Which HDMI cable is best?
One of the best ways to connect a monitor, TV screen, projector or computer to another electronic device is through an HDMI cable. These cables are convenient and easy to use. Not only that but they’re necessary for those who have a gaming console or computer because these modern devices require a connection to a screen or display to work.
There are several different types of HDMI cables. The cable you choose could impact things like the quality of your viewing experience or where you’re able to set up your electronics. One of the best options on the market right now is the Monster 4K Ultra HD HDMI Cable for its reliability and the high-quality experience it offers.
What to know before you buy an HDMI cable
Each HDMI cable has different stats that impact the user’s viewing experience when using it. The type of cable directly influences the speed of the data being sent, the resolution and the refresh rate. Because of this, you’ll need a cable that’s similar to the resolution of your television or another device.
For example, if you have a gaming console with a 1080p display, then you need an HDMI cable that matches and supports that. If the cable doesn’t match the display of the device, it may result in a blurred image or it may not show the image at all.
There are four main types of HDMI cables.
Standard HDMI cables: These cables are designed for general, daily use like streaming shows on television or from a laptop. The resolution is decent, but may not show every detail.
High-Speed HDMI cables: Most people use one of these HDMI cables because they support devices with a 1080p display. With a high-speed HDMI cable, you’ll receive higher-quality images.
4K HDMI cables: These cables show higher resolutions and have a faster data transfer than standard or high-speed cables. They are compatible with 4K displays.
8K HDMI cables: For the fastest data transfer and crispest images, you may need an 8K HDMI cable. Most people don’t require an 8K HDMI cable unless they also have an 8K display.
Though uncommon, some cables come with built-in Ethernet. These cables double as an Ethernet cord.
In addition to the different types of cords, each HDMI cable has its own end-connector, which can be used for different devices.
The most common end-connector is called Type A. This type of connection can connect devices like Blu-ray players, DVD players, computers and gaming consoles to televisions, monitors and projectors.
Next, there’s the Type C connector, which is compatible with smaller gadgets like DSLR cameras and tablets. On the other end of the connector is a Type A connection, which can connect the smaller device to a monitor or television.
Even smaller is the micro Type D connector. The Type D end is used for smartphones, small tablets and certain handheld cameras. The others connect to larger devices.
The final type of connector is Type E. This is used for automotive cables and is only used in niche situations.
Double-check the HDMI ports of the devices you plan to connect before getting an HDMI cable to make sure it fits the ports.
The length of the HDMI cable matters when regarding the location of each connected device. While a short cable may work in a pinch, it’s usually better to go with a longer cable to reduce the risk of the cable not reaching both devices.
Another thing to consider is cost. A standard HDMI cable that’s six feet long will typically be more expensive than one that’s three feet long. It does depend on the quality, however. For instance, a short 4K cable may be more expensive than a longer, standard cable.
On a rare occasion, extra-long HDMI cables may show a decrease in signal strength, regardless of cable type.
What to look for in a quality HDMI cable
Most modern displays have a resolution that is either 720p, 1080p or 4K. Resolution refers to the number of pixels or dots that help form the picture on your monitor or television. To view an image on a device like a DVD player or a gaming console, you need to connect it to a screen with an HDMI cable or something similar.
The image is limited by the HDMI cable. For instance, if the resolution of the DVD player or gaming console is 1080p, but you’re using a standard 720p cable, then the screen will be limited to a resolution of 720p.
Besides this, HDMI cords offer a refresh rate, measured in Hz. The refresh rate is the number of times in one second that a display device updates one image to the next. Most casual viewers and gamers prefer a refresh rate of 60Hz on a 1080p resolution. High-speed HDMI cables typically have a resolution of either 1080p at 60Hz or 4K at 30Hz. Better quality HDMI cables can offer better performance and refresh rate.
Bandwidth refers to the frequency used to transmit a signal. Depending on the type of cord, your HDMI cord will have its own bandwidth.
A standard HDMI cable has a bandwidth of 4.95Gbps, but it can only send a maximum 1080p signal to a connected display. Newer, more powerful cables are steadily replacing these cables, however, so they’re no longer as common in most setups.
A high-speed HDMI cord has a minimum bandwidth of around 10.2Gbps. This cord is the most popular option and can support 4K, but only at around 30 frames per second (FPS). For 1080p images or videos, however, this cable is a great choice due to its higher bandwidth.
Premium high-speed, 4K cables can handle up to 18Gbps. These cables can easily support a 4K video at 60 FPS. Ultra high-speed, 8k cables have a bandwidth of up to 48Gbps. These cables can play either an 8K or a 4K video at 60 FPS.
Remember that Hz and FPS are connected. The HDMI cable is limited by its own specs. In other words, if the HDMI cable is 60Hz, then the image will be at 60FPS, even if the monitor itself supports a higher FPS.
Some HDMI cables come with special features such as a built-in Ethernet, which is most common in gaming consoles and negates the need for a separate cord.
Another special feature is the display, like a high dynamic range. This improves the details of the images, as well as the contrast. For this to work, the television or monitor must have the HDR feature active. Many 4K screens have this feature.
Another useful feature is the Audio Return Channel (ARC). If your television has an ARC HDMI port, then it can send audio from the television through the HDMI cord to a separate audio system. This is convenient if you prefer to use separate speakers for audio.
How much you can expect to spend on an HDMI cable
Most HDMI cables cost between $10 and $15. The biggest factors in the price are the type of cable, length and special features.
HDMI cable FAQ
Are HDMI cables backward compatible?
A. Yes. If you have a newer, 4K HDMI cable, then it can transfer 1080p. However, it may not be able to handle an 8K display. The same goes for other types of cables.
What are gold- and silver-plated HDMI cables?
A. Some HDMI cables are plated in gold or silver. These materials are less likely to corrode than regular cables. They’re also more durable. However, they’re not essential to have. What matters more is the quality of the cable and whether or not it’s compatible with your device or devices.
What’s the best HDMI cable to buy?
Top HDMI cable
What you need to know: This HDMI cable can easily run 4K at 60Hz for an ultra-crisp experience when it comes to watching movies or gaming.
What you’ll love: Offering 18Gbps bandwidth, this durable cable comes in several different lengths and is flexible enough to fit into any space. The 24K gold-plated material helps prevent corrosion and ensures that this cable lasts a long time.
What you should consider: Some users found that the cable doesn’t consistently transmit 4K, though it runs 1080p fine.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top HDMI cable for the money
What you need to know: This budget-friendly option works with 4K displays at a solid refresh rate, which makes it great for entertainment centers.
What you’ll love: Designed for 4K displays, this cable comes in an array of lengths from 3-30 feet. It is compatible with multiple formats, including Dolby TrueHD and Color Standard.
What you should consider: This cord isn’t very flexible, so it may be difficult to wrap around furniture.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This cable comes in eight different lengths and is perfect for entertainment, gaming and streaming purposes.
What you’ll love: Another affordable option, this simple cable is sturdy and works well with both 4K and VR content. The connectors are gold-plated for added durability.
What you should consider: Although it’s durable, other options may outperform this one.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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