In today’s home theater world there really is just one type of cable that’s needed for each source: an HDMI cable. For all of you details-oriented readers, HDMI simply stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. And that just means it’s the cable that transfers the audio and video from your source to your HDTV or projector.
To create your home theater, you’re only going to need one of these HDMI cable for each source. One cable will connect your blu-ray player to your receiver. A second cable will connect your cable box to your receiver. Another for any gaming systems you may have. Then, once you’ve got all of those components connected to your receiver, you’ll need one more HDMI cable to run from your receiver to your HDTV or your projector. And there you go! Power everything up, hit the play button, and you’re ready for movies. Or football. Or movies about football.
Alright, so you know what you need to make all the connections for your home theater. However, before you rush out and drop hundreds of dollars on these cables (which is entirely possible if you listen to the salesperson), let me shatter a common home theater myth.
See, conventional thought, when it comes to HDMI cables, is that you need to buy the most expensive ones you can afford. After all, the salesperson will say, this will provide the best picture and crystal clear sound. Makes sense. Yet, it’s not true. Yes, you read that correctly: you don’t need to buy the most expensive HDMI cables out there!
HDMI cables deliver digital picture and sound. That means it’s all or nothing. If you’re getting a picture and audio from your cable, then you’re getting the best picture and audio possible–no matter how expensive or cheap the cable was! If there is no picture, or if it’s breaking up, then there’s something wrong with the cable and it needs to be replaced. It’s not that you bought a cheap cable that is only capable of providing an inferior signal.
Now, of course, there are some really cheap cables out there that claim to have specific certifications that have not been tested to actually carry the signal they say it is intended for. There are companies trying to sell you junk, but there are just as many that are trying to sell you more than you need. When shopping for cables for your home theater, just keep this in mind: a reasonable price for a 6 foot HDMI cable should be around $5 – $10. You will pay more for say a 25 foot or 50 foot cable, but it shouldn’t cost $75 or more.
In the next post, we’ll dig into the different versions of HDMI cables out there and hopefully give you the information necessary to make the best choice possible!