Which of these two HDMI cables would you choose and why?

TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
So my new theater is progressing. All conduit is in and the walls will be closed by the end of the week. I will report after the walls are closed on the build thread.

However, it is now time to run cable and I must choose an HDMI cable. I need 4K 18 Gbs. The run is 30 ft as this studio is a little bigger than the last at Benedict. So Monoprice offer this. Customer reviews seem variable, but you don't know if those consumers are idiots!
this.

BJC offer this.

No customer reviews of the BJC cable. I'm leaning to the BJC cable over the monoprice based only on past experience.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
So my new theater is progressing. All conduit is in and the walls will be closed by the end of the week. I will report after the walls are closed on the build thread.

However, it is now time to run cable and I must choose an HDMI cable. I need 4K 18 Gbs. The run is 30 ft as this studio is a little bigger than the last at Benedict. So Monoprice offer this. Customer reviews seem variable, but you don't know if those consumers are idiots!
this.

BJC offer this.

No customer reviews of the BJC cable. I'm leaning to the BJC cable over the monoprice based only on past experience.
I have BJC subwoofer cables and they are excellent quality and you can’t mistake them for a monoprice cable. These look like they will last 50 years. I’m sure a BJC hdmi cable will be made well but hdmi standards will change again.

That said, I use all monoprice hdmi cables in my 3 rooms but my runs are 3ft and 6ft. I’m running 4K in one room but plan for all 3. I changed all my hdmi cables in all 3 rooms from 1.4 to 2.0a spec in 2016 and have experienced zero issues in 3 yrs.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Ninja
So my new theater is progressing. All conduit is in and the walls will be closed by the end of the week. I will report after the walls are closed on the build thread.

However, it is now time to run cable and I must choose an HDMI cable. I need 4K 18 Gbs. The run is 30 ft as this studio is a little bigger than the last at Benedict. So Monoprice offer this. Customer reviews seem variable, but you don't know if those consumers are idiots!
this.

BJC offer this.

No customer reviews of the BJC cable. I'm leaning to the BJC cable over the monoprice based only on past experience.
I've been happy with my Monoprice HDMIs. I'm using the Certified Premiums and have had no problems. I think its @BMXTRIX who recommends the Slimlines, but I don't think those are available that long.

Regardless, I've had zero failure rate with my Monoprice gear, good clean picture quality, and the price was great!
 
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Spartan
I've used BJC several times for speaker cables, balanced interconnects, and HDMI. Highly recommended, even though cheaper alternatives are available. Especially for a 30 foot run. Their customer service is also awesome. When I bought my subwoofer the photos on their web site showed male XLRs on the sub, so I ordered female-to-female cables in advance. (The sub was a special order.). When the dealer delivered the sub and it had female XLRs on the back, surprising us both. BJC re-did my cables for no charge except shipping, and I had them back within 72 hrs. And every cable has been flawless and reliable.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I've been happy with my Monoprice HDMIs. I'm using the Certified Premiums and have had no problems. I think its @BMXTRIX who recommends the Slimlines, but I don't think those are available that long.

Regardless, I've had zero failure rate with my Monoprice gear, good clean picture quality, and the price was great!
The problem is for this length of cable and the frequencies required we are getting to the bleeding edge. An active cable is mandatory in this arena. The big problem is that these cables are powered from the HDMI port on the receiver or pre/pro. The issue with the HDMI spec. is that the voltage is in the specification but NOT the power draw spec. This voltage was never conceived as a way of powering a device, but as control only

I think this is the most likely reason for the variability of results, with some not being able to get anything out of these cables with certain combinations. So the variable is going to be the power that can be supplied by the sending port (the cables have to be powered by the sending device and are directional) without dropping the voltage and the power draw and therefore current demands of different cables. As usual with HDMI this is a mess. I think this is going to turn out to be a big mess. The power able to be drawn of an HDMI port needs to be specified, but is not, as does the power draw of active cables and that is not specked either.

I think what really needs to happen is that now that speeds have gone to the level they have we should not be using wire any longer for HDMI connection. I think an optical HDMI connection with HDCP codes needs to be developed pretty quickly. The reason being is that light fiber is much less prone to internal reflections leading to drop out and signal attenuation. There needs to be backwards compatibility so that wire to optical and optical to wire can be done at either end. This would of course require a source of power other than HDMI ports at either end. Optical to optical would require no external power source. I'm pretty sure that having to draw power form HDMI ports, which was never envisaged is going to increase HDMI board failures. So the power draw should be part of the cable spec, so one could pick those with the lowest power draw.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Ninja
The problem is for this length of cable and the frequencies required we are getting to the bleeding edge. An active cable is mandatory in this arena.
I got that, I primarily wanted to share my experience with their cables. 'Greatly appreciate the extra info in your post, too!
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Have you considered a Ruipro optical hdmi cable?
No I had not. I had not come across these hybrid cables before. They have copper for handshake and audio and fiber for the picture. There are a number of brands on the market. The converters do draw power form the HDMI port, and problems with certain units have been reported, mainly Onkyo. It does seem however that these cables are the way to go over 25 ft. The optical converters are in the plugs, and of course they are directional. It does seem that picture quality is better with these cables and that there are certainly less drop out issues.

There are a number of brands to choose from and I see Monoprice have fiber options. Ruipro seems to be well thought of and Fiber Tech, the later are very expensive.

A 10 meter (32.8 ft) Ruipro from Amazon is $140.00 After carefully looking at this issue, it does seem that the extra expense of fiber is warranted at distances over 25 ft.

I appreciate you drawing my attention to the fact that what I have thought was the optimal solution is available. The downside is power draw from the HDMI port, the same as active copper cables. However power draw will not vary with the length of the cable. There are just the conversions at either end, whereas with copper the greater the length then the more boost required as there is attenuation in proportion to cable length. That is not so with fiber.

I think the ultimate solution going forward is for HDMI ports to become optical ports and not copper. Make one fiber cable carry all the functions. This would also help to prevent ground loop issues.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
No I had not. I had not come across these hybrid cables before. They have copper for handshake and audio and fiber for the picture. There are a number of brands on the market. The converters do draw power form the HDMI port, and problems with certain units have been reported, mainly Onkyo. It does seem however that these cables are the way to go over 25 ft. The optical converters are in the plugs, and of course they are directional. It does seem that picture quality is better with these cables and that there are certainly less drop out issues.

There are a number of brands to choose from and I see Monoprice have fiber options. Ruipro seems to be well thought of and Fiber Tech, the later are very expensive.

A 10 meter (32.8 ft) Ruipro from Amazon is $140.00 After carefully looking at this issue, it does seem that the extra expense of fiber is warranted at distances over 25 ft.

I appreciate you drawing my attention to the fact that what I have thought was the optimal solution is available. The downside is power draw from the HDMI port, the same as active copper cables. However power draw will not vary with the length of the cable. There are just the conversions at either end, whereas with copper the greater the length then the more boost required as there is attenuation in proportion to cable length. That is not so with fiber.

I think the ultimate solution going forward is for HDMI ports to become optical ports and not copper. Make one fiber cable carry all the functions. This would also help to prevent ground loop issues.
HDMI is a bad design and has been, since the beginning. The physical characteristics are part of the reason- the end of the plug isn't able to withstand much stress and that has caused many cable failures, at considerable cost to the user. Then, there's the issue of 'active' cables that no longer transmit the proper signal after firmware updates for AVRs. I have a Key Digital cable that stopped working and they have, so far, failed to cover the warranty- my dealer cost for this cable was over $70. Done with that brand.

Another problem is cable stiffness and thickness- it's not supposed to be bent or stressed, but sometimes, it's impossible to avoid that- a 'port saver' is needed and that can risk signal failure because it adds connection points.

I use mostly Vanco- lifetime warranty and the ends have small clips that make them stay in the port- they call this 'Secure Fit' and it definitely works.

Fiber HDMI have been out since last year and they're still expensive. They should have thought about the frequencies and cables in 2003- it won't be long before existing cables won't work unless people 'dumb down' the resolution to their new 4K or 8K TVs.

In the discussions about what we want in AVRs, I have repeatedly written that the video section should be a removable module- this is a good reason for that. With miniaturization, it would be possible to include the media converter in the video module, so it could have the optical ports, rather than HDMI.

One thing about optical- if it's coiled too tightly or bent, the signal becomes weaker at the far end because of internal reflections- I have had to make larger loops in optical links for audio for this reason. Tight bends are also bad for optical.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
HDMI is a bad design and has been, since the beginning. The physical characteristics are part of the reason- the end of the plug isn't able to withstand much stress and that has caused many cable failures, at considerable cost to the user. Then, there's the issue of 'active' cables that no longer transmit the proper signal after firmware updates for AVRs. I have a Key Digital cable that stopped working and they have, so far, failed to cover the warranty- my dealer cost for this cable was over $70. Done with that brand.

Another problem is cable stiffness and thickness- it's not supposed to be bent or stressed, but sometimes, it's impossible to avoid that- a 'port saver' is needed and that can risk signal failure because it adds connection points.

I use mostly Vanco- lifetime warranty and the ends have small clips that make them stay in the port- they call this 'Secure Fit' and it definitely works.

Fiber HDMI have been out since last year and they're still expensive. They should have thought about the frequencies and cables in 2003- it won't be long before existing cables won't work unless people 'dumb down' the resolution to their new 4K or 8K TVs.

In the discussions about what we want in AVRs, I have repeatedly written that the video section should be a removable module- this is a good reason for that. With miniaturization, it would be possible to include the media converter in the video module, so it could have the optical ports, rather than HDMI.

One thing about optical- if it's coiled too tightly or bent, the signal becomes weaker at the far end because of internal reflections- I have had to make larger loops in optical links for audio for this reason. Tight bends are also bad for optical.
Thanks for your reply. Yes, it is frustrating that the biggest problem in this whole project is how to make the best of a lousy poorly thought out system that should never have been foisted on the public.

You are right about what you say. The bad news is that I will have to have a solution that draws power from a control voltage of a port that was never designed or intended to power anything. So this may turn into a reliability issue.

I will sleep on this for a while. I am inclined to bite the bullet though and go for the more expensive hybrid optical cable.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Thanks for your reply. Yes, it is frustrating that the biggest problem in this whole project is how to make the best of a lousy poorly thought out system that should never have been foisted on the public.

You are right about what you say. The bad news is that I will have to have a solution that draws power from a control voltage of a port that was never designed or intended to power anything. So this may turn into a reliability issue.

I will sleep on this for a while. I am inclined to bite the bullet though and go for the more expensive hybrid optical cable.
You can always use HD over Cat6, but the cost may be prohibitive.

HDMI - 'Horribly Defective Multi-Media Interface'.

The worst thing about HDMI- they designed it to be connected via 6' maximum length cables and not touched afterward. They must have been talking to Samsung, who still has a little box for the source cables to go before their 'One Connect' cable goes to the TV. The problem with that is the One Connect cable isn't in-wall rated and that means all of the cables need to be longer & pass through the walls or if an AVR is used, only one port will be used because the AVR is used for the switching. Then, they didn't include mounting tabs and it ends up getting in the way.

The stupid is strong in the video manufacturing world.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Spartan
Cat-6 with HDMI is not the way that I would go with 4K. Ideally, I would use a fiber cable, but the cost on those is prohibitive and if you have conduit in place, then going with a regular active cable from Monoprice is the way that I would go. In fact, it's the most likely way that I WILL go once I put in my full theater and conduit to the projector. I haven't bought yet, but am looking. Right now I just use a short HDMI cable between my UHD BD player and the projector and use a long HDMI cable to carry audio back to my receiver.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Cat-6 with HDMI is not the way that I would go with 4K. Ideally, I would use a fiber cable, but the cost on those is prohibitive and if you have conduit in place, then going with a regular active cable from Monoprice is the way that I would go. In fact, it's the most likely way that I WILL go once I put in my full theater and conduit to the projector. I haven't bought yet, but am looking. Right now I just use a short HDMI cable between my UHD BD player and the projector and use a long HDMI cable to carry audio back to my receiver.
The TV manufacturers increase resolution and HDMI has to follow their lead but HDMI wasn't intended to do 4K because the format didn't exist in 2004 and, in fact, the consensus was "It's not possible to tell the difference between 720p and 1080p outside of 9 feet from the screen". They made it work with 1080 but then, almost immediately added ethernet and ARC.
 
O

Otto Plyot

Junior Audioholic
My rule of thumb for 4k HDR is this:

I your run is under 20', 25' maximum, then a Premium High Speed HDMI cable is about as good as you can get because they are certified by HDMI.org, the folks who got us in this mess in the first place, to meet all HDMI 2.0 hardware specifications. The nice thing about Premium cables is that they can be made by any mfr and come with a QR label for authenticity. I've used BJC cables in the past with zero issues.

If your run is over about 20' then I'd suggest looking into hybrid fiber cables from someone like Ruipro (Ruipro4k cables). They can not get the ATC certification like the passive cables can because HDMI.org doesn't allow for active cables (copper or fiber) to get the certification, yet. They are tested by an ATC (Authorized Testing Center) so the testing and validation of the cables is basically the same as it is for the Premium High Speed Cables. The only downside of hybrid fiber cables is their cost. They have a generous bend radius and are made extremely well. Hybrid fiber cables have glass fiber cores surrounded by copper wiring. The copper witing is used for ARC, HDCP, and EDID communication which frees up the bandwidth for video, etc. The fact that you are using conduit makes installing and upgrading your cabling so much easier and is really the ONLY way to future proof your cabling. Hybrid fiber is really your best options at this point in time.

Another option is using solid core CAT-6 cable (non-CCA and not CAT-6 ethernet cable) and then terminate with HDBT. However, HDBT technology is going thru an update process now so you might have to wait for the new chipsets to be available for it to be a viable option.

Almost all well made HDMI cables market ethernet as an option. However, that technology was never embraced by the device mfrs so that HDMI options was never used. Now that eARC is starting to get introduced, that un-used ethernet channel will be used for eARC.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Samurai
Thanks for your reply. Yes, it is frustrating that the biggest problem in this whole project is how to make the best of a lousy poorly thought out system that should never have been foisted on the public.

You are right about what you say. The bad news is that I will have to have a solution that draws power from a control voltage of a port that was never designed or intended to power anything. So this may turn into a reliability issue.

I will sleep on this for a while. I am inclined to bite the bullet though and go for the more expensive hybrid optical cable.
You might have known that Tripp Lite also markets that fiber optic cable at competitive prices also:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Tripp+Lite+Fiber+Optic+HDMI+Cable+33+ft&ref=nb_sb_noss
 
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TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
This has turned into an interesting thread. The answer to the question I posed is more likely than not, none of the above.

Lets look at this bring as much logic to the issue as possible.

So ATC (Authorized Testing Center) certified cables that can meet the ultra high speed certification can be considered for my needs. Now the certification means that the drop outs and attenuation do not cause the cable to not transmit. This is fair enough at face value. I do not put a lot of credence on reports of better chroma resolution with digital cables. It is digital which should mean if the connection does not drop then the picture will look as it should. However it seems to me the way the system works different colors could be affected in a subtle manor before drop out. Certainly reports of better color definition with optical abound. However we all know that extravagant claims are made for all sorts of "funny exotic" wire.

One thing we do not for sure that error rate increases and the voltage of the signal at the receiving end increase and decrease respectively in proportion to the length of the cable. So much so that for my needs a cable at 25 ft and certainly at 30 ft becomes highly problematic.

Now the ATC tests are founded on work or not working with the specified signal. However I think bit rate loss and attenuation should be part of a cable spec. Work or not work I do not think is good enough. The reason I say this is that as error rate goes up the amount of micro processing power increases. Now the harder a microprocessor works the more current it takes and heat it generates. This correlates closely with increased failure rates.

So, if this is true and more likely than not the optic cable is actually the cheapest by far more likely than not extending the life of an expensive TV say. So on that count we have to favor the optical solution.

Now lets look at the powering issue. This is murky as we know HDMI ports are not intended for powering. So much so that active cables can not a this time get ATC certification. This may change soon. But now that is a fact. So one of the issues here is that I can not actually purchase a certified cable that meets my needs.

Even so, there are a couple of specs that need to be measured and specked. I believe there is a need for an new HDMI standard. Yes, I can't believe i said that. But here is why.

All sending HDMI ports need to quote the maximum current draw before voltage starts to drop. A standard should be set for same.

The current draw of active cables needs to be measured and specified. We need an HDMI standard that specifies both current output of sending ports and current draw of active cables. Obviously both parameters need to be in sink. This would stop the chaos of some cables working in some systems and not others. Clearly we have a jungle that needs taming.

I think the bit error rate of cables should at least be part of their specification.

I also see another advantage of the optical cable. For wire cables current draw has to increase with cable length. For all lengths of optical HDMI cables I suspect power draw will not increase with length.

On thing I do not know and probably nobody else, is how long is too long for these ultra high speed passive cables. This is an area of research. From what data there is, I have a suspicion it may be as little as 6ft.

So my instinct is that the higher priced optical cable in my situation is most likely the best and in the long term the most cost effective solution.

This is an area however where are lot more reliable data and research is urgently required.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Spartan
I don't think current draw increases with cable length on the active copper cables. The Tx/Rx units are extremely low powered units. It's possible that the source doesn't deliver enough power to run those devices, but I don't think the power dropoff is enough to matter with any source that has enough power to begin with, and I don't think heat increases based upon length or much else. It's just that active cables rebalance the signal when they get it, which allows for the greater distance as well as the use of thinner wiring in them.

Reports have been very strong on the active copper cables, and the price of the active copper cables is significantly lower than the fiber cables.

That doesn't change the fact that in almost all cases, the active fiber cables are getting the best reviews, and the reality remains that fiber has a phenomenally high data rate to begin with. So, passing 18Gb/s or even 50Gb/s (HDMI 2.1) won't be an issue for fiber cables and is likely to be quite the norm when that data rate becomes the new normal. But, of course, we aren't even close to that yet in the real world.

I would opt for the active copper cable, just because it's cheaper and because you have conduit. You can test it across your floor before pulling it through the conduit, and you likely save $100 or more in the process.

But, I'm a cheap bastard.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I don't think current draw increases with cable length on the active copper cables. The Tx/Rx units are extremely low powered units. It's possible that the source doesn't deliver enough power to run those devices, but I don't think the power dropoff is enough to matter with any source that has enough power to begin with, and I don't think heat increases based upon length or much else. It's just that active cables rebalance the signal when they get it, which allows for the greater distance as well as the use of thinner wiring in them.

Reports have been very strong on the active copper cables, and the price of the active copper cables is significantly lower than the fiber cables.

That doesn't change the fact that in almost all cases, the active fiber cables are getting the best reviews, and the reality remains that fiber has a phenomenally high data rate to begin with. So, passing 18Gb/s or even 50Gb/s (HDMI 2.1) won't be an issue for fiber cables and is likely to be quite the norm when that data rate becomes the new normal. But, of course, we aren't even close to that yet in the real world.

I would opt for the active copper cable, just because it's cheaper and because you have conduit. You can test it across your floor before pulling it through the conduit, and you likely save $100 or more in the process.

But, I'm a cheap bastard.
I think you slight miss understood a couple of points I was making.

Concerning copper cable, voltage losses will increase in proportion to length. It has to. That is just the way wire is unless it is at absolute zero or close. So an active longer cable will require more signal amplification than a shorter cable. So my point is that fiber has a greater inherent advantage the longer the cable. That has to follow from the first point.

Next it is known there is far less corruption of a digital signal in a fiber cable than a copper one. This is mainly due to internal reflections and resulting cancellations.

So it stands to reason that a fiber cable is far more likely to deliver more intact bits with less errors to the receiving port than a copper one. It therefore follows that the microprocessors in the HDMI board will be correcting far less errors and less demands made on them. This will cause less heat generation and longer life of the devices. As you know all semiconductor devices have a heat time longevity curve.

So logic and my instinct tells me more likely than not you are not cheap but expensive on this issue.
 
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Spartan
I think you slight miss understood a couple of points I was making.

Concerning copper cable, voltage losses will increase in proportion to length. It has to. That is just the way wire is unless it is at absolute zero or close. So an active longer cable will require more signal amplification than a shorter cable. So my point is that fiber has a greater inherent advantage the longer the cable. That has to follow from the first point.
I agree. Even data center quality passive copper cables for Ethernet and InfiniBand are typically limited to five meters.

Next it is known there is far less corruption of a digital signal in a fiber cable than a copper one. This is mainly due to internal reflections and resulting cancellations.

So it stands to reason that a fiber cable is far more likely to deliver more intact bits with less errors to the receiving port than a copper one. It therefore follows that the microprocessors in the HDMI board will be correcting far less errors and less demands made on them. This will cause less heat generation and longer life of the devices. As you know all semiconductor devices have a heat time longevity curve.
Now you're over-thinking this. Within their length limitations copper cables can have very low bit error rates (BER). Typical 10GbE copper BER specs are 10**-15. Also, error detection on digital interconnects uses a scheme called Cyclic Redundancy Check, or CRC. Without going into a long lecture on how CRCs work, the salient point (sorry ADTG, I had to use your favorite word) is that the CRC state machines are engaged to check every data chunk transmitted. Any correction logic doesn't use significantly more power. What does use more power in networking is retransmission due to frame or packet drops, but HDMI doesn't support retransmission as far as I can tell. So your point about greater heat generation doesn't apply.

So logic and my instinct tells me more likely than not you are not cheap but expensive on this issue.
If you really want to know you'll need to run a comparison test between the alternatives, and in this case that strikes me as overkill. Given your perfectionist tendencies I think you should just bite the cost bullet and go with the optical solution.
 
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