HDMI or High-Definition Multimedia Interface is probably one of the most ubiquitous ports and interfaces found on our modern gadgets, it’s found on TVs, Laptops, Desktop PCs, Gaming consoles, and Cameras. That’s not all though, with a handful of adapters, you can also plug your childhood gaming consoles and other analog-based devices into HDMI.
I think most of us already know what HDMI can do for us, but are there any differences between different HDMI cables, adapters, and other accessories? We’ll discuss all that along the way! We’ll also take a look at some of the best cables, adapters, and unexpected HDMI gadgets that’ll enhance your HDMI devices! Let’s get started!
Amazon Basics Braided HDMI 2.0 Cable
- Ethernet Ready
- Has thick sheathing
- Braided and has solid connector housings
- HDMI 2.0 Certified only (up to 4K–60Hz only)
- Might be too thick and stiff for some use cases
For basic applications like TV Boxes, Gaming PCs, older gen consoles, and generally devices that’ll output up to 4K, this Amazon Basics Braided cable is great for most use cases. Just a heads up though, this cable is heavy and thick which is a good thing! It also has ethernet capabilities. Although I’ll warn you that based on the reviews, some buyers had a hard time bending this cable which is also important if you’re trying to bring this portably or if your media cabinet has tight spots. For those purposes, you might be better off with this Amazon Basic cable.
One last thing, this cable is available up to 25 feet, although, cables that are more than 10 feet will have risks of voltage drops.
Monoprice Braided HDMI 2.1 Cable
- HDMI 2.1 certified (can transmit 8K or 4k-144Hz)
- Affordable for its features
- Available in packs so you can get matching cables for all your devices
- Might be too stiff for some use cases
While the previous cable I mentioned won’t get you 144Hz or 8K, this Monoprice Cable will! More specifically, this cable can run 4K-144Hz, 8K-60Hz, and even 10K (theoretically). As some of you might know, Monoprice is a brand that brings budget but high-quality products. Although, remember when some of the Monoprice cables that LTT tested, failed? Well, fear not, this cable I’m recommending definitely passed!
With that said, this cable is great for newer-gen consoles like the Xbox Series X and PS5 which can utilize resolutions of up to 8K and more importantly, frame rates up to 144Hz. You can also count your Gaming PC, I heard that with some troubleshooting, you can even use this cable to run 1080p-240Hz. Last but not least, you can also use this cable to transfer lossless or Digital Surround Sound Audio to your audio systems.
Amazon Basics Fiber Optic HDMI Cable
- Can transmit from up to 300ft
- Available in 30ft, 50ft, 100ft, 150ft, 200ft, and 300ft variants.
- Only HDMI 2.0 compliant (can run up to 4K-60Hz)
- Fiber Optic Cables are much pricier than normal HDMI cables
- Fiber optic HDMI cables are directional
As you may already know, the main problem with HDMI is voltage drops, which get worse the longer the cable is. Although here’s the thing, let’s say you’re looking for a cable to use for a classroom or a massive viewing party where a long HDMI cable might make things easier. I mean, how can you possibly transmit 4K or even 1080p video over a span of up to 300 feet? Through a Fiber Optic HDMI cable!
Some internet providers use Fiber Optic Cables to quickly transfer a lot of data over a span of miles before needing a signal amplifier. A Fiber optic HDMI cable essentially does the same, it converts the HDMI’s electrical signal into the light to transmit over the fiber optic cable, and the other end will convert it back into an electrical signal that an HDMI display can read.
Going back, I think the Amazon Basics Fiber Optic Cable is a great option for people who want to extend their HDMI cable’s reach, but don’t want to sacrifice quality. This fiber optic cable has been rated to transmit 4K-60Hz from up to 300 feet away without signal degradation, so you can rest assured that your signal will be crisp and clear.
Lastly, just a word of warning. Since this cable and any other Fiber optic HDMI cable have signal converters, it is directional which means the signal can only go one way, one plug is only for input and the other is also specifically for output.
VCE 90 Degree HDMI Adapters
Take a look back at our recommended HDMI cables, all three of them are thick and stiff aren’t they? This is good for preventing any electromagnetic interference but is clearly bad if your TV or HDMI device is in a tight spot especially if it’s wall-mounted, and you just can’t bend HDMI cables straight away, especially with these high-bandwidth cables.
A solution to that is these 90-degree adapters, which won’t only make your tight setup possible, they’ll also make cable management easier, and since it’s just an adapter, it won’t affect your image quality even if you’re running 8K.
This pack of adapters comes with two adapters, one bent at 90 degrees and the other bent at 270 degrees or essentially opposite of 90 degrees so you can use these two on both your console, PC, or other devices to your TV and monitor without any kinks and folds in the HDMI cable.
Last but certainly not the least is the Marseille mClassic! It’s a great way (and one of the few ways) to take your HDMI signal and upscale it into 4K!
It’s small and portable, so you can take it with you anywhere. It’s also very easy to use. All you have to do is plug it into your TV and then plug in your HDMI cable into the mClassic, and power the mClassic by plugging the USB power cable into it, and the rest is all automatic. You don’t have to worry about anything else.
It also has a physical switch to toggle between different modes, you can turn the upscaling on or off, I think this is an excellent addition, that way you don’t have to take the mClassic on and off every time you don’t want to upscale your content.
Before I forget, the switch can also toggle to the retro mode which is best if you want to upscale your old Gamecube, PS2, or other retro consoles.
This device can make any HDMI signal look amazing, whether it’s from an old DVD player, retro consoles, or even a Nintendo Switch. Everything will be upscale in crisp detail and vivid color that will blow your mind. Who says you can’t upgrade an old device?
Anker USB-C to HDMI Adapter
Remember at the beginning of this article when I said that HDMI is pretty ubiquitous? Well, USB-C is also fairly common these days, and the number of devices that has USB-C is growing pretty fast!
That being said, I bet a handful of you readers will have at least one device that only outputs video through USB-C, whether it’s a tablet, a phone, laptop, or camera, connecting it will require a USB-C to HDMI dongle or adapter. For that, our best recommendation is the Anker USB-C to HDMI adapter!
It works with a ton of devices, and it’s pretty small in size so you can bring it everywhere. I know that some of you already know or have USB-C hubs that include HDMI, PD, USB-A, and a ton more, and the reason why I didn’t recommend those as the best USB-C to HDMI adapter is that most of those can only output video at 4K-30Hz. While this Anker USB-C to HDMI adapter can output 4K-60Hz.
What Makes An HDMI Cable Good?
Let’s start by talking about what makes a good HDMI cable, it should be simple right? While you might think that an HDMI is just a simple cable, that’s not always the case.
Using a random cable to connect your HDMI devices should work fine especially if your devices don’t transmit 4K video or lossless audio, but as soon as you connect two devices that transfer a lot of data at once (like monitors with high-refresh-rate and 4K resolution or any HDMI 2.1 or 2.0 device), your random cable might not work as intended anymore. What do I mean by that? Well, if you’re using a non-certified or a poorly made HDMI cable, you might see resolution and audio degradation, or frame drops. Why though?
Technically every HDMI cable should work the same because it is what it is; a cable, but the quality difference lies within the materials used and the manufacturing quality:
A thicker or better quality sheathing (or the outermost part of the cable) will protect the data going through the HDMI from electromagnetic interference from other cables and radio devices.
Other than that, the quality of the conductors inside the cable will also make the most difference, cheap cables often have copper cables that might be too thin or too impure, this will result in voltage drops which is the term used to describe when a cable has too much resistance that it reduces the voltage of the signal once it reaches the other side. This is the main culprit when we talk about video/audio degradation and frame drops.
Here’s the scary part, there is a video on YouTube made by LinusTechTips where they meticulously tested a lot of cables that came from unknown brands to famous and trusted brands like MonoPrice, Belkin, and Amazon Basics. Based on their testing of 55 cables, 10 cables failed to meet HDMI 2.0 spec, that’s a 1 out of 5 chance, and I’m not kidding when I say some of those cables that failed cost $30.
In short, not every HDMI cable and accessories are the same, they have differences in build quality and materials used, plus certifications from an organization that tests each product. Anyway enough of me geeking out on HDMI cables and their differences, here are some of the best HDMI cables that are truly certified to reliably do their job.