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Do Expensive Cables Work Better Then Cheaper Cables?

Sunday, June 10th, 2012 by | Filed Under: I've Always Wanted To Know...

I’ve Always Wanted To Know:
Do expensive cables work better then cheaper cables?


This is a question many people ask themselves when purchasing a flat screen tv or a new audio system. The simple answer is: Yes & No. Simple, wasn’t it?

The argument for No:

In terms of picture quality and audio quality when talking about digital signals like HDMI Cables, USB cables, Digital Audio Cables and other digital sources the information transmitted either gets there or it doesn’t. Since the signal is really only a series of 0’s and 1’s the distortion typical to analog equipment, such as buzzing or one color being off, can not happen. Higher quality conductors, platinum ends, quadruple shielded braided cables won’t make the 0’s and 1’s any different then a lower quality cable as long as it’s sufficient to send/receive those signals.

The argument for Yes:

Expensive cables are often built to higher quality standards so a cheaper cable may not have connectors that are as well made and fit as snuggly or cable wrapping & shielding that protects the cable from nicks/cuts as well. Higher quality cables may also function better at the length limits of the cable then a cheaper cable would due to less loss of signal/interference along the way. If your using a HDMI cable for example a 24 AWG conductor core can reach up to 50 feet while one with a cheaper 28 AWG core may only reach 16 feet reliably. All bets are also off for analog signals which can be heavily affected by things like shielding on the cable, quality of cable and connection quality.

Use your best judgement and ask yourself what you’re intending to use the cable for. If you have a TV hooked up to a cable box 5 feet away you don’t need a $119.99 HDMI cable with platinum tips. If you however are hooking up a TV 30 feet away in an office building hanging cables over florescent lights by power conduits perhaps the $1.99 Joe’s Clearance Shack cable isn’t the best buy.


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