Back in March of this year (2011), an electronics firm in Australia took the unprecedented step of letting consumers know that people who were paying more than AUS$10 (which is also $10 US, near enough) were getting ripped off. Kogan posted an offer on their blog to provide a free HDMI cable to anyone who bought an HDTV at JB Hi-Fi up until 31 March.
The Kogan blog explains in simple terms why the high-priced HDMI cables are a rip-off, and I’ll repeat it here: HDMI signals are digital. That means it’s an all-or-nothing affair; unlike composite video and S-video, if you get any signal at all over HDMI, then you have all there is. There’s no such thing as “HMDI signal quality” because if the TV can detect the signal, then it can act on the signal, and there’s no noise (seen as “snow” and distortion on video, and heard as “hiss,” “hum,” and distortion in audio) like there is on an analog cable.
I’ll go so far as to say that anyone who tries to sell you a “premium quality” HDMI cable is trying to steal from you because he thinks you’re too stupid to know you’re being robbed.
Now The Inquirer has reported that Kogan has challenged a couple of large UK retailers to demonstrate a difference in cables in side-by-side “A/B” comparisons. Naturally, the retailers (who make as much as a 1000% markup on the cables) have declined.
Personally, I get my HDMI cables from Amazon. Shop carefully; I paid 99 cents for two cables, and got free shipping.