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Monster "Super Thin" HDMI Cables Preview

Now thats a thin cable!

Now that's a thin cable!


  • Product Name: Super Thin HDMI Cables
  • Manufacturer: Monster Cable
  • Review Date: June 11, 2009 08:20
  • MSRP: $79.95 - $119.95
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Digital Life™ SuperThin High Speed Powered Cable for HDMI (SRP) 4ft. $89.95, 8ft. $99.95 and 16ft. $119.95.
  • Digital Life SuperThin High Speed Powered Cable for camcorder; Mini HDMI to HDMI 8ft. (SRP) $99.95.
  • Monster’s Core Line of SuperThin Powered Cables for HDMI 1m $79.95, 2m $89.95 4m $99.95, 5m $119.95.

Executive Overview

Monster Cable, the company we all love to hate, has come out with what looks to be a truly innovative product. HDMI has been around for a while and just recently the new 1.4 spec was released. We've seen fat cables and flat cables, cables of all colors, finishes, and lengths. We've tested cables, we've reviewed cables, and we've talked about them to no end. But, for the first time, at least since VizionWire went belly-up, we're seeing a truly thin HDMI cable. At only 3.5mm in diameter (the size of the jack on your headphones), it really is significantly thinner than everything else out there. Monster says it is around 65% thinner than normal HDMI cables! Now that's thin!

The applications of this type of cable are obvious. While your normal HDMI cables range from supple to unwieldy, the size of the cable will give you unprecedented ability to bend, transport, and hide it. With more and more camcorders and laptops coming out with HDMI, an extremely thin cable should provide a popular choice. Can you imagine trying to put some of those garden hose style HDMI cables in your camera case?

The only way to get an HDMI cable this thin is through an active solution. Monster has partnered with RedMere on this. Using their MagnifEye Active technology, the cable requires no external power supply for its active solution. On the 24k gold tipped connector is an LED indicator letting you know that that cable is active.

As you'd expect from Monster, the cables aren't cheap. They come in three flavors - two in the Digital Life series - one with a standard size termination on both ends, the other with a mini connector on one end. There is also a Core line that comes in 1, 2, and 5 meter lengths. The cables range from $79.95 for a meter up to $119.95 for 5.

The real question on our minds is how well these cables will play with the new HDMI 1.4 spec. While the overall bandwidth requirements haven't changed, the audio return channel looks to be compatible with most 1.3a certified cables. Will these new thin cables be able to handle the extra functionality? Also in question is whether Monster will release a new Ethernet-capable Super Thin HDMI cable.


Let's face it, this is a cool cable. Expensive? Yeah. But if you're trying to transport or hide and HDMI cable it might be your best choice. Think about all those that have cable runs that they are lying across the carpet and having a hard time hiding them. The Super Thin HDMI cables from Monster could be a much more economical choice than other more "permanent" solutions. We don't mind seeing higher prices for a unique products and Monster seems to have one on there hands here. Hey, at least it isn't thousands of dollars a foot speaker cable.

For more information, please visit www.monstercable.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

Jack Hammer posts on August 20, 2009 13:09
I'm not a fan of M in any way. Just because I don't like their business model doesn't mean they'll never eventually come out with a good or original item. We won't know until it's tested if it's a quality item or a shiny turd. If it is worthwhile and I need/want one, I'll wait until someone else comes out with something similar and buy it from them instead.

This is an audio site and like the article says, it is a new and, assuming it works, possibly innovative product. I don't have issue with it being covered and I didn't see any stamps of approvals in the article. (FTR, this isn't the first time an M product has been reviewed here). I'll wait for the test results before I start bashing it.

Audioholics posts on August 20, 2009 09:30
Some people are taking the “digital is digital” and “cheap cables are all you need” argument to the extreme. Just because Monster makes overpriced cables doesn't mean that only $10 cables are good… and it certainly doesn't mean that a cheap 50 foot HDMI cable is going to get you anything other than pissed off when you try to pass 1080p, especially at anything over 8-bit/channel.

Carrying the “overpriced cables suck” argument to the wrong extreme conclusions doesn't help anyone and in fact can cause people to waste their money on cables that don't work.
roots4x posts on August 19, 2009 02:26
Nemo128, post: 583490
Well, one big myth that “engineers” like to throw around is that “digital is digital” and “ones and zeros are ones and zeros.”

This just isn't the truth. Any engineer worth his weight in calipers and diodes, and I don't claim to be a great one, knows that ones and zeroes are determined by voltage levels and thresholds. Interference can easily flip a “one” to a “zero” and vice versa in the real world. Even on paper it happens, and it certainly happens in lab testing environments.

Does it affect our systems? Honestly I'd have to measure it myself to say for certain. Will you ever notice a single bit in an audio and/or video stream being biased improperly? Absolutely positively not.

When “engineers” (computer engineer here) say that 1s are 1s and 0s are 0s, they mean it. Of course it's still an electrical signal coming through the cable that is susceptible to EMI, but the fact is that digital transmission over an electrical cable is the only way to transmit a perfect signal from one end to the other. Even with relatively low quality cables, even if there is noticeable and measurable signal degradation, it's relatively easy to transmit a perfect audio or video stream.

I mean, you have a 30 gauge HDMI cable at 50ft, there will probably be enough signal loss to prevent accurate transmission of the signal. It's not a matter of the bits “flipping.” What'll happen is that the square wave (which has imperfections of its own like propagation times, etc) will stop looking like a square wave and start looking like random spikes. The great thing about digital data though is that it can allow for flow control, error checking and other sorts of signal integrity checking without disrupting the perfect signal. So basically, if you get a picture or sound through HDMI or optical, you're assuredly getting the HIGHEST possible quality you can get. THAT's the point, you will not get 95% or 90%, it's ALL or NOTHING (pretty much). THAT'S why some people say 1s are 1s and 0s are 0s. (it is possible to lose frames or see visible imperfections in video but that is something that will be very obvious and is an attempt to prevent a complete loss of signal)

Paying any more than $10 for a 10ft HDMI cable is overkill. Fact is a decently made digital cable (i.e. cheap) is MORE than suitable for even the most expensive home audio/video systems in terms of fidelity.
Cheetah posts on June 18, 2009 18:39
About $100 for a low gauge HDMI cable? Where do I sign up?

Really, I can't see a single reason to use this cable.
j_garcia posts on June 17, 2009 16:17
I can see it now “This cable will make everything 3D no matter what kind of TV you have without glasses. It will make your eyeballs sparkle.”

I was able to get 40-50% off on MC products at one point, but that company closed its local stores. At full price, they are far too overpriced.
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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