It is that time of year when the consumer electronics stores bring out the black Friday sales on everything from computers and camcorders to flat screens and game consoles. Many of these items are considered loss leaders at this time of year, and unbeknown to most consumers, it is the accessories and other items required to connect everything that is the money maker for these big box retailers. One of the items that consumers end up paying way more than they should is that of the HDMI cables required to hook the high definition TV to the Blu Ray player or other devices, and this is where the big box retailer is not your friend. Most, if not all HDMI cables on the market are required to adhere to a specific consumer electronics build standard, specifically the ISO 9000 standard that factories are required to adhere to. Since the release of HDMI version 1.0 in 2002, the standard has gone through several iterations, the latest version of which is HDMI 1.4, that brings a whole host of features not present in previous versions. The standard is backward compatible with previous HDMI specifications, and now includes capabilities for Ethernet over HDMI, audio return channel, 3D video format support, support for image resolutions of up to 4096 x 2160 (4k x 2k), expanded color space support, Micro connector type D capabilities and automotive connector type E.
Cable builder Accell Corp. has released an HDMI v. 1.4 cable that offers all of these features in the ProUltra Supreme High Speed HDMI cable. Designed for use with HDTVs, Blu Ray players, Playstation 3, and home theater devices, the Pro Ultra Supreme differentiates itself from the competition via a patented swivel cable design that enables the connection to rotate 180 degrees vertically and horizontally, reducing the space between the connected device and the wall, furniture, or other potential obstruction. What takes 2.36 inches of space with a regular HDMI cable requires just 1.18-inches of space with the Accell ProUltra High Speed HDMI cable. While this may not seem like a huge difference, it does in certain applications where, for example, an HDTV needs to sit more flush against a wall.
The Accell ProUltra Supreme High Speed HDMI cable supports all video resolutions and formats, including 1080p, 4k x 2k (4096 x 2160), and the new 3D format TVs that are new to the market. It offers throughput of up to 10.2GBps, an integrated Ethernet and audio return channel, supports Deep Color and x.v. color specifications and can channel both DTS-HD and Dolby True-HD HD 7.1 audio formats. While the Accell cable will share the same HDMI 1.4 specs as its competition, the company has added a bit more to differentiate it from the budget cables and in an effort to justify a slightly higher price. These features include 24k gold plated contacts and connectors, an UltraFlex Braided sleeve for cable protection (akin to braided lines on a hot rod), copper conductors, built in Ethernet for Ethernet support over HDMI, triple metal shielding, and patented 180 degree swivel points of the HDMI connections. The ProUltra Supreme High Speed HDMI cable is available in 3.3ft, 6.6ft, and 10ft configurations with prices starting at $32.99 MSRP.
Is it worth the money?
HDMI cables range in price from less than $10 for an Amazon branded cable to more than $100 for a Monster branded cable of the same length. Accell’s cables fall in the middle. While all of these cables, and the other brands out there that use the HDMI logo on their packaging conform to the same exact HDMI standards, in-store marketing and online hype will paint you a very different picture. It is virtually impossible for the casual consumer to tell the difference between an equally spec’d $10 HDMI cable, $20 HDMI cable, and $100 HDMI cable. The onscreen content looks identical in my eyes. The question that you need to ask yourself when purchasing HDMI cables is, why spend more money when you don’t have to? Accell’s ProUltra Supreme High Speed HDMI cable provides a bit of difference with the built in swivel support while other cable manufacturers require the purchase of a separate right angle adapter, which adds about $15 to the cost of the cable solution. The Accell ProUltra Supreme High Speed HDMI cable also features its patented UltraFlex braided sleeve for those who buy into that capability. Does the ProUltra Supreme High Speed HDMI cable offer a significant differentiator to justify the slightly higher cost of entry? The 3.3ft versions are currently around $20 on Amazon so the price is not out of line considering the built in swivel capability. Anyone who spends more than $100 for an HDMI cable is throwing away money unnecessarily. The ProUltra Supreme High Speed HDMI Swivel Cable comes with a 10 year replacement warranty. For more information, visit www.accellcables.com