If you’re in the market for a new HDMI cable, the last thing you want to do is just grab a random model off the shelf and hope it’s the right one for you. This buying guide will equip you with all the information you need to be able to figure out which HDMI cable best fits your needs.
The High Definition Multimedia Interface – or HDMI cable for short – is a single cable solution that will allow you to connect your audio visual equipment. By digitally transmitting uncompressed video and audio data, an HDMI cable can support high quality connection between TV’s, Blu-Ray/DVD players, computers, projectors, etc.
The Ideal goal of the perfect HDMI cable is to transfer the signal from your output device to your TV without degrading the picture (video) quality. An HDMI cable cannot in any way improve your TV’s resolution. However, it should be able to match your TV’s picture quality and be able to support HDR and high frame rates for gaming.
Bandwidth, Resolution & Speed
Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be sent from your source to receiver device in a second. Bandwidth is the main thing you should be looking out for in your HDMI cable. The higher the speed of the HDMI cable the more it’ll be able to support high resolutions, frame rates and new technologies.
Standard is the most basic, and slowest, HDMI cable you can get. With a bandwidth of 4.95Gbps, it will be enough to send a 1080p signal to your TV, but not much more than that.
High Speed HDMI
High Speed is over twice as fast as Standard, with a minimum bandwidth of 10.2Gbps. High speed cables an carry a 4K signal. However they will only support 4K24, or 4K video at 24 frames per second. High Speed HDMI cables also support HDR and wide color pallet. A High Speed HDMI cable will stream your Ultra HD Blu-Ray movies perfectly, but it won’t be able to handle more demanding tasks like high frame rate gaming and streaming.
Premium High Speed
Premium High Speed cables push the bandwidth up to 18Gbps, which will cover any consumer-level video source you deal with. Premium High Speed cables support 4K60, or 4K video at 60 frames per second, with the capacity for BT.2020 color space and 4:4:4 chroma sampling. So they can handle basically any 4K video you throw at them. If you do decide to invest in a Premium High Speed cable, you won’t have to worry about HDMI cables for a long time since they will keep you running throughout the days of 4K, and can even support 8K and higher resolutions with certain frame rates and features.
Monster HDMI cables go well beyond the Premium High Speeds standard of 18GBPS to reach 27 Gbpsof total throughput, making them the perfect HDMI cable for the highest resolutions and heavy duty gaming.
Cable Quality and Material
HDMI cables are composed of several strands of copper wire bundled together and wrapped in casing. The gauge of those wires plays a big factor in performance. 28AWG (American Wire Gauge wires are thin and while they’re able to do a fine job transmitting HD content from feet away, there will most likely be some signal degradation in any cable that is 3 Meters or longer. That’s why when it comes to longer cables, a 26 or 24AWG gauge is better (smaller number=thicker wire).
As for connector material, cables with gold-plated material connectors will help prevent signal degradation over time and are a good choice if you’re planning to invest in a an HDMI cable that you can rely on for a long time.
HDMI Version 2.1: The Way of the Future
Since the release of the HMDI Version 1.1 back in 2004, there has been a newer version that supports better resolution at higher frame rates every couple of years. The HDMI Version 2.1 is the latest in this series and it supports formats as high as 10K at 120Hz framte rate. HDMI 2.1 aslo excels in Dynamic HDR, digital stream compression and variable refresh rates. It also supports audio formates such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The HDMI cable itself is only responsibe for bandwidth; to unlock the full list of benefits that HDMI 2.1 offers, the HDMI ports on your source and reciever devices have to be HDMI 2.1 compatible.
Even with all the cutting edge features that the HDMI 2.1 offers, HDMI 2.0 is still currently the industry standard. With a max bandwidth of 14.4 Gbit/s and support for 4K at 60Hz, as well as a wide range of device compatibily, HDMI 2.0 will be suitable for most users. However, for those seeking a truly unique experience and are interested in exploring the cutting edge of audiovisual technology, there’s no doubt that HDMI 2.1 is the way of the future.
Now that you have a basic idea of the specs and features to look for in an HDMI cable, you can pick out the appropriate cable based on your needs and main activities. Browse our wide range of HDMI cables.