Are all digital cables created equal?


New member
Username: Fletcherdunn

Post Number: 1
Registered: Oct-04
I'm shopping for a DVI cable. DVI is a pure digital connection, right? I found a DVI-HDMI cable (my TV has an HDMI input) for $40 or so. So then why would I pay $100 for a monster cable that does the same thing?

For an analog signal, I can understand that a cheap cable can introduce degradation in signal quality. But if it's digital, it is either transmitted from point A to point B correctly or isn't not, right?

By comparison: Ethernet cable carries a digital signal. There are certainly cases where a bad cable can degrade performance. If your cable is worn or not shielded properly, you will get more collisions and have more retries. This degrades *speed*, but not *quality* - the network will simply resend those packets. Nobody's file ever got corrupted because of a bad cable - network transmission protocols have error detection mechanisms like CRC's. But it can make the file take longer to send.

Another comparison is a digital cell phone conversation - you either hear the message, or you don't. If there is a bad physical connection, then the packets are detected as containing an error, and they are dropped.

Currently,I have digital cable connected to my TV through component inputs. When my digital cable screws up (the connection from my cable company to my cable box), there are *noticable* defects in the image. It's not a slight problem or some sort of degradation in quality that you have to be a purist tonotice - it's very noticable.

So - all of this is to say - if I get a (relatively) cheap DVI cable, and I don't see any obvious problems, then isn't that cable doing the absolute best job possible of tramitting the signal, and no other cable could possibly do any better, and would therefore be an absolute waste of money? (Other than then, ohh, look at my shiny monster cable factor?)

Isn't that the whole point of things being "digital" - if you receive it, you receive a perfect copy, and there's no generation loss?

- Fletch

Unregistered guest
Hello, Fletch

The is definetly a difference between Monster cable and generic cable; however you will only be able to see it at the specific application.
Monster cales are better shielded and insolation is much thicker then generic; however it doesn`t make any difference if you are not having high-power electrical cords from power amps next to the digital connection.

Thak you

Bronze Member
Username: Aurora_sandman

Post Number: 14
Registered: Nov-04
> Isn't that the whole point of things
> being "digital" - if you receive it, you
> receive a perfect copy, and there's no
> generation loss?


This is what has had me scratching my head, too. These premium cable companies are totally ripping people off pushing these high price cables for digital signals (coax, too, for that matter!). Either it works or it doesn't. Between any two working cables, there is no possible way one could be "superior" for the application.

Of course, analog signals are a completely different story.

Chris McMahon
Unregistered guest
this stuff may or may not have error correction but it probably won't matter. go for the cheap stuff. There still riping you off at $40.

Bronze Member
Username: Aurora_sandman

Post Number: 15
Registered: Nov-04
In my post above, when I said "coax too," I meant "fiber optic" too. My understanding is that fiber is a good technology for long distance transmission without signal loss. The distance between my DVD player and my receiver is certainly more than short enough to just span with a cheap RCA cable (less than $5, I'm thinking). If it's not adequate, you'll hear very audible digital static. But my cable isn't anything special, and it works just fine.

For buying analog cables, my thought at the moment is to buy from places that supply recording studios. I figure they're going to be good quality. And they aren't likley going to be overpriced because studios aren't going to be lured in by mindless hype... and they need to buy lots of cables.

Musician's Friend might be one site to look at:

I just ordered these 3 foot stereo RCA cables form them for $4.99:

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