High definition multimedia interface or HDMI has become the standard connection for various display devices. Modern TVs, monitors and other devices uses the HDMI to connect to PCs, gaming consoles and even Blu-ray players. HDMI is compatible with standard and high definition signals and also supports multi-channel audio over a single connection.
As you might have guessed or encountered, you can buy various types of HDMI cables. Among the various cables available, gold HDMI cables have been claimed to offer superior performance and quality. You will also see various brands pushing their gold HDMI cables citing all types of reasons to prove they are the best.
But do gold HDMI cables really perform better than normal HDMI cables? Should you pay the extra price to get a gold HDMI instead of a regular one?
It's good to ask questions and we have the answers right there in our post. So read on to find out if it really makes sense to invest in gold-plated HDMI cables.
Gold HDMI Cables Vs. Regular Cables: Is there Any Difference in Performance?
Gold HDMI cables have a thin gold plating on the connectors. Many people claim that the gold plating helps in the optimum transmission of signals. The theory is that gold being a good conductor of electricity, transmits signals better than regular cables. As a result, there is very less quality loss or deterioration of the video.
However, the basic flaw in this argument is that HDMI cables only transmit digital signals. Loss of quality or similar issues were the hallmark of the analog age where the picture often turned unclear or blurry. This was due to the reason that analog signals use a waveform to transmit data. The waveforms were sometimes misinterpreted by the output devices resulting in a blurry image. Sometimes other electrical interferences also resulted in unclear images.
But this problem of misinterpretation or interference is not possible in case of digital signals which uses only 1s and 0s. So there is no way for a monitor or TV to misinterpret the signals; it either has to be 0 or 1- there are no other possibilities!
That means gold HDMI cables will not have any effect on the quality of the picture if the video is without any flaws. A gold cable cannot improve the quality of 1s and 0s, as it's not possible to do so.
The only time you get issues with the picture is when the HDMI cable starts to malfunction. You will see small white dots all over your screen called "sparkles" or "snow." This happens not because you are using a regular cable, but because the 1s and 0s are not arriving at all.
You can address the problem by buying a new HDMI cable. Here, you can choose from standard or high-speed cables that support varying resolutions.
Gold HDMI Cables: What About Latency?
Latency is one of the biggest performance issues, especially for gamers. Delays can be quite irritating while gaming- they create a lag between your action on the console or computer and subsequent visual representation on the screen.
Manufacturers of gold HDMI cables often claim lower latency and higher speeds. This is also based on the argument that gold connectors conduct electricity better than regular ones.
But here too, there is a basic flaw in the argument. Even though gold HDMI cables come with gold-plated connectors, they still use the same copper wire inside. So there is not much difference between a regular and a gold HDMI cable, as the signal is transmitted over the same copper wire. The gold plating on the connectors will not make any discernible impact on the latency.
So you are better off saving your money by going for a regular HDMI cable. If you do face latency issues, check whether your hardware is able to support the games you are playing. You may need to upgrade your GPU, processor, or monitor.
When does Gold HDMI Cables Make Sense?
So is the whole thing about gold HDMI cables being better just a fad? Or are there really some benefits?
As it turns out, gold HDMI cables may have a few advantages, but nothing that improves the quality or strength of your video signals. Here are a few benefits that gold HDMI cables offer-
Gold is often used in circuit boards of computers, smartphones and other electronics for their ability to stand up to corrosion. That means gold erodes much slower than other metals. For this reason, gold HDMI cables can last longer than regular cables where metal corrosion is an issue.
If you live in an area with high humidity, like a seaside or river plain, you might consider a gold HDMI cable. The gold plating will protect the connectors and prevent corrosion much better than regular cables.
Gold HDMI cables are pricier than regular cables and often are of higher quality. That means better connectors, thick insulation and an overall good build and durability. So if you are looking for a premium cable, gold HDMI cables can make sense.
You will not get any difference in performance but can enjoy the "premiumness" of your cable.
Should You Invest in a Gold HDMI Cable?
From what we have discussed until now, gold HDMI cables will not offer any significant leap in performance or quality. You may want to pay extra if you prefer the luxury and enjoy the status of owning a gold HDMI cable. Otherwise, it makes much more sense to save your money and buy a regular HDMI cable.
Don't fall for the traps laid by manufacturers claiming the benefits of gold HDMI cables. Stay informed and use a regular cable unless appearance is more important to you!