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How the HDMI cable scam works

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Old 01-14-2008, 08:00 AM   #46  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by original_article
But with an HDMI cable, you aren't sending any oscillating analog waves, nor any power.
False. And false.

Quote:
What you are sending is a low-power digital signal.
True.
Quote:
The digital signal is either on or off, and it is impossible to distort it without ruining it.
False. And false again.

Quote:
The great thing about a digital signal is that, even if there is a little noise in the cable (and there always is, no matter how good the cable), the TV will clean it up when it interprets the digital signal.
True, but only to a point. If the signal gets too distorted, and the TV finds itself looking at a 1.0 volt signal, how will it interpret that? Was it a 0 or a 1? Who knows?
Quote:
The whole beauty of moving to a digital world is that it eliminates distortion completely.
And introduces bit errors. False colors and/or bad pixels.

Quote:
What this means to you is that there really is no such thing as a "better" HDMI cable. Either an HDMI cable works or it does not.
Or.... it could operate on the margin, with numerous errors that are too small to break-up the picture, but large enough to create single-pixel errors. (Thus not giving you the true picture.)
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Old 01-14-2008, 11:01 AM   #47  
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Good lord man, you are really hopeless . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post
. . . there's nothing wrong with challenging the IDEAS a person puts forward, . . .
Absolutely, it's the American way.

But, of course to misquote the persons statements and ideas or otherwise distort the persons message is very wrong. Read on . . .

Quote:
. . . especially if that person represents a nationwide periodical that millions will read.
The origianl author hardly represents a "nationwide periodical that millions will read".
thesouthern.com is an online regional magazine targeting people who live in the southern Illinois area. Hardly nationwide and hardly millions of readers.
Why make such a silly suggestion???

Quote:
He should be held to a higher standard, and he should have done more research, because his ideas (digital signals don't need a good cable) are clearly false.
I guess you have a right to your opinion that the author "should have done more research" even though you seem to be the only respondent to the article (either to the original article or within this thread) who feels this way.

You misquote again . . . nowhere did the author say that "digital signals don't need a good cable". He made three significant statements in this area however; they were:
1. " . . . there really is no such thing as a "better" HDMI cable. Either an HDMI cable works or it does not."
2. " . . . if an HDMI cable is working correctly, your TV's picture will look exactly the same no matter how much the cable costs. Paying more for a cable will have no effect on picture quality."
3. "When buying an HDMI cable, you can buy on price and get the cheapest one."
While each of these statements may certainly be subjected to some nitpicking they are generally correct; time and again on this forum and elsewhere, the vast majority of knowledgeable contributors have supported the general notion that it is just plain silly to purchase expensive cables as the low cost cables marketed by monoprice, et al. are quite up to the task and provede excellent results.

Quote:
It is not precise to say a consumer can go buy any junk cable and expect no loss of signal. And I think I have a right to point-out the fallacy, rather than let it mislead people into buying POS cables.
Again, you misquote . . . nowhere did the author say that "a consumer can go buy any junk cable".
Why must you persist in putting words into his mouth???
Your own proclivity for creating misinformation and egregious misquoting greatly diminishes anything of value that you might otherwise have to say.

Quote:
If the cable is poorly-made, signal loss will occur.
And no one has ever said otherwise.
And since the general consensus is that most cables available are NOT poorly made, it makes no sense to pay extra for promotional brouhaha when less expensive yet perfecly well made products are available for a fraction of the price.
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Old 01-14-2008, 11:07 AM   #48  
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Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post
False. And false.

True.
False. And false again.


True, but only to a point. If the signal gets too distorted, and the TV finds itself looking at a 1.0 volt signal, how will it interpret that? Was it a 0 or a 1? Who knows? And introduces bit errors. False colors and/or bad pixels.

Or.... it could operate on the margin, with numerous errors that are too small to break-up the picture, but large enough to create single-pixel errors. (Thus not giving you the true picture.)
For those just getting started in HD and Digital TV, the foregoing is an excellent example of NOISE and DISTORTION.
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:25 PM   #49  
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Sorry to interrupt a good fight but I have a question .... I read this thread because I am totally new to everything HD. I have a 32" sony LCD and I need to purchase 2 HDMI cables. One is for a soon to be arriving HD cable box, and the other is for a Toshiba A3 HD DVD player. Both of them need to be in the 3-6 foot range.

I read every word of this thread hoping to have the answer to exactly what brand and model of HDMI cables to purchase, but most have this has been so far over my head that I feel more confused than ever.

Here are the options I see.... I don't see where my local CC and BB stores have anything but the really high dollar monster cables and possibly their own brand that is in that $50+ range. I'm guessing that neither of those is waht I want since I'm on a tight budget and have read many times not the way to go.

On the other hand, I keep hearing about monoprice.com. I was on their site yesterday and they seemed to have quite a few HDMI cables (actually too many for a newbie like me to make an easy choice). Are all you guys approving of monoprice as the best place to go? Or are there a few out there that would avoid monoprice and just keep it to theirself as to not ruffle anyones feathers? I just didn't know if they were falling into that "too cheap" category, or were the perfect choice. Feel free to contact me via e-mail if that's a route you'd rather go.

Sorry to be thick headed, just don't want to buy more or less cable than I really need.

thanks,
eric
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Old 01-14-2008, 03:19 PM   #50  
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Originally Posted by speedythecat View Post
Here are the options I see.... I don't see where my local CC and BB stores have anything but the really high dollar monster cables and possibly their own brand that is in that $50+ range. I'm guessing that neither of those is waht I want since I'm on a tight budget and have read many times not the way to go.
Yea, and even Walmart carries only cables in the $25-35 range.

Quote:
On the other hand, I keep hearing about monoprice.com. I was on their site yesterday and they seemed to have quite a few HDMI cables (actually too many for a newbie like me to make an easy choice). Are all you guys approving of monoprice as the best place to go? Or are there a few out there that would avoid monoprice and just keep it to theirself as to not ruffle anyones feathers? I just didn't know if they were falling into that "too cheap" category, or were the perfect choice. Feel free to contact me via e-mail if that's a route you'd rather go.
I doubt that you will hear any negative feedback on monoprice, but who knows. Also, I believe that bluejeans has pretty good prices and a few others have been mentioned as well - hopefully someone will chime in with the name(s) of other trusted suppliers.
Note: I'm not pushing monoprice over any of the others, but I have purchased cables from them and have always been happy with both the cables and the prices.

For 3' to 6' cables from monoprice, you would be fine with Item 3871 and/or Item 3992 shown on this page:
http://www.monoprice.com/products/su...02&cp_id=10243

Good luck and enjoy.
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Old 01-14-2008, 03:36 PM   #51  
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Great exactly what I was looking for!

Thanks a bunch!

eric
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:47 AM   #52  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottnot View Post
The origianl author hardly represents a "nationwide periodical that millions will read". thesouthern.com is an online regional magazine targeting people who live in the southern Illinois area.
Didn't know that..... even so, he still has an obligation to get his facts correct, rather than mislead Illinois citizens, or webizens (like us). He's a reporter. He gets paid to be accurate. (Nothing annoys me more than reading the newspaper, and it's filled with error-after-error.)
Quote:
Why make such a silly suggestion???......I guess you have a right to your opinion that the author "should have done more research" even though you seem to be the only respondent to the article (either to the original article or within this thread) who feels this way.
Speaking of silly suggestions..... there are several persons in the original website who objected to the author's incorrect facts. Please review the comments at the original site.


Quote:
2. " . . . if an HDMI cable is working correctly, your TV's picture will look exactly the same no matter how much the cable costs. Paying more for a cable will have no effect on picture quality."
That sentence is okay, but he ALSO said this: "Either an HDMI cable works or it does not. If it doesn't work, you will immediately know it. Your screen will freeze, or it will skip frames, or it will show big square blocks instead of a picture. It will be completely obvious that there is a problem."

Which is false. It's possible for the cable to be producing errors at the one-pixel level, and the viewer might never know it. i.e. The errors are not "completely obvious."

I object when people take what *I* do for a living,
designing circuits to carry high-speed signals w/o distortion,
and simplify it so drastically that it is incorrect.
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Old 01-15-2008, 01:37 PM   #53  
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Quoted from the original article:
Quote:
" . . . if an HDMI cable is working correctly, your TV's picture will look exactly the same no matter how much the cable costs. Paying more for a cable will have no effect on picture quality."
Quote:
Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post
That sentence is okay, but he ALSO said this: "Either an HDMI cable works or it does not. If it doesn't work, you will immediately know it. Your screen will freeze, or it will skip frames, or it will show big square blocks instead of a picture. It will be completely obvious that there is a problem."

Which is false. It's possible for the cable to be producing errors at the one-pixel level, and the viewer might never know it. i.e. The errors are not "completely obvious."
Which is both incorrect and misleading. Techincal hair-splitting, I would say.
It seems that you would have readers believe that the definition of "works" is 100% perfect, or "lossless" in technical terms; this would be very misleading indeed.
First, the HDMI specification itself allows for a certain BER, and that BER is, for the most part, not discernible to the viewer.
Now, should a cable produce errors at the one-pixel level, and should the viewer "never know", it seems that logically the viewer will not be aware of any reduction in picture quality, as the author has previously stated.
There will always be some errors - I doubt that the author had any intention of suggesting that HDMI is 100% error free. The implication of his statement, which I would expect any reasonable person to accept has to do with the difference between "graceful degradation" (analog) and "rapid degradation" (digital); indeed, there is a narrow margin within which a particuar cable carrying a particular signal between two specific components will exhibit "failure" characteristics, but, in general, and to the normal viewer these will rarely be encountered and and are hardly worth discussion.

Your continued arcane criticism is hardly appropriate and is certainly misleading as well as innacurate and uninformed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post
I object when people take what *I* do for a living,
designing circuits to carry high-speed signals w/o distortion,
and simplify it so drastically that it is incorrect.
Yea, me too. I find it really offensive.
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Old 01-15-2008, 02:32 PM   #54  
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Originally Posted by Scottnot View Post
Which is both incorrect and misleading. Techincal hair-splitting, I would say.
Yes, well, I can't help it. To split hairs is my job. My boss doesn't want digital signals that look like "dirty sine waves" and might create errors.
Quote:
First, the HDMI specification itself allows for a certain BER, and that BER is, for the most part, not discernible to the viewer.
True. A few errors won't be seen by most people, but the people buying $100 cables are not average. They want perfection. No errors.

(Not that I think $100 is necessary, but neither should you buy the cheapest thing imported from China (land of the deadly toys).) Don't buy the cheapest; buy namebrands.
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Old 01-15-2008, 03:05 PM   #55  
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Since it's obvious you think I'm an idiot, allow me to quote some other people. Maybe you'll listen to them:



"The Cable Guy wrote on Jan 2, 2008 2:45 PM:
" Very good and informative article. Interesting comments: 50% right and 50% still ignorant. "




"Electrical Engineer wrote on Jan 10, 2008 11:44 PM:
" Even it's digital signal, there's a thing call Bit Error Rate (BER). Signal with better quality usually has less BER, so it's not a poor cable will not work completely. It'll still work, but the throughput will hurt as the receiver may throw away packet that has bit error in it. "




"Monster Employee
"our high cost isn't only due to the the fact that the best quality cables are used, but also the best and most durable connectors, the most effective shielding, and also for market positioning. ....... For longer distances (over 15ft) quality matters, and as someone mentioned if you care frequently connecting and disconnecting them, our cables are for you. "



leek wrote on Jan 2, 2008 6:29 AM:
" Actually, DVI/HDMI does not have digital error correction, and is limited to a short cable length before the signals break up. Component video, OTOH, can go for miles if the cables and ends are impedance-matched: http://forum.ecoustics.com/bbs/messa...79/122868.html
"



fdsa wrote on Jan 1, 2008 11:39 PM:
" Eh, how about the original author give me some physics or go get an EE degree? Just because it's not analogue doesn't mean it doesn't get effed up along the way. I've had multiple bad experiences with HDMI cables resulting in blue tinted screens, non-sharp images, etc. That's because you get bad connection at the tip, and data loss along the high resistance wire.

"Glad you think you know what you're talking about enough to publish it... and lead many people astray. Whoever comments saying that this article is "absolutely correct" and whatnot should really go learn some science. "




Mike wrote on Dec 31, 2007 10:37 PM:

"You [the original author] are wrong. Are you an EE? Your terminology seems to suggest you are an "enthusiast". A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. "





Carlman wrote on Dec 31, 2007 9:02 PM:
" Saying a cable doesn't make a difference because it is carrying a digital signal shows some ignorance. Your article assumes everyone is Joe Consumer that just walked into a big box store and bought a new flat screen monitor. Be sure to indicate your audience and that this is your opinion rather than spouting that all digital cables, connections, error corrections are absolute and perfect.... and that if anyone says otherwise, it's a scam. I would wager you're a no-name writer with a gripe given the way this article is written.

"Some people can see and especially hear a difference with various types of digital cables. Do your own research and make up your own mind before believing anyone. I agree expensive cables aren't for everyone but not that they aren't for anyone.

"-Carl "




"Alec wrote on Dec 31, 2007 5:48 PM:

" This is important information for consumers, however part of your statements are incorrect. There is a common misconception that information traveling over cables can either be "analog" or "digital". This isn't entirely true. Both analog and digital signal devices technically send information through cables in analog! The difference is the way in which the bits of information are encoded in the voltages traveling over the wire. This isn't saying that HDMI doesn't provide a very nice picture, only that it's incorrect to say that the HDMI cable doesn't use analog."




"Jaume wrote on Dec 31, 2007 1:23 PM:
" This is not correct. Digital signals don't exist in the real world (analog). "



hdmi_designer wrote on Dec 31, 2007 12:26 PM:

"You are completely wrong. Because the digital signal traveling over HDMI cables is high-speed, they are subject to "analog" loss in the cable. Thicker cables have less loss and are usually more expensive. For example, a 3m AWG28 cable (thin & cheap) can perform worse than a 10m AWG24 cable (thicker & expensive). Once you are in the sub-10m range I agree that almost all cables will work, but there certainly is a "better" cable which can justify the cost for longer ranges. "


Gerry wrote on Dec 31, 2007 12:03 PM:

" Actually, a poor cable could cause some 0's to become 1's and vise-versa. This would not be cleaned up by the TV, nor would the picture be especially bad. The picture may just be less than optimal. Maybe you don't need an expensive cable, but you'll need something decent. "


colas wrote on Dec 31, 2007 12:15 PM:

" Yup, as others I agree.. except for long cables. A medium-priced ($50) 30 ft DVI cable was unusable for me, a high-end one ($100) worked perfectly. "





And on and on and on.....
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:31 PM   #56  
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Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post
Yes, well, I can't help it. To split hairs is my job. My boss doesn't want digital signals that look like "dirty sine waves" and might create errors.
Ha, ha, as ususal, you have taken the discussion "full circle" except you have unfortunately misquoted even yourself.
It should be noted that in your original post (post #30) to this thread, you said, quite emphatically and with some bravado that "As any digital engineer can tell you, the actual waveform looks more like a "dirty" sine wave than a square wave."
So, which is it troy, do they all look like "dirty sine waves" or only some of them. What is it that your boss wants you to do with them?

Quote:
True. A few errors won't be seen by most people, but the people buying $100 cables are not average. They want perfection. No errors.

(Not that I think $100 is necessary, but neither should you buy the cheapest thing imported from China (land of the deadly toys).) Don't buy the cheapest; buy namebrands.
More absurd logic there, and further misinformation. The truth is:
1. A "few errors" will most likely always exist, and are allowed by the HDMI specification, so "perfection" is very unlikely.
2. A "few errors" will not only not be seen by most people, but will not be seen by even the most ardent videophile. In the case of digital in general, and HDMI in particular, the window between a "few errors" and "loss of signal" is very small (lack of "graceful degradation"); so small that it is rarely encountered and hardly separates the "normal viewers" from the videophiles.
3. On the contrary, I believe that the people buying $100 cables are indeed very average and susceptible to being duped by cable marketing hype. Witness, for example - I do not recall ever reading a single post on this site or elsewhere that has been anti-monoprice, yet monoprice cables are perhaps the least expensive available and are certainly of Chinese origin. Many would even consider them to be a "namebrand".
4. The "deadly toys" comment once again demonstrates your inability to engage in either a rational or unbiased discussion.

Last edited by Scottnot; 01-15-2008 at 06:56 PM..
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Old 01-15-2008, 06:49 PM   #57  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post
Since it's obvious you think I'm an idiot, allow me to quote some other people. Maybe you'll listen to them:
So, you posted a dozen responses to the original article. Most of which add little to no value to the original material, and many of which are complete luancy themselves. If you wish to cite these in suport of your own absurd opinions, so be it.

I'll just comment on one of them:

Quote:
"Electrical Engineer wrote on Jan 10, 2008 11:44 PM:
" Even it's digital signal, there's a thing call Bit Error Rate (BER). Signal with better quality usually has less BER, so it's not a poor cable will not work completely. It'll still work, but the throughput will hurt as the receiver may throw away packet that has bit error in it. "
DUH?

Oh well, glad he's on your side and not mine.

I'll just cite one other response to keep it simple and real.
Quote:
Philo wrote on Dec 31, 2007 11:32 AM:
For those nitpicking the article, please note that the fundamentals are correct - with a digital signal you will either see a great picture or not.

Last edited by Scottnot; 01-15-2008 at 07:03 PM..
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:49 PM   #58  
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thanks for sharing ..
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Old 01-16-2008, 06:12 AM   #59  
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Originally Posted by Scottnot View Post
So, which is it troy, do they all look like "dirty sine waves" or only some of them.
They look like dirty sine waves when poorly designed. They still look like dirty sine waves when properly designed, but with sharper transitions (so it's clear if you're seeing a 0 or 1). They most definitely don't look square... they don't have sharp corners.



Ya know, I have been upfront about what I do, who I am, and my qualifications. What do YOU do? You've been acting all high-and-mighty and knowledgeable. Well...

Last time I encountered someone like that,
claiming to be an expert in all things computer,
I later learned he was just a high school janitor.

I'm an EE with two degrees. I design computer chips for a living. And you are... what? A tech? An electronics salesperson? What are YOUR qualifications to discuss this topic?
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Old 01-16-2008, 11:03 AM   #60  
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They look like dirty sine waves when poorly designed. They still look like dirty sine waves when properly designed, but with sharper transitions (so it's clear if you're seeing a 0 or 1). They most definitely don't look square... they don't have sharp corners.
Sorry, I'm still not sold on the suggestion that a digital signal looks anything like a sine wave - dirty or other wise.
They have distinctly different patters which any knowledgeable person will recognize.
They look like "normal" digital signals which no one ever said "have sharp corners" (indeed, the term "square wave" is commonly used to refer to the idealized digital signal, but we all know that they are hardly ever "square"). No matter how sharp or unsharp the transitions, as long as the do not impinge on the eye pattern, the signal will be properly interpreted as a "1" or a "0".

Digital signals look like digital signals . . . period.

Sine waves look like sine waves . . . period.

To suggest otherwise is absurd oversimplification of the techonlogies.


Quote:
Ya know, I have been upfront about what I do, who I am, and my qualifications.
Quite frankly, I don't believe you.

Quote:
What do YOU do?
Is this a job interview?

Quite frankly, I am well qualified.
Posting "qualifications" hardly makes much sense as there is no way to check on them; better to review the quality of each persons posts, quality and content of cited sources, consistency of postion, etc. to determine if the poster is offering valid information or simply blowing hot air.

Quote:
I'm an EE with two degrees.
Could be . . . . or not?

Quote:
I design computer chips for a living.
hell, everybody designs computer chips . . . read the forum . . .

Quote:
And you are... what? A tech?
Not since 1969, but yes, I was for 5 years.

Quote:
An electronics salesperson?
Nope, never was.

Quote:
What are YOUR qualifications to discuss this topic?
They are vast and extensive.
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