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HDMI Cable Testing Results

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We set up a simple grid to document our test results for the various cables submitted. Unfortunately, not every manufacturer puts out cables in identical lengths, so you'll need to interpret the results creatively, understanding that if a cable passes 4m, but fails 10m, we don't know for certain whether it would pass at 5m or 7.5m, though you can get a feel for the results after measuring a bunch of cables and seeing endless patterns and trends. This means that if one manufacturer passes at 4m, and another fails at 5m, you may be looking at identical results if the 4m cable had been extended another meter. We'll provide more analysis below.

What Do All Those Numbers Mean?

It's not as confusing as you think. We did 5 different tests, largely because the computer was already preconfigured and also because it took care of the three major tests I was interested in and added two more for good measure - one on the low end, and another on the high end. To start, we took 742.5Mbit/s per channel which tells us if a cable will pass plain old 720p or 1080i. The next step up was 1080p, which has an effective speed of 1.485Gbit/s per channel (by "per channel" we mean for each of the red, green and blue channels that carry the bulk of the information in an HDMI cable). Typically, you'll see cables and HDMI-equipped products designed to handle this type of data spec'd at 1.65 Gbps. Next up was the new 1080p at 12-bit (Deep Color). This is both significant and superfluous. Significant because HDMI 1.3-enabled products all carry HDMI chipsets that can handle data rates of 2.23Gbit/s (see this excellent article for a nice tech overview of HDMI 1.3). Superfluous because there are currently no Deep Color sources which are in any sort of practical use in home theaters today (nor are they expected in the near future, save a few HDV cams and possibly some 'as-yet-unreleased' PS3 video games). The first of the final two tests measured the ability to pass the actual maximum HDMI 1.3 spec limits (and realize the NO electronics manufacturer supports this since all current HDMI chipsets are limited to 2.23 Gbit/s speeds). This is a future-ready test.

Monster also added a fifth and final test which they described as being the equivalent (mathematically) of 1080p at 120Hz. While I seriously doubt anything except possibly a gaming system in a PC-rig will ever exceed 60Hz to a display, it's neat to see how cables collapse under a future format. Given the proclivity for HDMI Licensing to spontaneously change their spec - to the collective "Here we go again" sigh of the entire industry - this isn't entirely unreasonable for the future.

The Objective HDMI Cable Test Results

Company
720p/1080i 8-bit
742.5 Mbit/s
2.23 Gbit/s*
1080p 8-bit
1.65 Gbit/s
4.95 Gbit/s*
1080p 12-bit DC
2.23 Gbit/s
6.49 Gbit/s*
Max HDMI
3.4 Gbit/s
10.2 Gbit/s*
1080p 8-bit 120Hz HDMI
4.98 Gbit/s
Acoustic Research $69.99 6' Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$79.99 12' Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$119.99 25' Pass Pass Fail Fail Fail
Blue Jeans Cable Series-1 $30 6' Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$51 15' Pass Pass Pass Pass Fail
$84.75 30' Pass Pass Pass Fail Fail
Cobalt Cable $74.95 2m Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$114.95 5m Pass Pass Pass Pass Fail
$179.95 10m Pass Fail Fail Fail Fail
DVIGear SHR $50 2m Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$90 5m Pass Pass Pass Pass Fail
$135 7.5m Pass Pass Pass Fail Fail
$175 10m Pass Pass Fail Fail Fail
Gefen $49 2m Pass Pass Pass Pass Fail
$219 30' Pass Pass Fail Fail Fail
Infinite Cables $10.95 6' Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$16.95 15' Pass Pass Pass Fail Fail
$77.95 15m Pass Fail Fail Fail Fail
MonoPrice $9.52 6' Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$15.81 15' Pass Pass Pass Pass Fail
$41.42 25' Pass Pass Pass Pass Fail
NGHP $50.95 1m Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$60.95 3m Pass Pass Pass Pass Fail
RAM Electronics $27.95 6' Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$49.95 15' Pass Pass Pass Pass Fail
$129.95 50' Fail Fail Fail Fail Fail
Tributaries $250 2m Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$450 6m NA NA NA NA NA
$900 15m Fail Fail Fail Fail Fail
WireWorld Starlight 5 $249.95 2m Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$399.95 5m Pass Pass Pass Pass Fail
$1399.95 12m Pass Fail Fail Fail Fail
Sewell Direct Vantora $39.95 2m Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
Monster 500HD $69.95 2m Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$99.95 4m Pass Pass Pass Fail Fail
Monster 700HD $79.95 2m Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$119.95 4m Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$249.95 10m Pass Pass Fail Fail Fail
Monster 800HD $99.95 2m Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$149.95 4m Pass Pass Pass Pass Fail
Monster 1000HD $129.95 2m Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$199.95 4m Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$399.95 10m Pass Pass Pass Pass Fail
Monster m1000 $200 8' Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
$250 16' Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass

*For reasons unknown to us, some manufacturers like to express the data rate as an aggregate number which combines the three primary high-speed data channels. In our opinion it's the "per channel" number that is significant. After all, we don't say that a stereo amplifier has a frequency bandwidth of 40kHz (if/when in fact each channel has a bandwidth of 20kHz.) In an attempt to be as thorough and helpful as possible, we have added the aggregate numbers to our chart as well.

What Does 'Fail' Mean?

It's important to define what we mean by "Fail'. The indicators above deal with the eye pattern on the Tektronix Digital Serial Analyzer. A 'Fail' on this chart does not necessarily mean that the cable will not pass the signal in the real world. In fact, see my Subjective summary below for some real "eye" openers (no pun intended… yes it was). The reason, quite simply, is that various electronics components have different levels of active compensation built in to help EQ incoming signals and help restructure HDMI signals into a more reliable stream. The axe swings the other way as well - we have no reason to believe the cables will reliably and consistently pass a signal to all types of components if they do not pass the eye pattern test above.

Every cable over 10 meters failed to pass 1080p, even at 8-bit, though Monster claims their m1000 Series can do just about anything (they didn't provide a cable over 10m to test and they don't sell it at lengths above 25 feet). At 10 meters the Monster Cable 700HD and 1000HD passes 8-bit, and we added Blue Jeans Cable (30 feet actually) and DVIGear. Blue Jeans, incidentally, uses a Belden-made HDMI cable. When we increased the bits to simulate 1080p at 12-bit Deep Color (similar to what's available in most HDMI 1.3a-rated products today) most manufacturers had to drop back to 5 meters to pass the signal. Blue Jeans passed it at 30 feet, but DVIGear requires their active cable solution to do a full 10 meters. Monster Cables' 1000HD cable also passed 1080p at 12-bit with no issues.

 

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Recent Forum Posts:

peteloo posts on May 30, 2014 22:30
Flat or round HDMI cables?

That's a great article you wrote about HDMI cables.
I'm in the process of buying one to setup my home theatre, and I now know that I shouldn't go pass 10m if I wish to see 1080p resolution.
But did you find out if there is a difference between the flat and round cables?
Thanks
Web Enthusiast posts on October 18, 2013 16:09
Ok, I can see you got pretty irritated about it but, please, chill out. You have the right to your opinions. But I personally used various cables such as vampire cables or something else which cost me not more than 2$ and they didn't work with certain devices. So there's no sense comparing. I'm glad you're good with cheap cables. I chose Connection Lab and I'm not saying they cost as much as Monster but good enough for me.
BMXTRIX posts on September 24, 2013 10:09
Web Enthusiast, post: 989067
I think you may be right but I believe the cheap companies try to force the view that it doesn't count how well the cable is made… Which is bull***t of course because that always matters.
This is blatantly false.

Cheap companies push (not force) the view that it doesn't count how much a cable costs.

How well a cable is made is very important. Using the proper gauge of wire for long hauls, properly testing cables, making sure they are durable. For shorter cables, we are seeing both a combination of cables that look really nice and perform well, as well as other cables which are very skinny and flexible for higher reliability when connected.

Web Enthusiast, post: 989067
You may say there is no bigger difference between good companies such as monster, supra or connection lab. But there is a huge gap between these and entry-level equipment… That's my opinion.
It is clearly your opinion, because the facts don't support that higher priced cables deliver more than cheaper cables which are well built. That's the difference between fact and opinion and the reason why sites like Audioholics exist in the first place. They separate the fact from the fiction.

THAT SAID: There is a difference between poorly made cheap cables, and well made cheap cables. I just installed two 50' HDMI cables from a company called Blue Rigger to try them out, and neither one appears to be passing 1080p video across them. They are lightweight, and flexible… but they don't work! So, I will return them and leave comments to that fact and I am out a couple hours of work repulling different HDMI cables. Perhaps the 50' Monoprice cables instead.

For reference, I pulled out two 75' Monoprice cables which worked flawlessly because they were 25' longer than I needed, so I was disappointed that the 50' Blue Rigger cables didn't work… But now I know and I won't be buying from them ever again.

Maybe I'll try a couple of 50' Redmere cables. Still cheaper than anything Monster sells.

On shorter cables I have continually had good results with Monoprice, but recently switched to Parts Express for their ultra-thin cable which I have run through $5,000+ HDMI testing gear with perfect results.

I am not going to stop insisting that Blue Jeans Cable (BJC) is also one of the best ways to go for mid-tier pricing on a quality cable without any BS associated with it.
Web Enthusiast posts on September 18, 2013 16:32
depends on the level of quality

I think you may be right but I believe the cheap companies try to force the view that it doesn't count how well the cable is made… Which is bull***t of course because that always matters.
You may say there is no bigger difference between good companies such as monster, supra or connection lab. But there is a huge gap between these and entry-level equipment… That's my opinion.
mtrycrafts posts on September 04, 2011 20:23
Adam, post: 828894
Shhhhh! I'm workin' here.

Hey, steveroland211, I've got some amazing high-value HDMI cables, only $100 for a six-footer. Your digital signals will come through totally unaltered. Pure A/V magic, I tell ya. I can get them to you in about a week, and I offer several different lengths and colors. Oh, and don't mind the markings. I just put “Monoprice” on the bags to keep my source confidential.


You need to get the signals there faster than light speed though. Then, it might be a good price.
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