Cables, Wires and Tools
A/V Cables Explained
April 26, 2008 | by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
With so many choices and functions, let’s take a moment to review the many cables to be found in your A/V setup.
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10 Comments (displaying chronologically) Post a comment
Posted by Glenn  on  04/27  at  05:48 PM

I saw a friends installation of his Sony Bravia 53”
TV. He said that the people who sold it to him didn’t know which cable could give him the fastest refresh rate. Sony said he would have to buy theirs at $200 to get the best response. So he bought it, installed it in his wall and finished the room with dry wall. Suprise! The cable was bad.
So he put a track on the wall to conseal the new cable. Everything looks good now. Is there only one cable out there that can supply the fastest refresh rate on a 53” screen?

Posted by Bob  on  04/28  at  01:20 PM

Your article is generally helpful, but would be much more beneficial if it included pictures of the various connectors, both male and female.  It could become a standard referral link for assisting the novice or the older generations trying to keep up.


Posted by david duer  on  04/28  at  01:59 PM

We install a 1.5” flex tube from the equipment location to right behind the display before the rock goes up. this allows for replacing odsolete cables and new cables for additional equipment at any time.

Posted by Victor  on  04/28  at  02:04 PM

I am unsure why this is referred to as an article. It is more like a fast glossary of terms that anyone could find on the internet.

What would be of value is understanding scenarios involving the use of these cables and how to be more future-proof (as just one example of value of an “article”).

As well, how to identify cables…I have seen people very proud of cabling their home themselves but to their chagrin finding out that the CAT5 cable was a limited cable to say 10/100 speed and should have opted for at least 5e cable and better yet, CAT6.

The same for HDMI - getting an understanding of what one should be paying for this type of cable and does v1.3a have any real value to them.

Last - if people insist on doing their own cabling, perhaps an explanation of what is “legal” inside of a wall and what must remain external. Some electrical and cabling are not suited for being inside the wall.  The point is that there are lots of topics that go beyond a glossary of terms.

Posted by Richard Gardner  on  04/28  at  03:04 PM

The CAT-5 and CAT-6 wires are not described except their “bandwith”. Is there a prysical or visual difference between CAT-5 and CAT-6 wires. Is there a difference on the RJ45 connectors used on CAT-5 or CAT-6? Can a CAT-6 wire always be used to replace a CAT-5e wire?.

I make up CAT-5e cables, should I switch to CAT-6 for longer runs?

Posted by Kit Kimes  on  04/28  at  10:18 PM

Most common HDMI cables are rated at a refresh rate of 60 Khz.  Monster Cable does sell one that is rated up to 120 Khz but it also costs $200 or more.

Posted by Ryan  on  04/30  at  01:10 PM

To Richard Gardner,

The physical difference between cat5e and cat6 cables lies in how tightly wound the conductors are.  This provides better noise isolation and reduces near end crosstalk, insertion loss and SNR.  Both cat5e and cat6 are rated up to 100 meters, so your signal quality is not a function of the length, but the physical charactaristics of the cable

I would switch to cat6 cable in order to future proof your installations.  One of the bigger problems with near end cross talk involves how you terminate the cables.  I recommend using RJ-45 connectors that utilize a managment bar for any cat6 applications.

Posted by locke6854  on  05/01  at  08:25 AM

HDMI—-    cables advertized as “1.3” is marketing.  So are cables rated at “120hz”.  No signal is sent at that rate.  120hz hdtvs take a 24hz or 60hz signal (delivered by the hdmi cable) and duplicate frames or interpolate new ones to display at 120hz.

We’ve all heard this time and time again— don’t buy Monster cables, go to and pick up a cable for a few bucks.    Apparently it bears repeating.

Posted by Ward  on  06/18  at  10:27 PM

In response to Locke6854 on HDMI 1.3, I suggest readers go to for details on HDMI versions and features.  In the FAQs, they say that HDMI v1.3, 1.3a, and 1.3b are equivalent for consumers, but that v1.3 offers numerous advantages over previous versions, in particular:

HDMI 1.3:

Higher speed: HDMI 1.3 increases its single-link bandwidth to 340 MHz (10.2 Gbps) to support the demands of future HD display devices, such as higher resolutions, Deep Color and high frame rates. In addition, built into the HDMI 1.3 specification is the technical foundation that will let future versions of HDMI reach significantly higher speeds.
Deep Color: HDMI 1.3 supports 10-bit, 12-bit and 16-bit (RGB or YCbCr) color depths, up from the 8-bit depths in previous versions of the HDMI specification, for stunning rendering of over one billion colors in unprecedented detail.
Broader color space: HDMI 1.3 adds support for “x.v.Color™” (which is the consumer name describing the IEC 61966-2-4 xvYCC color standard), which removes current color space limitations and enables the display of any color viewable by the human eye.
New mini connector: With small portable devices such as HD camcorders and still cameras demanding seamless connectivity to HDTVs, HDMI 1.3 offers a new, smaller form factor connector option.
Lip Sync: Because consumer electronics devices are using increasingly complex digital signal processing to enhance the clarity and detail of the content, synchronization of video and audio in user devices has become a greater challenge and could potentially require complex end-user adjustments. HDMI 1.3 incorporates automatic audio synching capabilities that allows devices to perform this synchronization automatically with total accuracy.
New HD lossless audio formats: In addition to HDMI’s current ability to support high-bandwidth uncompressed digital audio and all currently-available compressed formats (such as Dolby® Digital and DTS®), HDMI 1.3 adds additional support for new lossless compressed digital audio formats Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio™.

Posted by gage pin  on  06/27  at  04:05 AM

Great Site!! I really enjoy reading it!  HDMI—- cables advertized as “1.3” is marketing.  So are cables gage pin rated at “120hz”.  No signal is sent at that rate.  120hz hdtvs take a 24hz or 60hz signal (delivered by the hdmi cable) and duplicate frames or interpolate new ones to display at 120hz. Thank you for sharing! Have a great day.

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