T Nation

HDTV-Worth It?

I just picked up on Black Friday a 42" LCD HDTV. I need some advice from those of you who have experience with this b/c after doing some reading online, I’m still undecided as to what to buy.

Cable co. is coming manana to install the hi-def box and my questions are re: cables.

The employees at Circuit City kept pushing these $100+Monster cables on me, saying you need them , you won’t get true HD w/out them, blah blah blah.

Oh, and they also pushed a $100+ Monster surge protector (!!) on me.

I told them I’ll think about it.

So what’s the deal with these cables?

1)Do I need to spring for them?

  1. Do I need to buy anything else to get the best picture qulaity?

  2. Do I need to buy the Monster surge protector?

Thanks in advance

[quote]Sonny S wrote:
I just picked up on Black Friday a 42" LCD HDTV. I need some advice from those of you who have experience with this b/c after doing some reading online, I’m still undecided as to what to buy.

Cable co. is coming manana to install the hi-def box and my questions are re: cables.

The employees at Circuit City kept pushing these $100+Monster cables on me, saying you need them , you won’t get true HD w/out them, blah blah blah.

Oh, and they also pushed a $100+ Monster surge protector (!!) on me.

I told them I’ll think about it.

So what’s the deal with these cables?

1)Do I need to spring for them?

  1. Do I need to buy anything else to get the best picture qulaity?

  2. Do I need to buy the Monster surge protector?

Thanks in advance[/quote]

Its true you won’t get true HD but you will still get a great picture. I personally got the HDMI cable. The surge protector isn’t a bad idea for protection either especially if you have a surround system hooked up too.

[quote]Sonny S wrote:
I just picked up on Black Friday a 42" LCD HDTV. I need some advice from those of you who have experience with this b/c after doing some reading online, I’m still undecided as to what to buy.

Cable co. is coming manana to install the hi-def box and my questions are re: cables.

The employees at Circuit City kept pushing these $100+Monster cables on me, saying you need them , you won’t get true HD w/out them, blah blah blah.

Oh, and they also pushed a $100+ Monster surge protector (!!) on me.

I told them I’ll think about it.

So what’s the deal with these cables?

1)Do I need to spring for them?

  1. Do I need to buy anything else to get the best picture qulaity?

  2. Do I need to buy the Monster surge protector?

Thanks in advance[/quote]

The quality of a video signal is only as high as the weakest piece of video equipment.

For example, if you have your HDTV signal running into a 150 dollar DVD player or VCR before it hits your TV or some sort of AV switcher, the cables will do jack shit for you. Basically, if you bought a 42" tv as a black friday steal, I doubt the monster cables will do much for you.

If, on the other hand, this is a really high-end 42" TV and you have 10,000+ dollars invested in your entertainment equipment, by all means, spring for the cables. Monster cables are good shit, don’t get me wrong. In situations that require the best (recording, namely) I always believe in buying high-dollar cables. However, in your case, I would bet that you are just going to waste 100 bills on cables that are way better than the components they connect.

Also, a monster surge protector is probably another unnecessary waste of cash. Buy a 40 dollar one that is rated the same and don’t sweat it. I work in a college where we put tens of thousands of dollars of equipment on ten dollar surge protectors day in and day out; we’ve never had a problem.

Check your homeowners insurance, you may be covered for surge protection. If not get a surge protector, but you probably don’t need the $100 POS Circuit City is pushing, go to Sam’s, Cosco or Wal-mart and get one that has coverage for the value of your TV and anything else hooked into it. The $100 cables are probably a waste also.

Circuit City and Best Buy make virtually all their money on accessories and extended warranties, almost nothing on the actual products.

If you want, check the return policy and buy the fancy cables and a much cheaper set, take them both home and try them, if the expensive cables don’t make any difference to you take them back.

[quote]Sonny S wrote:
I told them I’ll think about it.

So what’s the deal with these cables?

1)Do I need to spring for them?

  1. Do I need to buy anything else to get the best picture qulaity?

  2. Do I need to buy the Monster surge protector?

Thanks in advance[/quote]

  1. Buy your cables at monoprice.com, you’ll save tons.

2)HDTV and HD Cable Signal with an HDBox is all you really need. Picture Quality will vary with the quality of your provider.

  1. You can buy another surge protector, most come with warranties to protect you in case of damage. Keep reciepts.

Check out avsforums.com for a lot more information, they are full of geeks that know their stuff. I actually got an HDTV this Sunday. Looks amazing with the XBox360, but my cable provider leaves me wanting a better picture.

If your TV has HDMI inputs try to get HDMI cables, from the site I told you. Don’t go spending 100 bucks on cables for no reason. Ignore 95% of what CC employees tell you.

Do some research on the site I told you. You’ll find tons of information, I’m learning everyday.

I got a HDMI cable from my cable company. I don’t think you really need to the Monster Cables, but why not buy them, test them out and then return them if you don’t notice an increase in picture quality?

The HDMI signal is digital. It’s zeroes and ones. As long as the zeroes and ones can make it from one end to the other unscathed; there’s no difference possible due to cable quality.

So, for HDMI cables, I’d buy the cheapest you can find.

In any case, it’s not the cables that determine whether you’re watching true HD, it’s the source of the signal. Send a 480p signal through gold-plated, platinum-laced, diamond-encrusted cable and you’re not watching HD. Send an 720p or 1080i signal through some Radio Shack component cable and you are.

For analog cables, such as audio cables, I don’t believe anyone on this planet is able to tell the difference between ordinary Zip cable and the highest-end Monster cable. They all claim to hear a difference; but no one can pass a blind ABX test where the cheap cable is compared with the Monster Cable one.

Your HD cable box should come with component cables which you WILL get a TRUE HD signal with.

If your TV has HDMI go to Target and get one for UNDER $50. If the run from cable box to TV is under 6ft this will work JUST FINE.

Agreed… A TRUE HD signal just refers to the number of “Lines of Resolution” that make up the picture. Anything from a component video cable on up will provide you with that. As someone else mentioned, the quality of your equipment will dictate whether you get a benefit from the better cables. A cheap HDMI cable would be preferable over a $200 component cable, though, because it is a digital connection with no need for analog-to-digital conversion at either end. As far as the surge protector goes… If you’re just worried about surges, get the cheap 15 dollar one. The ones that they are pushing on you are designed to clean and filter the power source. It doesn’t make much difference on a TV, but if you were going to hook up a surround sound system and whatnot I would highly recommend it. PM me if you have other questions. I’m always glad to help.

Chad

you dont need the “monster” cables…
buy some off of ebay or from your local cable company

It’s very debatable which is better, HDMI, or components (YPbPr). It all depends on your setup. Long distances should be components, but anything shorter will work fine with digital. Bottom line, you wont notice a difference with the HDMI or the components usually. both have positive and negative traits.

The monster power bar is a good investment. It not only provides surge protection, but also filters out the noise in the signal from the cable, i bought one with my tv and it works great. my signal had lots of noise in it, so i could only run two devices off a splitter, with the monster power bar, i have 2 tv’s and internet.

[quote]pookie wrote:

For analog cables, such as audio cables, I don’t believe anyone on this planet is able to tell the difference between ordinary Zip cable and the highest-end Monster cable. They all claim to hear a difference; but no one can pass a blind ABX test where the cheap cable is compared with the Monster Cable one.

[/quote]

Very true on this. There is no difference between the sound quality of the Monster fiber optic cables vs. a cheaper brand.

Re: the wires/cables:

When the cable guys come tomorrow, I’ll make sure I understand whether or not the cables from the box to the TV are HDMI, and if they’re not (they should be though, because its an extra fee for installation and the monthly service), I’ll ask whether or not there’s a difference in the cables.

-As suggested, if I have doubts I’ll buy the expensive ones and see if there’s a differrence. No difference=return

-If there’s a difference I’ll still return them and get them for a better price online if I find one

Now re: the surge protector:

CostCo has one that seems to be the exact same one as the $120 Monster one, but for only $40. it filters the power, and you can hook up a million things to it, just like the monster one: cable, phone, internet, etc.
Comes with a $350 K warranty

What I might do is buy it or look for a cheaper one that still offers a warranty and also get the opinion of the cable guys.

[quote]protect you in case of damage. Keep reciepts.

Check out avsforums.com for a lot more information,
[/quote]

I will check it out, thanks.

Jedidiah- My components would simply be a $57 Phillips DVD player- great player, it plays all kinds of formats, but still…its a $57 player!

And the VCR is a 7 year old LXI, which is about as bottom of the barrel as you can get.

So you could say the components are nothing special.

SuperCHad-thanks for the offer. If need be, I’ll take you up on it.

Don’t waste a dime on expensive cabling–find the cheapest stuff around.

Your content is digital which means that either the digital signal processor in your TV can read it or not. It either will work or it won’t. There is no quality improvement with “better” cables.

When considering cabling there are only two concerns: attenuation and phase velocity. Attenuation is how much signal strength you lose per meter of cabling. For HDTV signals this number is tiny and will not effect the signal unless you’re running ~50 feet of cabling. Phase velocity is a measure of how quickly different frequency components of a signal travel in a cable. Again, for HDTV this number is essentially constant and won’t effect your signal for cable lengths of less than 50 feet.

In regards to surge protectors again don’t spend 100 dollars. Find a cheapo at an office supply store with a guarantee greater than the cost of the equipment you’re hooking up to it.

Monster cables are a complete rip off and offer marginal performance increases in cabling that do not translate to better picture/audio for 10x the cost of other cables. They are a high margin item that all “tech” stores have their sales people push.

[quote]Sonny S wrote:
I just picked up on Black Friday a 42" LCD HDTV. I need some advice from those of you who have experience with this b/c after doing some reading online, I’m still undecided as to what to buy.

Cable co. is coming manana to install the hi-def box and my questions are re: cables.

The employees at Circuit City kept pushing these $100+Monster cables on me, saying you need them , you won’t get true HD w/out them, blah blah blah.

Oh, and they also pushed a $100+ Monster surge protector (!!) on me.

I told them I’ll think about it.

So what’s the deal with these cables?

1)Do I need to spring for them?

  1. Do I need to buy anything else to get the best picture qulaity?

  2. Do I need to buy the Monster surge protector?

Thanks in advance[/quote]

They make so much damn money off of those Monster cables.

When I got my HD Projector which can easily do 120" inches in 1080p and looks amazing, RadioShack and everyone else wanted $100 dollars for an HDMI cable. An HDMI cable’s production cost is easily less than a dollar.

If you want good quality gold plated cables for literarly 1/20th of the price check out

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10240&cs_id=1024004&p_id=2412&seq=1&format=2&style=

www.monoprice.com

They are selling HDMI cables for $6.17. Great site.

They push the cables because they make a huge margin off of them. Monster cable is all that RadioShack sells now, but the fact is it’s a digital signal it doesn’t need to be a “Monster Cable”.

[quote]Sonny S wrote:
Re: the wires/cables:

When the cable guys come tomorrow, I’ll make sure I understand whether or not the cables from the box to the TV are HDMI, and if they’re not (they should be though, because its an extra fee for installation and the monthly service), I’ll ask whether or not there’s a difference in the cables.

-As suggested, if I have doubts I’ll buy the expensive ones and see if there’s a differrence. No difference=return

-If there’s a difference I’ll still return them and get them for a better price online if I find one

Now re: the surge protector:

CostCo has one that seems to be the exact same one as the $120 Monster one, but for only $40. it filters the power, and you can hook up a million things to it, just like the monster one: cable, phone, internet, etc.
Comes with a $350 K warranty

What I might do is buy it or look for a cheaper one that still offers a warranty and also get the opinion of the cable guys. [/quote]

You’re sounding like an informed consumer, good job. I’d like to see the $350k worth of shit someone would plug into that surge protector :o).

Is it possible to get surge protection for your entire house?

Say… like an add-on for the main power main coming in? (Wherever that may be.)