The Truth behind HDMI Cables Revisited

It’s been 3 years since I posted my first post about Monster HDMI Cables and it’s gotten a lot of good feedback and I thought I should revisit the topic and maybe update some thoughts. (You can read the original post here)

Since typing the first post 3 years ago I have since gotten a 4K TV and with the proliferation of 4K, this is the perfect time to revisit this topic.  I will start out by saying, my initial thoughts on the different types of cables remain the same: I still would not purchase a Monster Cable or other overpriced “name brand” HDMI Cables.

I think I should explain a little about the Types of HDMI Cables that I didn’t get to do last time.

Currently the main standards of HDMI Cables you’ll see are 1.4 and 2.0.

HDMI version 1.4 2.0
Date initially released May 28, 2009 September 4, 2013
Maximum pixel clock rate (MHz) 340 600
Maximum audio throughput (Mbit/s) 36.864 36.864
Maximum color depth (bit/px) 48 48
Maximum consumer resolution over single link at 24-bit/px 3840×2160p/30 Hz

4096×2160p/24 Hz

4096×2160p/60 Hz
Maximum consumer 3D resolution over single link at 24-bit/px 1920×1080p/24 Hz 1920×1080p/60 Hz

4096×2160p/24 Hz

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDMI)

 

I removed some of the other rows but if you want to see them go over to the wiki page that I pulled this table from.  Essentially, without explaining too much about the specifications, you can see a lot of the numbers are either the same or close.  The 2.0 standard will support 60 Hz at 4K, which in TV talk means that it’s displaying your picture at 60 frames per second (FPS).  Something to note though is that movies are recorded at 24FPS, and not 60.  So technically you aren’t going to get any better quality picture from the increased ability on the 2.0 standard if you are watching movies or TV.  Where the 60FPS becomes important is if you do gaming on your TV.  That being said, if you are buying HDMI Cables, definitely look for the 2.0 standard and not the 1.4 standard.

The other difference you’ll notice is the Pixel Clock Rate.  Pixel Clock Rate is the speed at which the pixels are transmitted over the HDMI Cable.  The clock rate has to be fast enough to fill the entire screen within the refresh cycle.  So the 2.0 standard moves the pixels at a maximum speed of 600 MHz (or 600,000,000 pixels per second). For comparison purposes, a 4K screen has 8,294,400 pixels.  So you can see, HDMI 2.0 can handle 4k without blinking an eye.

The HDMI Cable Bottom Line:

As long as the cables you are buying adhere to the HDMI Standards, they will work to that specification.  So a Monster Cable, while being super flashy in its packaging, won’t perform any better than a non-name brand cable that meets the HDMI Standards.  In fact, if you read their website (https://www.monsterproducts.com/support/learning-center/hdmi/differences-in-hdmi-cables) it is VERY vague on why their cables are better.  The only thing of any substance is that if the standard is not met, the cable may not work correctly which is true, but doesn’t make Monster Cables any better or worse than any other cable that meets the standards.  

Have any personal experience with the different types of cables?  Let me know below!