Do I Need Expensive HDMI Cables?

One of the most common questions and a topic that is often debated is whether or not an expensive HDMI cable should be considered. Should quality interconnects be expensive, or more specifically does price directly relate to performance?

The short answer is, absolutely not!

Of course this is not suggesting that you purchase the cheapest AV cables you can find for your high quality AV equipment. There is certainly an abundance of low quality HDMI cables and audio visual Interconnects available on the market.

However, we recommend that you focus on quality rather than price when selecting interconnects. You should pleasantly discover that exceptional quality can still be attained at a much more affordable price point. We are always focused on providing products that achieve the highest level of video and audio performance possible at a realistic price point.

We have conducted side by side video and audio comparisons with our cables and some of the expensive offerings that you will find in retail outlets and hi-fi stores. We can assure you that our cables performed just as well (if not better) than the "brand name" cables which often sell for more than 10 times the price.

As part of our testing we obtained a HDMI cable that has a RRP of about $250 for a 2m length. We then proceeded in making a cross sectional cut on this cable and one of our HDMI Cables. A Jewellers Loupe was utilised to inspect both cables.


HDMI Cable Examination
Various HDMI Cables Used In Our Examination

Initial inspection indicated that our cable has a much thicker outer sheath. We also found that they both had triple layer shielding. They both had approximately (visually identical under magnification) the same cross sectional area for each conductor. They both contained nitrogen injected foam dielectrics and comprise of oxygen free copper conductors.

Besides this, they both have gold plated connectors. However, our Space Saturn Series™ HDMI Cables feature an alloy plug housing which the expensive brand used in our test did not. Instead it has a plastic moulded type plug. Our cables also feature an outer braid which further adds to the durability of our cables, the (much) more expensive brand does not have this.

We would also like to point out that the more expensive brand also offers a 10m length HDMI cable for a RRP of about $500, which you would expect to be of incredible quality. However, we have discovered that this HDMI cable only features 26 AWG conductors. For anything 10m or above (in our Space Saturn Series range) we use a thicker 24 AWG. To clarify, the lower the number, the thicker the conductor. For example, 30 AWG is thinner than 24 AWG.

Further to the testing above, Jason Sangwin, an audio visual installer and integration technician from RecluseAV has conducted some testing with a variety of HDMI cables. A range of our HDMI cables were supplied as part of this testing. These results were published on Whirlpool forum in this thread: HDMI Testing with Signal Generator.

In summary, in almost all cases there is no benefit in buying a cable based purely on brand or price, especially when the cables that we offer within our store at a fraction of the price offer the same, if not better performance. Please compare specifications and other features such as included warranty first, then consider price. If the overall product represents good value, then this would be a purchase you can make with no regrets.