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Does quality of component cables matter?

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June 16, 2004 8:52:35 AM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

Greetings,
Does the quality of component cables affect the picture on an HDTV?

I bought a set of $20 component cables from Wal-Mart, and then a
representative at Best Buy told me that they carried a set of $150
component cables that would deliver a "cleaner" signal to my HDTV.

I'm assuming that higher quality cables do reduce "noise" in the
transmitted signal. So his claim made sense at first.

However, here's where I'm confused. I am also assuming that the
signal running over the component cables in 1080i is a digital signal.
And I am assuming that, like a digital cell phone (or DTV OTA
broadcast), if your signal is below a certain signal to noise ratio,
your picture (or voice, for the cell phone example) will be as good as
it can get.

So, if this is all true, and my $20 cables can deliver the needed
signal, how will better cables improve my digital picture?

Thanks for your help in understanding this,
Joe
June 16, 2004 5:39:16 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

"Joe" <joe.waddell@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:4ad9c11e.0406160352.14dc1c85@posting.google.com...
> Greetings,
> Does the quality of component cables affect the picture on an HDTV?
>
> I bought a set of $20 component cables from Wal-Mart, and then a
> representative at Best Buy told me that they carried a set of $150
> component cables that would deliver a "cleaner" signal to my HDTV.
>
> I'm assuming that higher quality cables do reduce "noise" in the
> transmitted signal. So his claim made sense at first.
>
> However, here's where I'm confused. I am also assuming that the
> signal running over the component cables in 1080i is a digital signal.
> And I am assuming that, like a digital cell phone (or DTV OTA
> broadcast), if your signal is below a certain signal to noise ratio,
> your picture (or voice, for the cell phone example) will be as good as
> it can get.
>
> So, if this is all true, and my $20 cables can deliver the needed
> signal, how will better cables improve my digital picture?
>
> Thanks for your help in understanding this,
> Joe

Component cables carry an analog signal. Still, such cables are very simple
devices and your present cables are very unlikely to be bettered by
expensive cables. Electronics sales are low profit margin on big items and
high profit margin on peripherals like cables and extended warranties.

Pat
Anonymous
June 16, 2004 5:39:47 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

On 16-Jun-2004, joe.waddell@gmail.com (Joe) wrote:

> Does the quality of component cables affect the picture on an HDTV?
>
> I bought a set of $20 component cables from Wal-Mart, and then a
> representative at Best Buy told me that they carried a set of $150
> component cables that would deliver a "cleaner" signal to my HDTV.

For the most part, the guy at Best Buy is trying to make a big sale. For
most uses, Monster Cables are absolutely unnecessary. Digital is either
"there" or it's not. We don't get snow. We don't get ghosting. We have a
picture or we don't. If we *do* have a picture, it's perfect. I love it when
they say things like "better, cleaner color transmission" and stuff like
that. Absolute B.S.

Now... having said that, Monster Cables may indeed be better at reducing
interference and at keeping the S/N ratio high. If you live in an area where
you regularly get strong interference (if you live, say, next door to a
power plant!) that causes dropouts (freeze frames, pixelization, etc.) with
your "cheap Wal-Mart cables", then you might be able to mitigate this with
better cables.

Furthermore, Monster Cables are built like tanks. They have good solid
connectors with good strain relief. They'll last a lifetime. If you have a
single hookup and never touch the cables again, not such a big deal. Myself,
I'm adding new components all the time, switching out cable boxes (e.g. to
add DVR, etc.) and I like having the solid connectors. So, for the most
part, I buy Monster Cables.

Ultimately, the decision is yours as to whether the more expensive cables
are worth the cost. There are plenty of good valid reasons (like mentioned
above) for buying Monster Cables. Unfortunately, "better picture", "more
accurate color representation", "cleaner signal" etc., are not among them.
That's just good old-fashioned marketing hype.

--
Chris

Munged email. To reply by email (each "word" a letter):
see jay bee are oh oh kay ee [AT] em ess en [DOT] see oh em
Related resources
Anonymous
June 16, 2004 7:32:11 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

"FlyByKnight" <FlyByKnight@example.invalid> wrote in message
news:D 4Yzc.3$V.1@fe14.usenetserver.com...
>
> On 16-Jun-2004, joe.waddell@gmail.com (Joe) wrote:
>
> > Does the quality of component cables affect the picture on an HDTV?
> >
> > I bought a set of $20 component cables from Wal-Mart, and then a
> > representative at Best Buy told me that they carried a set of $150
> > component cables that would deliver a "cleaner" signal to my HDTV.
>
> For the most part, the guy at Best Buy is trying to make a big sale. For
> most uses, Monster Cables are absolutely unnecessary. Digital is either
> "there" or it's not. We don't get snow. We don't get ghosting. We have a
> picture or we don't. If we *do* have a picture, it's perfect. I love it
when
> they say things like "better, cleaner color transmission" and stuff like
> that. Absolute B.S.

The component signal is not digital so none of the arguments you make apply.
The issue is whether the more expensive quality cables are really that much
better and if better translates to a noticable improvement. My $10
component cables work just fine for me and I see no ghosting (ringing in
electrical terms). If you've bought the best of everything in your system
it wouldn't hurt to buy a pair of each (low and high cost cables) and do
your own comparison. Best Buy does take returns. Circuit City does too.

> Furthermore, Monster Cables are built like tanks. They have good solid
> connectors with good strain relief. They'll last a lifetime. If you have a
> single hookup and never touch the cables again, not such a big deal.
Myself,
> I'm adding new components all the time, switching out cable boxes (e.g. to
> add DVR, etc.) and I like having the solid connectors. So, for the most
> part, I buy Monster Cables.

This would be my rationale for buying better cables and I stated the same
thing in another thread on this subject. However you don't really know if
it's important until later. Again you could buy the cheap cables and if a
problem arises then toss them and buy better.
Anonymous
June 16, 2004 10:12:53 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

joe.waddell@gmail.com (Joe) wrote in news:4ad9c11e.0406160352.14dc1c85
@posting.google.com:

> Greetings,
> Does the quality of component cables affect the picture on an HDTV?
>
> I bought a set of $20 component cables from Wal-Mart, and then a
> representative at Best Buy told me that they carried a set of $150
> component cables that would deliver a "cleaner" signal to my HDTV.
>
> I'm assuming that higher quality cables do reduce "noise" in the
> transmitted signal. So his claim made sense at first.

In my opinion it's mostly hype. A good connector and decently-shielded
75-ohm cable is all that is required. You can get those in a cheap GE
cable and probably not see any difference from the $150 cable.

> However, here's where I'm confused. I am also assuming that the
> signal running over the component cables in 1080i is a digital signal.
> And I am assuming that, like a digital cell phone (or DTV OTA
> broadcast), if your signal is below a certain signal to noise ratio,
> your picture (or voice, for the cell phone example) will be as good as
> it can get.

1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i are all ANALOG specifications for the video
output of digital receiving equipment (as far as I know 480i is the only
mode broadcast analog in the USA and Canada). So a poor quality cable
with bad shielding (some audio cables are pretty awful) or poor
connectors will not pass the higher baseband video frequencies properly.
But any cable specifically designed for component should be OK, even the
cheaper ones. I got my GE for $1 on eBay and it's fine. Cost more to
ship than to buy, but even so it was a bargain.

> So, if this is all true, and my $20 cables can deliver the needed
> signal, how will better cables improve my digital picture?

They probably won't in any way that you can see.
I've dealt with cabling all my life as an RF technician and ham radio
operator and I routinely install cables for RF that are WAY better than
anything you would need for 1080i video. They sell for well under a
dollar a foot.

Obviously, audio is less demanding than video, since the highest
frequencies and harmonics likely to be found on a baseband audio feed are
well under 100khz, whereas the frequencies needed for a 1080i baseband
signal can reach to more than 10mhz. That is still not a problem with
decent coax which has low attenuation at such frequencies, but a cheap
coax designed with audio in mind will smear fine details in the picture.
Note that I said "designed with audio in mind." Any component vide cable
or even good composite video cables tripled should handle these baseband
frequencies with no noticeable smearing. Maybe there's some cheap knock-
offs out there, but the super-high priced ones are, in my opinion, just
hype. The only artifacts I see in the pictures through my GE cable are
the ones on SDTV signals that get there because the satellite
transmissions are compressed digital information. The HD channels aren't
compressed and don't have such artifacts except when the broadcaster is
retransmitting something compressed earlier.

--
Dave Oldridge
ICQ 1800667

Paradoxically, most real events are highly improbable.
Anonymous
June 16, 2004 10:20:59 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

"Dave Oldridge" <doldridg@leavethisoutshaw.ca> wrote in message
news:Xns950A724C13C44doldridgsprintca@24.71.223.159...
> cheaper ones. I got my GE for $1 on eBay and it's fine. Cost more to
> ship than to buy, but even so it was a bargain.

I got my GE component cables at Target for $10.
Anonymous
June 17, 2004 1:30:36 AM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

"Joe" <joe.waddell@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:4ad9c11e.0406160352.14dc1c85@posting.google.com...
> Greetings,
> Does the quality of component cables affect the picture on an HDTV?
>
> I bought a set of $20 component cables from Wal-Mart, and then a
> representative at Best Buy told me that they carried a set of $150
> component cables that would deliver a "cleaner" signal to my HDTV.
>
> I'm assuming that higher quality cables do reduce "noise" in the
> transmitted signal. So his claim made sense at first.
>
> However, here's where I'm confused. I am also assuming that the
> signal running over the component cables in 1080i is a digital signal.
> And I am assuming that, like a digital cell phone (or DTV OTA
> broadcast), if your signal is below a certain signal to noise ratio,
> your picture (or voice, for the cell phone example) will be as good as
> it can get.
>
> So, if this is all true, and my $20 cables can deliver the needed
> signal, how will better cables improve my digital picture?
>
> Thanks for your help in understanding this,
> Joe

The price of cables has little to do with anything except retailer profits
and ego.

If one were running dozens of meters of coax, the tiny differences in cables
might make a small difference. But if one is running the typical 2-4 meters
for home theater, forget it.

$20 cables are fine
June 17, 2004 9:01:27 AM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

> The component signal is not digital so none of the arguments you make apply.

This is good to know. What about DVI cables? Am I correct in
assuming that the 1080i signal is transmitted in a digital format? If
so, then the "quality" of DVI cables matters even less than component
cables. Right?

Thanks,
Joe
June 17, 2004 9:03:57 AM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

> The component signal is not digital so none of the arguments you make apply.

This is good to know. What about DVI cables? Am I correct in
assuming that the 1080i signal is transmitted in a digital format? If
so, then the "quality" of DVI cables matters even less than component
cables. Right?

Thanks,
Joe
Anonymous
June 17, 2004 9:12:45 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

"FLY135" <fly_135(@ hot not not)notmail.com> wrote in news:fc0Ac.12863
$Y3.7202@newsread2.news.atl.earthlink.net:

>
> "Dave Oldridge" <doldridg@leavethisoutshaw.ca> wrote in message
> news:Xns950A724C13C44doldridgsprintca@24.71.223.159...
>> cheaper ones. I got my GE for $1 on eBay and it's fine. Cost more to
>> ship than to buy, but even so it was a bargain.
>
> I got my GE component cables at Target for $10.

Which is about what I paid for mine (new in the plastic) on eBay, INCLUDING
the shipping. If I could have got more of them they would have been even
cheaper, but I'm only ever going to need three of them that I can see.


--
Dave Oldridge
ICQ 1800667

Paradoxically, most real events are highly improbable.
Anonymous
June 17, 2004 11:05:57 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

"Joe" <joe.waddell@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:4ad9c11e.0406170403.51732654@posting.google.com...
> > The component signal is not digital so none of the arguments you make
apply.
>
> This is good to know. What about DVI cables? Am I correct in
> assuming that the 1080i signal is transmitted in a digital format? If
> so, then the "quality" of DVI cables matters even less than component
> cables. Right?
>
> Thanks,
> Joe

HD TV is transmitted (over the air or cable) digitally and highly
compressed.

At the receiver/set top box, it is decompressed and converted into high
bandwidth analog component signals and often into an uncompressed high
bandwidth digital stream (DVI) which can then be displayed directly by a
digital monitor (like a plasma, lcd or dlp) or converted to analog in the TV
for CRT based monitors with DVI input.

Both signals respond badly to really really bad cables - as the bandwidth of
the cables decrease, the analog slowly degrades in resolution or could even
show noise or ghosting while the DVI continues to work perfectly until the
edges of the signals get hard to find, then it begins to lose bits and
eventually gets nothing.
Anonymous
June 23, 2004 1:06:01 AM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

No. Red, yellow and white A/V cable will work fine.

"Randy Sweeney" <rsweeney1@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:F_ednYEU549Hvk_dRVn-jw@comcast.com...
>
> "Joe" <joe.waddell@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:4ad9c11e.0406170403.51732654@posting.google.com...
> > > The component signal is not digital so none of the arguments you make
> apply.
> >
> > This is good to know. What about DVI cables? Am I correct in
> > assuming that the 1080i signal is transmitted in a digital format? If
> > so, then the "quality" of DVI cables matters even less than component
> > cables. Right?
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Joe
>
> HD TV is transmitted (over the air or cable) digitally and highly
> compressed.
>
> At the receiver/set top box, it is decompressed and converted into high
> bandwidth analog component signals and often into an uncompressed high
> bandwidth digital stream (DVI) which can then be displayed directly by a
> digital monitor (like a plasma, lcd or dlp) or converted to analog in the
TV
> for CRT based monitors with DVI input.
>
> Both signals respond badly to really really bad cables - as the bandwidth
of
> the cables decrease, the analog slowly degrades in resolution or could
even
> show noise or ghosting while the DVI continues to work perfectly until the
> edges of the signals get hard to find, then it begins to lose bits and
> eventually gets nothing.
>
>
June 24, 2004 2:42:38 PM

Archived from groups: alt.tv.tech.hdtv (More info?)

For the most part I'd recommend a quality cable the ones usually shipped
with the equipment vs. the Dollar stores. As for gold plated, there is only
one instance I can think of and that is if you live with high humidity and
then in that case only if the receptacle is also gold.

Many years ago we experimented with other "finger" material than gold
because of price. Differing amounts of tin, nickel, carbon etc. and I do
recall some failed outright others aged poorly dependant on signal strength
and current flow and connections of different type of composition in cases
reacted with each other (poorly).

There is something to be said for the "professional" cables, being thicker
they don't knot up and tangle and dress better.

The gray RCA audio cables on my subwoofer are pre-1972 and still the same
ones on my turntable (70's) but as required the DVD & HDTV all have a more
current connection and everything works fine!

j





"Patrick Shugrue" <shugrue@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:Za1Cc.71431$2i5.50044@attbi_s52...
> No. Red, yellow and white A/V cable will work fine.
>
> "Randy Sweeney" <rsweeney1@comcast.net> wrote in message
> news:F_ednYEU549Hvk_dRVn-jw@comcast.com...
>>
>> "Joe" <joe.waddell@gmail.com> wrote in message
>> news:4ad9c11e.0406170403.51732654@posting.google.com...
>> > > The component signal is not digital so none of the arguments you make
>> apply.
>> >
>> > This is good to know. What about DVI cables? Am I correct in
>> > assuming that the 1080i signal is transmitted in a digital format? If
>> > so, then the "quality" of DVI cables matters even less than component
>> > cables. Right?
>> >
>> > Thanks,
>> > Joe
>>
>> HD TV is transmitted (over the air or cable) digitally and highly
>> compressed.
>>
>> At the receiver/set top box, it is decompressed and converted into high
>> bandwidth analog component signals and often into an uncompressed high
>> bandwidth digital stream (DVI) which can then be displayed directly by a
>> digital monitor (like a plasma, lcd or dlp) or converted to analog in the
> TV
>> for CRT based monitors with DVI input.
>>
>> Both signals respond badly to really really bad cables - as the bandwidth
> of
>> the cables decrease, the analog slowly degrades in resolution or could
> even
>> show noise or ghosting while the DVI continues to work perfectly until
>> the
>> edges of the signals get hard to find, then it begins to lose bits and
>> eventually gets nothing.
>>
>>
>
>
!