Tech

When should I upgrade my HDMI cables?

When should I upgrade my HDMI cables?

Getty Pictures/mkos83

When you’re shopping for a new TV, the PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X/S, you could be questioning if you happen to want new HDMI cables. There’s, the truth is, a brand new customary known as HDMI 2.1, and included with that new customary are new higher-bandwidth cables, known as “Extremely Excessive Velocity HDMI cables.” Actually each of the brand new consoles embody such a cable.

Nonetheless, for most individuals, you in all probability do not want new cables. There are some key exceptions to that assertion, and under is an inventory of potential the explanation why you may must improve your HDMI cables. We’ll begin with the fundamental questions.

Do you want new cables if you happen to’re…

…Shopping for a brand new TV? Most likely not

When you’re shopping for a brand new 4K TV, and your present sources work together with your present TV, they’re going to in all probability work with the brand new TV, too. When you plan on additionally shopping for an Extremely HD supply, like a RokuUltra HD Blu-ray player or one of the new gaming consoles, chances are high your present cables will even work with these. 

…Shopping for a brand new 4K HDR streamer, UHD Blu-ray participant, PS5 or Xbox X? Most likely not

The best streaming devices, Blu-ray players and the most recent variations of each gaming consoles can output 4K HDR. In case your HDMI cables are simply lower than about 10 ft lengthy, they’re going to in all probability work simply high-quality. In the event that they’re, longer you might need points. Even when they labored high-quality with common 4K, HDR is further knowledge and that could be an excessive amount of for longer runs. If you cannot get your TV to show HDR, though you are certain your supply and content are HDR, the cable may be the issue. Examine all of your different settings first nonetheless.

…Wish to run video games at 4K120 and have a TV that helps that decision or framerate? Most likely

The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S have the power to output 4K at 120 frames per second. Solely a handful of TVs can actually accept that frame rate however. There are additionally just a few video games that may run at 4K120. Most individuals will not have all these items, so their present cables will in all probability be high-quality. If in case you have a kind of consoles, and have a TV that helps 4K120, and need to play one of many 4K120-capable video games, and also you want greater than the only cable that comes with the console, then you must look into Extremely Excessive Velocity HDMI cables.

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Brett Pearce/CNET

…Connecting a pc to a TV and working 4K resolutions? Possibly

Computer systems can ship the utmost decision and body charge potential within the present HDMI spec. When you’ve obtained a beefy pc and need to connect with a UHD TV, it is in all probability value it to get Extremely Excessive Velocity or a minimum of Premium Certified cables. Noncertified cables may work, nevertheless it’s much less doubtless.

…Coping with a TV picture that blinks, flashes or in any other case cuts out? Most likely

If the picture in your TV is slicing out randomly (or is not displaying up in any respect), this could be a cable situation. If none of your gear has modified, it could be a distinct downside, however perhaps the HDMI cable is getting worn out (doubtless if you happen to plug and unplug on a regular basis, or the cable is on the ground and will get trodden on). A brand new low-cost HDMI cable is at finest an inexpensive repair, and at worst an inexpensive indicator that the issue is one thing else.

Then again, if you happen to’ve purchased a brand new TV and it will not present the 4K or HDR content material you ship it, the cable won’t be capable of deal with it. A special, however nonetheless low cost, HDMI cable ought to do the trick. Or you may spend a little bit extra and get a Premium Licensed HDMI cable, which ought to positively work. Extremely Excessive Velocity HDMI cables are doubtless overkill, but when the value is shut they will not damage, as they’re fully backward-compatible with decrease resolutions and body charges.

Samsung QN90A QLED TV

David Katzmaier/CNET

Reminder: HDMI cables are ‘all or nothing’

Your present HDMI cables are doubtless “Excessive Velocity.” That is simply what they’re known as, they do not break the legal guidelines of physics to permit electrons to maneuver sooner over them. Excessive Velocity HDMI cables are designed to deal with 4K resolutions, however not essentially greater knowledge variations like 4K HDR or the upper body charges of the brand new consoles. Quick cables of some ft or a meter will in all probability deal with 4K60 with out situation. Longer cables won’t. Even when the cable works with 4K, it won’t work with 4K HDR. 

Or it would — that is the infuriating half. There are too many variables for me to say for certain. “Take a look at it and see” is, sadly, the one approach to know. The excellent news is, due to how HDMI works, in case your supply system is sending 4K HDR, and your TV is displaying 4K HDR, which means it is good.

There isn’t any enchancment available with costlier cables. It is both all or nothing. The most certainly situation, in case your cable cannot deal with the decision you need, is the picture both will not seem in any respect, it can flicker or lower out or, a fairly frequent case, your supply will revert to a decrease decision.

Which is to say, if you happen to set your Roku to ship 4K and it glints for a second, then your TV reveals 1080p, that could be as a result of your cable cannot deal with sufficient of the sign for it to work.

Be mindful, for most individuals low cost HDMI cables are high-quality. When you’re having bother, then perhaps it is value contemplating an improve. However simply since you’re shopping for new gear or as a result of there is a new HDMI customary that does not essentially imply you should improve.

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Getty Pictures/mbbirdy

Save your cash

For example you have decided you do want new HDMI cables. Must you spend additional on Extremely Excessive Velocity HDMI cables cables so that you’re “futureproof”? Not as a rule, no, however for essentially the most half Extremely Excessive Velocity HDMI cables aren’t far more costly than “common” cables. There isn’t any motive to spend greater than $10 to $20 for a three-foot cable, no matter its spec, and you’ll find Extremely Excessive Velocity HDMI cables for that value and fewer.

The underside line is, in case your present cables work, preserve them. When you get new gear and the cables proceed to work, preserve them. When you get new gear and you’ll’t get the resolutions that ought to be potential together with your new gear, most certainly all you may want is a few new, cheap, Excessive Velocity cables. Take a look at Best HDMI cables for extra on particular cables to think about.

When you’re a gamer and have or are planning to get a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X and have/planning to get a TV that helps a 4K120 enter, take into account Extremely Excessive Velocity HDMI cables. Simply take into account that you do not want to spend so much on these both. Sometimes they’re just a few {dollars} extra per foot than the higher Excessive Velocity cables.

Be aware: This text was first printed in 2017 however has been up to date with new hyperlinks and data.


In addition to masking TV and different show tech, Geoff does photograph excursions of cool museums and locations around the world, together with nuclear submarinesmassive aircraft carriersmedieval castlesairplane graveyards and extra. 

You possibly can comply with his exploits on Instagram and YouTube about his 10,000 mile road trip. He additionally has written a bestselling sci-fi novel about city-size submarines, together with a sequel.



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