Since HDMI 2.1 devices, such as Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards, are moving more pixels than ever before, an unreliable cable causing issues is the last thing you need. Here’s how you can stop being scammed.
Look for “HDMI Ultra High Speed” Cables
The HDMI standard is monitored by the HDMI Forum, while the HDMI Licensing Administrator is responsible for licensing the technology. If they choose to produce a product that has been approved or accredited by the HDMI Licensing Administrator, system and accessory manufacturers must follow HDMI Forum requirements.
Although the new HDMI standard is known as HDMI 2.1, HDMI overseers use a different cabling naming convention. If you want to purchase an HDMI 2.1-compatible cable, look for the words “HDMI Ultra High Speed” on the package.
To make sure you get a quality product, look for the “Ultra Certified Cable” hologram and the QR code on the package. This means that it has been checked to a minimum standard and approved by the HDMI Licensing Administrator.
Verify Your Cable Purchases with the Official App
You can check the validity of your cable with the official HDMI Certification App for iPhone and Android when you shop for a cable at a store or after your online order has been delivered.
Just install the app, put your smartphone camera on the packaging, and wait. You should see a “Congratulations” message telling you that the cable has finally been certified. The HDMI Licensing Administrator notes that the name of the cable must also be written on the outer jacket.
If a cable fails the test or there is no hologram or sticker on the package, it has not been tested. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t work, but there’s also no guarantee that it will hold the maximum 48Gbits per second specified by the HDMI 2.1 standard.
If you were under the impression that the cable was “certified,” but the test failed, you can return the cable and get a refund.
The Problem with Cheap HDMI Cables
Troubleshooting problems with your home entertainment system can be time-consuming and frustrating, particularly if you have a receiver or soundbar in your mix. When you purchase a certified cable, you (hopefully) remove at least one variable from the list of possible problems.
There are some specific problems that you might start noticing if the cable you’re using isn’t too snuffy. They also pop up when you’re trying to use an older 2.0b HDMI cable with an application that exceeds 18Gbits per second specification.
You might not have any problems until you play one or two games running at 4K/120Hz on Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. These problems include everything from a black screen that doesn’t do anything at all to odd objects and “slippers” that appear unexpectedly.
It could be tempting to get cheap on a cable, particularly when it comes to long runs. This is where HDMI cables can get really expensive. The longer the cable is, the more the signal will degrade until it reaches its destination. That’s why the shortest cable you can get away with is the one that fits the bandwidth requirements.
There is no “ideal” cable length, but for 4K resolution and high frame rate (120Hz), it is recommended that you use an HDMI cable that is no longer than 10 feet long (3 meters). For lower resolution, the upper limit is between 20 (6 meters) and 50 feet (10 meters). If you’re using a long cable and you’re having problems, try a shorter one.
Don’t fall on the HDMI Cable Gimmicks
Many retailers will try to upgrade you to an HDMI cable if you purchase a TV or other home entertainment product. Often though, one of them will be included in the box with your unit. It’s easier to test your setup before you waste more money needlessly.
Although certified cables cost more, they’re not expected to break the bank. Be cautious of any exorbitantly expensive cables. They make it look like you’re having a better-quality product, but it’s a premium you don’t have to pay for.
Gold connectors are often used to offer the appearance of a better-quality signal, but they do nothing more than look flashy. Gold is a highly conductive metal, but so is the metal that makes up much of the cable (and it’s definitely not solid gold). Braided cords can last longer, but HDMI cables do not usually cause a lot of wear and tear. unless you buy a cable that you know can be wired in and out all the time, you don’t need an ultra-durable one