HDMI cables are what we use to connect our entertainment devices to our TVs and they’ve been evolving over the years in order to keep up with our ever-changing improvements in visual fidelity.
You may have heard that HDMI cables are categorized in terms of speed and in this article you can get to grips with why that is and what that means for you.
Heres If DMI Cable Have Different Speeds:
HDMI cables are now categorized into four distinct speed types which is a far more important consideration for a buyer than what version they support (eg.HDMI 2.0). These speed types are now the standard way to refer to HDMI cables.
The four types consist of:
- Standard HDMI
- High-Speed HDMI
- Premium High-Speed HDMI
- Ultra High-Speed HDMI
Does HDMI Cable Quality Really Matter?
When it comes to setting up your entertainment system, be that your home theatre, TV, or media center, then you are going to find yourself needing an HDMI cable.
HDMI cables send both video and audio signals to your TV from a multitude of devices.
Devices that rely on HDMI cables include:
- Game Consoles
- Laptops & PC screens
- Blu-ray Players
- Newer DVD players
- Sky boxes
- Certain soundbars and soundsystems
With all of these devices being reliant on this type of cable it is important to know and understand whether the quality of the cable will affect how those devices perform on your TV.
So, when we talk about quality it’s important to keep in mind that we’re investigating whether or not the materials that the cable is made from affect the quality of your video and audio.
The simple answer is that an HDMI cable, despite its quality of build, will transmit a video and audio signal.
An HDMI cable, no matter how it is made, cannot improve the quality of your picture or sound.
The quality of your picture and sound is dictated by the devices that you are using and not the cable itself.
However, you may have noticed that HDMI cables range in price.
So you may be wondering what this price jump means if the price does not reflect the crispness of your picture or the depth of audio you receive.
The reality is that expensive HDMI cables may well be made from better materials, but what this achieves might not be what you’d first expect.
What An Expensive HDMI Cable Provides (Or Should)
HDMI cables at a higher price bracket may differ from cheaper cables in the following ways:
- They may offer a more durable cable overall.
- The connectors may be stronger and will be better equipped to handle wear and tear.
- The materials may be more flexible, again improving the cable’s longevity.
- It should allow for high bandwidth even at greater distances.
- A reduced likelihood of the cable succumbing to failures.
- A cable that is perhaps more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and touch.
The main thing to realize here is that the quality of the cable should not affect the quality of your viewing experience.
So remember, if you’re planning to spend big on your HDMI cable, what you are paying for is actually reliability and longevity.
Do You Need Special HDMI Cables For 4K?
4K knocked the 1080p resolution off its top spot and claimed its victory.
Now 4K TVs have quickly become the new standard in home entertainment and they offer around 4,000 horizontal pixels at an exact resolution of 3,840 by 2,160, hence the name 4K.
For an HDMI cable to send a 4K signal it needs to support HDMI 1.4 or above. The good news is that any HDMI cable that you’re likely to find will support this version. In fact, most HDMI cables actually support 2.o.
What is crucial, however, is that the HDMI cable you want to use for your 4K needs has the correct speed rating.
HDMI cables are now categorized as speed types and this has meant that referring to HDMI cables in terms of the versions that they support is more or less obsolete.
So, for your 4K viewing pleasure, you will need what’s called a high-speed HDMI cable that has a bandwidth speed of 10.2 Gbps as standard.
High-speed HDMI cables are readily available, but they are not the only type of HDMI cable that exists.
Read our blog here about are extension cords bad for chargers?
What Are The Different Types Of HDMI?
There is a multitude of different cables on the market and almost all of them should get your video and audio transmissions up where they belong – displayed and pumping out of your TV or home theatre.
However, with such a range of HDMI cables on offer, you may be wondering what each of them is and what exactly they actually do.
- Standard HDMI Cables
- This basic cable is only really applicable for devices from the previous decade, such as DVD players.
- It can support 1080i and 720p with a bandwidth of only 5Gbps.
- The refresh rate stands at 30Hz.
- It cannot support 4K or beyond.
- It is possible to purchase a standard HDMI with ethernet, as well as a standard cable that can be used in your car. Despite this being an older cable it will still transmit a stable signal that is not disrupted by bumps in the road.
- High-Speed HDMI Cables
- This cable was made for HMDI 1.3 and 1.4a and supports both 1080p and 4K.
- The high-speed HDMI cable also offers the ability to handle 3D signals.
- It has a refresh rate of 30Hz and a 10.2Gbps bandwidth.
- This cable will work perfectly for game consoles that perform in 4K, not to mention also being a great fit for Blu-ray players.
- The high-speed HDMI with ethernet cable offers a specific channel that has been coined as the HDMI Ethernet Channel – this is a dedicated data channel.
- The automotive version of the high-speed HDMI cable can handle temperature changes as well as intense vibrations.
- Premium High-Speed HDMI Cables
- This type of cable is suited to those who desire high-fidelity PC gaming or who are using design software.
- Premium high-speed cables offer an impressive 18Gbps bandwidth and will support 4K and HDR with a refresh rate of 60Hz.
- These cables will also allow 4:4:4 chroma sampling.
- Ultra High-Speed HDMI Cables
- At the upper end of the scale, we have a cable that is designed to be compatible with all devices – old and brand spanking new.
- These cables support 8K and 4K with refresh rates of 60Hz and 120Hz respectively.
- Additionally, it can also support 10K in collaboration with an HDR TV with an impressive 240Hz refresh rate.
- With 48Gbps bandwidth and eARC and VRR this cable, along with the premium high-speed cables, should come with certification to ensure that their specifications and features have been met.
- This certification comes in the way of a label with a holographic fingerprint and a unique QR code that can be scanned via the HDMI app.
Is HDMI 2.0 The Same As High-Speed HDMI?
High-Speed HDMI is not the same as HDMI 2.0.
High-speed HDMI cables can be typically defined as cables that can support a maximum bandwidth of 10.2Gbps.
Any HDMI cable that you purchase nowadays will likely have high-speed or above as standard and they are nearly double as fast as their former ‘standard’ speed HDMI cables.
However, according to pcmag.com:
“The hitch is that the bandwidth will only support 4K24, or 4K video at 24 frames per second. That’s fine if you want to watch movies on Ultra HD Blu-ray, but if you have streaming TV shows or gaming hardware that can push 4K at 30 or 60 frames per second, it won’t be able to handle it.”
HDMI 2.0 cables, on the other hand, are high-speed cables that can support a maximum bandwidth of 18Gbps.
They can easily support 4K video at 60 frames per second and they facilitated the development of 8K.
Do HDMI cables affect your internet speed?
Using an HDMI will not slow down your internet speed.
As you’ve previously read, the main purpose of an HDMI cable is to allow the transfer of HD resolution and superior sound quality when connecting a TV or monitor to either a gaming console or a home entertainment system.
You may find that nowadays most HDMI cables that are available for purchase also come with Ethernet capabilities, and this may leave you wondering whether your internet speed will be affected when this type of cable is in use.
However, don’t worry, there is no cause for concern.
Regardless of whether you are using an older HDMI cable, or a newer HDMI cable with Ethernet, neither should negatively impact your internet speed.
In fact, Ethernet connections tend to be quicker and much more stable than a WiFi connection, so if you are using a HEC (HDMI Ethernet Channel) your internet connection may be more reliable.
Are HDMI Cables Universal?
Although all HDMI cables have the same purpose, to transfer HD video and quality sound, they do not all look the same.
The connectors on the cables do differ slightly, and for this reason, they cannot be described as universal.
When it comes to the connectors, there are 5 types:
- Type A – The standard and most common type of connector/port.
- They are used most frequenty with TVs and gaming consoles.
- They have 19 pins and are slightly larger than a standard USB cable.
- Type B – This is a ‘dual-link’ cable, designed for extremely high-resolution video outputs.
- Type B HDMIs are fairly uncommon and are not used for any standard consumer devices.
- Type C – The ‘mini’ standard connector.
- These also have 19 pins, similar to type A, but they are much smaller in comparison.
- Typical devices that use type C ports tend to be portable, such as DSLR cameras and tablets.
- Type D – The micro standard connector.
- As the name suggests, this is the smallest type of connector you can find.
- They also have 19 pins and are typically used for smaller portable devices such as smartphones and cameras.
- Type E – The automotive connector.
- This is a very specialized connector system, only used with vehicles.
- They are much more robust and shielded than your typical standard HDMI cable, designed to withstand the vibrations that a vehicle may produce.
What Is A Good Cheap HDMI Cable For Fast Streaming?
With the ever-increasing costs of everyday living, it is useful to know how you can cut some corners and save money to avoid unnecessary spending wherever possible.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly but effective HDMI cable then look no further.
Here are the 2 best low-price HDMI cables of 2022:
Amazon Basics Premium-Certified Braided HDMI Cable
This is a brilliantly cheap yet trustworthy option when purchasing an HDMI cable.
It comes in 4 different lengths, 3, 6, 10 and 15 feet, and is premium certified.
This premium rating enables you to be certain this cable can handle extremely high frame rates and resolutions, so as to suit all your streaming and gaming needs.
It also comes with a lifetime warranty which is a huge bonus.
Monoprice High-Speed HDMI Cable
Monoprice is a highly reputable brand when it comes to budget-friendly HDMI cables, so you can be safe in the knowledge you are getting the best quality for the best price.
Similarly to the Amazonbasics option above, this cable is premium certified and also boasts a lifetime guarantee.
Read our blog here about do USB extension cables affect performance?
- Make Use Of: HDMI Cable Types: Everything You Need to Know
- PC Mag: Slaying the Cable Monster: What You Need to Know About HDMI Cables
- Tech Hive: 4K HDMI cables: How to cut through the marketing BS to find what you really need
- Turbo Future: The 4K HDMI Cable Rip-Off: What You Truly Need to Know About HDMI 2.0 and Ultra HD Cables