With the dawn of the 4K era upon us HDMI cables have once again been thrust into the home theater setup conversation, namely which cables will still work for the much more intense data needs of 4K content and HD audio. Cables that may have worked fine on your 1080p setup may no longer function with 4K content and gear, which requires at least an 18mbps speed rating, as well as the most modern HDMI standard rating. Buying new HDMI cables becomes more complex than buying the actual technology that supports 4K content, because every manufacturer tries to claim different things while marketing them.
This makes the process of buying new HDMI cables a troublesome one. Every manufacturer throws buzzwords at you to prompt you to buy their particular brand of cable for use with 4K and HDR enabled content. Some go for the allure of being cheap but sufficient to get the 4K job done, while others — I’m talking to you Monster — price their cables so high that they can cost just as much as the gadgets that need the HDMI cables to function. Either way, as a consumer it’s hard to feel good about buying a new 4K HDMI cable, because you’re left wondering if the cheap cables can actually bring the best quality to your setup, or if the high-priced ones are just that, and won’t make 4K content look any more sharp and colorful than those cables that cost a fraction of their price.
If this process sounds familiar to you I’m happy to report that a new company is here to take all of the guesswork out of buying premium HDMI cables for modern audio and video technologies. This company is Tidal Force, who now offers premium certified HDMI cables that are officially tested and reviewed by HDMI.org. This organization tests HDMI cables and will certify them under its HDMI Premium Cable Certification program if they meet the grade. This certification gives consumers full confidence in the cable they’re buying as being the best and most affordable version for their needs. You no longer have to worry about what the box may claim, because if a cable is certified as an HDMI Premium Cable, then you know it has what it takes to pass 4K content in full quality to your display and audio devices.
Tidal Force swears by this program and has all of its cables certified, but that doesn’t mean that their price goes up. In fact, the most expensive cable from Tidal Force is only $29.99, and that’s because of its three meter length. So for the most part, depending on how your home theater is setup, you could probably get away with buying the one meter $14.99 4K HDMI cables from Tidal Force, which thanks to their certifications, will give you peace of mind knowing that they’ll work with your new high-end 4K hardware.
I was sent a three meter cable for testing to see if Tidal Force’s cheap HDMI cables could pass the grade, and I’m happy to report that the cable worked flawlessly. I have it as my main cable between my 4K Onkyo receiver and my 4K Samsung display. It has been able to pass everything I’ve thrown at it, which includes HDCP 2.2 content, HDR enabled content, 4K blu-rays, 4K upscaled video games, and other apps that support the resolution. It has performed at the same level as the more expensive Monster cable I was using in its place, so I now know that the next time I need a new HDMI cable for my 4K home theater setup, I can get one from Tidal Force for more than half the price without the fear of it not working.
Trust me, I’m a name brand type of guy, and do think that in terms of technology you mostly get what you pay for, but when it comes to HDMI cables its clear that the highest priced versions aren’t always the best. Thanks to the HDMI Premium Cable Certification program, companies like Tidal Force can offer up affordable cables without sacrificing quality, which is great news for all of the audio and videophiles out there stressing about how much money to build into their 4K budget for dumb HDMI cables. You can learn more about Tidal Force and its cables over on its official website, where you can also purchase the cables.
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Review Statement: The author of this review was provided a sample cable by the manufacturer for the purposes of this review.