CE on the Cheap: Are You Really Saving?
On second thought, maybe that Costco TV wasn't such a good idea after all.
Yes, it is probably too good to be true.
April 23, 2009 by Julie Jacobson

And that’s before you turn on the microwave oven. (Read: The Microwave Ate my Caller ID.)

Interested in HDMI? You’ll have to fork out about $1,000 for a wireless connection (for each TV).

And let’s just say that everything is going wireless. That’s all the more reason to hardwire your home because all those wireless signals are going to clobber each other. (Read: Wiring for a Wireless World)

El Cheapo HDMI Cables
You think a $2.99 HDMI cable is a real bargain? In the case of very short runs – one or two meters, maybe – you might not encounter too many issues. But the longer the cable, the less the tolerance, and the more likely you are to suffer from bad video or no video at all.

Steven Hill of Straight Wire says that otherwise reputable cable manufacturers sometimes produce serious surpluses at their factories. “They just have to dump them, so they don’t go through licensing or testing,” he says.

Some of the second-rate products might not even be able to pass HDCP (security) and CEC (control) signals between connected gear, rendering them highly ineffective or completely useless.

HDMI’s Consumer Electronics Control – which enables users to control their A/V gear via the TV, among other things – is starting to gain traction, so you might not want to miss out on it.

In any case, if you must purchase cheap HDMI cables, make sure to have at least one quality cable on hand for troubleshooting. Chances are, when your video doesn’t work, the fault belongs to a crummy cable.

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Julie Jacobson - Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

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