4 reasons why HDMI cable test reports are superfluous

It's even understandable. We all love test reports. Especially in the field of electronics. So what's wrong with an HDMI cable test? Well, a lot of things. Here are 4 reasons why you shouldn't waste your time reading HDMI cable reviews.

HDMI cable test: Superfluous!

To make a long story short: In principle, any HDMI cable is equally good, as long as it combines high reliability with a fair price and is certified to current high-speed standards. With it, you can even watch 4K content without worry.

Here are our 4 reasons why HDMI cable test reports are totally superfluous:

1. every HDMI cable test shows: Picture and sound are top
HDMI is HDMI. Thanks to standardized digital TMDS technology, all HDMI cables transmit signals either completely (perfectly) or faulty (not at all, or flickering, see article image). There is no subtle loss of quality, unlike earlier analog transmission technologies.

For example, as this or this article nicely illustrate, there is virtually no difference between HDMI cables in terms of the core features of video and audio quality.

Still don't believe us? Then just test it yourself. Order a 50 Euro cable and a good, cheap cable and send back the one with the worse picture quality. Or you can believe Stiftung Warentest, whose test report also confirms this: Cheap HDMI cables deliver the same picture quality as expensive HDMI cables.

2. the performance characteristics of the HDMI cables are prescribed
HDMI cables are nowadays classified into 5 firmly defined performance categories.

Each of these categories is defined by the HDMI Consortium with fixed standards. For example, high-speed cables must always provide a transmission rate of 10.2 Gbps. This is sufficient for all current standards (including 3D) as well as future formats (e.g. 4K and UltraHD).

Conclusion: The best standard is called Highspeed - more is not possible. Cables that advertise even more performance than highspeed are a lie.

You can usually do without the network function (Ethernet). Currently, there is practically no hardware that really supports this function. However, it doesn't hurt to have it on board as a precaution.

3. single test vs. mass-produced goods: it's difficult to test rejects
HDMI cables are mass-produced goods. Millions of them are sold every year. However, tests usually only refer to one specific HDMI cable. The really interesting question "How reliable are the cables from manufacturer XYZ?" is not answered by this. For this, one would have to test a large number of cables of one batch in order to make deductions such as: "Out of 10,000 cables, x% were faulty." Of course, this is disproportionate to the test effort and is thus neglected in individual tests.

But this criterion is quite decisive. Because: With very cheap noname suppliers with cable prices under 1€ / pc. one can assume that here the quality control ex works is leaner than with cables at fair prices. Ultra-cheap cables usually have a high error rate at the end customer. This is because the end customer buys the defect risk at the same time.

So what can be done? Customer reviews on portals such as Amazon.de provide a good overview of how many buyers have already had good experiences with the cable of a particular brand. The "KabelDirekt 2m Highspeed HDMI 2.0a" cable has just under 5,000 best possible 5* ratings. So that's a good indication that quality control works here.

Tip: If in doubt, it's better to go for a cheap brand cable and orientate yourself on the following (rough!) price comparison:

Price overview HDMI cable
4. features that are not features at all
Manufacturers are very creative when it comes to equipping their products with nice "unique selling points". Consequently, you'll find cables that are ten-way shielded or have gold-plated connectors. All of this drives one thing above all else: price.

Picture and sound quality cannot be influenced by gold plugs and mega shielding (see point 1). Or to put it another way, a gold-plated HDMI connector adds about as much as a gold-plated closet . And unless you live near a steel or power plant, the cables will easily handle the standard double or triple shielding against heat and electricity.

So why spend money unnecessarily on such features? Better spend the money on a cheap HDMI cable and the matching BluRay (Attention: There are differences in quality! ;-).

Checklist HDMI cable purchase
This is what you should look for when buying HDMI cables:
HDMI cable designation = Highspeed: Formerly: 1.3, 1.4 Today: Highspeed. Highspeed HDMI cables support modern standards and deliver maximum performance (incl. 3D, 4K, etc.).
Choose optimal HDMI cable length: Not too short, not too long. Longer cables are usually more expensive, 2 - 3m are standard and comparatively cheaper.
HDMI cable length is less than 10 meters: otherwise an HDMI repeater is needed to amplify the signal
Connector type fits: HDMI type A is the standard for TVs, Blu Ray players, etc. Smartphones and tablets usually need type D (Micro-HDMI)
Optional: branded cables These cost 1-2 EUR more compared to noname cables, but are - as a rule - more reliable and better made.
All HDMI cables are the same and there are no differences. Well - almost. You should pay attention to a few things like standards, connector type and length. If you are interested in this, read our article about HDMI cable differences.

But if you're not interested in all that nonsense, and are simply looking for a solid HDMI cable with optimal picture quality for your TV, you can grab it without hesitation according to the checklist above. Without reading HDMI cable test reports. Without further guidebooks to roll. Only the length of the cable should fit reasonably.

HDMI cable test winner of the hearts
And who still needs a recommendation: Our HDMI cable test winner of hearts are these HDMI 2.0a certified cables. These high-speed HDMI cables support all modern standards, have proven themselves hundreds of thousands of times thanks to their solid workmanship, and score points for their excellent price-performance ratio.

So instead of reading HDMI cable tests, invest your time more wisely. For example, in a good book, an exciting bluray or a strawberry ice cream with cream.

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