While HDMI cables were designed to simplify the process of connecting the various devices that make up your home theatre system, the simple fact is that many people are totally confused about what HDMI cables actually do; why some cables are so much more expensive than others, and why there are different versions of HDMI. This short guide aims to help answer these questions and highlight the factors you need to consider to ensure that you buy the right type of HDMI cable for your home theatre system.
What Is HDMI?
HDMI or ‘High Definition Multimedia Interface’ is a type of connection widely used in devices, such as HD TVs, satellite boxes and Blu-ray players. HDMI cables carry both audio and video signals, so instead of having to use several runs of cable you now only need a single cable in order to make a connection between your devices.
Why Are There Different Versions?
Over the years new capabilities have been added, and this has led to several different iterations, 1.0 being the oldest, through to the very latest version which is currently 1.4. HDMI is far more technically advanced than is actually needed right now, in fact, version 1.4 is able to support technologies that aren’t yet found on the vast majority of home entertainment devices. Put simply, it will take years for home entertainment manufacturers to catch up, so for the foreseeable future the majority of consumers simply have no need to worry about which version number they buy, as all cables will deliver exactly the same performance.
Are There Different Types?
Most people don’t realize that there are different types of HDMI cables: Type A, B, C and D. And to be honest, this is probably for the best as it leads to unnecessary confusion.
- Type A is the ‘normal’ type of HDMI cable; it consists HDMI Cable in Australia of 19 pins and can be found on sale by any mainstream retailer.
- Type B was developed for professional use in the motion picture and broadcasting industry. Type B cables have a slightly different size of plug, and use 29 pins,
- Type C and D were developed using the HDMI 1.3 and 1.4 specifications respectively. They use the same 19 pin configuration as Type A, but have smaller plug sizes. Type C is intended for use with portable devices. Type D takes this further by having an even smaller plug.
The main thing to remember is that Type A is the normal cable used by practically all consumer electronics.
Does Size Matter?
As with most cables, the length of the run does have a slight affect on performance. HDMI cables generally deliver the best results with runs up to 15 feet in length. If you use a longer cable the difference in performance is so small that you probably won’t notice, but it’s something to bear in mind if you plan on running a HDMI cable the entire length of your house.
How Much Should You Pay?
The common misconception is that the most expensive HDMI cables deliver the best performance. This simply is not true! All HDMI cables use the same basic technology to carry the audio and video signals, so it’s incredibly hard to spot the difference in performance between cables with a $100 price tag, and cables with a $25 price tag. While you should try to avoid cables that are obviously under priced – these cables tend to be made to a low standard – you should also be cautious of paying large amounts of money just for fancy packaging or a named brand.
The majority of consumers will find that an inexpensive Type A HDMI cable is perfectly sufficient for almost all home entertainment systems, and by considering the points mentioned in this guide you can ensure that you get the perfect cable, for the best price