How to Choose a HDMI Cable (Step by step Guide)

Choosing a HDMI cable can be very challenging if you know nothing about technology.

So I created this quick, newbie guide to have help you focus on what's really important to you.

If you are looking for recommendations (specific models), be sure to start my chat tool (Bottom right).

Step 1: Where will you use it?

Think of the application of your new HDMI cable.

  • Computers.
  • Computer Monitors.
  • Blu-ray players.
  • Car.
  • Video game consoles.
  • TVs.
  • Projectors.
  • Phone.
  • Indoor or outdoor use?

If you want to use it outdoors gold-plated Connector. You may also need to have a HDMI cable with gripping connectors.

There is a special "automotive" grade if you are interested in using it in your car. Not really mandatory though.

Step 2: Choose your price range

How much are you willing to spend on your next HDMI cable?

The more you spend, the better the features. But you need a limit, a budget.

A budget will allow you to narrow down alternatives and save you time.

Step 3: Speed and Resolution

Speed and resolution are tied together. Cables that comply to newer specification have more speed and may allow higher resolution devices.

The minimum HDMI cable you need depends on what resolution your devices can output or display. The minimum resolution will determine your need.

Example:

If your blu-ray is 1080p and your TV is 4k you will need a HDMI cable that supports 1080p.

If your blu-ray is 4k and your TV is 1080p you will also need a HDMI cable that supports 1080p.

If both are 4k, you will need a 4k cable. Similarly, if both are 8k you will need a 8k cable:

You can change "blu-ray" in the example for any device like PC, gaming consoles. Likewise you can replace TV for monitor, projectors and etc...

To sum it up:

  • Up to 1080p: Any standard HDMI cable will do.
  • 4k resolution will require HDMI 1.4b. They are also known as "High Speed HDMI Cable".
  • 8K resolution will need HDMI 2.1. They are also known as "Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable".

Step 4: Cable type

Most devices require a type A HDMI cable: Computer Monitors, blu-ray players, video game consoles, TVs. Male types are like this one:

If you need a cable for smaller devices (like phones) you may need a type C (Mini) or type D (Micro):

Make sure you check your device to see what you actually need. And make sure you check both devices.

Adapters and extenders

Some adapters and extenders may have a female connector type like this one:

Step 5: Cable length

You shouldn't get a cable longer than you actually need. 3m or less should be enough for most people.

It's not just because it is more expensive. Longer cables take room and looks ugly.

Also, cables longer than 7m may need to be of a different kind than the normal "passive" HDMI cables.

In any case double check how long you need the cable to be.

Step 6: Technology (Features)

Some features and technologies, like HDR and audio support, are only available in newer versions of the HDMI specification.

Specification Year Resolution and Refresh Rate Bandwidth HDR Audio Support
HDMI 1.0 2002 1080p @ 60 Hz 4.95 Gb/s No 8 audio channels
HDMI 1.1/1.2 2005 1440p @ 30 Hz 4.95 Gb/s No DVD-Audio, One-Bit Audio
HDMI 1.3/1.4b 2009 1080p @ 120 Hz
4K @ 60 Hz
10.2 Gb/s No ARC, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD
HDMI 2.0b 2013 5K @ 30 Hz 18.0 Gb/s Yes HE-AAC, DRA, HDR, 32 audio channels
HDMI 2.1 2017 4K @ 120 Hz
8K @ 30 Hz
48.0 Gb/s Yes eARC, Dolby Atmos

If in doubt choose the latest revision of the HDMI standard. It's more expensive though.

Step 7: Brand and Quality

There are many low-quality models in the market. They all promise great performance but fail to deliver it.

If you want to skip poor quality HDMI cables pick one of the two below. They are all type A (male to male):

HDMI 2.1 (8k)

4k and lower resolution

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Technology (EN): How to Choose a HDMI Cable (Step by step Guide)
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