Posted on February 11, 2008,

Monster Cables Not Such a Good Deal

monster-ripoff1.jpgThis news won’t come as a surprise to any of our more technical savvy readers, but it’s certainly an important issue for gamers as they upgrade their home entertainment setups to take advantage of this high definition era.

Consumerist was sent an inventory list by a Radio Shack employee which shows both the wholesale and retail price of all items in stock. And, as was suspected, Monster Cables are sold at a ridiculous markup of up to 80% – a 19ft HDMI-DVI cable is sold at $179.99 while the wholesale price is $99.40. There’s also the 16ft S-Video cable which is wholesaled for $61.24 and then sold to customers for $114.99. Anyone who’s ever taken a look online can see that most mainstream retailers sell these items are similar prices – unless, of course, they don’t carry a name brand. Consumerist was able to find generic versions of both of the aforementioned cables at Meritline.com for under $20.

Of course, you might be thinking, “But I get better quality from those expensive cables; the salesperson said so.” And you’d be wrong. As Consumerist simply puts it, “Here’s the thing: digital cables, by definition, have no signal loss. A cable is either digital or it’s not. As long as its built to HDMI standards, the only difference between a ‘fancy’ digital cable and a no-name one is the price.”

Do yourself a favor and go for the non-name brand stuff when shopping for digital cables. While name brands are certainly worth the money when dealing with other types of electronics, you’re simply wasting money by opting for Monster Cables.

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16 Comments on Monster Cables Not Such a Good Deal

Luke Fulton

On February 11, 2008 at 6:07 pm

Darn i guess i should go return all those cables i just bought. :mad:

used cisco

On February 11, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Monster Cable has always been a gigantic scam. Its like fries in a value meal. They add virtually no nutrition and cost almost nothing but still add a large amount of margin to the order. I consider posts like this to be Public Service Announcements. Anyone caught buying monster cables is either rich, stupid, or both.

Mustikos

On February 11, 2008 at 7:12 pm

I have seen the difference and there is one. This is just to make those people who want to play with crappy cheap ass cables feel better, like the guy’s post above.

SpiralGray

On February 11, 2008 at 7:43 pm

In the past I was a fan of Monster, but I never paid retail. Then I discovered stuff like Dayton Audio cables (available through partsexpress.com) and monoprice.com. I bought two six foot HDMI cables and a three foot optical cable for about $40 delivered from monoprice.

Adam

On February 11, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Yeah – I stood one day in Best Buy looking at the slick black cables that were “specially designed to work with your PS3″ and the sad looking white cables that weren’t but were $40 cheaper. Some moronic part of my brain won over that day. I knew about the whole scam, but still, I wanted the “best” cables I could get for my brand spanking new PS3 and dammit, for the extra money I was going to get them.

As Barnum is oft-quoted as saying, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” On this occasion, it was me.

used cisco

On February 11, 2008 at 8:38 pm

“I have seen the difference and there is one. ”

Yep, price. Thats it. Sure, there used to be cheap ty cables, but in the digital age, as long as they conform to the spec, they will work just as good. Period. Anyone saying different is trying to justify their own lack of knowledge.

TheDonBot

On February 11, 2008 at 11:53 pm

Anyone who thinks there is a difference in cables has little to no knowledge of how electricity works. If someone wants to pay for them, let them, but a cheap $5 cable has pretty much the same ability to carry electricity than a $200 “monster” cable. The laws of physics do not change simply because you buy a different cable. The only way to make a cable “better” is to use a larger wire.

Babydrala

On February 12, 2008 at 12:41 am

As someone with day to day dealings with monster vs. generic hdmi/component video cables–I can say that there is a huge difference initially between a generic hdmi cable and a monster cable. These days, hdmi cables are rated by
how many gigs a second are transfered, which matters for those people using
the dts hd or true hd audio formats, as well as those peeps with lcd’s capable of 120 hz refresh rate, not to mention XV color and other 1080P technologies…
I’m sorry, but to say that “all digital connections are identical” is totally
dumb. Different cables are able to pass more information at different speeds and with different shielding….I challenge anyone on this forum to go buy a
pair of monster THX component video cables and hook it up to a normal dvd player
and pop in race cars or ice age 2 or some animated movie to start with—and observe side by side the depth of color (primarily red blue and green for component) as well as sharpness of edges and depth of field—compared to GE brand or any generic cheap cable. The difference will be obvious especially if you have 2 tv’s side by side with dvd players and burn copies of the movie. Any retail store will let you return the monster cables if you’re not happy with them for a full refund so there is no risk….Next for those peeps with HDTV’s grab the top of the line monster hdmi and compare it to the cheapest cable you can grab running it through a high def cable or sat box—u should see less noise on the screen (flicker and such) and overall sharper images..
I’m sorry but there is more to a great picture than “passing electricity” and the “laws of physics” are modified depending on the capability of any object including any moster cable…No wonder monster cable offers a Lifetime warranty on ANY of its cables…..because when it comes to performance–some companies stand behind there product..and some dont….. If you still dont think that there is a noticible difference in the quality of audio/video from a cable try this…Those of you with a stereo/surround system—go buy a pair of stereo rca monster cables (THX or best quality preferably) and also the cheapest radio shack garbage you can find…Use those cables to connect your cd player to your amp and put on your favorite piece of music…Take the pepsi challenge–and see if you cant notice an increase in highs and lows and overall fidelity from the monster vs. any other brand….Again if you dont like it or dont hear it…return them for a full refund…if u do hear the difference–those cables are guranteed for the length of your mortal existence… cheers & my best JH

Gerard

On February 12, 2008 at 1:02 am

monoprice.com/home/index.asp have some good cables for cheap. Forget all that bs about monster cables. If you are only going to need about 6ft of cable the cheap hdmi cables are fine to use. It’s when you star using 35 and 50ft cables is where you get into trouble, even with monster cables fail at the length. Because you will need a in-line signal booster.

Babydrala

On February 12, 2008 at 2:07 am

again with some folks, the value of consumer electronics in general is
higher if the price is lower…. some people prefer a vizio/audiovox/olevia to a
Sony XBR or a Pioneer Elite….and other people demand uncompromising quality and long term value.. for those peeps, monster cable is the only option…
also, monster owns like 3/4 the patents for consumer cables and is rated by the ISF for each and every cable…unlike the cheap stuff…at the very least own up to the fact that for “you” the best cable is the cheapest…just please dont
suggest that discerning consumers can’t see the difference in their own homes.

arp ack

On February 12, 2008 at 8:06 am

Completely disregard Babydralas comments. They are only relevant to an analog signal. HDMI cables carry a digital signal, with 1′s and 0′s with fault tolerance and parity checks. If there is a “loss” of data, it will be retransmitted. There IS NO DIFFERENCE in picture quality between a $5 HDMI cable and a $100 HDMI cable of the same certified spec. Due to the nature of the medium, there can’t be. There are no shielding issues like in the olden days of analog. There are no bandwidth issues. All certified cables of the same spec are capable of the same bandwidth. What this poster above doesn’t seem to realize is that ALL HDMI cables have a spec (the current HDMI spec is 1.3a) they must adhere to. Including bit rate capabilities as well as color depth and fault tolerance. If they meet that spec, they are equal and will handle DTS audio 120FPS displays etc. Its pretty simple. Really long explanations are only subterfuge to defend overpriced name brand products. The comparison to LCDs is a ruse used by cable manufacturers that some people here are parroting out of a lack of understanding. Of course TVs are different. But we’re not talking about TVs, we’re talking about a piece of wire that carries a digital signal. Don’t try to confuse the issue to cover up your need to spend too much hoping you got better quality picture than someone who spent less. You didn’t.

ManOfTeal

On February 12, 2008 at 11:06 am

I like pie

Heru-Ur

On February 12, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Bottom line:

Monster cables + Analog = ok deal
Monster cables + Digital = total ripoff

The End.

Hathor

On February 12, 2008 at 1:52 pm

@heru-Ur,

Thats pretty close. Here’s a better version.

Bottom line:

Monster cables + Analog = better quality than the cheapies but WAY overpriced
Monster cables + Digital = total ripoff

The End.

timmeh

On February 27, 2008 at 5:19 am

monster cables for digital signals are just a toss, im not saying go out and buy the cheapest cable yu can find from a 2dollar shop, by a decent hd certified for around 10 to 20 dollars, no need for these 120 dollar and up calbes when it comes to digital sure by all means spend ridiculous amonuts of money on cables its your money, personally id rather keep the 100 or so difference and go down to the bottlo and get some beer, but thats just me

joeSmith

On October 22, 2008 at 10:54 am

i tried hdmi cables from meritline.com and supermediastore.com, both of which, when i compared to the monster one i bought from best buy, i couldn’t really tell the difference. i convinced myself the monster one was better, but maybe it’s just for me to ease my concious.

btw, i have a sony 46″ lcd televsion.