What exactly does an HDMI cable do?

#1 Posted by Vlademir (1029 posts) -

Well, I'm getting a 42" HDTV tomorrow and I'm pretty excited to see what my 360 games look like on it but I know that I should probably buy an HDMI cable to hook my 360 to my TV. What exactly does the cable do though? Improve image quality? By how much?

I do know that all cables perform relatively the same though so it's best to buy the cheapest one I can find rather than an extremely overpriced $200 cord.

#2 Posted by GameFreak315 (151 posts) -

I got one a few days ago, and it does have moderately sharper graphics, but the thing I really noticed was the sound, which is significantly fuller.  I say go for it...go to monoprice.com, they have cords for like five bucks.  :P

#3 Edited by Guest (41 posts) -

You need the cable to display the games in high definition, period.  Otherwise they will just be standard definition, even on a HDTV.   HDMI cables can be purchased a lot cheaper online than what most major retailers sell them for, so if you don't mind waiting, I would highly suggest doing that.  Most of the big retailers like to sell only "premium" ones so they can make more money off of them.  It's a digital signal though so there really is no practical difference in functionality.

On a side note, DVI and HDMI signals and cables are similar in functionality.  The chief difference is that DVI does not carry sound.   I don't think the XBox 360 has a DVI out.  I just figured I would point that out for future reference.

#4 Posted by Demyx (3237 posts) -

HDMI ccables let you view in HD, without them, it wouldn't be true HD.
Plus, it improves sound quality

#5 Posted by Callik (138 posts) -

Get the cheapest gold-plated one you can find.

Compared to what though? From composite cables you'll see a very noticeable difference in picture quality but from component there isn't much different. 

#6 Posted by henjin (829 posts) -

HDMI cables are capable of carrying HD signals to produce a 1080p image. It is also the only cable that is also capable to carry the high quality sound aswell. In other words, its a DVI cable and the fiber optic sound cable in one.
You don't have to buy a really expensive one.

#7 Posted by Vlademir (1029 posts) -

Ohh okay. Thanks guys! =D

#8 Edited by MB (13077 posts) -
Guest said:
"You need the cable to display the games in high definition, period.  Otherwise they will just be standard definition, even on a HDTV. 
Nonsense.  Almost every HDTV can accept HD signals over component.  The Xbox 360 has always been able to output resoultions up to 1080p over component as well as HDMI.
Moderator
#9 Posted by FengShuiGod (1492 posts) -

HDMI = Hyperactive Deadly Middle-Aged Infants.  I suggest you avoid them at all costs.

#10 Posted by brukaoru (5079 posts) -

HDMI is just high definition component cables all in one. Component cables work just as well, it's just more wires whereas HDMI is everything in one.

#11 Posted by suneku (2997 posts) -

I went from component cables to HDMI and there was a huge difference even on the dashboard. I never tried VGA though, but I hear it's up on par with HDMI.

#12 Posted by Emilio (3380 posts) -

First of all let me just say that "TrueHD" is a bull shit marketing term.
HDMI and Component have better picture quality than the quickly fading Composite ( the yellow, red, white cables ).
Component can do up to 1080p, but some TVs don't support it.

But really, it all depends on your source or TV. A cable is a cable.

#13 Posted by WickedCobra03 (2120 posts) -
MB said:
"Guest said:
"You need the cable to display the games in high definition, period.  Otherwise they will just be standard definition, even on a HDTV. 
Nonsense.  Almost every HDTV can accept HD signals over component.  The Xbox 360 has always been able to output resoultions up to 1080p over component as well as HDMI."
Yeah, this guest person has no idea what they are talking about.  First, that TrueHD thing is just smoke and mirrors since its really not even being used any more this gen since it cant really be done with a smooth framerate on all games.  And second, digital is digital.  My fiber optic sound cable is just as good at transmitting 1's and 0's as your HDMI cable...thats all its doing, its not like the old days of transmitting anolog signals.
#14 Posted by Wolverine (4282 posts) -

It runs audio and video to your tv digitally with one cable.

#15 Posted by MB (13077 posts) -
brukaoru said:
"HDMI is just high definition component cables all in one. Component cables work just as well, it's just more wires whereas HDMI is everything in one."
HDMI is digital, component and VGA are analog.  VGA carries the same video signals as compoennt, but adds communication leads for computer monitors to determine resolution. 

You may be thinking of VGA here, because VGA and component are indeed the same.  The only difference would be if a certain display has a better decoder for one or the other, then you would see a difference.
Moderator
#16 Posted by keyhunter (3207 posts) -

Yeah, you need an HDMI cable for true HD my ass. Analogue is barely slightly worse and unidentifiable in difference under a certain screen size. Technically 800x600 is fucking HD. HDMI is bullshit.

#17 Posted by Sentry (4197 posts) -
keyhunter said:
"HDMI is bullshit."
Lawlz...
#18 Posted by Hannibal (863 posts) -

You need HDMI for 1080p, that's all. Other than that it's mostly a choice of whether you want to hook something else into another outlet and such.

#19 Posted by Meowayne (6084 posts) -
Hannibal said:
"You need HDMI for 1080p
Wrong. You can do 1080p with VGA also.
#20 Posted by Shawn (3825 posts) -
Demyx said:
"HDMI ccables let you view in HD, without them, it wouldn't be true HD.
Plus, it improves sound quality"
HDMI gives me sound lag :\

Maybe because I'm playing on a 720p.
#21 Posted by brukaoru (5079 posts) -
MB said:
"HDMI is digital, component and VGA are analog.  VGA carries the same video signals as compoennt, but adds communication leads for computer monitors to determine resolution. 

You may be thinking of VGA here, because VGA and component are indeed the same.  The only difference would be if a certain display has a better decoder for one or the other, then you would see a difference."
I don't know where the heck I got my information from then! Thanks for letting me know.

I just did a bit of digging on google, perhaps what I heard was HDMI has the same image quality as DVI cables and somehow I got that confused with component cables... Meh, I don't know. Information is hard.
#22 Posted by AndrewGaspar (2419 posts) -

HDMI is pretty much required if you want 1080p. Some TV's will accept a 1080p signal through component, but most will only take HDMI for 1080p.

#23 Posted by Ket87 (441 posts) -
Guest said:
"You need the cable to display the games in high definition, period.  Otherwise they will just be standard definition, even on a HDTV.   HDMI cables can be purchased a lot cheaper online than what most major retailers sell them for, so if you don't mind waiting, I would highly suggest doing that.  Most of the big retailers like to sell only "premium" ones so they can make more money off of them.  It's a digital signal though so there really is no practical difference in functionality.

On a side note, DVI and HDMI signals and cables are similar in functionality.  The chief difference is that DVI does not carry sound.   I don't think the XBox 360 has a DVI out.  I just figured I would point that out for future reference."
Ummm what? You don't need HDMI cables to have HD. The 360 already comes HD ready with component cables which go up to 1080i. HDMI just vauglely makes graphics sharper, it also allows 1080p which isn't that big of a deal considering most affordable sets are not 1080p and pretty much every game is native 720p anyways so regardless of 1080i or p the image quality is a bit off (or in CoDy and Halo 3's case 640p which really makes the image suck in 1080i/p). And HDMI is mostly to improve sound quality as it is anyways.

So really unless the topic creator has a 1080p TV which he didn't say whether it was or not or has a pretty nice sound system theres no point in wasting $60 on a HDMI cord.
#24 Posted by Patchinko (841 posts) -

People are kinda right. Technically, HDMI won't transmit a better image than component cables are capable of. But there are caveats.

First of all, a lot of 1080p TVs will not take 1080p signal through the component cable. You need HDMI for it for those specific TVs. You should find out for your specific TV.

Usually HDMI cables are better shielded then the component cables that come with your game system, which is probably why a lot of people think it gives higher quality images. Better shielding prevents noise from affecting the signal as much, so if you have a lot of stuff going on back there, you might see a better signal with HDMI than component, and that would result in a better picture on your TV.

Also, there's the audio factor. Not sure how much that matters to you.

That said, you don't need those beefy, $100 Monster cables to get a HDMI cable that's shielded well enough for your purposes. Don't buy a HDMI cable for over 20USD. Pretty much every HDMI cable I've seen is shielded well enough that unless you're playing your videogames in a transformer plant, you'll have crystal clear signal. People are advising you not to buy HDMI cables because stores and companies price gouge with them, and they're right. But search around online a little bit and you'll find HDMI cables for reasonable prices easily.

#25 Posted by ajarbuckle (173 posts) -

can someone post a link to one? Also, does it come with the pro edition?? I have the plug with six plugs...

#26 Posted by twenty0ne (3071 posts) -
ajarbuckle said:
"can someone post a link to one? Also, does it come with the pro edition?? I have the plug with six plugs..."
Here's an HDMI cable:

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#27 Posted by Embodiment (21 posts) -

HDMI cables are like any other cable except they convert a video signal into delicious jellybeans.  The technology is fairly new though, so it cannot yet make the red ones.  All we can do is hope and pray for the future.

#28 Posted by ajarbuckle (173 posts) -

so instead of me using say  the cord I got with my 360 that came with all of the plugs, I would use this single plug instead?

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