You’ve probably heard of HDMI cables, but do you know what they are and how they work? HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) cables are used to transmit digital video and audio signals between devices. They provide a high-quality connection that can transmit signals up to 10.2Gbps. In this article, we’ll explain what HDMI is and how it works, and we’ll also discuss the different types of HDMI cables.
What is HDMI and what came before?
HDMI cables are the latest and greatest in digital video and audio connections. They combine video and audio into one convenient cable, which is why they're so popular for home theater setups. Prior to HDMI, electronics used various analog connections such as VGA, Scart, RGB, radio frequency, and coaxial cable. But each of these connections had its own quirks- like the need for separate audio cables or a specific type of connector. With HDMI cables, you can connect your Blu-ray player, game console, and TV with just one cable. And because HDMI cables use the same technology as digital visual interface (DVI) cables, you don't have to worry about not having the right cable for the job. DVI has been the digital connection standard in the PC environment for years, so you know that HDMI is up to the task. HDMI simply takes DVI and adds an audio component, support for a different color space and a few other components- all in a smaller connector.
How do HDMI cables work?
HDMI cables work by transmitting digital audio and video signals between devices. The cables consist of an inner core and an outer sheath. The inner core is where the audio and video signals are transmitted, while the outer sheath protects the core and helps to maintain the signal quality. Audio and visual signals are carried by different conductors. The audio signal is transmitted by copper, while the visual signal is transmitted by silver. Silver has the highest conductivity of any metal, but it also corrodes when exposed to the atmosphere. This is why copper is used for the audio signal- it doesn’t corrode as quickly as silver. The green tarnishing in copper is actually a sign of corrosion. Gold resists corrosion incredibly well (that’s why it was traditionally used to store wealth) and acts as a protector for the other metals in the cable.
Which HMDI cable should you buy?
If you're not sure what HDMI cable you should buy, check out our best HDMI cables guide for our rundown of the best choices out there. In that guide, we also have a rundown of things to consider when buying a HDMI cable, like length and 4K support. If you'd like to learn more about whether a cheap HDMI cable works the same as an expensive one, we've covered that too.
HDMI cables transfer digital video and audio signals between devices. They come in a variety of different types, with different features. When choosing an HDMI cable, it is important to consider what devices you will be connecting and what features you need.
Don’t buy anything until you’ve read a review. Our expert reviews are the best way to know without a doubt that you are getting the right product for your needs. We only review products we think are worth.