HDMI connections for Blu Ray - Misleading information in What HiFi ?

Status
Not open for further replies.

jam_man

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2010
19
3
18,525
Hi all,

Ive been a hi-fi seperates enthusiast for many years and used to purchasing good quality cabling for my hifi and after recently bought my first blu ray player was about to spend money on a decent HDMI cable.

Imagine my suprise when informed in a store after I commmented on the high price that to be honest you might as well get a £5 cable from HMV as build quality aside theres no difference in image quality as they are digital cables. I went home and did some research and this seems to be true and that its impossible for there to be a difference in the image delivered over any cable.

However I today bought the March edition of the magazine as Im going to upgrade my TV, yet the guide in their reviews 50 cables giving them all different ratings and commenting on image quality?!

How comes the magazine is saying theres a difference in image quality when all research Ive done on the web says its impossible for the cable to affect picture quality becuase all its doing is deliverying 0's and 1's.

Whats peoples take on this as Im loathe to put any credibility in a magazine thats telling readers to spend £100 on cables when a £5 cable will do.

I appreciate bulid quality is better bit is it really worth spending 1000% more just for better build quality.
 

Pistol Pete1

New member
Jan 27, 2008
248
0
0
I suggest you buy the £5 cable, then find a friendly AV shop and demo a tv (as you are interested in buying one, anyway) using your £5 HDMI cable, and then asking to use one of their more expensive cables.....

Let us know if you see a difference......
 

jam_man

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2010
19
3
18,525
How can there be a difference?

Both cables are delivering digital data , they either work or they dont. ?

I know people will say they can see a difference, but there is no physical reason for there being one unlike with analogue cables?

Why would a set of 0's and 1's down one cable give different colours than down a different cable when the data is exactly the same?
 

jam_man

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2010
19
3
18,525
Thats not an answer.

When Ive researched elsewhere the underlying feedback is theres no possible way it can be different, yet theres always one or two, generally those that have spent a fortune on HDMI cables that say they can see the difference.

Perceiving a difference is somewhat different to there actually being any.

Its like saying one PC harddisk will give you better data than a cheaper one, it cant, data is data. It may well last longer and be made better, but the data can not change.

If anyone can explain why there could possibly be any difference between two cables Id love to hear it.
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
567
0
18,890
jam_man:Imagine my suprise when informed in a store after I commmented on the high price that to be honest you might as well get a £5 cable from HMV as build quality aside theres no difference in image quality as they are digital cables. I went home and did some research and this seems to be true and that its impossible for there to be a difference in the image delivered over any cable.Research can be a dangerous thing on the net


Maybe the sales guy can't see any difference himself, so doesn't have the confidence in recommending anything better than a £5 cable. Or maybe he just can't be bothered to spend any more time with anyone than is really necessary.

How comes the magazine is saying theres a difference in image quality when all research Ive done on the web says its impossible for the cable to affect picture quality becuase all its doing is deliverying 0's and 1's.

Man people said, and still say, that there is no difference in optical and coaxial digital interconnects because all they do is pass on 0's and 1's. But to many who have tried it for themselves, know this to be incorrect.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Makes you wonder dont it? I paid £260.00 FOR 4 hdmi CABLES, and i apparently got discount! and the guy that fitted them said i had bought the "best" Which, lets be honest we all strive for.Whats the point in paying over £2000.00 for mid range system and buying rubbish cable be it HDMI or SPEAKER, that said what you have researched is possibly true, I jst didn't want to take that chance, a trap we ALL fall in to eh?
 

professorhat

Well-known member
Dec 28, 2007
992
22
18,895
I suggest you widen your research. 0s and 1s are not transmitted down digital cables (so if this was the argument, the source of your research is seriously flawed) and the way data is stored on a hard drive is completely different to the way digital information is transferred.

Have a search on HDMI cables on this forum and you'll find enough posts arguing for and against to keep you busy for weeks (as well as some good arguments as to why there can be a difference in digital cables). However, as Pete said, the quickest and easiest way to solve the issue is just to try it for yourself rather than taking anyone's word for it.

However, if you do wish to read more, try here and here as a good starting point.
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
1,175
1
0
jam_man:Why would a set of 0's and 1's down one cable give different colours than down a different cable when the data is exactly the same?

Ask yourself a couple of questions. How big are these 1s and 0s? How do they fit down the cable? Sounds like a stupid question and it is but there's a serious point underneath it. It's NOT 1s and 0s, indeed just saying "it's all 1s and 0s" is a nonsense in itself, it's meaningless (what are 1 and 0 anyway? They're mathematical concepts, how do you send that down a cable?). You seem to think all the answers are to be found on the internet, so do a bit more searching, find out how those "1s and 0s" are actually represented within the cable and remember, there's no such thing as a digital signal. Everything that passes down the cable is an analogue waveform. It may have digital information encoded within the waveform but it's still an analogue waveform. In the case of an HDMI cable it's an extremely high-frequency, wide bandwidth analogue waveform, so the cable is crucial.

I'm not going to tell you where to find this info, I think you can find it yourself but it's not as simple as you seem to think it is.

I've never gone out and bought an HDMI cable, I have three, the cheap cable supplied by Sky, the Chord Active I got for subscribing to WHF and a 1m Pure HDMI cable of unknown provenence that I inherited from some friends after they moved their gear around and needed a 3m cable instead. I swapped the cheap Sky cable that was connected between my SkyHD box and the TV for the Pure cable, I don't know how much this cable would have cost but I'd guess in the region of £30, it's the type you get from PC World and they always seem expensive for what they are. I'd been using the free cable from Sky for a while, prefectly happy with the picture, but I thought I'd try the Pure cable to see if there was any difference.

At this point I expect you're waiting for me to say "WOW what an improvement!" Well I'm not, the main thing I noticed (and I spotted it instantly, it's pretty obvious up close) was a strange layer of grain (I can't think of any other word for it) that appeared in front of the image; it's not hugely noticable, I don't think my other half has spotted it but it's more noticable on some images than others (and more noticable on SD channels than HD ones, for what it's worth). Now I don't know where this has come from, whether it was always there and the free cable was masking it or whether it's an artifact of the Pure cable (it's not film grain that you might see on Blu-Rays, it's on all programs, even stuff recorded on video camera) and I really couldn't tell you which I prefer (I've swapped the cables back to make sure it's not my imagination), so I can't say the Pure cable is giving a better picture but I can say that it IS different.

As yet I haven't tried the Chord Active cable on the Sky box, so I don't know what I'd see there, it's doing duty with the BD player (and I've only used that player with that cable as well, I didn't buy the player until the cable arrived) and frankly I'm not interested enough to bother unplugging everything to try it, all I will say is that I have seen a difference between two HDMI cables, it was instant and it was pretty obvious, although in this instance it's not enough of a concern to make me go out and buy a more expensive cable to try out with the Sky box.
 

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
2,031
15
19,695
jam_man:all research I've done on the web says its impossible for the cable to affect picture quality

Then your research is flawed. I'm not saying that it's not correct, but if all you've found on the internet is the opinion that they don't make a difference, you probably need to go further than the first three results in Google.

EDIT - professorhat already said much the same thing, soz.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
FrankHarveyHiFi:But to many who have tried it for themselves, know this to be incorrect.

There's a lot more people who have seen elves and fairies. An unlike differences in cables, it's impossible to get scientific proofs that elves and fairies do not exist.
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
1,175
1
0
Fahnsen:FrankHarveyHiFi:But to many who have tried it for themselves, know this to be incorrect.
There's a lot more people who have seen elves and fairies.

Now there's a statement that demands some evidence...

An unlike differences in cables, it's impossible to get scientific proofs that elves and fairies do not exist.

It's impossible to prove a negative full stop.
 

AlmaataKZ

New member
Jan 7, 2009
295
1
0
for me a digital cable should be good enough for the device on the other end to see, from the received analog waveform, if what being transmited is a 1 or a 0. it does not matter how well or poor the device sees the 1 or 0, as long as it can tell the difference it should work 100% (assuming any errors are within the error-resilience of the code). if the cable is rated (designed and made) as "HDMI" or "CAT5" and has no defects it should generally do it no problem. the standrads and the laws should allow consumer to trust that a cable that is sold as "xyz" does indeed comply with the requirements of the "xyz" standard.

in practice, I would buy a reasonably (lowish) priced cable from a reputable make and this should do the trick.
 

Gerrardasnails

Well-known member
Sep 6, 2007
295
1
18,890
jam_man:
Hi all,

Ive been a hi-fi seperates enthusiast for many years and used to purchasing good quality cabling for my hifi and after recently bought my first blu ray player was about to spend money on a decent HDMI cable.

Imagine my suprise when informed in a store after I commmented on the high price that to be honest you might as well get a £5 cable from HMV as build quality aside theres no difference in image quality as they are digital cables. I went home and did some research and this seems to be true and that its impossible for there to be a difference in the image delivered over any cable.

However I today bought the March edition of the magazine as Im going to upgrade my TV, yet the guide in their reviews 50 cables giving them all different ratings and commenting on image quality?!

How comes the magazine is saying theres a difference in image quality when all research Ive done on the web says its impossible for the cable to affect picture quality becuase all its doing is deliverying 0's and 1's.

Whats peoples take on this as Im loathe to put any credibility in a magazine thats telling readers to spend £100 on cables when a £5 cable will do.

I appreciate bulid quality is better bit is it really worth spending 1000% more just for better build quality.

HiFi enthusiast for many years but within your first 5 posts, you try to dig up the old digital cable no difference argument.

You sound like someone who just likes to start a really long boring thread!

I've said this before but if it's just 1s and 0s, how come some hdmi cables can offer 1080p and some can't, the latest ones can offer the highest colour level and the ones before can't. Lip sync, etc???
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Almost a year ago a specialized magazine (I think it was what hifi) did a test involving many HDMI cables connected to the same set of TVs and PS3 consoles, and the final result was that none of the players noticed any difference in picture quality, even worst it seems that most of the players preferred what turned to be the cheapest cable among all.

No doubt Heavy Marketing is very common in the Hi -Fi industry, and manufacturers will always look to produce "theoretically" better products however in real life, the end consumer won't be able to see or hear the difference, but paying a high price will make some people feel safer for others it's a matter of prestige like buying an expensive watch.

This is true not only for HDMI Cables, if you browse online you can find a very interesting article by Roger Russell (ex Director of Acoustic Research at McIntosh ) about SPEAKER WIRES, in his study Mr Russell concluded that as long as the copper cable is heavy enough it will sound as good as an branded & expensive cable, the tiny difference in sound quality cannot be detected by human ears....

Same thing for main Cables

Once I read the review of an amplifier, and the reviewer went on saying that he had to change the main cable delivered by the manufacturer before he started enjoying the awesome sound coming from the amp. The main cable used in the review costs 500£ the amplifier costs 1500£...

I contacted the manufacturer who confirmed to me that the standard cable was used in the listening sessions at the factory (more than 300 hours) however they told me if I insist on changing the cable to buy a reasonably priced cable that has shielding that might help cut the interference with low frequencies and that was about it.....

Conclusion: Hi-Fi is an industry like all other industries with offer & demand and it will be up to the consumer to do his homework before spending his money.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Le Robert:
Almost a year ago a specialized magazine (I think it was what hifi) did a test involving many HDMI cables connected to the same set of TVs and PS3 consoles, and the final result was that none of the players noticed any difference in picture quality, even worst it seems that most of the players preferred what turned to be the cheapest cable among all.

Nope, wasn't us.
 

chudleighpaul

New member
Jan 7, 2010
129
0
0
IMHO if someone pays £100 for a cable then they couldn't bring themselves to admit that they cannot detect any difference in picture quality.

I pay about £25 for my HDMI cables and they give terrific results. I have my analogue audio cables custom made by a local supplier, they are heavy duty double screened with gold phono plugs to ensure good connections. More importantly they are the exact length required which reduces electrical resistance and looks a lot neater behind my system.
 

jam_man

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2010
19
3
18,525
Just got back from my mates house and took a hdmi lead I got off of amazon that cost £4.99 and swapped it with the hdmi cable that he paid £40 when he bought his TV.

Neither of us could notice any difference whatsoever.

Despite some of the arguments behind expensive HDMI I still think its a huge case of emperors new clothes.

If people want to spend £100 on a cable then thats their perogative but until someone can actually demonstrate a real difference Id rather invest the money elsewhere...
 

kinda

New member
May 21, 2008
74
0
0
The thing is digital transmission gives us a much better opportunity to extract the original information from the signal, because the wave represents a series of 0s and 1s, and it's difficult for a 1 to end up looking like a 0 or vice versa, even if distorted a fair bit.

However, in order to extract the exact same data, then an amount of processing is required, basically to reconstitute the original data from that transmitted. In a computer this happens as data is recreated in memory via software, but in some hi fi applications it's easy to imagine the waveform is just hitting electronic circuits, and immediately transformed and output, and the distortion in the waveform may affect the processing and quality of output.

Don't really know how HDMI works, and don't use them, so can't comment, but have definitely heard marked differences using different types of electrical digital cables, and optical cables, with the same equipment.

Analogue I know, but I use 14 gauge oxygen free copper for speaker cable, and I don't find the sound inferior to when I demod the speaker and amp. I don't doubt other materials and shielding could improve it a bit, but maybe the gains diminish beyond the basics of having the correct impedance and lack of oxygen for the electrons to collide with.
 

jam_man

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2010
19
3
18,525
chudleighpaul:
IMHO if someone pays £100 for a cable then they couldn't bring themselves to admit that they cannot detect any difference in picture quality.

Well Im no expert as can be seen but I think that plays a part, but also the fact people want there to be an improvement.

All of the feedback pro- expensive HDMI cables looks to me to be very subjective and theoretical, even after reading the suggested threads higher up I still dont see any reason to spend huge amounts on HDMI cables and as long as they are reasonable build thats good enough for me.

Id be very interested to see someone who reviews these cables and sees such massive differences to be able to award one star or 5 stars and see how they did over a blind test, say putting 2 5 star leads in a test of 100 1 star cables and see if they can pick them out by sight.

My guess is no one would manage to...
 

Andrew Everard

New member
May 30, 2007
1,878
1
0
jam_man:Id be very interested to see someone who reviews these cables and sees such massive differences to be able to award one star or 5 stars and see how they did over a blind test, say putting 2 5 star leads in a test of 100 1 star cables and see if they can pick them out by sight.
My guess is no one would manage to...

We actually did a blind testing session with some forum members as part of a recent The Big Question article. They saw (and heard) differences, as you can read here.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts