Monoprice.com: Entry-Level Cables that Everyone Can Afford
by Sandy Bird
Well let me start with the fact I believe that cables make a difference in the performance of your A/V system. Good cables let you experience the full potential of the system, and bad cables will make the best systems look and sound like rubbish.
As important as good cables
are, price and style have almost nothing to do with what makes a good
cable. There are some very bad cables that cost a lot of money and there
are some very good cables that can be had for a bargain, but the
opposite is also true. Some very expensive cables are top quality and
have connectors on them that make superior mechanical connections to
devices. To make a long story short, good cables are about technology and
not marketing or price.
As you might expect, I
purchased this new projector online and of course forgot to purchase
cables with the unit. This forced the required trip to the classic brick
and mortar stores such as Best Buy, Circuit City, and others, to purchase
some new cables on a whim.
The sales person truly
believed the Monster cables gave a better picture. I tried to explain to
him that with a digital signal, cables simply work, or if not, they have
very visible errors in the displayed image (like sparkles or green
spots). I could describe the endless humorous details of this
experience, but in the end I left without a cable and found some advice
from a few trusted friends on the industry.
Monocable.com basically balances these two variables to make sure the cables are certified to perform to the HDMI standards and pass signals up to 1080p. If you are looking for short cables (less than 15'), you can get cables as low as 28 gauge and as cheap as $5 for 3' and as much as $8 for the 15' version.
Looking at the longer lengths you will probably end up with 22 or 24 gauge cables which can go up to 100' and cost between $14 (3' - 24 gauge) and $131 (100' - 22 gauge).
You also get a couple of different options in terms of the outside of the cable. If you are like me and need to run 35' of HDMI cable through a wall and ceiling you will want to go with one of the CL2 rated cables for in-wall installation.
If you are looking for some prettier cables to
connect components that are closer together you might want to get one of
the cables with the net jacket applied (something we see on many cables
that come in packaging fancier than blister pack). All you really need
to know is that the cables get heavier and stiffer with increasing
length, and that is another reason to use the short extension cable I
If you read our site often, you probably already know a few of our writers, including our master and chief, John Johnson, are not very impressed with the HDMI physical connection (HMDI.ORG is making some changes, to appear soon).
The main reason for this is that the connector has no way of attaching it except for friction, so it comes loose from time to time and can be bent. Connections like BNC, DVI, and others all have a way of locking the connector to the jack.
The second issue is that the HDMI jack does not seem to hold up after a lot of use (in a reviewer's world, these get a lot of use). In this case you might end up having to send your display in for servicing if you manage to loosen the fit of the HDMI plug and jack. You don't hear complaints like this about DVI or BNC, because they are locking connectors.
Monoprice.com sells a short HDMI extension cable which can be used to
connect the HDMI plug to the display device. You plug the extension
cable into the display, and tape the short extension to the side or top
of the display chassis.
Then you plug or unplug your regular HDMI cable into the short extender.
Whatever stress occurs, will happen on the extension cable, not the
jack in the display.
I cannot give a higher