cable is cable? Not even close. The guide reveals which HDMI cable differences there are, which annoying problems they lead to and which cable is the right one for you.

It could actually be that simple: buy the cable, plug it in, enjoy the film, series or game – done. But if the wrong HDMI cable connects the console, projector or television with each other, frustration quickly spreads. Interfering signals or low frame rates spoil the movie and game enjoyment. To avoid the fiasco, all you need to know is a few basic rules about cables and HDMI standards.

In addition, the use of the cable decides which model is the right one. If you want to lay a ten meter long HDMI cable in your home cinema, you place higher demands on it than someone who connects their games console to the 4K television over a short distance. Here again, the television and console decide which cable is the right one. Enough theory, into the cable salad.

Cable customer: HDMI cable differences

There are three types of HDMI cables and they are differentiated by their internals. Manufacturers wire iron in cheap cables, pure copper is used in somewhat higher-quality cables because its conductivity is better, and a mix of glass fiber and copper wires is used in very expensive hybrid cables.

Always stay away from iron cables because copper cables are only marginally more expensive. If you wire iron in your cables, you want to save money and you want to do it in the wrong place. Further processing is usually correspondingly poor. Fiber optic cables, on the other hand, are used when you need an extra long cable, but are a waste of money for most average consumers.

In addition to the inside, the sheathing or how well the cable is shielded also counts. Of course, digital transmission (as with HDMI) is not as susceptible to interference as analogue, but a sensible sheathing still reduces susceptibility to interference and prevents cable breakage.

In addition, the plug connection, i.e. the cable head, is important. If you plug and unplug the HDMI cable frequently, you should make sure that the inner contacts are gold-plated because gold offers good protection against wear and corrosion (rust). Attention: Many manufacturers color the exterior gold to give a valuable impression.

The following rule of thumb applies to copper cables: The shorter and thicker, the more data throughput is possible. Conversely, this means that particularly long copper HDMI cables have to be thicker if they are to offer the same data throughput as short HDMI cables. However, HDMI copper cables are not longer than a maximum of ten meters. This is because the copper cables over ten meters would have to be so thick that they could hardly be bent.

You don’t need to invest a lot for a reasonable HDMI cable over the short distance. As a rule, HDMI 2.1 cables cost around ten to fifteen euros, depending on the length. With the HDMI 2.1 standard, you are well prepared for the years to come.

Be sure to look out for an Ultra High Speed ​​Certification! This certification is awarded by the “Authorised Test Centre”. This is an institution of the industry consortium that is developing the HDMI standard. It tests the manufacturers’ cables and only issues the certificate if the cable in question meets certain standards. It states that the cable allows a data throughput of 48 gigabits per second. There is a QR code on the packaging of the certified cables that confirms the authenticity of the certificate.

You can’t go wrong with the CableCreation model. It offers gold-plated contacts, is ultra-high-speed certified and, according to the manufacturer, is well sealed. It is available in lengths of 1, 2 and 3 meters and costs around 15 euros.

If you want to lay a particularly long HDMI cable for your home cinema, for example, you can use hybrid cables. The highlight: A hybrid cable converts the electrical image signals into optical ones and forwards them via the glass fiber strands in the HDMI cable to then convert them back into electrical ones for the end device. This work is done by small chips in the cable heads.

The conversion enables the lossless transfer of the image data over very long distances. Other data shoots into the playback device via the copper wires in the cable, because not only images are transferred via HDMI, but also network signals, the sound or communication with the remote control. However, they are much smaller than the image data, which is why they can also cover long distances via the copper cable.

At first glance, it sounds absurd to spend a hundred euros or more on an HDMI cable. But if you are setting up a home cinema or need a very long cable for other reasons, you should not shy away from the investment. Absolutely nothing is more annoying and annoying than laying a long HDMI cable in the cable duct that stops working after a short time or is very prone to failure. In addition, copper cables are only suitable to a limited extent. As a reminder: The more data a copper cable wants to transport over long distances, the thicker it has to be.

The hybrid cable does not have this problem because it converts an electrical signal into an optical signal. It differs from the classic HDMI cable in that you can’t just mindlessly plug it into the console and TV. The two cable heads differ in source and display. Logical: The end labeled with display goes into the television or beamer. The one labeled Source or Source into the Blu-ray player or console.

A representative of this type, which combines all the advantages of the hybrid cable, is the phoossno Gen.2 HDMI cable. It is available in lengths of 10, 15 and 20 meters and the smallest version from 120 euros.

HDMI standards help consumers

There are various HDMI standards designed to help consumers find their way around. We already know the ultra-high-speed certification, but not yet the different HDMI standards. They differ in data throughput and the quality of the audio and image signals.

Depending on how much data you want to send via HDMI cable, you need more data throughput. An example: You want to connect your Playstation 5 to your new 4K 120 Hertz TV. In order to use the full refresh rate of the TV and console, you need a cable that meets the HDMI 2.1 standard. Short excursion: HDMI 2.0b transfers a maximum of 18.4 gigabits per second, HDMI 2.1 manages 38.4 gigabits per second.

In the real world, this is reflected in this way: With a resolution of 4K (UHD), HDMI 2.0b transmits a maximum of 60 frames per second to the screen, HDMI 2.1, on the other hand, creates 120 frames per second and even more than twice that with one such high resolution. If you now connect the console and the screen with an HDMI 2.0 cable, the cable slows down the console, because it manages to display games in 4K resolution with 120 frames per second on the television – but they don’t fit through the cable!

So the PlayStation 5 wants to squeeze twice as much data through the cable as the cable can forward. To be on the future-proof side, it is therefore advisable to always buy HDMI 2.1 cables with Ultra High Speed ​​certification in 2022. They are not significantly more expensive than cables that only serve the older standards.


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