The late-1970s VCR buyer excitedly connected his new-fangled toy to the wooden-cased family TV set via its aerial socket. In the 1980s came the widespread adoption of direct AV connections, which bypassed the TV's tuner thereby improving the potential sound and picture quality. Of these, the best known in Europe is the analogue Scart - which has now been with us for over a quarter of a century.
Scart is still here in the present digital era, and you'll even find the 21-pin sockets on the latest DVD products and flat-panel displays. However, a digital AV world needs a digital interconnection - and one that's able to deal with high-definition video. Hence the rise of HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) which is now supported by flat-panel TVs, projectors, all but the cheapest disc players, an increasing proportion of PCs, and many modern home cinema amps/receivers. Even with standard-definition performance is elevated relative to Scart because there's no superfluous conversion between analogue and digital.
HDMI supports 1080p, and will convey multi-channel soundtracks to audio systems. It also allows recent items of equipment to 'talk' to each other, so that a single remote can operate much of it. If you've got modern AV gear, then, there's no escaping the lure of HDMI. With this in mind, we're going to examine six of the latest HDMI interconnects. All are compliant with the latest 1.3 standard, but are backwards-compatible with earlier ones.
Similar in concept - and, for that matter, execution - to the Wireworld Island, the HDMI 1.3-certified HDMI-G is of a 'flat' design. Indeed, the cable has the same 3mm thickness and 13mm width. Despite the different jacket colour (dark grey, as opposed to 'Island-cream') we suspect that both cables share at least the same influence. As with the Island the plugs (which benefit from a gold-plated shroud and pins) have been moulded on, although the HDMI-G's are somewhat longer and will protrude accordingly.
Another difference between the two is that the HDMI-G is available in longer lengths - up to 12m, against the Island's 5m. The cable employs large 'conductive-coated' conductors, spaced by a skin/foam/skin polyethylene dielectric/insulation and optimised for what Audioquest calls an 'ultra-stable geometry'. The 3m version we were sent for testing performed impeccably, video of 1080p (or lower) resolution being faithfully-delivered from source to display.
Flatness has obvious practical advantages
No problems of note
IXOS Studio XHT288
The HDMI-certified Studio tested here is the 'entry-level' interconnect of the Ixos digital AV range. Well-made and finished in an attractive blue colour, the 8mm-diameter Studio is triple-screened to prevent interference. The signal conductors are constructed from pure-crystal OFC, internally-spaced by nitrogen-injected polyethylene dielectrics (the insulators that 'space' the conductors to ensure correct electrical characteristics) of the company's own design and enclosed within a heavy-duty PVC outer jacket.
Despite this, the 2m version tested here (the XHT288) is lightweight and a mere 7mm in diameter. The ribbed (for ease of gripping) connectors at each end are also high in tech. They employ a patented 4-layer circuit board, and make extensive use of gold-plating for good signal transfer and reliability. Ixos claims that the Studio is certified for 1080p transmission - the XHT288 certainly gave us no trouble carrying 1080p video and multi-channel audio between our AV equipment.
Sensible design yields excellent performance Minus points
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Posted: 15/07/09 07:41:40 40
Dear oh dear, same old rubbish spouting out ,dont waste your money on expensive HDMI cables they are all the same.
Different HDMI cables do not affect the quality of the picture. FACT. Reviews stating that cables produce a 'more natural image' or 'better colours' are complete rubbish. See this video for the latest info on HDMI 1.4 as of July 2009.]