Cable manufacturers are making money hand over fist right now, even in a recession, because they have convinced consumers and so-called experts alike that their gold plated cables are a good investment. These manufacturers push their overpriced product on consumers depending entirely on their ignorance to the facts. Here are a few reasons why I believe that this is a seriously bad deal for the consumer.
Signal Degradation isn’t Typically a Problem
Having a quality cable made out of better materials was important during the time when every television relied on coaxial connections to receive video from either cable, antenna, or video players. Video was often fuzzy, riddled with static, and sometimes unwatchable when a bad cable connection was present. I can’t tell you how many times I had to wiggle the coaxial cable on the back of the television because the cable wasn’t making enough contact.
Fact is, digital signals are very different. You don’t have to worry about signal degradation the way you did with analog. There are no fuzzy connections, no snowy screens, and no hissy audio resulting from bad cable transfer. If you do see sparkles on the screen you’re literally on the edge of complete failure of the signal. Truth be told, unless you’re buying an HDMI cable that needs to be more than 15 feet, you’re going to see the same results from a $3.00 cable and a $200.00 cable.
Employees at your local electronics store are typically misinformed by management to push the pricier cables by citing the falsehoods stamped all over the packaging. They’re waylaid with cable jargon that doesn’t make a bit of difference to the average consumer and are given misleading data. This, in my humble opinion, is the biggest scam in the industry right now.
Gold Plated Cables are Often Made of Cheap Materials
Even though you see shiny yellow tips and the packaging says coated in 24k gold, you can assume that the material between them is much cheaper. This is like taking a ride in a Ferrari and stopping to hop in a golf cart half way through the trip. Sure it started off nice but somewhere in between you ended up with something less than you bargained for.
This isn’t to say the signal won’t look as clean on a 6ft cable as it would of it contained 100% pricier materials. Again, the cable manufacturers know that it doesn’t really matter. There is no such thing as a cable that transmits a flawless signal from one point to another.
Corrosive Connectors Don’t Make Pricier Ones a Better Value
If you do some searches on Google for cable purchasing tips, you’re bound to find a few forums where someone has poised the question of whether or not the expensive cables are worth it. Unfailingly, each thread includes a few individuals that proclaim from the highest peak that cheaper cables corrode faster causing them to go out more often and need to be replaced.
Who are these people? Even if this were a big issue (I suppose if you live near an ocean), replacing a cheap $3.00 HDMI cable a dozen times is still a better deal than one of these overpriced creature cables.
Bottom line, there is no visible difference between expensive and cheap cables for the vast majority of consumers. Too often, people are encouraged to spend more on an HDMI cable than the Blu-ray player it’s connected to.
Truth be told, professional broadcasters don’t use these cables. A radio host doesn’t have a gold plated analog XLR cable connected to their microphone. They usually have a cable an audio engineer hand-soldered out of a few dollars worth of material. Digital signals are even less sensitive than this. If you feel that I’m incorrect, please comment below and explain why. I’d further challenge you to buy a $3.00 cable and give it a try.