The 10 Best HDMI Cables
10. Twisted Veins Three Pack
- durable braided nylon wrap
- velcro ties for cord management
- some units struggle with 4k video
|Rating||3.5 / 5.0|
9. Monoprice Active Select Series
- clearly marked input and output ends
- great for media with vibrant colors
- not the longest-lasting option
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
8. Ultra Clarity Flat
- wraps tightly for compact storage
- very low interference
- signal struggles at longer lengths
|Brand||Ultra Clarity Cables|
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
7. C&E High-Speed
- triple-shielded for protection
- durable black pvc outer layer
- lacks direction indicators
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
6. Super High-Definition Ultra
- compatible with signals up to 4k
- strong but flexible build
- not rated for in-wall use
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
5. Atevon 4K
- attractive high gloss finish
- supports all hd formats
- jackets are a bit bulky
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
4. Cable Matters 3-Pack
- color-coded for easy identification
- support 48-bit color
- textured grips for easy insertion
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
3. SecurOMax 28AWG
- sturdy aluminum connector housings
- attractive braided wrapping
- lifetime replacement guarantee
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
2. AmazonBasics High Speed
- compatible with older standards
- backed by a lifetime warranty
- good transmission at long lengths
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
1. Mediabridge Ultra Series
- available in five lengths
- high refresh rates for a crisp image
- safe for in-wall wiring
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
Supreme Video And Audio Quality
In today's digital age, the ability to send high-definition video and audio signals through a single cable isn't just a technical innovation, but also a necessary tool for consolidating clutter with an ever-expanding home entertainment system. The HDMI cable is a tech guru's best friend when it comes to tricking out their TV and home speaker setup.
HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface and it is the first uncompressed, all-digital interface designed to carry both audio and video signals simultaneously using the same cable. HDMI is backwards compatible with the Digital Video Interface, which was originally designed to maximize the quality of older flat panel liquid crystal display monitors and modern video graphics cards. HDMI is considered the standard cable for use with most modern high-definition televisions, Blu-ray players, digital video recorders, new computers, and video cards. Both HDMI cables and ports are easy to use, and they plug into hardware in much the same way USB cables do. The HDMI cable offers plug-and-play operation, meaning that it delivers the highest quality signal with minimal effort during the setup process.
The HDMI cable leverages transition minimized differential signaling to move information from one place to another. Think of TMDS as the cable's way of encoding traveling signals in order to protect them from degradation as they make their way to a home theater device (e.g. your DVD player and television). This technology delivers the highest video and audio quality possible to the connected devices. To protect information from data piracy while in transit, the cable uses the high-bandwidth digital copy protection authentication protocol. This protocol allows both a source device (e.g. your DVD player) and a receiving device (e.g. your television) to communicate with one another through use of authentication keys.
Each home-theater device has both identification and encryption data stored inside it on its extended display identification data chip. A source device encodes its own information with a unique authentication key, which the receiving device then decodes using the same information. In this sense, the source device validates the authentication key for the receiving device, allowing the cable's audio and video signals to be displayed on your TV. This process is referred to as a handshake between the source and receiving devices and it takes place almost instantaneously inside the HDMI cable itself. If an unauthorized device tries to intercept the data, the source device will cease data transmission. During this process, the source device is also continually checking to make sure that the authentication key hasn't changed.
Several iterations of the HDMI interface have been released since its inception back in 2002, starting with HDMI 1.0 all the way to version 2.0, each with their own advances over their predecessors. That said, they all use the same underlying cable and connector with slight variations in shape and size. The most cutting-edge features now include optional 3D and Ethernet support.
Similar to the DVI format, HDMI cables use a series of connector pins to allow data signals to pass through twisted pairs of copper cabling. Several types of HDMI connectors are now available depending on the device and circumstances, the most recent being the micro-HDMI cable (type D) released with version 1.4 of the interface.
Choose Your Cable Wisely
Length and durability are the first considerations one should be thinking about when planning to purchase an HDMI cable. Longer lengths are typically a bit more expensive, however, they may be required depending on your home theater setup. That said, you shouldn't have to break the bank to get a good-quality cable. The longest HDMI cables are up to fifteen meters in length. Past that point, signal attenuation could occur, but this also depends on the construction of the cable's components.
If you own a television capable of displaying 4K resolution or are interested in one, then it's important to ensure the HDMI cable you go with has a maximum data capacity that can support the high-quality signal.
The good news is that most HDMI cables are clearly labeled. For transmitting 4K signals, you may decide to invest in a high-speed cable solution, as these can handle the increased bandwidth of 4K signals at lengths up to five meters. By high-speed, we refer to data capacities of up to eighteen gigabytes per second, which is the standard specification for maximum data capacity with the HDMI 2.0 interface.
The Evolution Of A High-Definition Solution
The original founders of the HDMI interface include companies like Hitachi, Philips, Sony, RCA, and Toshiba, while the HDCP protocol was initially developed by Intel.
Development of the HDMI 1.0 interface began in April of 2002 with the goal of creating an audio-visual connector that was backward-compatible with the DVI interface. HDMI 1.0 was officially released in December 2002. By May of 2004, HDMI 1.1 offered multi-channel audio support for the DVD-Audio format. HDMI 1.2 added support for HDMI connectors on personal computers in August 2005. By June 2006, HDMI 1.3 saw increased bandwidth capabilities, as well as a higher bitrate capacity of up to 10.2 gigabytes per second, allowing the interface to handle 3D video signals. Automatic lip sync control for ideal audio and video timing was also released, which came in particularly handy for surround sound audio systems. HDMI 1.3 also made available a new mini-connector for use with other devices, including digital cameras and camcorders.
In May 2009, HDMI 1.4 added support for Ethernet, which could link one HDMI 1.4 device (connected to a home network) with other internet-ready HDMI 1.4 devices using an HDMI cable with the same specifications. This interface also introduced the Audio Return Channel feature. The release of HDMI 2.0 in September 2013 offered support for 4K video signals as well as dynamic auto lip-sync functionality.
The most recent iteration of HDMI 2.0 (referred to as HDMI 2.0a) has added support for High Dynamic Range video display, which is marked by enhanced picture quality and producing greater detail for both the dark and bright parts of an image. This was released in April 2015.