Buying an HDTV: Cables

So you’ve got an HDTV, you have some HD content, now you need to hook it all together so you can enjoy it.  You are going to need some cables.  But what kind of cables?  There are a lot of different cables out there, some transmit high definition signals while others do not.  Also, some can be really expensive if they’re purchased from the wrong place.  So today, as we work to connect everything together, we will be looking at cables.

HDMI

This cable is probably the one you will hear the most about.  It carries both video and audio signals in a single cable.  This is fantastic as it drastically cuts down on the number of cables you’ll need behind your equipment.  Most high definition equipment comes with some form of HDMI connections available on it.  It is important to note: only HDMI cables can carry a full 1080p signal.  That’s very important to remember.  If you want a 1080p signal from a Blu-Ray player to be at its highest possible resolution, you will need to use an HDMI cable.

When it comes to HDMI cables, the sales guys at Best Buy will try to tell you that you need to $80, $100, or even $160 Monster HDMI cables they sell.  Do not fall for this trap.  I will point you to this fantastic article on HDMI Cable Bench Testing.  Even if you don’t completely understand the article, it’s worth a read.  The main point it makes though is that that $160 HDMI cable is no better than a much lower priced cable from Monoprice.  So when the sales guy tries to sell you the high dollar cable, simply tell him no thanks.  Believe me, it’s worth having to wait a few days for your cables then pay the prices some of these places are asking.

Component

The next step down from HDMI is component (I’m ignoring DVI since it is so close to HDMI).  Component cables are the 5 plugs (3 video, 2 audio) and preceded HDMI in HD content delivery.  These cables will support up to a 1080i resolution which makes them perfect for cable/satellite boxes when an HDMI cable is not available.  They are also slightly less expensive than HDMI cables (though not always by much).  Again, Monoprice is your friend here on good quality cables at more than reasonable prices.

One thing to keep in mind though, on some devices, the video component inputs are not right next to the component audio inputs, in cases like this you will need to purchase female-to-male cables to be able to run the audio component plugs to the appropriate place.  Check your connections before you place an order so you know exactly what you need.

Next Week

Next week, we’ll take a look at what we’ve talked about, and close out our series.

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One Response to Buying an HDTV: Cables

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