For a long time, HDMI cables came in various different shapes and forms, including high speed cables, ethernet compatibility, gold plating etc. Due to this, the prices of them varied wildly to the extent that for many it was a confusing task to decide what kind of cable they should buy for their HDTV. Now that the 4k Ultra HD (UHD) standard is becoming more mainstream another variant of the cable has entered into the market; HDMI 2.0.
This new standard allows people that own 4K UHD TV’s to connect the unit to a device and watch 4K footage back at a silky smooth 60fps. Whilst it is also possible to use a HDMI 1.4 cable to view 4k material on your TV, it only allows playback at 30fps which can be a deal breaker for many. The thing is though, the release of HDMI 2.0 cables has resulted in the mass flood of cables that are extremely overpriced much like it did when HDMI cables were originally introduced.
Don’t go overboard with an expensive cable
In all honesty there is absolutely no need to buy a cable that is more than £15 since it is a waste. Companies like Nordost Heidall are currently charging £450 for their 1m 4K UHD HDMI cable. This is a massive waste of money and could be much better spent on say, an Ultra HD Blu Ray player. As with previous iterations of the HDMI cable standard, the signal is either on or off. It isn’t like the analogue days whereby spending extra money on a cable would result in a better overall quality of the picture. As long as it is listed as HDMI 2.0 it will be sufficient enough to allow you to watch 4K content on your TV (presuming it supports it) at 60fps.
The only time that I would recommend that you perhaps pay a bit extra is when it comes to the build quality of the cable. If for whatever reason you move your equipment around quite a bit and unplug it a lot then it may be worthwhile to opt for a more sturdy cable. Having said that however, if you don’t do this a lot then there is no need to buy a super beefed up cable.
Cable length is a consideration that you shouldn’t take lightly. Personally I’d recommend a 3 metre cable (roughly ten feet in length) since it allows more wiggle room to be able to orient the cable properly. TV manufacturers are now placing their connectors on the side of the unit instead of directly on the back and if you don’t have a long enough cable it can cause some flex on the connector. Whilst it is unlikely to break it is best not to take that risk since an extra metre of cable doesn’t add much difference to the overall price of the cable.
To that end, I’ve found that the best HDMI 2.0 cable on the market just now comes from Amazon. On both Amazon.com and Amazon UK, they are being offered well below the £15 price bracket mention above as well as being sturdy with gold plating which can help minimise any potential interference. The best thing is, they both come in twin pack (single cables are also available) which means if you have multiple devices then it’s a great option. These 2.0 cables are also backwards compatible with older devices so there’s no need to worry that your new cable might not work on an older piece of equipment.
What about HDMI 2.0a cables?
HDMI 2.0a cables are used to display HDR content on your device. Currently the HDR televisions that are available on the market are still in their infancy and very expensive at that. Therefore there aren’t really any cables right now that could be recommended that aren’t at a ludicrous price point.