It's a mystery why an XBOX HDMI cable should cost £70

4 February 2010

Bitterwallet - HDMI leads prove costly at CurrysWe're not posting this because it bashes DSGI, people. We're posting it because you love talking about HDMI cables. They're probably all you ever think about. At work, at home, in the pub, in bed, during vinegar strokes. You love them.

The BBC decided to indulge in a little mystery shopping to see how staff reacted when asked for helping choosing the appropriate leads for connecting an XBOX 360 to a high definition television:

John Lewis: "They said their cheapest cable was £19.99 and I shouldn't spend any more because they all do the same thing."

Micro Anvika: "The guy said HDMI is HDMI and the cables shouldn't really differ. The cheapest one, he tried to sell me, was £29.99. The most expensive one they had was £95 and he said there wasn't really much difference between them."

PC World: "They tried to sell me a £39.99 HDMI cable which was, apparently, clearer picture quality."

Currys Digital: "They said I should buy the £69.99 HDMI cable because it provided a much better picture quality over the cheaper version, but for some reason [the assistant] decided to knock £20 off."

A £70 cable for hooking up your XBOX? Canny. Have they seen the price of an XBOX recently? According to DSGI:

"We always aim to help our customers find the right product for their choice of hardware by clearly explaining the differences between the cables and our staff receive training on these products. The choice of HDMI cable is mainly determined by the level of signal purity that the consumer is looking for in the connection between playback device and television."

[Newsbeat] thanks to rabid Bitterwallet reader Paul

59 comments

  • ElBuc
    Is there any proof that an expensive one works better than a £1 cable? No, didn't think so.
  • Bo
    Mine cost £5 from Amazon. Everyone knows not to buy cables from these retailers
  • Klingelton
    when i dropped into currys shortly after buying a hd tv - i was told that i should buy the £7 sale item because "it was worse quality" when i asked them to set up 2 ps3's on 2 tv's that were identical except for the different hdmi cables, they declined. Apparently they'll feed you bullshit to sell you that cable, but aren't prepared to justify it with proof. Who needs proof anyway! i ended up going to the harrods of the north (Boyes) and buying one for £6. 10% of the cost and all the same quality.
  • Fella-Tio
    its called upselling, most companies train the staff to do it...the staff with morals dont
  • Tom J.
    I thought an HDMI cable was included as standard with the 360 anyhow, i know i got one with mine.
  • Nobby
    I got one for £1.19 including postage to connect a dvd player to tv from a marketplace seller on amazon. It is exactly the same as the £19.99 one from JL which I borrowed from a friend. I could not tell any difference in the highlights or blacks in the picture.
  • Rob
    signalex hdmi 1m cables - poundland ... work fine (it's DIGITAL data folks!)
  • Hkem
    Only thing the more expensive cables give you is better shielding and build quality. As it is a digital signal, all the TV haas to interpret is whether the signal is a 1 or a 0, is it up or down. You'd have to sit a microwave or a hefty magnet near a cheap cable to notice a difference. Has anyone ever tried to flog you a £70 VGA monitor cable? That is a digital signal too and yet I have never paid more than £10 for one.
  • LanceVance
    The Gadget Show did a test and proved that they are all the same. The signal is either "on or off", unless the cable is damaged then a £1 cable will work as well as a £100 cable. Anyone wanna buy my monster cable for £200?? No, thought not.......
  • Alan C.
    Technically there is a difference between some cables since HDMI does have certain specifications, ie HDMI 1.0 doesn't support certain surround sound codecs and 1.4 offers extra bandwidth. Not that it makes a differences to 99% of people who want to hook their console/blueray players to their TV nor does it explain a 500% markup compared to cables you can get on ebay/amazon.
  • Dj_urban
    Mine Was £1 from poundland No difference between HDMI cables Spending anymore than a few quid for one and you have A very happy spotty guy smiling away like a cheshire cat , Thinking you are mug your are a mug, for spending £xxx On something that is the same as a the cheapest one going.
  • Alan S.
    Mine cost £200 from Currys because they said it would give me the best quality, then again, I'm a moron.
  • Klingelton
    i've read an article since posting (head in arse syndrome) and apparently the cable quality does make a difference, however over the 1' distance between ps3 and tv we're looking at here there is none. So strictly speaking, currys world are NOT lying when they say cable quality is a factor - if your TV is 35 feet away from your psbox.
  • Fella-Tio
    @Klingelton...think its anything over 5 metres that makes a diffference but even then tiny and not noticeable I hear
  • Tom
    Whats worse is currys tried to flog me a hdmi to component cable saysing it give better quality for the xbox. Which is wrong
  • RandomHero
    @Klingelton, Harrods of the North! Brilliant. I bought mine from ASDA for a tenner and it works fine, my mate got his for £69.99 and is still convinced that his is better, mug.
  • Shopdis F.
    Shut it you slagggsssss, I have a HDMI cable for sale for £300 notes. How wants some? Take it yaaaa slaggggggssss!
  • BobF
    @Hkem and "Has anyone ever tried to flog you a £70 VGA monitor cable? That is a digital signal too and yet I have never paid more than £10 for one." Um, VGA is an analog signal, not digital. As such, the cable quality can have some minor effect for PC use, but probably nothing youd notice, not like using Component cables for HD TV.
  • spunky
    at DSGi its either offer the prmium cables or get sacked. very simple. we do as we're told cos we cant afford to be without a job. yes we know its pathetic
  • Al
    It's all a load of bollocks. It's digital signals, therefore they either get there or they don't. If there is any loss in singal quality then you'll either get no video/sound or you'll get choppy video/sound. So... if your £1 cable is getting you continuous video and sound then you're getting the same experience that a £100 cable would get you.
  • David
    I work in a Tesco store on the electrical department, when I started you could get an HDMI cable for about £7, recently though the latest versions we get have a price tag of around £15-30 which to me is way too much. I personally tell customers that they should just go for the cheapest one (or the one up if they have fears for buying the cheapest) as they all do the same thing.
  • I'm m.
    It is a digital signal yes, but its rapidly changing and therefore there will be capacitive and inductive properties of the cable to consider. I would imagine, under some circumstances, that is possible that a 1 may get interpreted as a zero unless there is some error correction build into the protocol? I'm sure someone can advise. In another form of digital data transfer, e.g. a USB cable, an arbitary change from a 1 to a zero is likely to result in a file corruption. But I would have thought on a video signal a change say from RGB(255.255.255) to RGB(255,255,254) probably wouldn't be noticed... and I imagine the TV would just let it pass.
  • David
    I actually remember a customer coming in and asking how much an HDMI cable costs and they were shocked when I said "about a tenner", they'd just come from PC World or comet or something and was told that they cost £50.
  • RandomHero
    The mental thing is some people genuinely believe that an HDMI should cost that much because they only shop for electricals at certain outlets
  • Brian's U.
    i bought a £10 HDMI cable from HMV and it works a treat. I can see a picture on the telly and everything. So what exactly is the difference between this and the £100 cable? Can anyone conclusively say?
  • Ben M.
    When I bought my new HD telly, the man in currys had four tellys rigged up, each with a progressively weaker picture quality, and a different HDMI lead in front of each. He assured me that the £70 one was the one that gave clearest picture. He also assured me that XBox 360 arcade consoles were incapable of displaying in 1080 resolution, so a component cable would be fine. Roll on fucking Best Buy.
  • spunky
    Ben M, you're misunderstanding at Currys they have tvs displaying different cables-HDMI, Component, Scart etc, not different HDMI cables. every single Currys store does this, its called The Customer Journey. they dont display the different HDMI cables cos there would be no difference between them. the outer build quality of the Belkin cables may be better than some cheaper ones but how often are you plugging and unplugging your cables? plus if you honestly think best buy will be any different, then you deserve to be sold £100 cables.
  • Jack
    Absolutely fucking mental since you can get one for a quid in poundland
  • DSGi
    What do you mean £70. That's one of the cheaper HDMI cables sold by DSGi. They sell one for £109.99 and it's only 2 metres long! http://www.pcworld.co.uk/martprd/store/pcw_page.jsp?BV_SessionID=@@@@0257656619.1265317277@@@@&BV_EngineID=ccfgadejidlfellcflgceggdhhmdgmk.0&page=Product&fm=null&sm=null&tm=null&sku=507894&category_oid= But wait, Comet flog them for an insane £149.99 http://www.comet.co.uk/shopcomet/product/426539/MONSTER-6M-HDMI-CABLE
  • TechGuy
    Hey guys....I work for DSGi and have had the arguement with numerous managers who want me to sign off on one of their numerous f ing sign off sheets to say i have received the training on upselling cables with TV's - they didnt like it when i refused and told them the reasoning behind it, ie that a £2 hdmi cable does the same as the 'belkin gold plated oxygen free all singing all dancing' cable that we sell for £60+ sales guys told to sell it with things like a sky HD box when one comes in the box and told to tell them it gives better quality!! amazing training! Not....DSGi R going down....DSGi business due to go in the coming months....oops did i say that?
  • Lou
    If people are stupid enough to pay it, then let them. There's no crime in offering people a choice of products at a choice of prices, if you don't know what you're buying then you deserve to pay the price.
  • DSGi
    Just found a great deal, only £654 for a 22m cable... http://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop/index.pl?origin=gbase4.2&prodID=B218786 Or, you can pay $1000 (£645) PER METRE for this one, totaling $22000 (£14190) for another 22m one... http://www.hardwaresphere.com/2009/12/10/wireworld-platinum-starlight-hdmi-cable-world-most-expensive-hdmi-cable/
  • Alice
    I work in PC World, not a fan of the company, but to be fair we do sell a £10 Matsui HDMI cable (can't firend it on the website but it is instore). Only the £40+ cables count towards the target for the "premium cable with TV" on the KPI report, so this is why these will be offered with TVs.
  • HighTargets B.
    So you guys slagging off the more pricey ones ... If I showed up at ur door with a £5 hdmi lead ... and a £79 hdmi lead .. and said "You can have either of these, for free .. what one do you want?" .. Would u go for the cheap one? The thing is you are perfectly happy to pay through your arse for a telly, but God forbid geting a high quality lead with it! I agree its a digital signal and the one i got was £20 and plays my blu-ray very nice! I have to up-sell, and if sum1 will take the £40 lead then i let them, if they ask me if we have anything cheaper i show them the £5 one and take a royal bollocking later on from my manager for it. Also when bestbuy come over do you think they will be any diffrent to DSGi? There will be a price war, their TVs and laptops will be the same pirce if not cheaper than ours, and they also will need to make profit, and how will they do it .. through add ons! If they are cheaper than us, the add ons will cost more to make up for profit they are losing in discount! And can I also ask how may of you know it alls, Have a TV that is full HD and have a bluray connected to it which is transmitting in 1080p and are buying their bluyrays in only 1080p rather than 720p? And Sky HD runs in 720p/1080i only, so your snazzy telly probly isnt even running to its potential, but your too busy slaggin off any1 who tries to give u advice! I get fuckers all the time asking if this TV is HD? when they dont know what HD is! and arent gonna use it! and dont care even about the contrast and the hz!
  • Bratters
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hdmi#Cable_length Well would u look at that, there is diffrent types of HDMI leads! Ill throw away my high quality lead and get on down to pound land ey! Cos my expensive home entertainment set up deserves the average lead!
  • Rip-Off M.
    What do you mean £70? That is one of the cheaper HDMI cables from DSGi. They sell a 2 metre cable for £109.99! http://www.pcworld.co.uk/martprd/store/pcw_page.jsp?BV_SessionID=@@@@0289759297.1265329891@@@@&BV_EngineID=cccladejififhedcflgceggdhhmdgml.0&page=Product&fm=null&sm=null&tm=null&sku=507894&category_oid= But Comet can beat that with a 6m one for £149.99 http://www.comet.co.uk/shopcomet/product/426539/MONSTER-6M-HDMI-CABLE But the best deal of all that I could find was $1000 (£654) for a 1 METRE HDMI cable! http://www.gspr.com/wireworld/ps_hdmi.html
  • Sim
    >Just found a great deal, only £654 for a 22m cable… Umm actually at that sort of run length then cable quality would start to matter due to the amount of issue you could have with interferance, capacitance, inductance and even resistive losses.
  • Sim
    http://www.bluejeanscable.com/articles/how-long-can-hdmi-run.htm What Does This Mean in Practical Terms? In practical terms, today, for distances 50 feet and shorter, even economical cables are usually reliable at 720p, 1080i and (though this is less consistently so) 1080p. For very short runs--all those 3 and 6 foot cables out there in the world, at least when not being used as part of a much longer signal chain--it's best not to worry about it at all. But for those long runs, the future is still very unclear. Low-cost 50-foot cables which are near their performance limit at 1080p today may not work with 16-bit color 1080p tomorrow. If you're in the longer-than-50-foot category, it gets dicier. We have had good consistent results with the Series-1 cable out to 100 feet, with reports of no trouble in 90% of installations. Cable quality starts to be a real concern at these distances, and performance always is hard to predict, especially because the cable that works on one source/display pair may not work on another. There is, unfortunately, no really good way to know what will work without plugging it in. So what should you buy? We get a lot of questions from customers who are not sure whether to buy our best cable or our cheapest. There's not one consistent "right" answer to this; if the cheapest cable will do everything you ask of it, there's no picture improvement to be had in going to the best cable (this is, after all, a digital signal), but if what you ask of it may change, the answer may change, too. We strongly encourage people who are installing cable behind walls, in ceilings, and the like to weight their choices heavily in favor of buying the very best cable possible, simply because the cost of revisiting an installation later can be much higher than the cost of the best cable. On the other hand, if your installation will not restrict your access to your cable, and if the inexpensive cable works well with your gear today, there's no compelling need to have the best possible cable quality.
  • Nobby
    @ Hightargets... > The thing is you are perfectly happy to pay through your arse for a telly, but God forbid geting a high quality lead with it! There is a difference between a £200 and £1000 TV. There is no difference between a £2 and £50 cable. > And can I also ask how may of you know it alls, Have a TV that is full HD and have a bluray connected to it which is transmitting in 1080p and are buying their bluyrays in only 1080p rather than 720p? My TV is full HD but I'm not using it to it's full extent. Yet. But it is nice to know that when the equipment and media becomes cheaper, then I do not have to get a new TV to use it.
  • Scarborian
    @Klingelton That's a new keyboard you owe me :-) I personally know a couple of the Boyes, consider it mentioned!
  • Oli
    I got a free £89.99 cable with my what HIFI subscription and I also have several £2 - £3 cables. I use a JVC HD-1 1080P projector, Onkyo 875 amp & Sony 360 bluray player and you can not tell any different on a 120 inch picture between the £90 one and the £2 one. If you are buying a 10 - 20 meter one a better cable can help stop dropouts as the cable is so long restance can cause a problem on cheaper cables. It's wrong of places to say this cable gives a better picture because it's a load of rubbish as we all, well most of us know.
  • Klingelton
    and those who didn't - now know (mugs)
  • Karl R.
    Hi, Im a Sky Engineer. We supply a basic cable with our products, with perfect results. Don't be fooled by these commission toting assistants in shops. HDMI is digital you either get the signal or you don't, there's no difference
  • BRANCH *.
    Karl, I think you will find that it is Sky that work on commission .. Not the HDMI lead selling folk, Actualy come to think of it, could you inform me which company sells HDMI leads for commision .. as we at DSGi dont and no1 who does comes to mind .... Sky are the worst con-artists ever! .. And your line "you either get the signal or you dont .. " - Is this in reference to Sky? As the fucker never works! Our HDMIs work no matter the weather, shame cant say the same about Sky...
  • fullmoon
    I really hate DSGi group who sells rubbish at high price. Staff have absolute no knowledge. They just bring people in from street and put them on shop floor straight away. I remember Managers were being pressurised to sell £15 crap usb cable to people who buy printers. You can get the same cable from ASDA next door for £1.50 My advise is buy what you want and go. Don't let them sell you Norton or Super expensive cable.
  • BRANCH *.
    If a customer who doesnt know where to go to get all the free antivirus and feels abit better knowing they are walking out with antivirus, why shouldnt they? Also Scart leads have many diffrent prices, and there is no chance in hell i would buy a £5 scart lead. At the end of the day the add on's are optional, we dont FORCE customers to take them, we advise them and recomend them, if they decide that they do need them, good stuff, they are walking out with everything they need to be up and running and are often geting wbw offers. Alot of customers come back to let us know how the set up is going and that its good, we might get 1 out of 40 customers come back to return something because "My son said I can get this same one free because his mate Gary works with PC's" .. In which case we leave them to it.
  • Jack
    I can't believe there are still some crazy brainless basement dwellers that think 'more money = better quality'. Complete and utter bulshit. For most people, by that I mean those without 1080p content, the £1 cable will be more than adequate. For the rest, you need to have 1080p content, a 1080p TV and a TV at least about 40" for you to need a better cable than one that costs £1. If you find yourself in that situation, do your research, and you'll find that mid price cables will probably be the same or better than the £99 gold, virgins fanny juice encrusted cables. It is so annoying, I'm not too annoyed about the retailers, they need to try and upsell to stay in business, and good luck to them. As long as they don't bullshit too much about the cheap ones, misleading the ignorant.
  • Jack
    For most people they are suckers to packaging and branding and just need to learn the error of their ways.
  • currys g.
    Lets just clear things up. Currys sell HDMI cables at £5, £20 & £120. The build quality, guarantee & bandwidth capability of the cables are what varies. On the whole this has no every day benefit to the consumer other than durability if being attached and removed frequently. The more expensive cables come with a lifetime guarantee including compatibility upgrades, meaning when your £10 cable doesn't work with 3DTV (as an example) the more expensive ones can be swapped by the manufacturer for a HDMI1.4 that will. You will suffer from some degree of signal loss over long distances so cheaper cables won't always be up to the job when used for more ambitious installations...and finally when we reach resolutions WAAY beyond what we see today, the poundland cables won't be able to hack the bandwith. The choice is yours, but believe me..the sales guy's pocket's wont be heavier or lighter depending on your choice of HDMI lead, contrary to popular belief
  • currys 2.
    The problem lies, in my opinion with the way the sales colleagues are targeted to sell expensive cables with televisions. The good news for the customer is that they are so desperate to get the tick in the box for the attachment that most of the time currys will sell you a £70 cable for the price of a 'boyes special' if you just simply ask! If i buy the tv from you today will you include that posh cable you talked about for £20? Not difficult, eh? Someone above mentioned internet security,,thats a different matter. You can't get free internet security, only anti-virus..no attempt to protect your identity at all! expensive cables with TV's? No... Internet security with a PC? Probably a good idea
  • Ten B.
    [...] Xbox HDMI cable for £70 (pictured) – can that really be [...]
  • akram k.
    Well the cables are a fucking con i tell you only buy cables from OXFAM they are better and never buy the bullshit leads
  • Gary
    Considering the confusion often associated with HDMI and HDMI cables there is a simple way to determine if an upgrade HDMI cable makes sense for you. Instead of just making the banal argument that it's "only 1's and 0's" or "...it's digital, either you get the signal or you don't..." you can reduce your risk of parroting inaccurate catch phrases and find out for yourself. Follow this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niSRfXgNvU0 and discover how in 5 minutes you can make a discernible difference in the quality of your gaming, movies and music. Don't rely on sales people. Educate yourself with experiment and THEN educate others.
  • El d.
    PC World do an HDMI cable for 9.99 - sooooooooooooooooooo?
  • faris
    i bought a XBOX 360 ARCADE and iam going to buy a ACER monitor which is 1080P so can i use a normal HDMI cable or do i need to get a XBOX one? will a cheap one do? its a 23inch monitor. your advise would be very helpful. kind regards faris
  • Rich
    Faris - there is no special "xbox hdmi cable", they are all exactly the same. Yes a cheap one will provide the same performance as an expensive one. Retailers and hi fi review mags are in cahoots to sell you expensive bits of cable.
  • Paul W.
    I bought a Samsung cinema tv system from comet yesterday. The 'sales assistant' banged on and on about HDMI cables, that the one that comes in the box should stay in the box (incidentally there wasn't one in the box" and I need a £70 cable for the blueray player to work as a normal HDMI cable cannot cope. I said "sounds great" then 1.5 seconds later I said "I'll leave it" which was well funny as when he heard "sounds great" he was already walking to the till thinking "kerching .... commission" They are nothing more than crooks playing on people who simply do not know what to buy, jail them!
  • Ian W.
    I am going to buy some £1.00 leads from Poundland to hook up my expensive tv and audiovisual equipment... Why? I hear you ask. Well because as a subscriber to Which, they ran tests in February 2010 on HDMI leads and said the expensive ones performed exactly the same as the cheapest ones! They did tests on data transfer rates and picture quality and not one bit of difference. However, if convincing yourself that your £50+ HDMI lead gives you a better picture, then by all means buy it... a fool and his money are easily parted....
  • abdullah
    dixons run scames the managers are talking about sq sell over priced shit to dumb customers or we will bite your balls offf. the customer knows what they want and can get most things cheaper elsewhere. Dixons needs to calm it down and John Lewis wins. Good service great products and reasonable prices. However shop around i tell customers try elsewhere especially on small items like sd cards hdmi cables etc. FUCK THE MANAGERS

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