A new HDMI certification program will make it easier to avoid crappy cables

Certified cables will carry labels assuring the consumer that they’ve been tested to meet the HDMI 2.0 spec.

One HDMI cable is as good as another, right? Wrong. The old saying “an HDMI cable will either work or it won’t, because digital is all or nothing” is a myth. A poor-quality HDMI cable can deliver a degraded signal, resulting in a snowy picture or worse. A crappy HDMI cable, especially a long one, can also cause problems that you can’t see: radiating enough electromagnetic interference (EMI) to cause problems on your Wi-Fi network.

Having said that, bad HDMI cables are pretty hard to find, at least when asked to carry 1080p video just a few feet. It can be a different story when you enter the realm of 60-frames-per-second 4K video with high dynamic range, high-resolution multi-channel audio, and perhaps even ethernet. According to the standard, an HDMI 2.0 cable should be capable of delivering “ultra-reliable performance at the full 18Gbps bandwidth.”

To that end, HDMI Licensing LLC—the group responsible for developing and maintaining the HDMI standard that’s used on nearly every TV, PC, monitor, projector, Blu-ray player, A/V receiver, and media streamer shipping today—has announced a new cable certification program. Instead of hoping for the best—or paying ridiculous prices for cables made by companies with marketing budgets that dwarf what they spend on manufacturing—you could just shop for HDMI cables labeled “HDMI Premium Certified Cable.”

Certified HDMI cable HDMI Licensing, LLC

Certified HDMI cables will carry this authentication label.

Cables labeled as such will have gone through expanded cable speed tests at an HDMI-authorized testing center to certify that they are capable of delivering bandwidth of 18Gbps, and that they radiate very little EMI. The certification label will have a QR code printed on it that you can scan with your smartphone to verify the cable’s certification status and that it’s not a counterfeit product.

The impact on you at home: The certification process and the labels, however, are completely optional, and manufacturers that choose to participate must pay a fee on top of the royalty they pay for the right to use HDMI in their products in the first place. Consumers will be expected to pay that cost—and probably a little more—in exchange for the assurances the certification program provides. But cables labeled “High Speed HDMI Cable” or “High Speed HDMI Cable with ethernet” (minus the “Premium Certified” and the label with the QR code) should perform just as well—provided they’re made by a legitimate manufacturer.

Certified HDMI cable HDMI Licensing, LLC

You should be able to find certified Premium HDMI cables in the first quarter of 2016.

If you’re wondering why you’d ever need an HDMI cable that can also carry ethernet data, you probably never will. When I asked HDMI Licensing President Rob Tobias about that during a briefing last week, he said “We’ve seen it in industrial applications where it was useful to use just one wire. For consumer applications, the growth and maturity of Wi-Fi has been good enough.”

“HDMI has a lot of diversity,” added HDMI Licensing Tech Evangelist Jeff Park. “The spec has optional features to give manufacturers flexibility. It would be great if every device had every feature, but then every device would cost $10,000.”

The HDMI Cable Certification Program became available to HDMI adopters at the end of September. Certified cables should be available in the first quarter of 2016.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Cables

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Brown

TechHive (US)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?