Jake Ludington zeroes in on one of my pet peeves in this recent post, where he winds up and lets it fly at the big consumer electronics retail chains for selling overpriced cables to gullible consumers. I ran into this a couple years ago when I was looking for an digital optical audio cable (TOSLINK) and thought I’d pick one up at my local Best Buy. They had 10 varieties in stock. But the lowest price was nearly $40, and they actually wanted over $100 for a single audio cable. (Their prices are still crazy. See for yourself.)
As Jake notes, this is nonsense:
Both HDMI and DVI cables deliver a digital signal, similar to the way USB or FireWire cables deliver digital signals. These are signals that can’t be degraded by environmental interference because they are made up of binary data that’s transmitted from the source (PC, PlayStation 3, HD-DVD player, etc) and displayed on the other end (the screen). The only scenario where the cable ceases to work is if it’s damaged in some way.
There’s really no excuse for a basic audio patch cable to cost more than about 10 bucks. Sure, go ahead and pay a premium for a well-made cable with high-quality connecters. That’s the difference between a $3 product and one that costs $5 or maybe just a little more.
I think I wound up buying three cables for $5.99 apiece including shipping. And I don’t even bother going into Best Buy anymore except to see how cheap flat-screen TVs are these days.