HDMI Cable Buying Guide

HDMI cables are a must-have for any media center because they are used to connect various consoles, video players and streaming devices to your TV. While buying these cables is often easy, there are many factors to consider and numerous cables that can vastly improve your multimedia experience.

Types of HDMI Cables

Most people think about the different ports and sizes when trying to find the best HDMI cable, but there's a more important classification. In a very broad sense, there are three different cables with their own strengths and weaknesses.

The most common cable is the standard HDMI cable. This cable is most commonly used with TVs and upgrading DVD player resolution. You will find that this type of cable is capable of transmitting video qualities of 720p and 1080i. While these resolutions are good, they are definitely not the best.

High speed HDMI is the second classification. This type of cable is able to transmit video quality at 1080p and up, including 4K, deep color and 3D. There currently isn't anything better than high speed HDMI when it comes to video quality, which makes this an ideal choice for those who love enhanced resolution.

The third type is Ethernet HDMI and it comes in both standard and high speed. This gives you the same video quality, but it also adds an Ethernet data channel to the cable that enables it to connect devices to the Internet. While only a small handful of devices and TVs use this feature, it's best for those who want to future-proof their cables because this feature is gaining steam.

Pay Attention To

Video Quality

This should be the first thing that you consider when looking for an HDMI cable. You are using this cable to better enjoy your movies, games or even your computer, so why would you sacrifice quality? The truth is that getting better video quality often only costs a few dollars more, so there's no reason to skimp on this to save money.

Your best bet is to buy a high speed HDMI cable because it offers a lot of bang for the buck. Standard cables are good too and might be fine in some situations, but the high speed cables offer the best video quality while supporting newly emerging video standards.

Ports

The standard HDMI port is most commonly used in TV and gaming consoles, but some tablets and other devices use smaller ports. For example, there are both mini and micro HDMI ports that offer the same functionality, but they are smaller. Since you could be connecting a full-size port and a smaller port with the same cable, it's best to make sure you know exactly what you need.

You'll be surprised to find how common these cables are. If you cannot find one for some reason, then you can always buy an adapter so that you can connect the cable to your device.

Length

You may not think that the cable length is that big a deal, but it can make a big difference if your cable is a few feet too short. This is especially true if you are connecting a tablet to your TV or have numerous devices in the same area.

If you are unsure of how long your cable should be, then get a measuring tape and measure from where the cable will start to where it finishes. Add a foot or two just to be safe. Getting one that it too short can lead to massive frustration and you might have to buy a new cable anyway just to make everything work properly.

Version

Even though it hasn't been around for a long time, there are numerous versions of HDMI cables. For example, there are 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.0 and 2.0a cables out there and each one has slightly different specifications.

The good news is that each version is backwards compatible and most devices do not require the newest version. At the same time, if you want the cutting-edge features and the best quality, then it's in your best interest to buy the newest version. If this doesn't really matter to you, then you don't have to pay attention to this.

Durability

Judging durability is very difficult until you buy the cable and start handling it. Aside from feeling the thickness of the wire and seeing how securely the ports are attached to the cable, you can get an idea of the durability by reading the list of features.

The majority of durable cables will talk about corrosion and rust resistance along with a guarantee of how long the cable should last. Check the wire gauge because thicker wires lead to better bandwidth and improved durability. While some good cables may gloss over these features, the majority will highlight them to attract buyers.

Top Brands and Product Lines

AmazonBasics

A good cable with adequate transfer rates and both high speed and standard offerings, this brand excels in both price and reliability.

AudioQuest

An ideal choice for those who want their cables to last a long time while getting the best quality. These cables are made with the highest quality materials and there are various grades to choose from.

Blue Jeans

As the name implies, this company sources all of its materials and labor from the USA. The cables are reliable and offer great signal strength and video quality.

MonoPrice

The best choice when price is your major deciding factor. Offers good reliability and video quality.

Cmple

A very simple HDMI cable that provides good signal strength and quality with a low price.

Conclusion

Buying an HDMI cable is often quite easy when you know which factors to consider. Aside from the video quality and port size, you should also think about the length of the cable and how durable it is. After that, you just need to find a good brand to buy from. This will ensure that you can enjoy your videos and games in peace and at the highest quality settings.