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Failing HDMI Cables

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Deekay, Dec 7, 2019.

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  1. Deekay

    Deekay Auditioning

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    I've just had 2 HDMI cables fail within 30 days of one another. They have little in common, so it seems odd.

    #1: Brand name (Forest), connecting Blu-ray player to TV, 9 year-old cable, never moved, jostled, etc.

    #2: Cheapo (AmazonBasics), connecting Apple TV 4K to TV, failed after only 4 months

    Both times replaced the failed cable with a Rocketfish cable, all is fine so far

    Perspectives:

    - Legions of tech writers continue to advise against spending $$ on "better" cables, but experience with the AmazonBasics cable is making me wonder about that

    - Spent 30 years in the military, moved (and stored) stereo components many times and never had any connecting cables, speaker wires, etc fail (Note: none of these were HDMI cables)

    So looking for your perspectives on all that.

    Why do HDMI cables (old and new, cheap and more expensive) fail when not bothered by movement, plugging/unplugging, etc?

    Is "spending more on 'better' cables is an unnecessary waste of $$" a false narrative?

    The only thing these two failed cables had in common is that they are connected to the TV. Is it just a coincidence that they happened to fail within 30 days of one another, or is it even possible that the TV itself is causing this?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
     
  2. xx Brian xx

    xx Brian xx Stunt Coordinator

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    I have heard the difference more than seen the difference with really good HDMI cables. I did a test at home with an AudioQuest Coffee HDMI vs a standard HDMI cable and my wife and I could definitely tell the difference with audio but not on the video.
    The Coffee cable brought out more of the highs. My wife did not know what cable was plugged in when she graded them or if I even changed them around. We did the test several times and had the same results.

    Many people will say it doesn't matter because it is a digital signal and it's all zero's and one's. This is true to a degree but the higher end cables will do better at filtering outside interference. All cables add distortion and noise, the better cables just add less. The reduction in interference allowed the better cable to sound better and cleaner.

    Now if you ask me if it's worth spending $500 on a 2' cable to get a slightly brighter sound I would say "no". Stick to mid level HDMI cables and you will be happy. I did extremes but I bet many mid level HDMI cables would sound just as good. Plus, visually both cables looked the same with a 4K Dolby Vision picture on an OLED TV. I wanted to see a difference but couldn't find anything.

    HDMI cables typically go bad when they get a power surge. Normally this surge will come from the cable / satellite box. It's strange the Apple TV HDMI failed. Are the cables routed over a power strip or anything that could be causing the issue?
    A surge can come from the TV but in most cases you will have a bad main board or power supply before the cable fails.

    Brian
     
  3. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    When you say “failed” can you describe what exactly is happening? Does the signal just go out completely and never return, or something else?

    Were both cables plugged into the same television?

    What was the length of the cables that failed?

    These might seem like random questions but they’ll help rule out a couple things.
     
  4. RobertR

    RobertR Executive Producer

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    Your wife may not have known which cable it was, but you did. That makes it a non double blind comparison, which still allows the introduction of bias, so there's no objective basis for preferring the sound of one cable over the other.
     
  5. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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    I avoid Amazon Basic HDMI cables that exceed 6 feet. I have found that lengths longer than 6 feet of that brand's HDMI cables begin to exhibit handshake issues. GE branded HDMI are the worst, with their connectors bending and fraying way too easily.
     
  6. Deekay

    Deekay Auditioning

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    Thanks for your response.
    Cables go from Blu-ray player and Apple TV respectively directly. Entire system rides on power strip with surge protection. Also have a "whole house surge protector" in my breaker box.
     
  7. Deekay

    Deekay Auditioning

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    Thanks for your response.
    - Failed: black screen, dead -- as if unit had no power
    - Yes, both connected to same TV
    - Lengths were 6-feet and 4-foot
     
  8. shoeshineboy

    shoeshineboy Second Unit

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    I've got to buy a 25' cable, and the variety of costs that i can see range from $120 CDN (rocketfish) to $40 (toptrend).... this is for a sony projector. Any advice?
     
  9. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I would recommend Monoprice HDMI cables. They are inexpensive and have a lifetime warranty. So, if a cable does fail, they will replace it for free.

    I received one candle from them which didn't work properly. Monoprice replaced it with no questions asked, and I didn't even have to return the defective cable. It went into the trash.
     
  10. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    Agreed. You can get Monoprice cables in Canada through a Canadian seller. 25' is kind of pushing it for hdmi, so I'd probably suggest an active cable. The premium Monoprice active 18Gb cable I found was about $84 Canadian.
     

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