Take it from me: the right HDMI cable makes a difference

Friends, I usually bring you stories of how our customers inspire me to write articles. But this time, I’m telling a story from my own life. And I figure if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.

The “H” is for “history”

I am willing to bet I bought my first HDMI cable in 2006. I think that’s true because that’s when I bought my first HD-capable device. I’m not sure I would have done it before then. I am pretty sure I took a bop on over to my local Radio Shack and paid way too much for a cable. I’m equally willing to bet I still have that cable lying around somewhere.

In the five years or so after that, I bought a lot of HDMI cables. It was the era that Solid Signal and others were starting to sell HDMI cables very cheaply. I picked them up three or four at a time, because I never knew when I would need one. At those prices, why not.

Around 2012 or so, I hit what you might call “peak HDMI.” I stopped buying HDMI cables because at that point I always had half a dozen around and my friends had stopped asking me for them. And for the last decade, I’ve bought maybe one or two.

Until recently.

With a little more time on my hands, I did some upgrades to my home theater setup this year. One of those upgrades was to my home theater receiver. Like every other receiver out there today — the HDMI cables go into the receiver, and a single cable goes out to the television.

All went well until, well, it didn’t.

I started getting weird errors. Sources wouldn’t switch and I got black screens and audio drops. It seemed like something was wrong with the receiver. But I doubted that. I did upgrade the firmware, I did everything I needed to. But the problem didn’t go away.

Until, I remembered.

All of the HDMI cables I was using were from the old days. They’d never given me trouble with older equipment, but all of a sudden I had problems I didn’t expect.

Solid Signal to the rescue

What did I do next? I ordered half a dozen of these Steren HDMI cables. They are designed for high speed applications and that meant they would do a better job handling HDCP issues, audio issues, and 4K resolution.

It took a little bit of time to rewire everything again but you know what? All my problems went away. They went away instantly. And it goes to show that there is a difference in cables. The good thing is that these cables were still fairly inexpensive and they work great. I’d recommend this to anyone who is having weird problems with an HDMI-connected device. You can get these cables, and any cables you need, when you shop at Solid Signal like I did.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with all these old HDMI cables that I’ll never use again.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.