Whether you’re purchasing electronics at the store and a salesperson is trying to upsell you on premium cables, or you’re shopping specifically for cables and you’re faced with having to choose between cables of different prices and quality, you’ve likely asked yourself the question: “Are premium cables worth the money?”
A simple yes or no isn’t enough to completely answer this question. It depends on what kind of cables you’re purchasing, and what you’re planning on using them for. For example, one reason why so many people think that premium cables make a difference is because back in the days of analogue, the caliber of the cable truly did make a difference in terms of signal quality. With analogue cables, the gauge or thickness of the copper wiring directly affected the picture quality, especially when dealing with long cables. You may remember experiencing this first hand when trying out different quality cables for your old VCR.
When it comes to digital signals, the rules change and using a thicker cable isn’t required in order to enjoy a better signal. As is true with analogue, the digital signal does degrade over distance. However, unlike analogue, the signal degradation isn’t affected by the quality of cable. Digital cables with interfaces like HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, and Thunderbolt, all do the same quality of job at relaying the same digital signal over the same distance.
With a digital cable, the most important aspect isn’t the gauge or the thickness; instead, it’s the connection. As explained by Techquickie:
A crummy cable connector can result in a failure to display an image on the screen, but the difference is that a handshake process occurs to determine the quality of the link when you hook it up. And it either is good enough, or it isn’t. If it is, then it’s as good as any other suitable connection.
Therefore, if you’re in the market for a new digital cable, going with a knee-jerk reaction and buying the most expensive one in hopes of getting the best signal possible, won’t necessarily give you the premium results you’re trying to achieve by paying more money. Instead, think about what you need from a new cable and shop accordingly.
For example, you can probably get away with inexpensive cables for your company’s workstations, especially if you’re working with multiple machines and you’re trying to save money. An example where it would be appropriate to splurge on a premium cable is if you need it for an activity that requires movement and stress to be placed on the cable. In a case like this, you will want a cable with an extra strong connector in order to minimize the risk of being knocked loose. Also, if your cables will be exposed and hanging out for all to see, then there’s nothing wrong with spending extra money on cables that look good.
So, are premium cables worth the extra expense? For the average PC user, probably not. However, there is a purpose for them, and depending on the nature of your business, going with a premium cable might improve the quality of what you’re working on. To know for sure if a premium cable will best serve your needs, give Tektonic a call at (416) 256-9928.