Kogan provides hammer

A couple of weeks ago I was wandering around Myers here in Canberra, keeping a handle on what is presently on the market, and marvelling at the low sale prices of various products, compared to their RRPs/SRPs. And, of course, my eye fell upon the cables.

Likewise, a few days before while waiting to pick up some photos being printed at Harvey Norman, I inspected the cables — specifically HDMI ones — available.

It was horrible. At both places the cheapest HDMI cable you can buy, typically for 1.5 metres, was about $45. Say, about a quarter of the price of a budget Blu-ray player.

Now I don’t have any problem with high priced connection cables. Perhaps there is some amazing subtlety in conveying sound and picture that can be better delivered with one cable than another, although I don’t believe it. Equally, I do believe that even though I think they’re likely wrong in fact, people should be entirely free to spend up big on cables if they think or hope they may improve their system’s performance.

So what irritates me isn’t that there are expensive HDMI cables carried by these stores, but that there are no inexpensive ones.

So I emailed the PR for Kogan. What I wanted, I said, was a hammer. A hammer I could use on silly HDMI cable prices. I would like, I explained, to say that there’s no reason to spend these prices, unless you have contrary beliefs regarding cable quality. Instead you can buy a perfectly serviceable 3 metre HDMI cable for just $8. That’s what Kogan sells.

Kogan says of them: ‘HDMI High Speed Cable – Supports Ethernet and 3D!’

But I could not use these low cost cables to hammer high-priced cables unless I was satisfied that they would do the job. So I asked if Kogan could send me a couple to test out. It sent me three.

They came neatly enough coiled in their plastic bags, and were a thicker gauge than I was expecting. Indeed, thicker than the first HDMI cable I purchased, which cost about $50 for a metre cable back in I think 2004 (I was desperate, and it was the only one I could find in Canberra). Here’s the Kogan:

Kogan HDMI cable

Closer inspection revealed a basic, functional cables with gold-plated plugs and without obvious physical flaws. Like a Model T Ford, they come in any colour that you want so long as it’s black. If you want pretty cables behind your gear, look elsewhere:

Kogan HDMI cable plug

Now to the important stuff: do they work?

I used two of them over the weekend, one from the home theatre receiver to the new 55 inch Samsung TV I’m reviewing, and one from a Blu-ray 3D player to the same TV. Performance — including with Blu-ray 3D content — indistinguishable from my regular Kordz cables. Right now I have one of them connecting my Blu-ray player and home theatre receiver. I have set the Blu-ray to output the video at 1080p60 and use the higher data component video 4:4:4 output. I have also set it to convert the multichannel audio to PCM format. With the 96kHz, 24 bit, 7.1 channel signal on the test content I am playing, the audio alone adds up to more than 18Mbps.

Performance? Fine. Not a problem at all.

No idea if it supports Ethernet since I don’t know of any implementations of this yet. But for everyday use, these cables are fine.

And only cost $8 each.

So why don’t the retailers carry reasonably priced HDMI cables? Kogan shows it can be done.

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14 Responses to Kogan provides hammer

  1. Craig says:

    I bought some $6.50 HDMI cables on eBay. 1.5 metre. Perfect, no problems at all. It’s a wrought what some sellers are charging.

  2. I feel more secure now, Craig, knowing that a broadcasting professional like you things similarly about HDMI cables.

  3. Victor says:

    Spare HDMI cables are starting to proliferate in our household, with more and more consumer appliances including them in the box. Both my last two purchases (PVR & BDP) included a HDMI cable. However, manufacturer supplied cables seem to come in only one size: 2cm shorter than you need.

    The only “quality” difference I notice in HDMI cables is in how snugly they fit into the appliance sockets.

  4. Tim says:

    >> So why donโ€™t the retailers carry reasonably priced HDMI cables? <<

    Simple. High margins on accessories that can easily be sold by the stores to unsuspecting consumers when they buy their HDMI equipped TVs, PVRs, Blu-Rays etc.

    I use E-Bay and other online retailers for this stuff and save a fortune. Thanks for the tip about Kogan, I'll check them out.

    Cheers
    Tim

  5. Trevor says:

    I am using a few of the Jaycar BARGAIN HDMI LEAD 1.5M around the house – PC-monitor, PS3-Sony TV, Toppy-Pana TV, Toppy-Sony TV, Oppo DVD-Pana TV. Got a couple for my parents as well, as thay are less than $10 and you can get them from a store. Work with everything so far, including audio from PC (H67 MB video and audio) to monitor which has inbuilt (crappy) speakers. I can’t comment on 3D, as I don’t have any.

    Cheers
    Trevor

  6. Fredrik says:

    I’m also using very cheap ($10) cables for short lengths. For my projector, however, I just bought a used 8m Supra cable (a natural choice for a Swede like me). It cost roughly $60.

  7. alebonau says:

    I understand as cables get longer, more scope for issues over hdmi. but perhaps the tech matured a bit, I bought my 10m latest gen hdmi cable from the cable connection for under $50. and they similarly have short ones for under $5. the guy who runs it matt walker I remember saying that he doesnt try make any money on hdmi cables. the market for them is saturated it would seem.

  8. Guys, thanks for that. All your experiences are real eye-openers. Reasonably priced HDMI seems just a google search away!

    Alenbonau, I’m going to see if I can get ahold of some of those ten metre cables to give them a run.

  9. Alenbonau, I had a nice chat with Matt Walker this morning. I’m purchasing his currently preferred ten metre one which sells for, as you say, just under $50. I should know in a couple of days how well it works. I suspect, very well indeed.

  10. alebonau says:

    hi stephen, look forward to what you find.

    I got the 10m one for my project setup am working on, so hopefully once its in I dont have any problems. we used the 10m one hooking upto both my epson 5500 and a benq w6000 for blu-ray on the weekend and didnt see any issues. but yeah do test it out best you can, will certainly re enforce my confidence if all is good ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Mark says:

    @Trevor
    I got mine when they were 4 cables for $25. They work just fine.

  12. Adrian says:

    I usually use EzyHD for my cables, they have a nice feel to them and are popular amongst the users on the DTV forums.

    My setup also requires a 15m HDMI cable. They were hard to find a year or two ago, ended up with one from CableChick, and never had sparklies or any other problems with it thankfully! Can’t remember the price, but based on their current pricing, presumably it was around $100-$150

  13. mick bentley says:

    I bought a 55″ Kogan tv works well so I bought a 3d bluray player the bluray comes with no hdmi cable thats an extra $8.00 plus delivery so the bluray does not have a cable to connect it to the tv, it would not have been to bad except that I was not told at the time of purchase.Dont buy anything from this shonky mob I wouldnt.Just go on the internet I paid less than $6.00 for very good quality cable including postage.Dont bother calling Kogan the customer service is dead just like the ingnorant idiot that put the phone down on me.

  14. Ouch! FWIW, almost no brands provide a HDMI cable with either Blu-ray player or TV (some Samsung Blu-ray players come with a cable, I seem to recall, and all Oppo Digital ones do).

    Pity about the customer service.

    I don’t mind Kogan as a brand, because it fulfils a valid need: low cost products. I would caution that its products can be hit or miss, and the model turnover is too fast to really keep across which models are good and which are less so. But that’s the chance you take when you go for low cost.

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