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Why Use HDMI Cable?

written by: •edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/6/2011

Information on what an HDMI cable is and why it is superior to RCA, Component, and S-Video.

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    Home Theater Upgrades

    Whenever you buy a new piece of equipment for your home entertainment system, whether it is a new HDTV or a DVD player, some cables are included in the box. The cables you get are usually the basic RCA kind that will allow the minimum functionality for the device. If these cables are included for free, why use HDMI cable?

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    What is HDMI Cable?

    HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. It is currently the best quality cable you can use to connect components of a home entertainment system. If you use anything else for your home theater, such as RCA or component cables, then you are shortchanging yourself and underutilizing your equipment. Using an HDTV or Blu-ray player without an HDMI cable is like buying a convertible and never putting the top down.

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    Why Use HDMI Cable?

    HDTV The term ‘high definition’ has multiple meanings. Just calling an HDTV a high definition television isn’t nearly descriptive enough because there are various grades of HD quality signals. It starts at 480p, then goes to 720p, then 1080i, and finally the best is 1080p. If you want to get that full 1080p signal with your HDTV, then you need to use HDMI cabling. There’s no other way around it.

    If you are watching movies on a Blu-ray player or an upscaling DVD player, then you should be using HDMI in order to get the best quality sound and picture. Blu-ray is made to work in 1080p, and upscaling DVD players do the same. Likewise, if you’re playing games or watching movies on a PS3, things will look better if you connect it to your HDTV using an HDMI cable. I did some testing with my own 1080p HDTV and PS3 with different cables and the results were amazing.

    Suppose you buy a new HDTV and your old DVD player doesn’t have an HDMI connection. In this case, you should seriously considering buying an upscaling DVD player. My old DVD player only put out 480p and it didn’t look that great on my 47" HDTV. I bought a Sony upscaling DVD player and connected it via HDMI, and now my DVD’s look almost as good as a Blu-ray.

    To summarize, HDMI is best, followed by component (red, green, blue) cables, S-video, RCA, and coaxial. You will have to spend a little extra to get the right cables for your new equipment, but the difference it makes is worth every penny.

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    Where to Buy HDMI

    HDMI cable Be very careful when shopping around for HDMI cables, because the prices vary greatly from store to store. I’ve seen HDMI cables selling for close to $100 in some places while you can get the same thing on for $10. I don’t know about you, but $90 is a pretty big difference to me, especially for the same thing.

    Want to know a little secret the retailers don’t want you to know? HDMI is a digital signal. That means it either works or it doesn’t. There is no quality grade or anything like that. In other words, one cable is just as good as the other. Don’t fall for some sales pitch and spend too much money on cabling. If you order home theater components online, don’t forget to buy a cable to go along with them.