5 Types of HDMI Cables – Which One Do I Choose?

Find the Proper HDMI Cable Type

Purchasing an HDMI cable can be confusing because there are so many on the market, so it’s important to understand exactly what type of cable you need as well as the specific cable requirements of the equipment you own and wish to connect. HDMI ConnectorsTechnology continues to produce smarter TVs, so that cable requirements, features and characteristics change too.

High Speed HDMI Cables

An HDMI cable is meant to connect HDMI compatible devices to each other such as home theater devices including HDTV receivers, a/v receivers and HD DVD players for example. Audio and visual data is transferred within the one cable at resolutions of up to 1080p. This is the most basic of available cable types and currently one of the most common.

High speed HDMI with Ethernet Cables

The speed transfer is higher with these cables because of the Ethernet capability which will allow you to share web browsing across multiple devices. Resolution can be up to 4 times faster than those required for 1080p, refresh rates are faster, gaming is faster and it will also support Deep Color. These cables are great for gamers.

HDMI Cables for In-Wall Installations

There are times when you will need to run a cable through a wall and to maintain audio and visual quality should be UL certified. These cables are usually very high speed as well so that picture and sound quality are not compromised. They can sometimes come with an Ethernet capability as well and provide locational installation flexibility.

3D Compatible HDMI Cables

This cable is a good example of where TV technology has surged ahead and cables have had to catch up. If you have a 3DTV you will need a 3D compatible cable and they fall under the newest 1.4 standard. These cables are high speed and Ethernet enabled as well as being forward compatible with likely imminent technological advances.

Micro HDMI Cables

A micro HDMI cable is a purpose specific cable and is designed to allow you to show videos and photos which you have taken with your phone, on another HDTV HDMI compatible device. One end of the cable will have a regular HDMI connector and the other will be ‘micro’ sized so as to connect to your phone.

You should purchase the HDMI cable which is going to be compatible with the equipment you own in order to achieve the best results. This is the key to deciding which cable to purchase, so if you have a 3D TV you will need an HDMI cable which is 3D compatible and because it falls under the new 1.4 standard, will also be forwards compatible – for awhile at least.

Click here to read the latest HDMI Cable Reviews

What is an HDMI Cable?

What is an HDMI Cable Used For?

‘What is an HDMI cable’ might at first glance seem like an overly simplistic question but if you do a little research, it soon becomes obvious that that the innocuous HDMI cable has a lot of complex technology behind it. At its most basic, an HDMI cable is the cable that is used to connect a high definition video output such as a DVR to a high definition input device such as a television. The reason one would want to do this is to obtain the best possible picture and sound. A traditional coaxial cable will do the job of course but using an HDMI cable is much better. Generic HDMI Cable

What Does HDMI mean?

High Definition Multimedia Interface describes it exactly. It is an interface between a digital display device (TV, computer monitor, projector) and audio/video devices such as cable and satellite set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, audio video receivers and DVD players. HDMI will support a variety of video standards including standard, enhanced and high definition as well as digital audio (multi-channel). This means it will transmit and support ATSC HDTV standards as well as 192kHz, 8-channel and Dolby Digital and DTS. HDMI 1.3 cables also support Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio while allowing room for future developments.

Brief History of HDMI

HDMI technology was first available in late 2002 by way of HDMI version 1. Since then, several upgraded specifications have been released, being HDMI 1.1, 1.2, 1.2a, 1.3, 1.3a, 1.3b, 1.3b1, 1.3c, 1.4 and the most recent – HDMI 2.0 which was released in September 2013. The good thing is that these versions are backward compatible with previous versions.


HDMI 1.3 brought many significant improvements to HDMI technology such as high speed, Deep Color, mini connections to camcorders, lip sync, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio™. HDMI 1.4 saw the introduction of HDMI Ethernet, Audio Return Channel (surround sound), 3D video formats, 4K support equivalent to commercial movie quality, Content Type, Additional Color Spaces to accommodate advanced computer graphics, an HDMI Micro Connector and Automotive Connection System to accommodate developments unique to the automotive industry.

HDMI 2.0

With the significant developments of HDMI 1.3 and 1.4, consumers could be forgiven for wondering how it could be possible to take on even more enhancements but this is exactly what has been delivered. The backward compatible functionality becomes ever more important too. The main feature of HDMI 2.0 is in the area of bandwidth in that it has been increased all the way up to 18Gbps as a response to consumer demand for increased audio and video experiences. You can expect 4K@50/60, (2160p), up to 1536kHz audio frequency, wide angle theatrical support, 32 audio channels, dual video streams and multi-stream audio. These last two features are set to create an unparalleled gaming environment.

Cable Lengths

HDMI only specifies the performance requirements of a cable, not the length of the cable so manufacturers of HDMI cables are able to provide cables in a range of lengths designed to suit the many and varied needs of consumers. These can range from as little as 3 feet through to 75 feet or more. This allows users to customize their home theater and gaming requirements to suit a variety of set up options. It is to be expected that technological developments will bring about changes in cable lengths.

Benefits of HDMI Cables

HDMI cable reviews will provide insight as to the various benefits of the many different HDMI cables currently available in the marketplace but the main benefit consumers can expect to find is in relation to audio and visual quality. With the technology that is currently being deployed in output devices such as HDTVs, a traditional coaxial cable can seem a little outdated when compared to the digital audio and visual experience that can be achieved by using an HDMI cable. They are convenient too, with only one cable being required rather than a myriad of cables cluttering the back area of your TV.

In answer to the original question of ‘what is an HDMI cable?’ we can add in something else now that we know a little bit more about them. If you are a gamer or rely heavily on home theater equipment for the majority of you in-house entertainment, you can see that an HDMI cable is something that can make the difference between an ‘OK coaxial experience’ or a digital audio and video extravaganza. Check out some HDMI reviews and find an HDMI cable that will suit you best.

Which HDMI Cable Should I Buy?

Are all HDMI Cables the Same?

This is a question that manufacturers of expensive HDMI cables don’t want you to ask. Not because they don’t know the answer, but rather, because you might decide not to buy their cable. There is a tremendous amount of hype around HDMI cables so much in fact, that the nuts and bolts of what it actually does becomes lost in the Shoppingsales pitch. Because most of us don’t really understand the process of audio and visual signal transmission, it’s easy to create very technically sounding explanations that look impressive on paper. Suddenly, an excellent HDMI cable is on the market and if we want our HD devices to work properly, we must have it.

Why all HDMI cables are the same” will take you to a good explanation about how HDMI cables work and why regardless of cost, they all do the same job. The expensive cables do not work any better than the less expensive HDMI cables when it comes to relaying data. The author of the article, Geoffrey Morrison outlines precisely why this is so, in language which is easy to understand. It’s worth a read if you are interested in saving money, as well as making an informed buying decision.

There’s Big Money in Cables

Never have truer words been spoken. It’s a bit like Amazon losing money on selling Kindle Readers because they know they will recoup the loss and then some, by selling the content for the Kindle. Like shaving razors which are no use without razor blades, so too are HDMI devices without cables. With more and more HDMI devices coming to the marketplace, the demand for cables is only growing. So many reputable and disreputable companies market the advantages of their cables, perhaps without really understanding that the workings of an HDMI cable are the same. It will relay audio and visual data – or it won’t.

Geoffrey Morrison says, “In order for one HDMI cable to have “better picture quality” than another, it would imply that the final result between the source and display could somehow be different. It’s not possible. It’s either everything that was sent, or full of very visible errors (sparkles). The image cannot have more noise, or less resolution, worse color, or any other picture quality difference. The pixels can’t change. They can either be there or not.”


When audio is transmitted over a HDMI cable, there is more error correction occurring than in the video signal. However, error correction is built into Dolby’s codecs. The data going to the DAC of your receiver is the same as what’s on the disc,  bit-for-bit. Expensive or cheap, the cable has no relevance when it comes to the signal transmission of DTS or Dolby.  Cable manufacturers often claim their cables are “Made for 240 Hz” however, this is not true. The conversion to 120 or 240 Hz is done inside the TV and the cable has nothing to do with that. (Information courtesy of Geoffrey Morrison).


The only real criterion to apply when choosing an HDMI cable is if it will actually work. Cheap or expensive, gold plated or not. You can of course apply your own aesthetic preferences to a particular cable, but that won’t affect its ability to do the job. Are all HDMI cables the same? The following links will take you on a journey of discovery into the world of HDMI cables and how they work, which might also help you to choose the right HDMI cable for your needs.


HDMI 2.0 – Everything You Wanted to Know

HDMI technology has been with us since December 2002 when HDMI 1.0 came into being. After many enhancements to the specification, HDMI 2.0 was finally released in September 2013 and its introduction marks a significant change in HDMI technology. The good news is that HDMI 2.0 is backwards compatible with HDMI 1.x specifications, however it should be noted that the HDMI 2.0 specification is now regarded as the standard and if you need new cables, you might want to opt for HDMI 2.0, particularly if you own the latest models of a variety of hardware such as TV, PC, DVD and BluRay players.

What is HDMI 2.0?

It is technology that is used to link up hardware such as an HDTV, BluRay player or computer for example, to a digital content source, by way of a cable – an HDMI cable. It provides the user with the means to enjoy high quality digital audio and video. As previously mentioned, HDMI 1.0 was the first specification that was released, followed over the next eleven years by a series of upgrades, namely HDMI 1.1, 1.2, 1.2a, 1.3, 1.3a, 1.3b, 1.3b1, 1.3c, 1.4, 1.4a, 1.4a and finally in late 2013, HDMI 2.0. It takes HDMI 1 technology to a new level, essentially in terms of the amount of bandwidth it can support, as well as providing for present and future developments that will be undertaken by manufacturers of consumer hardware (HDTVs etc).HDMI2.0

The HDMI 2.0 Specification

Release Date
HDMI 2.0 was released into the marketplace in early September, 2013 and considering it was eleven years since the advent of HDMI 1.0, the HDMI 2.0 specification can be expected to be the industry standard for some time to come.

Transmission Minimized Differential Signaling
This is the technology that is used to ensure that high speed data is transmitted at high speed and in large volumes. It is now part of HDMI 2.0 so that the consumer audio and visual experience is of the highest quality possible. It features a specific coding algorithm that acts to reduce interference from copper cables and long cables. It also ensures that cheap cables also provide quality audio and video transmission of data. The increased TMDS is 2.4 Gbits per second, up to 6 Gbits from 3.4 Gbits per second on each channel. The total TMDS supported across all channels is 18 Gbits per second

  • Resolution = HDMI 2.0 is able to support up to 4K resolution at a maximum of 60 frames per second. This equates to 2160p and provides improved clarity by up to four times the hitherto standard 1080p resolution for video.
  • Audio Channels – Up to 32 are supported, resulting in what has been described as an immersive audio experience.
  • Audio Standards – HR-AAC and DRA are supported
  • kHz Audio – The range has been extended to support a maximum of 1536 kHz
  • Audio Streams – HDMI 2.0 has a multiple user audio feature whereby up to four users can simultaneously stream their own audio.
  • Video Streams – Two video streams are supported for simultaneous viewing by separate users who are sharing the same screen. This is an excellent feature however a large screen is advised so that both viewers are able to experience a reasonable sized picture.
  • Video Aspect Ratio – This comes in at a ratio of 21:9 so that the user is able to experience a wide angle, theatre type view.
  • Audio and Video Synchronisation – Audio and video streams are able to be synchronised and lip syncing is also supported
  • CEC Extensions – These enable the user to control all electronic hardware from one point of control, making operation and management of devices easy and convenient.
  • Colour Space – Rec 2020 is supported
  • Chroma Subsampling is supported
  • 3D – capability is improved with support for 25 frames per second included

These are the features that make up the HDMI 2.0 specification and it is worth noting that if you already have category 2 cables, they are high speed enabled and will carry the increased bandwidth of HDMI 2.0. That is not to say that that you will never need to purchase new cables though if you want to enjoy all the benefits of the HDMI 2.0 specification.


HDMI 2.0 is here to stay and all major manufacturers of electronic hardware as well as major movie producing studios use HDMI technology. Increasingly, the technology is geared to support ever greater bandwidth as well as higher quality audio and video so it makes sense to replace cables when necessary with those that support the HDMI 2.0 specification. While category 2 cables can handle the additional bandwidth, at some point most users will want to take full advantage of the latest industry standard in HDMI technology.

If you would like to find out more, please check out the references below for detailed information about the development of HDMI technology.



HDMI Cable Comparisons

I would recommend purchasing an HDMI Cable from one of the brands listed below in the table.  These receive a good number of positive reviews and support the latest audio and video features.

The interactive chart of Cables below and the reviews on our site will help you decide what the best HDMI cable is for you.

BrandBandwidthVideo ResolutionWire GaugeFeaturesWarrantyPriceReview
Bluerigger High Speed w/Ethernet

Bluerigger HDMI Cable
10.2GPS4k,1440p,1080p30AWG3D, Ethernet, Audio Return1 Year$4.7
Mediabridge Ultra Series

Mediabridge Ultra Series HDMI Cable
10.2GPS1440P, 1080P28AWG3D, Ethernet, Audio ReturnLifetime$4.7
Aurum Ultra Series

Aurum Ultra Series
10.2GPS4k, 1440p, 1080p28AWG3D, Ethernet, Audio ReturnN/A$4.5
Fosmon High Speed Cable

Fosmon High Speed HDMI Cable
10.2GPS4k,1440p, 1080p30AWG3D, Ethernet, Audio ReturnN/A$4.7
Pluglug HD-900 Series

Pluglug HD-900 HDMI Cable
10.2GPS4k,1440p, 1080p26AWG3D, Ethernet, Audio ReturnLifetime$$5.0
Rocketfish HDMI Cable

Rocketfish HDMI Cable
10.2GPS4k,1440p, 1080pN/A3D, Ethernet, Audio ReturnN/A
30 Days tech support
Monster Cable THX 1000 HDX-8

Monster THX1000 HDMI Cable
15.7GPS4k,1440p, 1080pN/A3D, Ethernet, Audio ReturnLifetime$$$$4.2

Included in the table are 8 columns:

  • Brand name/model – (click to view more details or to purchase)
  • Cable Bandwidth (10.2GPS and greater are more than you’ll ever need)
  • Video Resolution – All cables are backward compatible with older resolutions down to 480i
  • Wire Gauge – lower number is thicker wire
  • Features – Main features of the cable
  • Warranty – N/A means we weren’t able to locate the warranty specifics, most, but not all cables come with at least a year warranty, but check with the manufacturer if it is a concern.
  • Price – These are approximate prices on Amazon.com.  These change frequently based on availability, special promotions, and more.  But generally speaking: $ = under $10, $$ = $10 to $20, $$$ = $20 to $30, $$$$ = $30-40, $$$$$ = $40+
  • Rating – Our average rating (1 to 5 stars).  This can be very helpful to decide which cable to purchase.

*Click on any of the columns to sort the data to help make your decision easier

Choosing the Best HDMI Cable

The Best HDMI Cable for your Home Theater

Buying HDMI cables is not rocket science, in reality it is rather a simple task to find the best HDMI cable for your home theater.  There are a few simple things you need to know, most importantly – price usually has no bearing on how well the cable will function. Still, there is a significant range of prices for HDMI cables. You will find both extremely economical cables for less than $1.00 and super costly cables for $50, $100 or even more.cable matters ultimate series coiled

You may be thinking there must be a large distinction in the quality of video and audio that is produced by the cables. But this assumption is wrong.  Because HDMI cables pass digital signals, per definition each and every HDMI cable will provide either an ideal signal or no signal at all. It will either work or it won’t.

Don’t buy the least expensive HDMI cable

If all HDMI cables are equal – should you go out and buy the least expensive HDMI cable? No. Do not purchase the super cheap cables, because:

  • The build quality of cheap HDMI Cables is substandard; the connectors, twists in cables, electromagnetic interference protection, wiring, etc. are of the lowest quality.
  • Poor quality control by the cable manufacturer; too commonly inexpensive cables do not work at all.
  • Higher possibility of not meeting the standards set by the HDMI organization and not being an official HDMI adopter.

Forget about looking for a particular HDMI version, choose a HDMI High Speed cable

For some reason people still think that HDMI versions such as HDMI 1.3 and HDMI 1.4a, etc. are appropriate criteria for purchasing HDMI cables. In fact, the HDMI versions really only apply to the manufacturers of the cables.  Consumers want to look for the following criteria when selecting cables:

  • HDMI Standard – 1080i and 720p
  • HDMI Standard with Ethernet – 1080i and 720p plus Ethernet
  • HDMI High Speed – 1080p, 3D and 4k
  • HDMI High Speed with Ethernet – 1080p, 3D, 4K plus Ethernet

The following are the features of HDMI cables that matter to consumers:

  • If you are connecting a 3D BluRay player to a 3D HDTV, then you should choose a HDMI High Speed HDMI Cable.
  • If you want to use the new 4K high resolution standard, then be sure the cable supports 4K video and it is a HDMI High Speed version.
  • If you are connecting a standard DVD player to a HDTV with a resolution less than 1080p, then a HDMI standard cable will work just fine.

A High Speed HDMI cable is the very best HDMI cable you can purchase and will work with all the latest technology.

Buy authentic HDMI products:

The vast bulk of HDMI products are certified by the HDMI Licensing Company and tested for finest performance. To make sure that you are purchasing an accredited and 100 % certified item we recommend:

Look for the official HDMI Logo and the HDMI High Speed Logo.

HDMI High Speed Logo




Genuine HDMI Logo



Purchase from trusted sellers, like Amazon.

Choose the best cable length:

This may seem very basic, but in fact selecting the correct cable television length is essential. As explained earlier HDMI cables either send the digital data or send no signal at all.  In contrast to other type of television cables (e.g. coax cables), HDMI cables work with a cable technology that limits the maximum cable length to 35 feet.

Note: There is no explicit length cable length of HDMI cables. The HDMI Company makes it clear that HDMI signals can be transferred over a distance of 300 ft with the right technique.

Practically, most cables provide a basic twisted-copper architecture which due to its signal attenuation restricts the functional length to 35 feet, more or less. This length generally relies on the HDMI cable’s quality as well as its ability to conduct signals.

For you as a customer there two things to bear in mind:

  • Longer HDMI cables are generally more susceptible to electrical interference.
  • Longer HDMI cables need much better protection, better quality and are hence more expensive.
  • If you want to use a cable longer than 35ft a signal booster should be used

To summarize: The Best HDMI cable is a High speed cable.

You now have the information you need to select the best HDMI cable for your needs.

Keep the following tips in mind when selecting a cable:

  • Cables either transmit the digital signals or they don’t
  • Buy reasonably priced cables, ($1.00 per foot)
  • Select a cable designated High Speed for the best features and compatibility with the latest technology
  • Look for the official HDMI logos or statements
  • Choose the shortest cable for your application