Whether or not to buy an expensive HDMI Cable is one of the most contentious subjects on the internet. On pro the side of buying them are home cinema magazines and audiophile websites, which sing the praises of more expensive cables, heralding how they can do remarkable things, such as boosting flesh tones.
On the other side, you have the sceptics that say HDMI uses digital, so all cables are equal. We've always been sceptical about the benefits of more expensive cables, but the problem was always proving it in a scientific, repeatable way that removes any argument. Now, we've found the way to do that and can once and for all prove beyond a doubt if expensive cables make any difference.
The only way to answer the question of whether or not expensive cables really make a difference is to test image quality objectively. Subjective testing using a group of people is inherently flawed, as the average person will almost always pick a side when given two options to choose from – even if they are identical. HDMI cables are no exception to this rule, as we found out when we last tested HDMI cables.
There are other problems, too. Using identical TVs, Blu-ray players and discs still can’t create a level playing field, because of minor differences between the colour casts of each set. Even identical devices have the potential to affect the results of a blind test. When we compared two PlayStation 3 consoles, we noticed a distinct difference in the colour reproduction of a Blu-ray disc - independent of the TV or HDMI cable we used. Unless you colour calibrate each device first, a blind test can’t produce reliable results.
After methodically testing each cable, our comprehensive results revealed the truth. We couldn’t find a single error in any of the frames of video we captured using our tests, regardless of the cable we used. Even allowing for a single error per billion bits, none of our captured frames contained as much as a single pixel out of order by a single colour shade.
More expensive cables may have been engineered to eliminate timing jitter or reduce binary errors, but we didn't get any errors. What's clear from our tests is that we got no errors on any of the Cable HDMI, and more expensive cables did not improve image quality at all. Given our results, we'd definitely buy cheaper HDMI-certified cables.