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HDMI is usually easiest and provides best possible picture. I advise to buy online from monoprice.com or amazon.com. Brand does not matter in most cases and price for a standard 6ft cable should not be more than $20, and that is being generous. It may seem
like that is cheap, especially when you see cables in stores going for almost $100, but trust me when I say you will not notice a difference.
HDMI is superior for a few reasons, most of which stem from the fact that it's a digital connection. These are the most common & important...
1: There is no digital to analog conversion necessary, which can degrade the picture. Also, there is no need to then reconvert the analog signal back to digital, which can further degrade PQ.
2: Digital either works or it doesn't... Meaning "quality" is no real issue. Cheap analog cables will yield a poor picture. Since a digital signal is basically a string of 1s & 0s, they will either reach their destination or not. With analog, the picture
will gradually get worse with each level in quality of cable you go down. With digital, the tendancy is to get a perfect picture or catastrophic failure (it works or it doesn't).
3: It's one cable, compared to 4-5 (depending on how you run the audio).
Do not be fooled by salesmen who will try to sell you expensive HDMI cables. Pay the extra if you need analog cables for anything (it will make a difference there).
[quote user="OG Pooh"]2: Digital either works or it doesn't... Meaning "quality" is no real issue. Cheap analog cables will yield a poor picture. Since a digital signal is basically a string of 1s & 0s, they will either reach their destination or not. With
analog, the picture will gradually get worse with each level in quality of cable you go down. With digital, the tendancy is to get a perfect picture or catastrophic failure (it works or it doesn't).[/quote]This isn't entirely true. I know it's been beaten
to death that expensive HDMI cables are a waste of money because it's digital and whatever, but people rarely actually consider the problem beyond that point. Just because a signal is digital doesn't mean it's impervious to exterior distortion.
HDMI has a method of error correction, but that can only do so much. Consider CAT5e cable for example. It's a digital signal, right? So, that should mean that I can buy the cheapest certified cable I can find and it will work without a hitch. Let's say I
install it in my house and run 40 feet of the length parallel to Romex (AC power) cable. Surely the digital signal won't be affected by the EMI interference coming off the power line. But it will. I'll still be able to connect to my network and browse the
web, but will it be the same experience? With all that interference my NIC and router will be correcting a lot of errors, and that means speed will go down. Maybe I could achieve 950Mbps on a 6ft run unimpeded by interference but now I can only achieve 400Mbps
because of all the distortion and error correction. Would buying high quality CAT5e fix my problem? Probably not, a poor install is a poor install, but it would probably allow for higher speeds in the same conditions.
What about optical Toslink cables? Those things have been around forever now, and yet this talk about "it's a digital signal and it either gets there or it doesn't" is a rather new argument. Chances are that if you've ever researched Toslink or digital coaxial
connections you've come across the word "jitter". It basically means variance in timing between two communicating devices. Jitter can have an adverse effect on audio. Timing errors can greatly reduce fidelity in regards to soundstaging, coherence and transients.
The same thing applies to HDMI cables. If you've seen as many installs as I have, you've probably seen how they usually get installed, laying across the floor behind the TV stand with every other cable in the setup, including all the power cords. It's not
an ideal environment for any signal. The kicker is that most people either don't have the ear and/or gear to appreciate the difference a better HDMI cable can make in the audio. I've auditioned a $50 HDMI cable and compared it to others costing $300+ on a
65" plasma and I didn't see any difference in the video quality, but audio is another story. Video is 24, or 30 or even 60fps whereas digital audio is sampled at up to 192,000 "audio fps".
My point with all this is that HDMI cables are not all created equally, and that they don't all necessarily perform equally either. Just because two bottles of wine are both 13% alcohol content red wines doesn't mean that they taste the same. One could be
a cheap local $15 bottle of wine and the other could be a vintage $800 bottle, and the difference can be appreciated. If you don't have an extravagant setup you probably don't need to spend more than $10 on a HDMI cable, but you might want to consider if you've
invested a lot in your system. At the least take the time to audition it for yourself before concluding on the matter.
All that said, if you buy a quality cable, from a reputablemanufacturer, there is zero need to buy expensive HDMI cables. Again, if all the 1s & 0s make it to their destination, the picture will be exactly the same whether they've traveled via a $10 cable
or a $500 cable. There is nothing to debate past that. The thing to remember is to not confuse
inexpensive with cheap.
[quote user="OG Pooh"]There is nothing to debate past that. The thing to remember is to not confuse
inexpensive with cheap.[/quote]Plenty to debate, but nothing worth debating. To each his or her own. I'm not sure if you read my entire post because I discussed the effects on audio not video, but that's alright.
I did make a post like this about a week ago in another thread where someone claimed that you could use a single 200ft run of non-repeated HDMI without issue, but these lovely new forums decided to turn it into a blank post. I don't make posts like this
to try to change anyone's mind, but rather to put the information out there as there is
a lot of misinformation rampant on the Internet.
Component cables are fully capable of delivering a 1080p signal, but many displays that are 2 or more years old cannot accept a 1080p signal over component. Most newer displays do not have this limitation, although ALL new displays have multiple HDMI inputs,
so it's a bit of a moot point.