Are There Differences in HDMI cables? What You Need To Know

You might come across a different or “special” hdmi cable in your internet travels that may confuse you. Lets clear that up!

For the most part if you are looking for an hdmi cable, my best guess is you just want something that will plug into your tv, laptop/computer, or monitors. Those of you who have seen others or are looking for something specific, fear not as we will go over all the different types you may find.

HDMI Cable Differences

While all produce the same function, there are serveral “types” of hdmi cables.

  • Ethernet Channel HDMI
  • High Speed Automotive Cable
  • High Speed HDMI Cable
  • Premium High Speed HDMI
  • Standard Automotive Cable
  • Standard HDMI Cable
  • Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable

Different HDMI Cable Connectors

There are four different types of connectors, type A, C, D, and E. Yes B was skipped!

The first type (A) is the standard hdmi cable you probably are aware of and use on your daily devices.

Type C cables connect to DSLR cameras and normal tablets on one end. The other end would be type A which will go into your computer, tv, etc.

Type D is a micro HDMI cable. This is used for smaller devices such as your phone.

Type E is a special cable used in automotives. It basically has more protection on one end!

Does the length of HDMI cable make a difference?

HDMI cable length is detrimental to signal quality, and manufacturers rarely recommend cables over 20 feet in length. There are ways around this, however. Below we will get into different types of hdmi cables and what differences the lengths can make.

What Are Active HDMI Cables?

Some HDMI cables are called active. These “active cables” are amplified and can only work in one direction unlike passive cables which transmits signals in both directions. Sometimes they (active hdmi) contain a power enhancement device to boost signals sent to a given source. An example of this I just used was a nintendo 64 hdmi adapter. While sometimes I am still a child at heart when it comes to nintendo, time waits for no one and unfortunately my new-ish tv does not support the correct rca inputs! The majority of HDMI cable uses a passive HDMI cable. An active HDMI cable can be useful for making a big difference between data-intensive signals. Should you have a need for an intensive or lengthy connection, an active hdmi cable might be the best choice.

What Are Passive HDMI Cables?

Most any HDMI cable you will come across will be of the passive type. Passive cables are reversible meaning you can plug either end into either device for the same result. This connection can work reliably for roughly 10-15ft. Anything more and the connection quality will start to suffer meaning you will need an active hdmi cable.

What Are Optical HDMI Cables?

An optical hdmi cable transfers both audio and video via fiber optic cable. This cable can also be utilized at long distances like the active hdmi cable without an external power source. Another similarity is that they are both directional, whereas the passive hdmi cable is reversible. Both the optical and active can be considerably more expensive than your standard passive cable.

Is HDMI 2.0 the same as High Speed HDMI?

The specifications of HDMI equipment and cabling are constantly updated to ensure high reliability and high performance. HDMI 2.0 is often referred to as premium high speed hdmi. High speed hdmi cable was made under the 1.3 and 1.4 standard over a decade ago. HDMI 2.0/premium high speed hdmi can support 4k and a refresh rate of 60hz. Supported bandwidth of premium high speed hdmi is 18gbps.

HDMI 2.1 is the most recent “standard” and consequently is the most advanced. 2.1 supports 5k, 8k and even 10k. The nice thing about going newer is these are all backwards compatible, so if you have an older tv with an hdmi port you can still use the new 2.1 8k capable cable if you have it. You could still get out of the device whatever it can support whereas if you were to use an old hdmi cable on an 8k tv, you might not be able to utilize the entire resolution.

Are expensive HDMI cables worth it?

You can invest hundreds in multiple relatively thin HDMI cables. The reasons for it, however, are not compelling. You really do not need to go all out for an expensive hdmi cable for the sole purpose of it being expensive. While some sectors higher quality might come with a higher price, in magical hdmi cable land its probably some where in the middle. If you get some cheap or free worn out cable it might be old and not support all your device(s) have to offer. On the flip side, buying a nice new 8k tv doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy the most expensive hdmi cable there is. Some newer game systems might require the 2.1 support but you can find them anywhere from amazon to your local store.

Your best best is to check out the specs on whatever device you are curious about, reference the information above, and search for the correct cable.

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