HD Guru: HDMI Cable Mfrs Mislead with 120 Hz Labeling

HDMI cable marketers are trying to "confuse you to overspend with jargon useful in describing television refresh rates, but has nothing to do with HDMI cables," says HD Guru Gary Merson

HD Guru: HDMI Cable Mfrs Mislead with 120 Hz Labeling
Julie Jacobson · August 12, 2010

The headline reads: HDMI Cable Makers and Dealers Use Misleading Labels to Push Needless Expensive Upgrades.

Say it isn’t so! Cable manufacturers misleading consumers?

HD Guru Gary Merson names names – including Monster Cable, AudioQuest and Best Buy (Rocketfish and Dynex house brands) – for their questionable marketing tactics when it comes to pricey cables, especially of the HDMI variety.

The controversy over high-priced cables is nothing new, but Merson highlights one of the latest practices – labeling HDMI cables for their “support” of refresh rates up to 600 Hz.

He writes:

Monster and AudioQuest and other HDMI cable makers are misleading consumers into unnecessary upgrades by labeling their step-up HDMI cables as 120 Hz, 240 Hz, 480 Hz or 600 Hz, the refresh rate found within many LED, LCD or (the 600 Hz subfield rate within) Plasma HDTVs.

These higher rate signals do not exist in any consumer type video signals sent from any source (cable box, media center, disc player etc.) to an HDTV. The signal is always upconverted inside the display. There are never any signals higher than a 60Hz rate going from a video source to an HDTV.

In other words, as Merson tells me, “There is no such thing as 120 Hz and 240 Hz HD signals.”

Then why does Monster label its “Higher Performance” HDMI cables as 240/480 Hz and claim they offer “faster speed for smooth motion video”?

Merson wonders, as well, what it means to have an HDMI cable that is “rated” higher than the HDMI “High Speed” standard of 10.2 Gbps.

He tells consumers, “Use the money you save from falling victim to misleading HDMI packaging towards the purchase of products or services that will increase your enjoyment of HDTV such as a Blu-ray player, professional set-up and calibration or a surround sound audio system.”

What do you think?

  About the Author

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]

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  Article Topics

News · Gary Merson · HD Guru · All Topics
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