Best HDMI cables 2021
There's no point buying an amazing TV if you don't pair it with the best HDMI cables. No matter what display you're running, a quality cable will always help deliver the best audio and video. Of course, not every cable is created equal. That's where we come in.
The best HDMI cables are independent of your setup. For example, a HDMI 2.1 cable can deliver 120Hz/8K content. However, while that cable will work on lower-end displays with great results, you might not need to splash the extra cash. Instead, you might want a great quality HDMI 2.0 cable instead.
With most products there's tradeoffs, and the same is true of cables. If you buy a long, cheap cable then image quality will see a loss in quality. On the other hand, a short, well-made cable will result in a crystal-clear picture. Furthermore, you should invest in a shielded cable if it’s to be used outdoors. As it turns out, there's a lot to know when it comes to something as simple as a HDMI cable.
You should also check out our best TVs guide if you need to upgrade your screen, or have a look at the best HDMI switchers if you have too many devices and not enough HDMI slots.
1. Monoprice DynamicView Active: Best HDMI cable overall
Monoprice DynamicView Active
Best HDMI cable overall, thanks to price and performance
Bandwidth: 18GB | Length: 10ft-60ft | Active: Yes | 4K and HDR: Yes
Great length options
4K and HDR support at 60Hz
Not 8K supported
The Monoprice DynamicView Active HDMI cable, otherwise known as the Monoprice HDMI High Speed cable is an all round winner. This offers decent 4K quality streaming at 60Hz with HDR support thanks to the 18GB capacity meaning it'll handle the top end signals of most new TVs. It's also an active cable meaning it draws power from the device to boost signal over longer distances this is good for a massive 60 feet in its longest form.
The cable is built to a very high standard and comes with a lifetime warranty. Granted we'll probably have 8K TVs with actual content and need to upgrade cables in years to come but it's reassuring to know the build quality is high and this is made to last. From gaming, to TV to audio and monitor use, this cable can handle it all and with a fair price tag too.
2. AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI: Best budget HDMI
AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI
Cheap, reliable, and easy to buy
Bandwidth: 18GB | Length: 1.8m - 10.6m | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
Super low price
4K quality support
Up to 10.6m
Not HDMI certified
The AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI cable is a great option for those looking to get the job done on a budget. Despite being super affordable this cable is still capable of 18GB meaning 4K image support as well as 60Hz refresh rates. This doesn't have an official HDMI certification but it is CL3 rated meaning it's made with low smoke materials to resist fire. The gold plated connectors ensure the best connectivity and long life too. That's a lot of features for the sub $10 price.
3. Belkin HDMI 2.1 Ultra High Speed: Best for gaming
Belkin HDMI 2.1 Ultra High Speed
Ideal for gaming set-ups, and high-end AV devices
Bandwidth: 48GB | Length: 3.3 feet - 6.6 feet | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
Up to 8K support
4K at 120HZ
Braided out jacket
Not the longest
The Belkin HDMI 2.1 Ultra High Speed cable is a real modern winner. When it comes to gaming you want the fastest possible transmission of the most information along your HDMI cable. That's why you need the latest generation HDMI 2.1 standard which, in this case, offers a hefty 48GB or data meaning full 4K at 120Hz and even future-proofed 8K at 60Hz support. The braided cable makes this tough enough to be moved between consoles regularly without sustaining damage, plus you get a two year warranty. You also get Dolby Vision and HDR10 support making this great for top-end TVs, projectors and gaming monitors.
4. Blue Jeans Cable Series-FE: Best US-made HDMI
Blue Jeans Cable Series-FE
If you're looking to shop local, this cable is 100% US-made
Bandwidth: 18GB | Length: 1 foot - 25 feet | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
Made in the US
Lots of lengths
Tougher versions available
30-day warranty only
The Blue Jeans Cable company is US based and makes it cables on US soil in Kentucky, Indiana. It offers a selection with varying lengths and thicknesses but the Series-FE is ideal for simple needs. It's standard length is three feet and it's a bonded-pair meaning you get up to 18GB of data making it 4K capable. The PVC jacket and gold-plated connectors make this strong although the 30-day warranty isn't too reassuring.
5. JSAUX HDMI 2.0: Best for toughness and durability
JSAUX HDMI 2.0
A super tough cable that is made to last
Bandwidth: 18GB | Length: 3.3 feet - 16.5 feet | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
Tough build quality throughout
HDMI 2.1 18GB speeds
The JSAUX HDMI 2.0 cable is very impressive for super low, sub-$10 price. Despite that price this still offers 4K at 60Hz thanks to the HDMI 2.0 rating of this 18Gbps cable. But it's the build quality that makes this really stand out. The connector head is gold plated with a tin-plated inner, there is thick shielding along the cable and crucially the connector between head and cable is toughened to withstand over 1,000 bends in its lifetime. That makes this a great option for anyone that is going to be moving it regularly or needs to bend it around to fit in a space.
6. Zeskit Maya Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable: Best flat cable
Zeskit Maya Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable
A flat, braided cable, to suit tidy-wire set-ups
Bandwidth: 48GB | Length: 1.5ft - 10ft | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
Compact flat cable
There are slimmer cables
The Zeskit Maya is a stunning cable as HDMI cabling goes. This offers it all with a huge 48Gbps bandwidth meaning you can get 8K and 120Hz content piped down this slim cable. Thanks to a material braid, despite being slender, that cable is super robust which means it's not only tough to external cuts but is also built to withstand bending and torsion from within. The solid OHFC copper wiring makes for superb conduction while the zinc-alloy housing combine to make for very clear and high-quality signals. How it does all that while keeping the price so low is almost worrying.
7. BlueRigger 4K Micro HDMI to HDMI: Best for portable video devices
BlueRigger Micro HDMI
Ideal for devices like laptops or portable projectors, that require Micro HDMI
Bandwidth: 18GB | Length: 10 feet - 25 feet | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
Long length options
Not 8K future-proofed
The BlueRigger Micro HDMI to HDMI cable is ideal for connecting portable video devices like cameras, GoPros and projectors. Although it's worth noting this isn't microUSB, so won't work with phones or tablets using that port. What it can do is transmit data up to 4K at 60Hz as well as being Dolby DTS-HD compliant. This is also tough, with gold plated connectors, and it uses a 32 gauge premium grade cable that's fully shielded. As such the whole things is covered for life, says the company.
8. Monster HDMI 4K: Has a lifetime guarantee
Monster HDMI 4K
This one is expensive, but comes with a lifetime guarantee
Bandwidth: 21GB | Length: 4 feet - 12 feet | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
Ultra flexible yet strong
The Monster HDMI 4K cable is not the cheapest on this list but it's up there with the strongest and comes with a lifetime guarantee. That means, should anything go wrong with your cable, you can simply have it replaced – the company even upgrades you when tech advances and this becomes limiting to keep up with your device. You should be good for a while though as this has 4K support and thanks to a V-Grip the connection of the 24k gold ends is solid and the flexible cable is made to last too.
9. iVanky HDMI 2.0: Best for Dolby TrueHD and HDR support
iVanky HDMI 2.0
Our top pick for Dolby TrueHD and HDR
Bandwidth: 18GB | Length: 3.3 feet - 25 feet | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
Dolby TrueHD support
4K HDR ready
Still not 8K ready
The iVanky HDMI 2.0 should really be called HDMI 2.0b as it's built to that more recent standard. That means it can handle 4K and HDR content to give the best possible image on your TV. So you can enjoy 48-bit deep color but it also applies to audio with support for Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel surround sound. The cable itself is shielded with braided housing to offer flexibility and resilience and there's even a Velcro strap to help keep things tidy.
10. Highwings 8K Ultra High Speed HDMI: Best for 8K on a budget
Highwings 8K Ultra High Speed HDMI
A tough all rounder with high-speeds at low prices
Bandwidth: 48GB | Length: 1.5 feet - 15 feet | Active: No | 4K and HDR: Yes
8K, 12-bit HDR and 120Hz
Tough braided cable
Could have longer options
The Highwings 8K Ultra High Speed HDMI cable is just that, super fast at 48Gbps. That means you get full 8K resolution at 120Hz but this does all that while keeping the price low. That isn't to say you need to make sacrifices though as you get a tough braided double military fiber nylon cable with shielding built for flexion. The connectors are gold plated and the shell is made from light yet strong aluminum. For HDR with 12-bit color, this is a great cable option which comes in a decent variety of length options all of which are really well priced.
How we evaluated
We spent hours researching product descriptions, manufacturer sites, HDMI.org, user reviews and anything else that you might run into on your search for an HDMI cable. Then we took our wealth of information and compiled need-to-know content for your purchase decision along with technical information not particularly helpful in your HDMI search. We only present you with the pertinent information so you can make a buying decision with confidence. We found that the best quality of an HDMI cable is its reliability. With the all-or-nothing nature of HDMI cables, the trustworthiness of the manufacturer and distributor is important. We chose the most reliable and trustworthy products to recommend so you can find the best fit for your needs at the best price.
Do you need a new HDMI cable?
If you recently invested in a shiny new 4K TV you may not need to buy new HDMI cables for 4K content. If you think you need new cables just because you’ve upgraded other aspects of your home entertainment system, we encourage you to try your cables first with the new tech. There’s a good chance that they work. If your data needs are a little more intensive or if you need brand-new cables for another reason, here’s a look at what to consider when buying a new HDMI.
Types of HDMI cables
There are several different classifications and certifications for HDMI cables. The main difference between cable types is how much data they are proven to handle. A standard HDMI 2.0 cable in 2020 can handle 4K content at 60Hz. Some high-speed HDMI 2.1 cables will carry 8K content up to 120Hz. Most people need a high-speed HDMI 2.0 or 2.1 cable to cover their needs, but there are definitely options available for every type of media connection.
Standard, high-speed, premium high-speed and ultra high speed cables can all also carry a dedicated HDMI Ethernet channel, which allows the cable to make network connections with compatible devices. This is rare, though, as most devices use other ways of connecting to networks.
What should you pay for an HDMI?
Any HDMI cable within a certain category is tested and performs at the exact same standard as every other HDMI cable in the same category. Any high-speed HDMI gives you the exact same quality as another high-speed HDMI cable. Our best advice when choosing an HDMI cable is to find the cheapest one that fits your needs. We found great high-speed HDMI cables available for less than $10 each. Thinner cables, active cables and cables with higher certifications cost much more.
HDMI cable build quality
Though cables that work will not deliver better sound or video than any other cable that works, some cables are built better than others. The build quality, we found, is the most important factor determining whether a cable will work and how long it will work. This is especially true for longer cables; a better build quality in longer cables can make a difference. We find it important to delineate here that not all expensive cables are built better than inexpensive ones. The HDMI cables we recommend are all from trusted brands that produce reliable cables. Basically, look for products with a lot of positive reviews and avoid products that cost substantially more than similar items for no apparent reason.
If you’re planning on running HDMI cables through your walls, it’s important that you check the fire-safety rating of your chosen cables. CL2 and CL3 ratings are usually recommended for in-wall use, but you should check with your insurance company or local building codes to be sure.
Active vs. Passive Cables
All of the HDMI cables we reviewed are passive cables, meaning they are bi-directional and act simply as a pipeline to transfer data between devices. Some HDMI cables are active cables, meaning they include extra tech to ensure high-speed quality over longer distances or with thinner cables. They are directional cables that boost signals and usually require some sort of power source. Active cables aren’t really necessary for shorter lengths unless your setup requires your HDMI to be more flexible than is typical.
Will my TV support HDMI 2.1?
Well, that depends on the TV. While many modern TVs still don't come with an HDMI 2.1 port as standard (newer LG OLED models are starting to include them, as do the latest range of Samsung QLEDs), it certainly will become more widespread in the next few years as 8K becomes increasingly popular. We suggest checking for an HDMI 2.1 slot if you're buying a new TV that you expect to have for the next 5+ years. If it's just a mid-priced model, and you're not worried about future-proofing, it certainly isn't a deal-breaker.
Luke is a veteran tech journalist with decades of experience covering everything from TVs, power tools, science and health tech to VPNs, space, gaming and cars. You may recognize him from appearances on plenty of news channels or have read his words which have been published in most tech titles over the years. In his spare time (of which he has little as a father of two) Luke likes yoga, surfing, meditation, DIY and consuming all the books, comics and movies he can find.
The best HDMI cables for 2021
HDMI cables are the all-essential building blocks of any modern entertainment system. These high-speed wires are far from fancy and don’t require tons of setup, but anyone who has tried to deal with TVs, A/V receivers, or soundbars — or who use their TV as a computer monitor — knows how useful these cords can be. Without them, even watching a video on your TV quickly becomes impossible.
Although you probably won’t need to spend serious cash to get an HDMI cable (unless you’re opting to go for a wireless HDMI solution), it’s still important to know which cables are of high-quality and durable. Here’s everything you’ll need to know to pick a good one — and our recommendations for the best HDMI cables on the market.
How to pick the best HDMI cable
Despite efforts on the part of some manufacturers to label their cables as HDMI 2.0 or HDMI 2.1, what differentiates one HDMI cord from another isn’t the HDMI version. That version number (1, 1.4, 2.0, 2.1, etc.) describes the capabilities of your hardware — from OLED TVs and soundbars to A/V receivers, etc. — not your HDMI cables.
That said, there is a relationship between the version of HDMI your devices use and the kind of HDMI cable you should buy.
Speed (or bandwidth)
Speed is the single biggest consideration when choosing an HDMI cable because if your cable isn’t fast enough for your specific equipment, HDMI version, and media sources, it won’t be reliable.
HDMI cable speed is measured in gigabits per second (Gbps); don’t worry, you don’t need to memorize a bunch of numbers. To keep things simple, HDMI.org — the group that maintains the specifications for both HDMI device and HDMI cables — sorts HDMI cable speed into four main categories:
If you don’t own a 4K UHD TV and you don’t plan on buying one any time soon, a standard HDMI cable is probably all you need. It supports HD video in both 720p and 1080i resolutions. We’ve seen 1080p work with standard HDMI cables, but it’s not guaranteed. You can use these regular HDMI cables with DVD players, Blu-ray players, game consoles, streaming media players, and even A/V receivers and soundbars. Just keep in mind, if you ever decide to venture beyond the realm of HD, you may need something faster.
High Speed HDMI
This is the A/V world’s workhorse. High Speed HDMI cables can manage any device or content all the way up to video with 4K resolution at 30Hz. 3D video, deep color, and, of course, 1080p HD are all supported. Static HDR (like HDR10) will work, too, although we don’t recommend this kind of cable if you want to experience Dolby Vision HDR. As a dynamic version of HDR, it uses a lot more data and thus benefits from a faster cable.
Premium High Speed HDMI
As long as you’re sticking to the world of 4K UHD, and you don’t anticipate wanting to use bleeding-edge features like 8K or eARC, a Premium High Speed HDMI cable is going to last you for a very long time. It’s guaranteed to offer 18Gbps, which is what HDMI 2.0b devices need to perform at their best. This premium HDMI cable can support 4K resolution up to 60Hz, all flavors of HDR, including Dolby Vision and HDR10+, and audio return channel (ARC) so that you can simplify your cabling to your TV with just a single connection.
If you bought your TV or any other piece of A/V equipment in the last two or three years, Premium High Speed is the way to go.
Ultra High Speed HDMI
Welcome to the top of the HDMI tower. Ultra High Speed HDMI is for people who want the ultimate in future-proofing. Representing the bleeding-edge of HDMI tech, ultra-certified cables are guaranteed to provide the full 48Gbps that enables all of the advanced features in the HDMI 2.1 specification, including 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video, eARC, all versions of HDR, and the many varieties of variable refresh rate (VRR) technologies.
Do you need this kind of cable? At the moment, only two categories of folks can really benefit from it: Next-gen gamers on consoles like the PS5 or Xbox Series X, both of which support gaming in 4K/120Hz and 8K/60Hz, and those who own 8K TVs. Keep in mind, to be able to game at 4K/120Hz or 8K/60Hz, your TV needs to support these resolutions and frame rates, too.
In an ideal world, you’d pick the HDMI cable that had the shortest possible length for your desired components. Setups have a habit of changing as you add, remove, and relocate your A/V gear, so make sure you select an HDMI cable that is long enough for your current and future needs, especially if you’re installing it in a wall or ceiling.
But be wary of any HDMI cable that runs longer than 25 feet. These super-long cables can suffer from signal degradation, and you might find that long cables do not maintain a reliable connection between your devices, and don’t even think of connecting several together with an HDMI adapter, that won’t work either. Always check to make sure an HDMI cable works with all of your devices, HDMI switch, HDMI splitter, and content types before installing it permanently. An active HDMI cable uses a small chip to borrow a tiny bit of power from the devices they’re connected to, which helps maintain signal strength over longer distances.
When considering longer cable runs, cable quality becomes much more important. Read customer and pro reviews carefully before you buy a long cable and make sure the manufacturer has a good warranty.
Installation type — it matters
If you’re planning on running an HDMI cable through a wall or ceiling, it must be rated for that type of use. Do not run a standard HDMI cable behind drywall; its protective covering has not been designed to withstand accidental contact with construction materials like nails, screws, and metal drywall hangers. Look for cables with a CL2 or CL3 rating, and always check your local building codes for compliance before installing. Installing an HDMI cable in a wall isn’t always a great idea, even if the cable is rated for in-wall use. Check out our HDMI alternatives section below for other ways to run an A/V signal through walls or over long distances.
The best all-around Ultra High Speed HDMI cable: SecurOMax High-Speed 4K HDMI Cable
Whether you’re rocking your gaming setup on or watching a ton of 4K content on your OLED TV, if you’re looking for a high-powered, heavy-duty HDMI cable that you can set and forget, SecurOMax makes a mean cord. While it’s not an 8K cable, that’s OK, this high-speed HDMI cable supports 4K UHD, Ultra HD 2160p, Quad HD 1440p, Full HD 1080p, and 3D, delivering high performance and low interference when connected to your hardware.
This cotton braided cable was built to last and includes oxygen-free bare copper wiring and is triple-shielded for maximum performance and ultra-low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). The SecurOMax is a 24K gold-plated connector with soldering points covered by a thick aluminum shell, meaning it’s durable and built to last.
The SecurOMax HDMI is tangle-free and super-flexible, as well as being conveniently integrated with ethernet and ARC. Plus, this cable is offered at 15-foot and 25-foot lengths, giving more flexibility to your gaming or home theater setups. And with a price ranging from $10 to $25, you really can’t go wrong.
The best certified HDMI cable: Monoprice Certified Premium High Speed HDMI Cable
What’s the difference between a certified and a non-certified HDMI cable? Not much. If an HDMI cable is truly a high-speed cable, it will perform all of the needed duties like transmitting 4K/60Hz, high dynamic range (HDR), and 4:4:4 deep-color video, plus uncompressed audio.
The difference is that a certified cable has been independently tested to meet HDMI.org’s “ultra reliability” criteria. We’re of the opinion that an HDMI cable either works or does not, but for some people, the added peace of mind that comes with a certification of reliability is worth a few extra dollars.
Available in sizes from 3 to 30 feet and starting at less than $10, this Monoprice Certified Premium High Speed HDMI cable is the least expensive HDMI cable that’s certified we could find, and like all Monoprice cables, it carries a lifetime warranty.
The best non-certified HDMI cable: AmazonBasics High-Speed 4K HDMI Cable
All high-speed HDMI cables can easily support 4K UHD video, and as the name suggests, this cheap HDMI cable is one of the most reliable ways to connect your HDMI devices.
Available in sizes from 3 to 100 feet and starting at less than $10, these cables are affordably priced and backed by Amazon’s lifetime warranty.
Curiously, AmazonBasics High-Speed 4K HDMI Cables are often the same price as the Monoprice Certified Premium High Speed HDMI Cable, so which one you choose may simply come down to considerations like shipping fees — Amazon Prime members get free shipping on this cable, while Monoprice.com charges a small fee for shipping.
The best Ultra High Speed HDMI cable for 8K and next-gen gaming: Zeskit 8K Ultra HD High Speed 48Gpbs HDMI Cable
For the very best HDMI performance, a cable that is rated for 48Gbps is ideal. There are several of these on the market, like the Monoprice DynamicView.
But if you want the extra peace of mind that comes with HDMI.org’s certification, the is currently one of the few that has earned that designation. Better yet, Zeskit offers it in four lengths: 3 feet, 6.5 feet, 10 feet, and 16 feet, and none of these sizes are especially expensive.
The 6.5-feet version is $20. We’d prefer it if Zeskit offered a lifetime warranty on its cables as Monoprice does, but the company’s two-year warranty is likely long enough that if there’s a problem, you’ll find it long before the warranty period has expired.
Honorable mention: Mediabridge High-Speed 4K HDMI Cable
AmazonBasics has some high-quality HDMI cables, but if you’re looking for an alternative that lands in the same price range and offers similar length options — 3 to 50 feet — then it’s hard to find a flaw in the MediaBridge High-Speed HDMI cable.
This cable features added thickness and durability, with reinforced molded ends, pure copper conductors, triple shielding, and gold-plated connectors, adding to an incredible sound and picture quality experience.
The Mediabridge HDMI cable can handle pretty much everything you can throw at it, including support for HDMI 2.0b and 18Gbps transfer speeds, 3D, ARC, HDR video with 48-bit deep color, and has an integrated Ethernet for convenience.
Plus, it supports all refresh rates from 30hz to 240Hz for fast gaming and watching action sports and gaming. It’s also backed by a lifetime warranty, so have at it.
The best for connecting portable video devices: BlueRigger4K Micro HDMI to HDMI
If you ever have the need to connect other photo or video devices besides your smartphone (you mean there are other devices?) directly to your TV or monitor for quick viewing, then the BlueRigger Micro HDMI to HDMI cable is the way to go.
GoPro cameras, digital cameras, video cameras, and even some tablets and smartphones can be connected from their Micro HDMI ports to send 4K data at 60Hz at up to 18Gbps speeds to TVs, computer monitors, and projectors. And while it’s not 8K capable, you’re probably not going to need that quite yet, unless you have 8K content ready to be viewed on your 8K TV.
BlueRigger is known for its durable and rugged cables, and this Micro HDMI to HDMI cable is a case in point. Gold-plated connectors and shielded premium 32-gauge cable are tough but still flexible enough to easily route through any messy cable rat’s nest. Available in 3- to 15-foot lengths, there’s a perfect length for your situation, and BlueRigger’s limited lifetime warranty is a nice-to-have perk.
Will high-speed HDMI cables always work?
In the past, most experts would have said that either an HDMI cable works or it doesn’t. Heck, we said that earlier in this article. Unlike analog cables, where the signal quality can degrade from excellent to poor and have a corresponding effect on video or audio, HDMI is a digital cable — and ones and zeroes don’t have quality. They either make it from the source device (like a Blu-ray player) to the destination device (a TV), or they do not. Occasionally, if there is a problem with the signal path (usually caused by a cable run that’s too long), you’ll see “sparkles” on the TV screen. This means that some of the ones and zeroes aren’t making it across the gap. The solution is almost always to replace your HDMI cable with a shorter one.
However, new technologies like Dolby Vision and HDR10+ use far more bandwidth than even HDR10. Known generically as dynamic HDR, these formats can be very picky about HDMI cable transmission speed. For instance, when you enable Dolby Vision for the first time on an Apple TV 4K, it will test the speed of the HDMI connection to your Dolby Vision-compatible 4K HDR TV. If the speed isn’t sufficient, you won’t be able to use Dolby Vision, and the Apple TV will revert to HDR10 for HDR content. We’ve found that even when using a high-speed cable that passes this speed test, there can still be times when the Dolby Vision connection drops out, resulting in a black screen.
Because of this, we strongly recommend that if you have Dolby Vision or HDR10+ A/V equipment, you only buy high-speed HDMI cables that are guaranteed to deliver the full 18Gbps, and that you test them thoroughly with Dolby Vision or HDR10+ content before installing them more permanently.
Likewise, if you own or plan to own a next-gen gaming console, an ultra-high-speed HDMI cable is essential if you want to be able to exploit all of the capabilities of your console.
HDMI cable alternatives
Run a cable conduit
Running an HDMI cable through a wall over a short distance of 10 feet or less is usually no problem, as long as the HDMI cable is CL-rated. But this setup isn’t ideal, even using a cable intended for in-wall use. For one thing, they’re difficult or impossible to repair if damaged, making them a problematic choice for in-wall use, according to Jeff Napoleone of Cloud 9 AV in Toronto. Napoleone recommends installing a cable conduit behind the wall if you’re sticking with HDMI. That makes it easier to run the cable and also offers additional protection.
If you’re going to need a cable that spans extended distances, your best bet is to purchase an HDMI-over-Ethernet extender. The system uses a standard Cat5 or Cat6 networking cable, which is easier to wire through walls and much easier to repair than a damaged HDMI cable. It is worth noting that despite an earnest search on our part, there are currently no HDMI-over-Ethernet extenders with a viable connection for the complete HDMI 2.1 feature.
Networking cable can be a much more cost-efficient option than HDMI, especially if you have a long-distance to span. You pay for networking cable by the foot, and each foot costs a nickel at most, so even if it adds up, it can still be very long without breaking the bank. Another benefit is the ability to swap out the transmitter and receiver for newer devices as technology improves, without having to rewire.
While they’ve been around for more than a decade, wireless HDMI hasn’t really taken off, mostly due to the lack of standards in the industry and questions about their ability to handle latency — or a lag in the signal being transferred from your component/source to your TV. That said, if you don’t want to deal with the messy nest of cables behind your media center, or have some distance you just can’t cover with cables, they are relatively simple to set up (a transmitter plugs into the HDMI port of your component and a receiver into your TV’s HDMI port) and might be the solution for you.
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Monster M1000 HD-25 Ultimate High Speed HDTV HDMI Cable - 25 Ft. (7.62 Meters)
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There's no reason to spend a lot of money on HDMI cables -- price has little to do with how well a cable will work with your gear and even cheap ones can pass 4K HDR signals. But if you're considering getting a new gaming console, TV, a 4K Blu-ray player or a 4K HDR media streamer, consider adding an HDMI cable or two to your cart in order to ensure you're able to connect all of your devices.
That's right, you probably won't need to spend more than around $1 per foot. even with Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5 and a 4K Blu-ray player. You may not even need a new HDMI cable, because chances are your current cables will work with any new gear you buy. But if they don't, or you want to make sure they will, here are some cables we recommend.
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Let me say it again: cheap HDMI cables are perfectly fine even for the most expensive year. Price has nothing to do with picture or sound quality. As long as the cable is able to pass the resolution you want, it will look the same as any other cable that can pass the resolution you want, regardless of price. Here are our picks for the best HDMI cable options.
Read more:Best 4K TVs for 2021
Cable recommendations (6 feet): AmazonBasics or Monoprice
I used 6-foot (1.8-meter) cables as the example for pricing, but of course there are longer and shorter options. You can save some money getting shorter cables, but make sure they're long enough for you to place your gear where you want. Measure twice, buy once, if you will.
Monoprice Certified Premium Ultra SlimMonoprice
The most famous of the cheap HDMI brands, Monoprice has dozens of options to choose from, including the Monoprice Select Series. The linked cable is "Premium Certified."
Monoprice's are among the least expensive Premium Certified cables out there. It has longer and thicker versions as well. And just like Amazon, there's a lifetime warranty.
Why are these two brands considered the best HDMI cable? Because they're the cheapest ones we trust and they have great warranties.
We don't specifically review HDMI cables here at CNET, but in our TV test lab we've been using inexpensive cables from Amazon and Monoprice for years. All of them have carried hundreds of hours of 4K and HDR video flawlessly, with way more plugging and unplugging than typical cables are subject to. None have failed with compatible devices.
There are cheaper options, but beyond our own experience, these two have great user reviews and have sold HDMI cables for years. They're also rated to have the bandwidth to handle 4K and HDR content. This is often listed as "18Gbps," referring to the amount of bandwidth possible, in gigabits per second, with the HDMI 2.0 standard (see below for HDMI 2.1 details).
Maybe you don't want a Monoprice or Amazon HDMI cord for some reason. We checked a few other large retailers and found cables we liked from each one. Here they are.
Tripp Lite P568-006
Walmart's marketplace has dozens of HDMI cables. Of the ones the company seems to sell itself, evidenced by the "Free Pickup" tag, the Tripp Lite linked here claims in one place to be 18Gbps. If you dig down through the details you can find that it does have a lifetime warranty. I can't see any reason to get this cable over Amazon or Monoprice, but it's an option.
Philips 4-foot High-Speed HDMI Cable
Target's selection of regular HDMI cables is quite poor, with most unable to handle the full bandwidth of 4K HDR. One exception is a 4-foot Philips cable, which is relatively cheap at press time. And maybe you have a Target gift card and nothing better to spend it on. They say it's only rated to 10.2Gbps, however, so if you're better off with one of the other options here.
Do you really need new cables?
As we mentioned above, just because you're getting a new TV doesn't necessarily mean you need new HDMI cables, even if you're upgrading to something with 4K and HDR. Over short distances, say under 6 feet, just about any recent "high speed HDMI cable" should work fine. "High Speed" is the rating used by HDMI companies to indicate cables that have the bandwidth to handle 1080p and greater video resolutions.
You can think of bandwidth like a pipe. You need to be able to get a lot of "water" through the pipe with 4K and HDR content. A high speed cable needs to be "big" enough to handle it all.
Unfortunately, there's no way to tell just by looking at a cable whether it's a high speed HDMI cable that can handle the deluge of data required for 4K and HDR content. Even if it says High Speed on the jacket, that's not 100 percent useful. A cable can be considered a "high speed HDMI cable" if it passes 1080p, but not be well enough made to handle 4K. The only way to verify it works as high speed HDMI is to test it.
The good thing is, if it works, it works. For example, if you're sending a 4K HDR signal from your 4K Blu-ray player to your 4K HDR TV and the TV shows a 4K HDR signal, you're set. It's not possible to get a better image using a different 4K HDMI cable. That's not how the technology works.
There are only two "fails" with an HDMI cable. The most likely is you won't get any signal at all: A blank or flashing screen. First, check that everything's connected correctly and all your HDMI device settings are correct.
The only other "fail" mode of HDMI cables is sparkles. This looks like snow on the screen. It can be heavy enough to look like static, like an old TV tuned to a dead channel, or it can be random-but-regular flashes of white pixels. This means you'll need new cables.
If the TV is receiving the same resolution you're sending it (e.g., the TV says it's 4K HDR when you're sending 4K HDR), you're all set. A different cable won't make that image sharper, brighter or anything else.
Also remember, if one step in your chain isn't 4K HDR, nothing is. As in, if you connect a 4K Blu-ray disc player to an old sound bar and then to a 4K TV, you won't be able to get a 4K signal to the TV. Also, some TVs only have one or two HDMI inputs that are HDMI 2.1 compatible. Check your owner's manual for that, too.
What about HDMI 2.1?
The latest version of HDMI is called 2.1. This is a huge leap forward in terms of bandwidth, capable of up to 8K resolutions and beyond. There are also new cables, called Ultra High Speed, but unless you're buying an 8K TV you don't need them. Actually, even if you are buying an 8K TV, you probably don't need them.
For more info on that, check out HDMI 2.1: What you need to know.
The vast majority of you will just need an HDMI cable of a few feet/meters to connect your TV to your nearby cable/satellite box, video streamer, 4K Blu-ray player, or game console. Some of you, though, are looking for something with a longer cable length. There are a lot of variables to consider, which we'll discuss, so we don't have a simple pick.
In broad strokes, the build and material quality is much more important in a long HDMI cable than short. Over 15 feet there is a much higher chance that a mediocre cable won't work, or won't work at the resolution you want. This still doesn't mean you need to spend a fortune on a long cable, there are plenty of options for roughly the same price per-foot as the ones mentioned above. It does mean that no-name cables might be less likely to work.
To put it another way, a poorly made 3-foot cable will probably work fine for most people, but a poorly made 15-foot cable probably won't. With any long-run solution you're considering, make sure it can handle 4K/60, HDR and so on. Many options can't. There are three technologies to consider:
Active: An active HDMI cable has a small chip built into the cable that takes a little power from the device's HDMI connector and uses it to boost the HDMI signal. These cables cost a little extra, but are far more likely to work. A long passive cable might work for you, but it might not. It depends on your gear. Since they're not significantly more expensive, they're worth considering for any long run.
Optical: Though a similar technology to the old-school audio interface, HDMI-over-optical is capable of far greater bandwidth. It's also capable of far greater distances. It's easy to find options that are over 330 feet. Prices have dropped radically in the last few years, with options available for similar prices per-foot as traditional copper cables. Most don't even need external power. They work and look just like a thin HDMI cable.
Wireless: You could also skip cables completely and just go wireless. This isn't quite as simple as it sounds, though. There are far too many considerations to get into here, but a few things to keep in mind: 1) They're going to cost more than cables; 2) 4K options often only work in-room and can be blocked by anything, including cabinet doors and even people. Though wireless seems like it should be easy for multiple devices in this era of near-ubiquitous Wi-Fi, it's not. If you're considering this, definitely do your research before you buy.
What's up with AmazonBasics?
In September a CNN article brought attention to a number of Amazon's own products that have caught fire. It's unlikely an HDMI cable alone will cause a fire, since the HDMI connection is low voltage. Like any copper cable, voltage can be transmitted over the cable, but that's an issue with the source, the display or perhaps the lightning bolt hitting your house. For what it's worth, out of 60,380 reviews of the AmazonBasics HDMI cable, only one mentions fire. There was no fire in that case, however: The reviewer's cable melted for unknown reasons.
We don't think the CNN report is a reason to dismiss AmazonBasics AV cables, but if you're not comfortable with the idea, there are other options listed here, including Monoprice, which we've had in our labs and homes for years.
There are, of course, many other cable options.
If you want to keep hunting for the best deal, make sure the cable you're considering is either Premium Certified, says it can do 4K/60, or can handle 18Gbps bandwidth. And it's an added bonus if it has a great warranty like the Amazon or Monoprice cables.
Keep in mind there's no such thing as HDMI cable "versions." As in, there's no such thing as an "HDMI 2.0" cable. The version numbers refer to the physical connections in your TV, receiver or sound bar. So your TV and 4K Blu-ray player need to both have HDMI 2.0 to watch HDR content, but the cable connecting them couldn't care less. It's just a dumb pipe.
As long as that pipe is "big" enough, which is to say it has enough bandwidth, you should be good to go. The 18Gbps you've seen mentioned here came about with the HDMI 2.0 spec, so if a cable claims it, it's likely built to handle the additional data that HDMI 2.0 connections can provide. The new Ultra High Speed cables are capable of 48Gbps, but that's far beyond what any current source can send.
Lastly, if you want to run the cables through a wall, make sure you get HDMI cables specifically made for that. Check your local building codes for the HDMI specification you need.
More home entertainment necessities
Ft monster cable 25 hdmi
Pros: Its 25ft. Has the new HDMI specification (1.3) Its thick so my kitties can't chew threw it faster than I can catch them in the act. This would be worth five if it wasn't costing almost 250. Its superb quality. Just don't fall for the marketing ploy of "gold plated" or "Coated with such and such material"
Cons: Where to start. I just purchased a new Sharp modle LC-65SE94U (Still can't believe the wife let me...) I figured since I just spent a bundle for the tv and mount I am going to need to find a way to hide the wires to direct to my blu-ray unt, ps3 and Hd/dvr box. I read up on monster cables (Love them for the quality of speaker wire) and seen that they make HDMI cables too. I feel for thier "Ultimate High Speed" ploy hook line and sinker. Yeah, its not this cable, but it is the next step up..plus another $50 dollars. So here I sit with a cable that cost near 300 bucks. I had an installer run it thru the walls to my HD box and the picture was outstanding. However, about two months down the line my DVR failed me so I had to order a new one. Now here is where it gets good. My wife plugged in an el cheapo cord (25 bucks right here on newegg) and I never even knew. That is till I went to play some World at War saw that my PS3 wasnt hooked up. That cord? Connected to my dvr.
Overall Review: *****continued****** The monster cable....just lying there unplugged. So I spent almost 300 on a cord that has the same performance as the 24 cord? Moral of the story? Don't buy too cheap and make sure you are choosing the right HDMI spec cable for your equipment. My new 65 inch lcd needed the 1.3 cable for the 120hz display. Thus the original reason for buying the monster cable. I still have the cord. I've since ordered another el cheapo for my 360 I just got. Good luck with your purchases. Just remeber that you DO get what you paid for, just don't over do it buy spending your money on something more expensive if there is an alternative that does the same and is still good quality. I will recommend Monster Cables if you are an audiophile like myself and have a nice surrond sound system. Go with the Bose 48 home entertainment package. Its completly worth every penny I spent. Combined with the monster cables..wow..like you are in the movie or game
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