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Tips on Choosing HDMI Cables

by C.D. Crowder

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Close up of an HDMI cable

Home entertainment technology has now moved into the digital age, and high-quality connector cables have been developed to keep up with modern TVs, stereos and home theaters. HDMI (High Definition Media Interface) cables offer a single-cable solution for both audio and video on high-definition devices. Most HDTVs offer at least one HDMI input. Devices such as DVD players, Blu-ray players, computers and game consoles have HDMI outputs. HDMI cables make connecting electronic devices much easier by combining audio and video transmission into one cable. Choosing an HDMI cable from the wide variety available is simple if you consider a few simple tips.

Choosing HDMI Cables:

  1. Check your equipment requirements. To determine which type of HDMI cable will best suit your needs, check your HDTV manual and the device you're outputting from. If the two devices differ, choose the earliest HDMI version. For example, if your game console supports HDMI 1.2, but your HDTV supports HDMI 1.1, purchase an HDMI 1.1 cable. You can avoid confusion by choosing a cable that is HDMI version 1.3 or higher. HDMI 1.3 and later versions are made to be backwards-compatible, meaning HDMI 1.3 will work on devices stating they support HDMI 1.0, HDMI 1.1, HDMI 1.2 and HDMI 1.3.

  2. Decide which specifications matter for what you do with your devices. If your device will support any type of HDMI cable, choose an A/V cable cable based on the type of output you want to have. Unless specifically required by your device's manual or unless you plan on upgrading your device, you probably won't need these upgraded features.



    • HDMI 1.3 offers "Deep Color" technology, which provides a richer, deeper video output. "Deep Color" resulted in the clarification of the sRGB range. If you want rich, deep blacks and bright colors for your movies, sports and video games, then this feature might be important in your HDMI connector cables between your TV and video sources.

    • HDMI 1.3 supports high-resolution audio such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio without first needing to convert to PCM format.

    • HDMI 1.4 increases the resolution possible between devices. All HDMI types provide a sharp, clear image.

  3. Choose the right HDMI cable length. Measure the distance between your devices. Signal strength deteriorates as the length of the cable increases, affecting the quality of your high-definition video and audio. The longer the cable, the more likely you are to encounter glitches such as audio and video not being in sync, static and spotty audio. You can use cables up to 50 feet long without seeing a significant effect in your signal. As a good rule of thumb, place devices within 10 to 15 feet of each other and you should have no problem with your HDMI cables transmission quality.

  4. Organize your cables. If you run out of HDMI ports on your TV or home theater receiver, consider purchasing an HDMI switcher. You can connect multiple devices to the switcher, which then connects to your TV or receiver.

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