The Difference Between HDMI Cables in Gold and Nickel
By Richard Asmus
Developed in 2002, high definition multimedia interface offers all-digital high-speed connections for the components in a home entertainment system, using a single cable for video and up to eight channels of audio. With HDMI, the signal sources communicate with the HDTV for automatic setup, one-touch playing and Internet support when applicable. Various manufacturers produce a wide variety of HDMI cables with assorted features.
HDMI cables make the connections between all the devices of a home entertainment system that have HDMI ports. Equipment can include DVD players and recorders, Blu-ray players, digital video recorders, cable and satellite receivers, AV receivers, game consoles and HDTV viewing screens. Computers that have HDMI ports can show their presentations on the HDTV screen or provide Internet support to any device in the system that uses it. All components connected can communicate with each other via the HDMI cable. Many viewers wonder if they need nickel or gold cables for better quality pictures.
Gold and Nickel
Some manufacturers offer HDMI cables in gold or nickel. But the plating on the pins and body of the connectors is the only difference. Gold makes a better electrical connection and does not corrode. However, for cables used indoors with heating and air conditioning, nickel will provide a sufficient connection and may never corrode. The selection of HDMI cables should be based primarily on their bandwidth and length, and then the type of connectors.
HDMI licensing requires category 1 or standard cables to pass a bandwidth of up to 2.25Gbps, which can handle a 720p/1080i (interlaced scan) signal. Category 2 or high-speed cables must pass up to 10.2Gbps, which can handle 1080p (progressive scan) signals. Choose a category of cable that matches your HDTV screen. For other connections, use category 1 for outputs from DVD players and cable and satellite receivers and category 2 for outputs from Blu-ray and high-end game consoles.
A cable that meets your system's requirements for bandwidth and length may have options for gold-or nickel-plated pins. Since the cable meets the technical requirements, the choice depends on environmental conditions or personal preference. In an environment with high humidity or wide temperature variations, the gold connector may perform better without corroding. But in normal conditions the nickel should suffice. Some people may prefer the more expensive gold connectors for their appearance. Some manufacturers produce cables with higher bandwidth in anticipation of future needs. But these cables make no noticeable difference to your screen presentation.
Richard Asmus was a writer and producer of television commercials in Phoenix, Arizona, and now is retired in Peru. After founding a small telecommunications engineering corporation and visiting 37 countries, Asmus studied broadcasting at Arizona State University and earned his Master of Fine Arts at Brooklyn College in New York.