At long last some SENSE about HDMI cables

As someone with a technical background, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve squirmed over the years listening to people spout nonsense about everything from vinyl records, through valve amplifiers… and now to HDMI cables.

As you know, HDMI is the current standard for video cables, replacing those older ugly and large SCART connectors and others, with a slim digital cable. The problem is that like everything else technical, there are no shortage of sharks when it comes to sales – and the gold-plated variations came out. Faced with the possibility of no longer being able to bullshit everyone with silly takes of how analog is better, the next best thing was to charge through the nose for special HDMI cables – even though the signal is digital!! I normally pay a fiver at most for such cables but that hasn’t stopped people paying over £100 for the same thing – because the guy at the retail store convinced them they needed a quality cable for best results.

Bollocks – you need a cable that’s not faulty and is well put together – END OF.

And here, at long last is some decent, well constructed proof to back that up. Well done guys.

Remember when valves were supposedly better than transistors – people still sell valve amplifiers on the myth of better sound – though I think nowadays people buy them for the glowing light. This all started when transistor amplifiers FIRST hit the scene. Valves distort music quite badly but in a way that’s not annoying to the ear (even harmonics). Early and badly designed transistor amplifiers created a lot of “odd harmonic” distortion that sounds grainy and horrible. This only lasted a short time but it didn’t stop a myth that persists to this day. By the time MOSFET transistors came about (they operate in a similar way to valves i.e. voltage rather than current driven) the problem was history – but not the myth  and in any case, cheap far-eastern speakers do far more damage to the fidelity of the music than amplifiers.

Remember vinyl versus CD? The rubbish peddled there was to do with the fact that “in theory” there was no limit to upper frequency quality in records (being mechanical) as against a CD which has  distinct, fixed upper frequency due to the sample rate.  The reality is that the higher the frequency, the worse the replication errors in a vinyl record and worse – the more damage a single item of dust does as the need trawls through the groove. I recall most of my vinyl records sounded pretty good when first played but after a while took on a gritty noise – you may think you’ve a clean room until you see a ray of sunshine blasting through the windows – then you’d see just a tiny fraction of the crap that’s floating around and getting between the soft plastic record and the very hard and nasty needle racing through the groove. Thankfully today the stored quality of much music exceeds that of CD even. All of which is irrelevant when played back through cheap and rubbishy PC speakers from the far-east.

These are not isolated examples, it happens throughout IT constantly – most people are clueless about due to our educational system not keeping up with the world (hopefully that might change a little with Google supporting Arduino and Raspberry Pi teaching in schools – though personally I doubt it and even then that only covers the basics of computing which is in itself just a tiny part of modern IT) and so there are and always will be charlatans who make the best of it.

Hopefully more articles like the link above will save people money while enlightening the few at the same time.


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