Ask LH: Should I Buy Expensive HDMI Cables?

Dear Lifehacker, I am thinking about a UHD TV as my next TV. But the big name stores all tell me I need to throw away any HDMI cable I have now that is more than two years old because the technology has moved so rapidly. In my experience, they work or they don’t. Do I need new cables now? Should I wait until I get the TV? Thanks, Cable Cynic

HDMI picture from Shutterstock

Dear CC,

The sales people are lying to you. High-priced HDMI cables are a complete rip-off and an utter waste of your money. HDMI is a digital signal. It either gets there or it doesn’t. The only person who benefits from selling you a massively overpriced cable from Monster or a similar rip-off merchant is the manufacturer and the retailer. Save your money and buy bargain-priced cables. Our favourite source for these is Hong Kong-based sellers on eBay. If you want something a little more local, OzBargain often has good deals listed.

Yes, very occasionally you’ll get a dud. But if your $6 cable breaks, you can buy another one and still have paid one-tenth of the retail rip-off rate. Don’t fall for the sales patter.

As far as UHD televisions are concerned, our advice would be to hang back a bit and wait for prices to drop before buying. There’s still very little 4K content out there for UHD screens, and the TVs are currently overpriced. Earlier this week, we saw LG drop the price of its 55-inch model by $4000. You’d feel like an utter idiot if you purchased that last year. At the other end of the scale, Kogan has just announced a sub-$1000 UHD model — so we’re definitely seeing prices fall fast.


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