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What is the Difference Between HDMI and HDMI with Ethernet?

What is the Difference Between HDMI and HDMI with Ethernet?

Picture this: you’re at your local tech store looking for an HDMI cable. You know you need a standard size Type -A connector and that it needs to be 9 feet long. 

In an effort to help, the sales associate asks if you want the HDMI cable with ethernet. What does that mean? And do you need ethernet with your HDMI cable? 

Here’s what you need to know about both HDMI cables to help you determine which one to go with. 

What is an HDMI Cable? 

Amazon Basics HDMI Display Cable

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HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. A cable takes compressed and uncompressed video and audio data from one source and sends it to another, provided both are HDMI compatible. 

The most important part of an HDMI cable is it’s retention of the video and image quality. This is done with transition-minimized differential signaling technology (TMDS). Higher speed cables have better video resolution and make playing games or streaming movies seamless. 

People typically used HDMI cables to connect their laptops to televisions, projectors, or other monitors. However, they can also be used with cell phones or tablets, provided you have the right connector. 

What is an HDMI Cable with Ethernet? 

Ultra Thin HDMI Cable 4K Hyper Super Flexible Slim

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Before getting into what an HDMI cable with ethernet is, it’s important to understand what an ethernet cable is. 

Ethernet cables transmit broadband signals from one internet-capable device to another. Usually, people use ethernet cables to connect their computer directly to the router. This gives them a stronger and more consistent internet connection than if they were relying on WiFi. 

An HDMI cable with ethernet is the best of both worlds. It does everything a classic HDMI cable does while also transmitting broadband signals between the two devices. 

This two-in-one cable minimizes how many wires you have plugged into your television, projector, or laptop. It’s a great way to upgrade your viewing experience. 

The cable works by taking advantage of the wiring already present in HDMI standard 1.4 (or newer) cables to transfer ethernet data. It is able to do this without interfering or compromising on the HDMI cable’s original purpose. 

Let’s Break Things Down 

Let’s break down the main differences between the two kinds of cables. 

1. How to Use 

Amazon Basics High-Speed HDMI Cable

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Both cables require both devices to be HDMI-ready. This means they must have HDMI ports already installed. You can buy adapters to turn a standard USB port or a USB C port into an HDMI port, too. 

HDMI with ethernet cables requires both devices to be internet-capable. You can use this kind of cable on devices without Internet, but you’ll just be using it as a standard HDMI cable in those instances.

However, you’ll find that you won’t get very much use out of an HDMI cable with ethernet. Most modern day devices work very well with WiFi. There aren’t many compatible devices on the market currently. 

2. How Do They Work 

HDMI cables are user-friendly because they are easy to use and it’s simple to explain how they work. If you look closely at an HDMI connector, you’ll notice it has 19 pins. 

These pins are the whole reason the cable does what it does. Every pin transmits a different kind of data. 

HDMI cables with ethernet are also equipped with these pins. They do an equally good job transmitting sound and video data–they also happen to send broadband signals required for great internet speed. 

It can carry speeds up to 100 MB per second, which is above the average internet speed. However, if you require incredibly fast internet speed, an HDMI cable with ethernet may not be the right choice for you. 

3. Affordability 

Affordable price stamp

We’re at a point with HDMI technology where nearly every household has at least one HDMI cable. It may be plugged into their television or stashed away in a basket somewhere, but most people have a standard HDMI cable and know how to use it. 

You can get a standard HDMI cable with incredibly good reviews for very cheap. They are so popular and in-demand that tracking down a trusted brand with budget-friendly prices is quite easy. 

HDMI cables with ethernet aren’t nearly as popular as standard HDMI cables, but you can still find affordable ones on the market. There are a handful available that don’t cost much more than standard HDMI cables. 

However, you’ll also find that some HDMI cables with ethernet can be quite pricey. Be sure to look at how long the cord is as they are very popular for home theaters. You don’t want to accidentally order a 50 foot cord for your one bedroom apartment! 

Zeskit 4K 10ft High Speed HDMI with Ethernet

Zeskit Cinema Plus 4K 10ft High Speed with Ethernet 22.28Gbps HDMI 2.0b Cable, Compatible with Dolby Vision 4K 60Hz HDR ARC 4:4:4 HDCP 2.2
  • 3m/10ft long, HDMI 2.0b
  • Supports [email protected], HDR10, 4:4:4 or RGB, ARC, HDCP 2.2, Dolby Vison, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X (requires...
  • Exceeds 22.28Gbps, 28AWG solid Oxygen-free high thermal conductivity (OFHC) copper, Nylon braided...

Last update on 2023-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

This is a great affordable HDMI cable with ethernet option. It has very good reviews and costs about the same as a traditional HDMI cable does. 

Amazon Basics High-Speed HDMI Cable

If you need a standard HDMI cable that doesn’t break the bank, the AmazonBasics one is a must-have. With hundreds of thousands of good reviews, it’s bound to meet all your HDMI needs. It also comes in several lengths. 

4. Compatibility 

Honestly, there aren’t lots of uses for an HDMI cable with ethernet. The idea is great and makes lots of sense, but there aren’t many compatible devices right now. If you have a complex home theatre set up, then this kind of cable might be right for you. 

5. Safety 

information security on keyboard

There have been some concerns surrounding hackers and cyberstalks hacking into HDMI ports to access sensitive material and feed commands to devices through the port. However, this shouldn’t concern everyday HDMI users who need the cable to send Youtube videos or Zoom calls to a bigger screen. 

The hacker would also need physical access to the port, which is unlikely to happen. 

6. Alternatives 

Purgo Mini USB C Hub Adapter for MacBook

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If you don’t have an HDMI port available, a USB C port can perform the same functions. Some would argue that the USB C is becoming the new HDMI, which we don’t disagree with. 

Opting for a streaming service on a smart TV is also a way to get around using HDMI cables. This won’t work for every case, but it will minimize the number of cables lying around. 

As for an alternative to an HDMI cable with ethernet, WiFi has become the relied on method of broadband transmission for modern-day devices. You’re best just using that.

Comparison Table 

  HDMI Cable HDMI Cable with Ethernet 
How to Use Plug into HDMI compatible ports Plug into HDMI compatible and internet-capable devices
Uses Sends audio and video Sends audio, video, and broadband signals
Affordability Incredibly affordable Prices may vary, affordable options available 
Compatibility  Can use with most devices May have to look around to find compatible devices
Safety Minimal risk of hacking Minimal risk of hacking
Alternatives  Streaming services and smart TV Reliable WiFi


There are a few key differences between an HDMI cable and an HDMI cable with ethernet. At the end of the day, you’re probably best going for a standard HDMI cable and working with your internet provider to get reliable and high-speed WiFi. 

What’s your experience with both cables been like? Do you have a preference? Have you found lots of uses for an HDMI cable with ethernet? We’d love to know in the comments. 

Good luck! 

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