So last week I got a new TV. It’s about time, as the set we had was almost beyond shame.
What the thing is is irrelevant to what I want to say, but safe to say it’s a flat panel LCD with several HDMI inputs on the back.
We had the cable people come out and give us a new HD cable box. It’s got all manner of outputs on the back of it – cable, composite, s-video, component and HDMI. I elected to go HDMI because I know it’s the only digital signal of the bunch and I thought it surely must allow the best picture quality.So I trip myself over to a local big-box to find myself an HDMI cable to do the job.
For starters, all of the prominently displayed cables were from two companies; Rocketfish and Monster.
For Rocketfish, the cheapest cable they had was about $46.00. For Monster, it was $150.00.
Come on now…$150 for a 3 foot cable? Are you shitting me?
So I ask this guy, “Hey, there must be something cheaper, but where are they?” and he proceeds to fetch a 6-foot Recoton cable that’s $25.00.
Then he says, “So, what’cha going to hook up?”
I say that I’m hooking up my cable box and that I’m buying the “cheap” cable expressly because I can’t see the sense in spending major dollars on a short cable.
He comes back at me and says that I might likely “get away” with this cheapo for my cable box, but if I were to buy a Blu-Ray or something similar I’d be wise to get a “premium cable”.
My only response to that was, “HDMI is digital. As long as the dits and dots get to the other end of the cable without running together or fading out, there’s nothing to be gained from pricey cables. And I really don’t think that one meter or six feet or whatever is worth throwing that money on…and I don’t know what the difference might be.”
To this, the response was, “Oh, there’s a difference.”
At this, we parted ways. I went home, hooked up my el-cheapo cable and the quality of the picture on my TV is perfect. And to think I saved more than $125 by not buying snake oil!
Just as an aside, I know there was a time – and there may still be – when you really did need the premium cables to pinch the most out of your HiFi.
Over short distances, it doesn’t really matter in any case, but certainly for shorter distances with a digital signal it matters less.
Selling a $20 one-meter cable for $150 should be illegal.