We have come a long way with technology. Now we are surrounded with gadgets and other electronically advanced devices. Be it office or home, work or leisure. A few years back in time, battling with tangled cables to form a connection was a frequently relatable scenario. But thanks to the new generation HDMI cables, connecting your entertainment devices has got much easier than the times of standard connections, and advanced too.
HDMI made it possible to transmit audio and video through the same cable. In our day to day lives, we use them to connect our television sets with media players, cable boxes, and now even Netflix and other modern data receivers. HDMI in a great way has replaced the old methods of TV connections.
It has already been a decade and a half since the first version of HDMI cables. Since then there have been considerable revisions to keep up with latest technologies. The older versions of HDMI cables therefore are incapable of providing you with the most up-to-date features.
So, how should I decide if I want an HDMI cable for various requirements?
If you find yourself stuck with the same question, you are at the right place. Read on to know how you can shop for the best HDMI cable for your connections.
Differentiating the HDMI Versions
Let’s take one thing at a time, starting with the different versions of HDMI and their functions:
HDMI 1.0: As suggested, it’s the originally introduced for a single-cable digital audio/video connection. The cable has two channels only, with a bandwidth of 165 MHz. In short, the most basic version of HDMI connections, not much desired these days.
HDMI 1.1: Introduced a couple of years later after the first one, this one provide multichannel support for DVD-audio.
HDMI 1.3: Skipping two editions in between, major changes came with the HDMI 1.3 version. It was introduced with an increased bandwidth to 340MHz and maximum bit rate to 10.2 Gbps. Along with it added ability to output compressed digital audio formats like Dolby®TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio™ and other features.
It was followed by 1.3a and 1.3b with just a few minor revisions related to manufacturing.
HDMI 1.4: A major addition of Ethernet capability was launched with the HDMI 1.4. A HDMI 1.4 could also send audio from your television’s tuner back to your home theatre receiver. Though at that time, it was quite a thing, now mostly HDMI 2.0 is preferred over any of these previous versions.
HDMI 2.0: The bit rate reached 18 Gbps with the introduction of HDMI 2.0. It also supports new formats like Ultra high definition 4K videos at up to 60 frames per second. The previous one did so with just 30 frames per second. It supports up to 32 audio channels along with dynamic auto lip-sync. It’s a power-packed option overall.
HDMI 2.0a: The latest and most advanced introduction is HDMI 2.0a which supports HDR video display. We recommend this because most of the televisions are now capable of streaming 4k video and it is a great option for Netflix® or other connections like Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.
Knowing about these cables can be useful while you are looking for specific features and functionalities in your HDMI cable. However, it’s always great to have a look at the functions a cable claims to perform, before you make your investment.
We guess that’s enough knowledge for a common user about the types or version of HDMI cables.Now moving to the next crucial question, ‘What HDMI can support connections with my television?’
Quality of Cables
Even though local cable sellers will make you believe that all HDMI cables are same, they definitely aren’t. HDMI cables can differ greatly based on manufacturing quality. For example, the connection between the cable harness and the connector will come off within a few weeks if isn’t produced keeping certain standards in consideration.
The shielding of the cable is another concern. A bad cable shielding can interrupt data streaming and is also defenseless against signal interferences. Hence, it’s always better to invest one time and get HDMI cables from reliable manufacturers. All that pain and interrupted videos aren’t worth, no?
Deciding a product based on the price is a tricky idea. Though deciding up for the cheapest cables available out there isn’t what we would recommend, a shopping hack won’t do any harm. While a brick-and-mortar store is always an option, but often the more expensive one.
Yes. That’s all sales statistics. Your local supply store sells less and all of their profits come from the increased margin they charge from you. While if you check online, you will get surprising rates from same branded products and often more options to choose from. So, you know now!
Length of Cables
Another factor to consider while buying any sort of cable is the length. If you know your connections won’t need an extension more than 10 feet, there’s no point getting a 25 feet cable. Managing the tangles would be an added job as well.
The pricing of different length of wires also differs, so it’s best to decide precisely as per your requirements. You should also confirm the signal transmission before buying HDMI cables as the length of the might affect its transmission quality.
Though yes it looks like a lot to consider but we don’t want to sound like buying a HDMI cable is rocket science. You can rely on ISO registered manufacturers and go along the product features mentioned. If shopping for it online, you can even choose from a wide range of options. It not only is cheaper but you can get one exactly as per your precise requirements.
Jennifer Truong is the owner of SF Cable, a california based online retailer of all kind of cables, wires and cords, including HDMI cable and adapters. Jennifer has extensive experience in the cable industry and blogs about its various aspects.