Learning About HDMI Cables
HDMI cables connect your high-definition audio and video sources to a playback or display device. You might use them to link your DVD player to your TV, or to connect your laptop to your desktop so that you can use the desktop's larger screen. Unlike component video cables or S-video cables, HDMI cords have both audio and video in one cable, so you have fewer wires to connect and less clutter in your space. They also display HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) protected video content smoothly, something many older cable types can't do.
What Is HDMI?
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) isn't just the name of a cable; it's a standard that sets guidelines for connections between certain digital devices. This technology doesn't alter the signal in any way, so it reaches the playback device without any deterioration, giving you the best quality audio and video. HDMI connections are digital, but you can use them with analog devices, although the quality of the output won't be as high.
Types of HDMI Cables
Cables for home use come in four types, each based on the kind of wiring they use. Standard simply carries audio and video signals from one device to another. Standard with Ethernet has the same function as standard and includes Ethernet ability for network connections. High speed HDMI performs the same way standard does but much faster, and it supports 4K and 3D video. High speed with Ethernet provides fast transmission of audio, video, and data.
The connectors on the cables come in three types. Type A is the standard HDMI connector, and at 19mm wide, is the largest. Type C is the 11.2mm mini, and Type D is the 6.4mm micro. You'll probably encounter mostly micro and mini HDMI to HDMI. Most cables for these devices have a standard connector on the other end.
Choosing the Best HDMI Cables for the Job
Before you can choose your cables, you have to match the cord to the job. Start by determining if you'll need Ethernet capabilities. If you're connecting to a home network, you probably do. The type of TV you have determines if you need high-speed cable. If you have or plan to have, a newer model, then high-speed is a better bet.
Expect larger devices to require HDMI to HDMI cable cords with Type A connectors on each end. Smaller devices such as cameras and cell phones will need mini or micro cables. Some installations may need long HDMI cables. Since signals can degrade with distance, get only the length you need and no more.
Even if you're not quite ready to ditch your composite video cable and step all the way into the digital age, odds are strong that you have at least some need for HDMI. Find what you need to help you take the next step, at B&H Photo and Video.