/ Technology

Don’t fall for the HDMI cable “con”

HDMI cable

How much would you pay for an HDMI cable? That is, the cable that brings high definition footage to your telly. A tenner? Well, some retailers and manufacturers are trying to push £100 cables.

This HDMI cable issue isn’t new. It’s been going on ever since high definition TVs made their way into our homes.

So why do we think it’s a problem? Last January we went undercover to the UK’s biggest electrical chains to see if their shop floor knowledge was up to scratch. The hard selling of expensive cables was the most worrying.

According to many of the assistants we asked, a pricey HDMI cable was “essential” for good quality HD viewing. However, we’ve found that a £10 cable will do a perfectly good job. Currys lists a £110 Monster HDMI cable on its website, with John Lewis selling a £100 Peerless cable.

Our HDMI cable research

Yes, you will need an HDMI cable if you want to watch high definition content on your TV, whether it’s from your Sky Plus HD box, Blu-ray player or PlayStation 3 (although early Xbox 360’s used VGA cables to support an HD output). However, since it’s a digital cable, the signal either works or it doesn’t. There’s no need for all the fancy pants extras.

Last year we tested three HDMI cables at different price points; £10, £20 and £100. The results weren’t a surprise – the cheapest lead proved just as good as the most expensive. Our experts saw no difference in picture quality, with our tests also confirming identical performance.

So, pricey HDMI leads do not make for a better viewing experience. Retailers and manufacturers might try and make you splash out on one, but they’re really not worth it. This is even true with the latest HDMI v1.4, or HDMI High Speed with Ethernet, cables.

Don’t splash out on HDMI cables

In response to these expensive leads, electronics manufacturer Kogan has announced that it will give shoppers a free HDMI cable if they have recently bought a TV from Currys or John Lewis. The company’s boss, Ruslan Kogan, explains why it’s launched the give-away:

‘At Kogan, we think it’s extremely unfair for someone who shells out their heard-earned money on a new TV to be shafted on cables and accessories because of a deliberate misinformation campaign by the big retailers.’

So, have you felt pressured into buying an expensive cable? How much would you spend on a lead for your TV, and did you know that cheaper HDMI cables offer exactly the same quality?

speedy says:
19 December 2016

It depends on the quality of the tv and audio receiver . listening through £1000 SPEAKERS and a £800 high quality audio receiver it definitely makes a subtle difference that high quality cables cannot improve cheaper equipment, but cheaper cables certainly can degrade high quality higher end equipment.

Gold-plated optical cables seem to be becoming more popular. If people have not managed to work out that gold is not going to help improve an optical connection, maybe they deserve to pay extra, but it would be kinder to explain the point.

Mitch says:
17 March 2018

There as to be a reason why some hdmi cables are a lot more expensive than others ? . I do believe you get what you pay for but i would not pay £100 for one i pay around £40 .