The 10 Best HDMI Cables
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in April of 2016. Whether you're looking to hook up your DVD, Blu-Ray player or streaming device to your shiny new TV, or are an avid gamer who wants to expand your view from a monitor to the big screen, an HDMI cable will be required. Because different people have different connectivity needs, we've selected an assortment of options based on capabilities, length, durability, and price. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 14, 2020:
As technology has evolved, the accessories we use to enjoy those advancements have changed, as well. HDMI cables can help you connect gaming, entertainment, and computing devices to larger screens for an enhanced visual and audio experience, but there are pronounced differences between available options on the market. As these differences have become clearer, our list has shifted.
A major consideration is the length of the cable required for your setup. In some cases, your television or screen may be in close proximity to your devices, in which case selections with more limited ranges like the Syncwire 4K may be more than suitable. If your home entertainment setup features a device tower that’s further away from your screen, options like Twisted Veins, with a maximum length of 200 feet, might be a better choice. This is part of the reason the Super High-Definition Active didn’t make the cut this time around.
Another consideration is how you plan to use your HDMI cable. If your configuration is likely to stay rather static, the stiff construction of Twisted Veins may make it easier to ensure firm, stable placement along walls or baseboards, though it’s worth noting that excessive bending on selections like the Syncwire 4K can impact performance. Options like the AmazonBasics High-Speed 4K, with its CL3 rating, can provide safe cabling if you intend to run the cords through a wall.
In such fixed configurations, a major bonus can be angled connectors, which can make it easier to connect multiple HDMI cords to the back of a wall-mounted television without pulling it further from the wall than necessary. This is where picks like the UGreen 10283 come in handy. However, the more impressive performance of picks like the Zeskit 8K Ultra and Twisted Veins bumped it down on the list.
If you’re in a position where you need a number HDMI plugs, there are a number of options that come in packs of multiples. Though it’s common to see 3-packs with a number of the items on this list, those trying to wire entertainment systems in multiple rooms or in an office setting may value the availability of a 24-pack with the AmazonBasics High-Speed 4K.
If you anticipate reorganizing your space or using the cable for multiple purposes, picks like the Zeskit 8K Ultra, with a soft cord, might better suit your needs. Those not looking for a solution designed for home entertainment systems, the Uni USB-C can help you connect newer computers to larger 4K screens as you work.
While Monoprice has long been known for creating exceptional products, we’ve removed two from our prior rankings in favor of other more advanced options, but have included the Monoprice Ultra Slim, which features a thinner profile and improved performance over its predecessors.
A final consideration in these decisions is EMI, or the propensity for electronic magnetic interference. Factors like WiFi and a high number of active electronic devices can impact an HDMI cable’s performance. If you’re in a household or office where that might be the case, items like Monoprice Ultra Slim and Zeskit 8K Ultra can be dependable choices.
November 24, 2019:
You might think that all HDMI cables are the same, but that's not exactly the case. The Mediabridge Flex and its slightly higher-duty relative the Mediabridge Ultra are about as simple as they come, and most users will probably find them satisfactory. The AmazonBasics Premium is another remarkably high-performing option, and its sibling the AmazonBasics High-Speed doesn't have quite as high of specifications but is even less expensive. In some cases, though, somewhat unconventional options like the UGreen 10283 can really help out thanks to 90-degree connectors that can provide a flush connection to wall-mounted TVs with rear-facing ports. And while we mention abnormal connectors, let's bring up the Uni USB-C, which works with quite a few brand-new and not-so-new notebooks, 2-in-1s, and tablets that have USB-C ports. Do keep in mind, though, that not every device with USB-C supports DisplayPort Alt Mode; most PCs do, but some smartphones, sadly, do not -- in those cases it's often been disabled by the phone's manufacturer, so make sure to double-check your devices specs before purchasing.
Then there's the issue of long-distance signal transmission. HDMI cables tend to fall victim to signal bleed and interference after about 25 or 35 feet, so if you need to go farther than that, you'll either need an optical cable like the DeLong Fiber Optic or an active one like the Super High-Definition Active or, if you're on a tight budget, the AmazonBasics High-Speed . Take note, though, that the AmazonBasics only supports 24-hertz refresh rates at its greatest lengths, but that's fine if you're only viewing traditional TV shows and movies where that frame rate is commonplace. And if you're dead-set on having the fastest electronics equipment out there, the SecurOMax 8K is right for you, as it's fully compatible with the relatively recent HDMI 2.1 standard, which should be mainstream in the next year or so. Alternately, if you decide to forego wires entirely, there are some reasonably effective wireless HDMI systems to choose from, as well.
IOGEAR Wireless HDMI TV Connection Kit If you don't want to deal with cables or your space is limited, it might be worth considering a wireless HDMI connection system like the one offered by IOGEAR. One plug hooks up to your TV while the other hooks up to the HDMI port on your device. The two communicate via your WiFi, so there are no cords to navigate. bestbuy.com
Supreme Video And Audio Quality
The most cutting-edge features now include optional 3D and Ethernet support.
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 backward 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 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 the 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 its 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.
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.
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.
Automatic lip-sync control for ideal audio and video timing was also released, which came in particularly handy for surround sound audio systems.
The 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.