60Hz. The first step-up is the 4-foot Rocketfish at $49.99, and the package reads 120Hz. Next is a 4-foot $69.99 Monster 700 model cable, with a label stating 60/120Hz, followed by a model 900, labeled for 120Hz and 3-D, for $79.99. The Monster 1000 model boasts a 240Hz-480Hz and 3-D for $129.99 for 8 feet.

AudioQuest has a line of  "High Speed" HDMI cables; its packaging states that it "delivers 100 percent of the data required for 120Hz, 240Hz, 600Hz  displays." It costs up to a whopping $229.99 for its 6-1/2-foot Carbon model (sold online from Bestbuy.com). The BB website states "High speed 1080p/120Hz/4K" — there are no 4K consumer video signals.

HDMI cables can’t be made to a specific refresh rate, or “3-D certified”. Refresh rate labeling is intended to confuse you into spending more money than you need. Don’t pay those high prices for a cable that carries a digital signal. Either the cable will provide a signal, or it won’t. If you can’t wait, buy the cheapest one. If you can wait, shop online at places like monoprice.com and amazon.com. You can get quality high speed HDMI cables for under $3. As long as you’re there. They are also great places to save some money on the wall mount.