Are Expensive Cables Worth It?

Why do some cables cost more than others?

If you're buying cable adapters or replacement cables for your stereo or home theater equipment, chances are you've noticed some variations in price from one manufacturer to another, and you may be wondering why. After all, cables all do the same thing -- connect devices to each other and transmit electrical impulses and data, right? So why are some more expensive than others, and is it worth the extra money to get a more expensive cable?

Factors Influencing Cable Prices

Whether you're shopping for audio cables, stereo wires, HDMI cables, or cable adapters, the same principles hold true: more expensive cables are designed to deliver superior data transmission rates. The only point of debate is whether or not they actually deliver the superior data transmission rates they advertise.

The relative width or thickness of the cable, the material from which it is made, and the technology used in the cable's data transmission components all influence the price. However, keep in mind that there are no stereo cables, video cables, data cables, or audio cables on the market capable of offering 100 percent data transmission. It is a physical impossibility. The question, then, is will you notice a difference in the end result because of the cables you use?

The Results Are In

Numerous studies have been made into this question, and the general consensus seems to indicate that in most cases, average consumers don't really need to invest in expensive, high-end cables. The difference in performance, according to these studies, simply isn't perceptible.

However, there are exceptions. While the days of wired Internet are fast disappearing, a quality cable can make a world of difference when it comes to Internet connection speeds. If you use data-rich devices, such as live or interactive video game streaming, investing in good cables can deliver a smoother, more streamlined experience.

On the whole, though, it's usually not worth the extra money to purchase high-end cables costing hundreds of dollars, unless you're picky and your application demands it. Otherwise, you'd be better off investing the extra money in a better TV or faster computer -- that can make a difference you will notice!

Got questions about audio, video or Internet cables? Wondering whether high-end cables are worth buying? Learn all about cable types, features and prices here:

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