Monday, July 28, 2008

Computer Cable Scam

Here's the scenario, you have a need to purchase a usb cable for one of your computer accessories. You go to the big box store, and see prices ranging from $5 - $35. The more expensive one claims to be "24K gold-plated and corrosion-proof connectors for maximum conductivity and error-free transmission of up to 480 Mbps".

Or perhaps you got one of those new High Definition TV sets, complete with a new HD receiver and DVD player. These new devices have the new high tech HDMI interface. You need to get cables to connect it all up, and the folks in the store have these great HDMI cables with superior quality for $100. Sure, they have a cable for $20, but warn you not want to compromise your video and sound quality with a $20 cable on your $1,500 system!

Well, guess what. There is NO DIFFERENCE between the cheap cable and the expensive cable except for price. It's true. Here's why, HDMI, USB and network cables transmit data in digital format, That means they send data in a signal that is either on or off. There are no wave forms as you have in analog data. So, in digital transmission, the data either gets delivered or it doesn't. Here's a fun read on the practical reality of the matter...

All HDMI, USB and network cables are certified to meet certain standards, and will perform exactly the same, regardless of how much you pay for them.

So, next time you go to the store to buy one of these, look for the inexpensive one. When the sales person tries to persuade you to break the bank on hyped up performance, respectfully suggest that they educate themself on how digital data transmission works.