Can Cheap HDMI Cables Cause Problems? (Checked)

The quality of shows these days is getting better in better which is helping to blur the fine line between fantasy and reality.

However, in order to enjoy all of the high-definition realness in your home, you will need to run the HD signal through a High-Definition Multimedia Interface cable also known as an HDMI cable.

With so many different HDMI cables out there to buy, does the price really matter when it comes to quality? More specifically, will a cheap HDMI cable cause problems?

Here’s If Cheap HDMI Cables Cause Problems?

While a cheaper HDMI will do what it is meant to do, there are some problems you can run into especially when it comes to quality and lifespan. More specifically, a cheap HDMI may have a poorer connection which can produce a lower quality image as well as a fuzzy picture.

Input Output Panel on the back of an LCD / LED Television

Does HDMI Cable Quality Really Matter?

A big misconception when it comes to buying an HDMI cable is that the more expensive ones will improve the quality of the picture on the screen. However, no matter the price of the HDMI cable you use, the picture will be generally the same no matter how much you end up spending.

When it comes to the quality of the actual picture of your favorite show, the result will always be the same. This is because the main purpose of an HDMI cable is to transmit a signal.

There is no special technology that can be found in expensive HDMI cables that won’t be featured in the cheap ones.

While there may be different materials used to make the different cables, the basic function will always be the same. Basically, the quality of your HDMI cable has no reflection on the actual quality of the overall picture.

So, whether you save some money with a cheaper cable or spring for one of the expensive varieties, you can always expect the picture quality to be on par with what high-definition will offer.

Do Cheap HDMI Cables Cause Lag?

Now that you know what to expect from a cheap HDMI cable when it comes to picture quality, it is time to take a deep dive into other problems that you may expect. More specifically, problems that cheap HDMI may have when it comes to lag. Lag is one of the most frustrating things with modern technology.

No one wants to finally settle into their favorite game at the end of the day only to find that the picture and sound skips and lags out.

Will using a cheap HDMI cable increase the amount of lag? Unfortunately, using a low-quality HDMI cable for your television set will make lag worse.

First, we’re going to explore how a cheap HDMI cable can affect lag in the picture of the TV. Lag in the picture of your show means that the picture on the screen can freeze or even skip. This can be a real mood killer, especially if you are trying to enjoy a live programing like a game.

The reason why a cheap HDMI cable can cause your picture to lag has everything to do with the connections on the end of the cable. Cheaper cables are not always made with quality in mind, so there are little things that were skimped on that make a huge difference to the quality of your shows.

Since cheaper cables have a cheaper connection, the connection to your television will be very weak.

This can cause the signal to cut in and out which explains the constant freezing of the image. But, what about the sound? Can a cheaper HDMI cause the sound to lag as well? While it would be easy to blame sound lags on a cheap HDMI cable, that just isn’t the case.

This is because HDMI cables are not designed to run sound, they only run high-definition pictures. So, while you may be experiencing some sound lag, chances are it is the audio cable that is causing your sound problems.

Read our blog here about do HDMI cables carry both audio & video?

Are There Different Grades For HDMI Cables?

While picking out an HDMI cable for your home may seem like a fairly easy task, choosing which one will work for you may take a bit more time.

This is because HDMI cables have three different grades of quality to choose from and each comes with its own set of standards.

The first grade of HDMI cable that you can choose from is the more basic as it is the “standard” HDMI cable. A standard HDMI cable is the most basic way that you can connect your television to an HD broadcast or satellite TV.

The real difference comes with the bandwidth as a standard HDMI cable has a bandwidth of 5 Gbps and an HD resolution of up to 720p.

In the middle of the road, you have the second-grade of HDMI cables which is a High-Speed cables. High-speed HDMI cables are meant to have a high resolution up to 1080p which is far higher than the basic one.

Using a high-speed HMDI cable will help to reduce the video lag that you may get with a standard cable.

Lastly, you have the top graded HMDI cable which is an Ultra High-Speed cable. Obviously, this is the most expensive grade of HDMI cable and is designed to be able to handle ultra-high-definition pictures.

The best part about an Ultra High-Speed HDMI cable is that it has the technology to handle high-definition with a bandwidth capability of 48Gbps.

What Is The Difference Between Cheap and Expensive HDMI Cables?

If you are still on the fence about what grade of an HDMI cable to buy, it may be helpful to understand the biggest difference between the two.

This first thing to note is that when we are talking about expensive HDMI cables, we are talking about the ones that are graded as Ultra High-Speed cables.

The biggest difference you will find is the amount of bandwidth that each cable is designed to handle. The higher the bandwidth is, the smoother the picture will be and the less chance there is of any lagging or video disruption.

As mentioned, high-quality HDMI cables have an ultra-high bandwidth of 48Gbps which is a huge difference from the cheaper standard bandwidth of 720p.

Another difference between cheap and expensive HDMI is the quality of how they are made. This is especially true when it comes to the actual connection of the wire. Cheaper cables are not made with quality in mind which means there will be a weaker connector piece at the end of the cable.

A weak connection can completely change how your television works when it comes to having a clear and uninterrupted video stream.

The last difference that you will notice between cheap and expensive HDMI cables is how long they last. Cheaper HDMI cables wear out faster than high-quality ones.

This means that your cable will burn out quicker so while you may have saved some money by purchasing a cheap standard HDMI cable, you will have to spend more money replacing them.

How Do I Know If My HDMI Cable Is Low Quality or Premium?

While the price point will be your first hint that your HMDI cable is low quality, there are a few ways to tell if your HDMI is just not performing the same way a high-quality one would.

The first thing to look out for is any type of disturbance to the quality of the video. Along with sudden lagging, you may see random bursts of light flicker across the screen.

This is often referred to as “fireworks” and means that your cheap cable isn’t connecting well to your television.

Along with these bursts of light, you may also notice that the picture is much fuzzier than it used to be.

A lag in the video means that the picture will freeze or skip every few seconds. However, if you find that the picture completely cuts out for an extended period of time, your HDMI is defiantly low quality.

While most lagging in videos will correct itself, having a completely frozen screen will require you to disconnect and reset your HDMI cable in order to get the picture to return.

One of the last hints that you can see when it comes to figuring out if your HDMI is junk or not is if there are random colors on the screen. This can sometimes come across as a “color cast” or a wash of color that slightly tints the video. Most commonly, the video will seem like it has a greenish filter over the video.

This simply means that the HDMI connection to your TV is very weak which is most common with low-quality HDMI cables.

Can a Cheap HDMI Cable Ruin The TV?

Using an HDMI cable that is low-quality can cause lots of problems when it comes to the clarity of the show you are watching.

Having your picture cut in and out and having weird things like light flashes and color fades happen can be stressful.

However, you should rest easy in knowing that while it seems daunting, a low-quality HDMI cable will not ruin your TV.

This is because while an HDMI cable is important to streaming high-definition video, it doesn’t actually affect how your television works. An HDMI cable simply plugs into the back of the TV and is a cable meant to transmit high-definition entertainment.

So, while an HDMI cable is an important part of your entertainment system, it isn’t complicated enough to do any real damage to your television set.

Do Gold HDMI Cables Deliver a Better Quality Signal?

While we have done a lot of digging into the different grades and qualities of an HDMI cable, there is one type of cable that we haven’t explored yet.

This is the gold-plated HDMI cable. a Gold HDMI is considered to be one of the best quality HDMI cables that you can find. But, can a gold HMDI cable give you a better quality signal?

A gold HDMI cable can deliver a better quality signal which will improve your overall experience. But, it isn’t for the reason you expect. The gold plating is often located on the connectors of a cable. Gold is a great addition because it is one of the best energy conductors which means that the connection to your TV will be very good.

Also, since gold is a naturally strong conductor, it is very hard for this metal to oxidize.

Oxidation and corrosion are very common with these types of cables, especially ones that have an aluminum-based connector.

However, gold does not corrode as easily as other cheaper metals which means that the connection should stay strong.

So, if you have the money to spend, we highly recommend springing for a gold-plated HDMI cable.

Final Thoughts

We love our entertainment so much that most of us want to make sure we are getting the best of the best. However, when it comes to finding a great HMDI cable, you literally will get what you pay for.

Cheaper HDMI cables, also known as a standard cables. will do the job just fine but will not be giving you the best when it comes to quality and experience. If you want to avoid little annoyances like lagging videos or poor quality of the overall video, always invest in a high-grade HDMI cable. Good luck.

Read this blog here about do HDMI cables carry different speeds?

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