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Why are HDMI cables so expensive?

So you run to the store to purchase one of those new LED TV’s and realize when coming home and have everything unpacked, that the TV doesn’t come with a free HDMI cable. Mad, you grab your car keys and drive to the store while you imagine how amazing your new 50″ Smart TV would hang on the wall but when you walk in the store to the cable section, you realize that a damn cable costs about $20.

Why are HDMI cables so expensive?

There is no denying that HDMI cables can provide much better quality audio and video compared to your typical cable but this is no reason for it to cost more, because if you look online you can find HDMI cables for just $2. The problem with HDMI cables is that you aren’t paying more for the higher quality HDMI provides, that is what they want you to believe.

Will using a £5,000 USB cable make your printer better?

The answer is no. It is still a great question asked by Chris Pinder and is a great example of how a more expensive cable doesn’t affect quality, you might be paying more for a cable that has a special connector that allows it to be used better into wall-hung super-slim LED TVs but certainly not the quality.

What makes a good HDMI cable different from a bad one?

All material used in HDMI cables are pretty standard and the “standard” HDMI cable will provide everything you need if you are an average consumer. There is no Good or bad here, there is just good or slightly better then Good.

“All official HDMI cables use the best insulation possible, the same quality plugs, and usually solder-free cold-welding that prevents copper strands from being joined. “

When is it OK to pay a little extra for a HDMI cable?

HDMi cable

Some HDMI cables feature a smart connector, which means that the head of the HDMI cable can be twisted to left, right and middle solving the issue where a HDMI cable couldn’t be connected to a TV that is hung on the wall because of the little space between the TV and the wall. Just like this, there are many examples of HDMI cables with slight modifications which might make it worth paying a little more.

The length of the cable

So when is it worth investing more in a cable that is slightly better than “standard”? Well, you should think about it the moment you need a cable longer then 3 to 6 feet long.  The longer the cable, the higher quality it needs to be to pass the signal reliably, especially at distances of 25 feet or more. But, that doesn’t mean that it has to cost $100+ per foot and don’t be fooled into thinking that there’s much difference between two 25 feet HDMI cables, in those cases just take the cheapest one.


About the author Drew Debois

I'm a tall human being who enjoys video games, technological things and making videos for YouTube. I live in London, I'm currently a partner with TGN on YouTube and I've also started as an editor for AmongTech Read More

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13 comments on “Why are HDMI cables so expensive?
  1. DoSomeActualResearch on said:

    Absolute bollocks.
    Go and plug in a shitty $2 cable and then replace it with a $50 one and see the difference.

    • Sonofdorko on said:

      So if you rip a blu-ray disc to your hard disk at full bitrate at 40+ gigs, then play it do you lose any quality? Wait! Did you see the quality of that cable used to connect the hard disk? Clearly it wouldn’t look or sound as good…

    • Zer0sec on said:

      Dosomeactualresearch… Haha what a goof, did u even read the article? Hdmi is hdmi. And I usually pay $1 for cables. Running my 4k tv at 3840×2160 or 1920×1080 on a $1 vs a $50 cable makes no difference at all. Unless it’s a cable like seiki has which provides built in upmixing from 1080 to 2160 resolution. Problem is upmixing looks like shit and it’s not worth doing. What’s worse is people believe they need a special cable for 4k resolution when in fact they don’t.

      The author has a good point paying and extra $2 may be worth it for an adjustable cable, but u can also buy an l shape adapter for $1, making it the same price.

    • jaxative on said:

      Already have years ago, difference between a $5 cable and my ex’s $140 Monster cable was ZERO.

    • Thretosix on said:

      The difference is you’re 48 more dollars in the hole. Some people feel they have to make up stuff so that they can legitimize why they spent the money they really didn’t need to. The only thing a person a person may want a higher quality cable would be for longer distances as signals can degrade over length. For most intended purposes people only need a 3 foot to 6 foot cable in which, if you spend $50 on that cable, someone duped you. No other way to put it.

  2. There is nothing to notice. Understanding how HDMI signals works is enought to know that quality difference is in your head

  3. Allan Mills on said:

    The simple rule is you want the cheapest cable that works. Distance and electrical interference might be factors depending on your setup. At work our IT guy had to get more expensive cables because the first ones he tried had some video output glitches due to the distance between the PC and the projectors.
    I suppose longevity might be an issue with cheaper cables dying earlier, but I think I’ve only ever had one single HDMI cable die.

  4. atomic.bitch on said:

    Kinda not really tough – HDMI is combination of Audio Video and some newer cases now Ethernet for the smart TV devices – Audio leads will be the only thing noticable on a good healthy day for us all. Basically we have hard time hearing frequency greater than 14.5khz. Okay some sharpies out there that can hear into 15k which is nice but won’t last long. So big part Video – video signal is on these cables Digital – So only a flow of 1’s and 0’s transfer by its clock frequency sending. This means you only need a connection. ZipCord. Solid Core flexable core – as long as it passes 3-5 volts for TTL signals to pass thru ain’t going to make a diff. Reason #2 Video is sync’d only by its signal not quality and that is done now at both ends of the cable no connection or faulty connection no sync no picture Sorry – audio will break up or distort by bad conns. Any TV Broadcast Tech will laugh at this blog due to they know signal in signal out – as long as the connection is there Video signal will be the same. Hence don’t matter really the cable quality. So more to the noodle thought – distance as one chap made is another reason for the better quality – audio yes again for sure. video – Data signal can reach 25 ft length comfortably – depending on the DAC driving it. Cheap Quality machines/players use cheap chip sets (dacs and may lose signal sync causing freezeframe/Blocking/Color Distortion. The class level vid/aud devices higher name brand use the better quality DACs. This will be a reason for keeping quality if reaching past 25 ft say for your cool ManCave/Home Theater enthuziasts and wall installations. Don’t get rediculous when the Salesman preaches Cost to quality – this you may yes laugh in his face for lack of tech knowledge. Less the wires are damaged – some multi-core strands maybe damaged this could be a few one of – and those to whom plug in to try compare will most likely tune to hear diff but fail too – they just can’t disseminate the few audio hz difference. Less they are about 14 yrs of age and ate their daily wheaties. We all lose that better hearing with age. So new version 2.0 HDMI are current and any fair price your willing to pass hands will be okay for the support needs you have. Newer Smart TVs req ver 2.0 – Check the actual tech Specs on the cables google search HDMI Spec. as example. Hope this babble might provide better insight to the issue in thought here. Cheers

  5. TheJaxx5 on said:

    I use Blue Rigger cables. Bought them off Amazon and have not been disappointed at all with them. $15 for a 25 foot CL3 rated cable? And it’s good quality as well!

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