When it comes to talking about the quality of HDMI cables, we can basically find three trends among users, suppliers and experts. First of all, there are those who think that “all models are the same” and once they meet some basic technical specifications like baud rate it is not worth spending a lot of money on. money.

There are also those who think that a good cable with an excellent conductor in the connector like silver or gold, a quality coating and good outer protection with hair braided from the mane of an albino unicorn is theirs. will give more picture and sound quality on their televisions.

And the third trend is that of those who think that the midpoint between these two ways of thinking is closest to the truth: not all HDMI cables are the same, if you skimp on the purchase you may find surprises. rude but neither requires a small fortune to spend.

Interfere with numeric ones and zeros

Those who claim that it’s not worth spending the money on a quality HDMI cable usually use the following argument: being a cable for digital data, zeros and ones, “let the signal come in, or it does not happen “, not as it happens with analog cables where interference affects the quality of the signal. And if that signal gets to you “well”, the rest of the cable characteristics don’t matter since you won’t notice any differences.

They are partly right, but the key is in this “good”. An inexpensive cable in general will be less well shielded than a better quality cable and this can cause interference to infiltrate it, deteriorating the digital signal they carry and causing picture and sound problems.

In short cables less than 2 meters you might not notice it much, but in longer cables different weird effects may appear such as colored dots in some parts of the picture, micro cuts in videos, sound shifts, or even the occasional black screen.

You may not notice them in your home as there is no interference around you sneaking into the cable, but in other places they can be very present, especially in models over 3 and 5 meters placed next to other electric cables or which pass near electric devices with motors such as fans, old heating systems, etc.

Mechanical problems

Another of the big differences between cheap and expensive cables is usually their external construction, which is generally more robust in more expensive cables, with better plastics and quality protective materials. Does it influence?

Well, it depends on how you use the cable and how you have it behind the TV. If you take it out of the box, set it up, and haven’t moved it for years, it probably won’t have much influence or notice. But if you are one of those who take it out and put it in every now and then to install different devices, then mechanical issues may arise.

It is not surprising that in poor quality cables, the protection head ends up getting damaged when it is removed and put in place with some frequency. Even the coating of said head can undergo expansion with the heat accumulated behind the furniture and its daily use causing it to lose its grip to the internal conductor and one day when you pull it you can keep it in your hand (that’s to me. arrived with a midrange cable that I had plugged into the PC).

Problems with cheap cables can also arise when making twists and turns to fit our devices. Being thinner than the more expensive models, they are generally easier to “bend”, but in the long run they can get damaged on the inside if we are not careful.

Tolerances in the measurements and stability of the connector

Another problem that I have encountered in several inexpensive cables has been related to the manufacturing tolerances of the connectors. Manufacturers have to adhere to a series of connector measurements so that you can plug it into different equipment so that it comes in well, just making contact and not applying a lot of force but not loosening.

Sometimes the cheaper ones can cause problems with these measures, presenting difficulties for their installation. For example, it can be very difficult to insert them into the slot of the television having to use a lot of force or on the contrary, that it enters very easily, leaving with a little slack and thus posing problems of total or partial disconnections. at least vibrations in the furniture.

It can also happen that the alloy used to make the connector expands or shrinks with ambient temperature, just a little, a few tenths of a millimeter, but just enough to produce those clearances which cause point-in-time failures in the image, sound or screenshots. black from time to time.

They don’t have to be “adamantium”

So do I have to spend a small fortune on my HDMI cable to make it work properly? Well, it doesn’t have to be. In general, being in the middle of the offer, we will have a more than satisfactory use.

In my experience, I would avoid cables that cost less than $ 6, even on short lengths like 1.5 meters, as in the long run they can cause problems depending on how you use them.

I also wouldn’t spend $ 100 on an HDMI cable unless it was to ensure usage lengths of 10 meters or more in an environment with interference. But it doesn’t seem unreasonable to spend 15-30 euros to ensure minimum build quality and avoid future inconvenience.

Recommended models

Philips SWV4432S / 10

A simple but interesting model is this Philips SWV4432S / 10, 1.5 meters long, with Ethernet, flexible pvc jacket and copper shield. It supports resolutions up to 4k at 60Hz and with ARC. Its price is around 9-10 euros, depending on the day.

HDMI cable PHILIPS SWV4432S / 10, 1.5m, with Ethernet

Anhuicco HDMI 8K

Another interesting cable is that of the Anhuicco brand, a seemingly well-built 2-meter HDMI model that has a good reputation on Amazon. It supports signals up to 8K at 60Hz or 4K at 120Hz thanks to its certification for transmission speeds of up to 48 Gbps. It has a price of around 12 euros.

8K 2M Ultra High Speed ​​HDMI Cable 48Gbps 2.1 HDMI Cable 4K 120Hz 8K 60Hz 7680P Dol-by Vision HDCP 2.2 and 2.3 HDR 10 eARC Dynamic HDR Compatible with 8K UHD Xbox PS5 RTX 3090 Projector Monitor PC

Etseinri HDMI 8K

Another interesting one is the Etseinri HDMI 8K, a model with a length of 2 meters compatible with speeds up to 48 Gbps and resolutions 8K at 60 Hz or 4K at 120 Hz. It is prepared for new consoles. generation and has a price of around 18 euros.

HDMI cable 8K 2.1 2M, Etseinri HDMI cable to HDMI 2.1 Ultra HD 48Gbps, high speed, 8K @ 60, 4K @ 120 eARC RTX 3090 HDR10 HDCP 2.2 and 2.3 Dol-by Vision for Fire / S-ony / LG / S-amsung , PS5 / 4, Xbox Series X

Sniokco HDMI 8K

This two-meter Sniokco model is certified for speeds up to 48 Gbps and 8K at 60Hz or 4K at 120Hz resolutions. It features a 24k gold-plated connector, head protection and ‘Nylon coating for improved durability. . Its price is around 15 euros.

HDMI 2.1 8K Cable, Sniokco Certified Ultra High Speed ​​48Gbps 2M Braided HDMI Cable, Support Dynamic HDR, eARC, Dolby Atmos, 8K60Hz, 4K120Hz, Support HDTV Monitor and more

Hama 00200504

The Hama 00200504 is a two-meter HDMI cable with speeds of up to 48 Gbps, resolutions of 8K at 60Hz or 4K at 120Hz, with a shielded braided internal structure to reduce interference and maintain stability during of bending, having gold-plated aluminum connectors. Its price is around 30 euros.

Pictures | Patrick Campanale