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Do Gold HDMI Cables Make a Difference? 

Do Gold HDMI Cables Make a Difference? 

Gold is arguably the most valuable precious metal in the world — in terms of form and looks. It’s popular across cultures and regions.

And because it’s highly desirable and the fact that it’s rare and cannot be produced in a factory or lab, it appreciates with time.

The biggest draw for the metal is its quintessential hue and sheen. It, therefore, gets used in a range of jewelry, accessories, clothing, etc. But then there’s also a practical side to the metal.

Due to its anti-corrosiveness and ability to conduct electricity seamlessly, it gets incorporated in a range of electronics — for instance, in semiconductors, for electroplated coating applications, etc.

A modicum of gold (at the minimum) is used in pretty much all electronic goods. The smartphone you rock, the laptop you use for work and personal tasks, your gaming console, etc., have tiny amounts of gold in them in some form or the other.

There’s no disputing the fact that gold is rightfully a part of all electronics. But are some sectors or companies overhyping the importance of gold in their products or using the metal only as bait to make people spend more than they should?

Companies that make gold-plated HDMI cables or connectors claim improved performance over regular HDMI connectors. Is that a legitimate claim? Or are companies simply electroplating their HDMI cable connectors with gold to charge buyers a premium?

Read on to find out how significant of a role gold plays or does not play in HDMI cables.

Are Gold Cables Better?

First, the term “gold cable” or “gold HDMI cable” is a misnomer.

The cable is not made of or plated with gold entirely. It’s just the connector that’s layered with a thin sheet of gold. The cable’s hood and the shield covering the copper wires within are made of plastic or polycarbonate.

8K HDMI Cable Slim Ultra High Speed

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Now that you know what a “gold cable” really means, let’s get to answering the original question.

Gold cables are not markedly better than their non-gold counterparts, both in terms of performance and durability. There could be a slight (if any) boost in performance. But that would be negligible and not worth the significant premium sellers generally charge for their quasi-gold cords.

Gold may have the upper hand on the durability front, however, since the metal doesn’t oxidize or is corrosion resistant. But so are silver and copper (to a considerable extent). Gold-plating the connector, therefore, offers no unique advantage that merits the high premium usually charged for them.

Why Don’t Gold HDMI Cables Make a Difference?

Gold HDMI cables do not make any perceptible difference due to how HDMI functions or the digital data transmission its workings are based on.

8K HDMI 2.1 Cable Ultra High Speed

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HDMI uses TMDS (transition minimized differential signaling). Without getting too technical, TMDS is the primary reason your HDMI cable can transmit digital information.

Since we are dealing with things “digital”, the conversation above either takes place, or it simply doesn’t. In other words, you get the output in its entirety or nothing at all.

In short, the gold plating on an HDMI connector doesn’t elevate performance or ascertain how the signals would get transferred to the port it’s connected to.

Do HDMI Cables Need to Be Gold-Plated?

HDMI cables don’t have to be gold-plated, but some gold layering doesn’t hurt either. The golden attire affords your HDMI cable a premium look and nothing more than that.

High-Speed HDMI Cable with Gold Plated Connectors

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As mentioned earlier, the gold plating is done only to the cable’s connector. The wires inside the plastic sheath are copper, not gold-plated.

Why do gold-plated cables exist when they do not add any real value then? Because there are buyers for wires that look fancy and rich.

The buyer behavior could be likened to how some people purchase a $10,000 leather bag when they know that the premium they paid is more for the brand and less for the quality of material and the bag’s functionality.

Also, some people genuinely believe gold-plated cables offer their setup a performance edge — probably because they don’t know better or fell prey to deceiving marketing by companies.

4K HDR HDMI Cable

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Not to mention, the discrepancy between the cost of the tiny amount of gold used to electroplate the connector and the significant premium companies charge for the same is so massive, what they charge for those cables is pretty much akin to daylight robbery.

That said, some manufacturers could make their gold HDMI cables to a higher quality to justify the higher price tag. The insulation, for instance, could be thicker, and the cable could be of an overall better build.

Do You Need Gold HDMI Cables for 4K?

You don’t need gold HDMI cables for 4K. What you need is a “high speed” cable. The term “high speed” denotes the cord is capable of greater bandwidth to handle 1080p and 4K video resolutions with ease.

HDMI Cable 1.4

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The high-speed line would render 1080p content at all image frequencies (hertz). The cable could handle 4K as well but may cap the frame rate at 30Hz. That’s essentially your HDMI 1.4 cable.

For 4K at 60Hz or more, look to “ultra-high-speed” HDMI cables or HDMI 2.1-rated cords.

They are a level above high-speed HDMI and support 4K content at a maximum refresh rate of 240Hz. Their video rendering capabilities stretch to 10K resolution at 120Hz with HDR.

At both the high speed and ultra-high-speed level, HDMI cables with gold connectors are not uncommon. But, at the same time, equally common are cords without the gold electroplating, such as the following:

  • Belkin Ultra HD High-Speed HDMI 2.1 Cable
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Belkin Ultra HD High Speed HDMI 2.1 Cable, Optimal Viewing for Apple TV and Apple TV 4K, Dolby Vision HDR, 2 M/6.ft – Black
  • HDMI 2.1 Ultra HD Certified by Authorized Testing Center (Forum ATC)
  • A quantum leap from 18 Gbps (HDMI 2.0) to a whopping 48 Gbps
  • Supports optimal bandwidth and speeds for Gaming, Streaming, HDTV

Last update on 2022-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

  • Monster Ultra-High-Speed 8K Cobalt HDMI 2.1 Cable
Monster 8K HDMI Cable Ultra High-Speed Cobalt 2.1 Cable - 48Gbps with eARC, 8K at 60Hz for Superior Video and Sound Quality – HDMI Cables for PS5,...
  • ULTRA HIGH-SPEED DATA TRANSFER: Monster's 12-foot HDMI cables deliver lightning-fast data transfer...
  • CRISP DYNAMIC HDR IMAGES: Compatible with your Smart TVs, streaming devices, and gaming devices,...
  • SUPERIOR SOUND QUALITY: Monster's HDMI 2.1 cable features Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) for...

Last update on 2022-12-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

  • Cable Matters 48Gbps Ultra HD 8K HDMI Cable
Sale
[Ultra High Speed HDMI Certified] Cable Matters 3-Pack 48Gbps 8K HDMI Cable 6.6 ft / 2m with [email protected], [email protected] and HDR Support for PS5, Xbox Series...
  • 3-color combo Official Certified Ultra High Speed 8K HDMI cable supports high bandwidth HDR with a...
  • Ultra High speed HDMI to HDMI cable supports up to 8K (7680x4320) including 4K and 1080p; Fully...
  • The Certified HDMI cable is compatible with PS4 PRO and Xbox One with advanced features; Enjoy the...

Last update on 2022-12-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

  • Monoprice 8K Certified Braided Ultra-High-Speed HDMI 2.1
Sale
Monoprice 8K Certified Braided Ultra High Speed HDMI 2.1 Cable - 10 Feet - Black | 48Gbps, Compatible With Sony PS5, Microsoft Xbox Series X & Series...
  • 48Gbps Bandwidth: These cables feature up to 48Gbps bandwidth, which allows them to support high...
  • Dynamic HDR: Dynamic HDR ensures every moment of a video is displayed at its ideal values for depth,...
  • Supports up to [email protected]: These cables support uncompressed video resolutions up to [email protected], including...

Last update on 2022-12-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

  • Anker Ultra-High-Speed HDMI Cable
Anker [email protected] HDMI Cable, Ultra High Speed [email protected] 48Gbps 6.6 ft Ultra HD HDMI to HDMI Cord, Support Dynamic HDR, eARC, Dolby Atmos, Compatible with...
  • The Future is 8K: With a bandwidth of 48 Gbps, this cable supports [email protected] and [email protected],...
  • Certified by the HDMI Forum: One of the first officially certified Ultra High Speed HDMI cables....
  • Designed for Gaming: Works flawlessly with PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, as well as any device...

Last update on 2022-12-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

The cables mentioned above prove gold HDMI cables are not a necessity for 4K or higher resolutions. The cable’s rating or HDMI version matter more than anything.

And that higher rating would not cost you a premium, or HDMI 2.1 cables are not priced significantly greater than older 1.4 cables.

“Gold-Plated Cables Perform Better” – Who Started This?

Although gold-plated HDMI cables providing better performance could be a myth or misconception in current times, it wasn’t so a decade or two ago.

Anker 8K HDMI Cable Ultra High Speed

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Back in the day, when analog connections were widespread, signal loss or degradation was quite a regular occurrence. That’s because analog signals employ waveforms to transmit data.

The waveforms were, at times, misread by the outputting devices, which resulted in unclear or blurry images. Other kinds of electrical interference also caused ill-defined visuals.

With modern-day digital signals that employ just 1s and 0s, such issues of interference or misinterpretation are practically unheard of.

Here is a video explaining the differences between analog and digital signals for your further understanding:

Analog vs. Digital As Fast As Possible

No doubt, gold-plated connectors contributed to accurate machining processes and less interference with analog connections. And that explains the fascination for gold in cables.

In this digital age, gold connectors have little to zero significance. The thought or misconception that a gold HDMI cable helps with signal performance and connection reliability must, therefore, die at the earliest.

FAQs

1. Are all HDMI cable connectors made of gold?

Not all HDMI cables are made of gold. The majority aren’t. At the base, the metal used is always steel. Metals such as gold, silver, copper, etc., go atop the steel construction. Other metals such as chromium, zinc, cadmium, and nickel could also be used for electroplating.

2. Are silver HDMI cables better than gold?

Silver boasts the highest electrical conductivity of all metals. It’s also corrosion-resistant but not as tarnish-proof as gold. Therefore, it’s not easy to conclude if silver is better.

There isn’t much marketing hype behind silver HDMI cables as their gold counterparts because silver by itself is not as coveted as the yellow metal. In other words, it’s not synonymous with luxury or is as ultra-premium as gold is.

Companies, as a result, do not have the necessary leverage to overprice their silver-plated HDMI cables and charge a pretty penny as they do with their gold-plated cables.

Conclusion

An iPhone layered with 24K gold and encrusted with diamonds will not perform better than a regular iPhone as its innards would be the same as the standard device. But the precious metal and stone embellishments are valuable in themselves, and the niche appeal for such products is understandable.

But with a gold-plated connector, there’s no such significant boost in melt value as the gold electroplating is likely to be worth only a few cents. Even the most expensive gold-plated HDMI cables will not have a considerable amount of gold on them.

To conclude, gold HDMI cables look good and are significantly more corrosion resistant, making the connector a tad more durable and long-lasting. On the performance front, however, do not expect any uptick whatsoever.

If a salesperson claims otherwise or tries to upsell you the cable, let them know what you think or completely ignore their false sales pitch. If you’re buying the cord online, it’s thankfully easier to steer clear. 

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