Debunking Cable Myths
Cables are a specialized market where it can be difficult for new or unfamiliar users to separate fact from fiction. Between urban legends on the Internet and all the different options out there, there is misinformation that many people think is true. To clear up these misconceptions and ensure users can make educated purchases, this article will address a few of the fictions that people commonly mistake for facts.
Only Expensive HDMI Cables are 4k – False
Once upon a time, this was true. HDMI has changed over the years as the technology has been upgraded. HDMI cables supporting 4k video became standard back in late 2013. Any HDMI cable on the market today should be more than capable of handling 4k video. If you need a cable with a stronger jacket, then there are better options than a basic cable. But as far as getting a 4k signal goes, a basic HDMI cable will run just as well as an elite one.
Different Color Ethernet Cables Work Differently – False
Ethernet cables can come in any color. Most manufacturers go with simple dark colors like black or blue but some devices like modems might come with a yellow cable. While there are some Ethernet cables that are different, color has nothing to do with it. Different colors exist purely for color-coding. It is a simple way to keep cables neat and organized.
Gold Plated Cables are Always Better – False
This is another myth that used to be true. When computer cables were in their infancy, the new (at the time) technology needed a highly conductive material to work well, which was gold. But technology has improved over the years and modern cables can match or even improve on the quality of outdated gold-plated using more common materials like copper.
Fiber Cables Break Easily – False
Fiber cables send signals by using glass to reflect lasers through the cable. The internal glass is relatively strong and fiber cables are designed to keep working while maintaining a similar bend radius to a copper cable. Fiber cables are actually even tougher than cables with metal cores, making them ideal for extreme conditions like heat, cold, and underwater use.
Splitters and Switches are the Same – False
A splitter takes one output and connects it to multiple inputs, like connecting one coax line to multiple TVs. A switch does the opposite by connecting multiple outputs to one input, like connecting a DVD player and video game console to one TV. Both types are one-way and accidentally grabbing the wrong one is a common mistake.
Better Ethernet Cables Make the Internet Faster – True/False
There is some truth to this but it varies on a case-by-case basis. Different Ethernet categories support different maximum Internet speeds. If you are paying your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for high-speed Internet and have a good modem, getting a better cable can make your Internet run faster. But if the cable you currently have supports the maximum Internet speed supported by your modem and ISP, upgrading to a better cable will not make an improvement.
Thicker Speaker Wires are Better – True/False
This is another myth with a hint of truth in it. Thicker cables do carry a stronger signal but are also less flexible. Cable thickness is measured in AWG (American Wire Gauge). The distance of the cable determines what the recommended AWG will be. Getting a thicker cable will not hurt but there is no inherent benefit to it either. Generally, at-home sound systems are fine with a cable around 16 AWG thick.