Firstly I would like to introduce myself. My name is Luke and I have worked with technology for over 5 years and over this time I have had many questions thrown at me about the world of technology. I am also a qualified Cisco technician and I understand how important it is to have the correct type of cable to produce the best transfer speed, reliability and the least amount of errors.
Over the past few years HDMI has had a massive impact on technology for both sound and vision. Pretty much all the latest DVD recorders and players have a HDMI option and with the new reign of Blu-Ray, HDMI is bigger than ever before.
Is HDMI any better than SCART?
Well firstly there is no doubt that a HDMI cable is much better than using a SCART. The typical SCART system has been with us for years! Here is why:
Break down of SCART and HDMI
-Used throughout Europe
-Traditional method to connect sources to TV's (DVD,VCR,SKY etc)
-Can only transfer basic stereo sound
-Low resolution images (standard definition)
-Used practically worldwide
-Used to connect modern (DVD,Blu-Ray,Hi spec PC etc)
-Can transfer upto 7.1 Audio channels for ultimate surround sound
-High res images (High definition up to 1080p)
BASICALLY In a nutshell HDMI is far superior to SCART for both video and sound.
Are expensive HDMI cables really worth it?
The simple answer is YES!
Now you want to know why right? Many people say that all HDMI data consists of is basically a bunch of 0's and 1's (otherwise known as binary or electrical impulses) therefore a cheap one can transfer the same number of 0's and 1's as an expensive HDMI cable right?
A HDMI cable has to be able to transfer millions of electrical impulses every second. Just a few hundred errors a second can be the difference between a great picture and a poor one.
Put it this way. Why is it some broadband internet speeds are slower than others? Even though customers are with the same provider and are on the same speed package? After all broadband is just a bunch of 0's and 1's right? So they should all be the same speed?
The answer is NO. Its all to do with the cable and what materials its made from. Yes it is all 0's and 1's, but these electrical impulses can be 'Damaged' or 'Distorted' when traveling down the cable. The first issue is:
The longer the electrical impulses have to travel the weaker the electrical impulse gets due to the cable resistance caused by the material used in the cable. If the distance for the electrical impulse to travel is too long, it will be too weak to be recognised or registered at the other end. This is the first reason why errors occur, resulting in a lower quality picture.
More expensive cables can easily deal with longer lengths as better quality materials are used.
The secret to making the best cable is to choose a low resistance conductor. This will ensure that over long distances the electrical impulse will not be weakened. The most common conductor is copper. Used for is low resistance properties and it is relatively cheap.
Oxygen is the worst thing for electrical impulses as oxygen has a very high resistance and therefore seriously effecting the quality of the electrical impulses. All HDMI cables use copper but what you may not know is not all copper is the same. There are two main types.
-Regular copper (less than 85% pure)
This copper is used in cheaper HDMI cables. It contains copper obviously, but also other impurities such as nickel and oxygen. Both of these elements will create resistance which can seriously damage the quality and speed of the electrical impulses and in some cases these electrical impulses may not ever reach their destination.
-High quality copper known as OFC copper(more than 99.99% pure)
This copper is used in expensive HDMI cables. It contains virtually all copper and is totally oxygen free. This copper ensures the best environment for the electrical impulses and has the lowest resistance possible to ensure the electrical impulses are received as strong as as fast as possible at the other end.
Cheaper HDMI cables tend to have little or no protection against external noise or interference. This again can effect how the electrical impulses are received. Interference can be caused by external electrical impulses from near by mains cables and various electrical equipment such as speakers, lighting, wireless systems (including Wi-Fi) and many others. Speakers can have major impacts on HDMI cables and can seriously distort the electrical impulses in the cable.
Expensive HDMI cables have up to four layers of protection! Each of these layers are designed to ensure that all of this external interference and noise is kept out of the cable, ensuring the best possible transfer of electrical impulses.
The connectors are the start and end of any cable and are important as they play a major role in determining the quality of the data to be sent and recieved. Cheaper HDMI cables can look like they are gold plated, but infact they are either copper or Nickel. Cheaper cables also only use cheap soldering techniques between the copper wire and the actual HDMI connector which, again will produce a poor quality picture and low quality sound.
Some cheaper cables may even claim that they are 24ct gold plated, which is true, but with all other important elements such as protection and material ignored, it makes no difference!
More expensive cables will only use 24ct gold at the connection point. They also use silver solder points between the copper and the connector to ensure that the copper cable is connected to connector in the best way possible.
Which brands are best?
You may already know but there are 100's of brands of HDMI cable, but which ones are the best? I believe that MONSTER® produce some of the best TV cables on the market. But be warned! Not all MONSTER products are the same quality. Some are better than others. You get what you pay for.
A breakdown of the monster range:
Monster 300 - The most basic from the range. 3 layers of shielding. RRP (approx) £30
Monster 400 - 3 layers of shielding, 24ct gold connectors. RRP (Approx) £40
Monster 500 - 3 layers of shielding, 24ct gold connectors, standard speed cable. RRP (approx) £50
Monster 700 - 3 layers of shielding, 24ct gold connectors, certified 1080p, High Speed. RRP (approx) £60
Monster 800 - 3 layers of shielding, 24ct gold connectors, certified 1080p, High Speed, Supports 7.1 Audio RRP (approx) £80
Monster 1000 - 3 layers of shielding, 24ct gold connectors, certified 1080p+, Ultra high speed, supports 7.1 Audio. RRP (approx) £100
Monster M Series 1000 - 4 layers of shielding, 24ct gold connectors, certified 1080p+, Fastest HDMI cable available, silver coated conductors, supports 120Hz. RRP (approx) £130
*All RRP are based on 8ft lengths.
The most advanced Monster Cables, Monster M Series 1000 are available for sale here for less than £45!
So now you know! Sorry about the long essay, but hopefully now you understand a little more about the world of HDMI! Not every company is telling the truth!
Next time your thinking of spending "A couple of quid" on a HDMI cable, think again!
Id be happy to help! Just drop me a message via eBay and I will try my best to answer any queries :)