I just wanted to give you a heads- up that I will finally be posting the finale of our HDMI Cable Battlemodo today at 2 p.m. EST. Before you see the results, though, I wanted to take you through the testing process, so the results will make total sense. You with me?
As you will recall, our previous test took place at Monster Headquarters. We brought Monoprice cables ranging from 6 feet to 50 feet, and pitted them against Monster cables using Monster's in-house testing system. A pulse pattern generator simulating real-world and futuristic TV signals sent bits through the cables to a digital serial analyzer. If the lines of 1s and 0s were clearly defined, the cable was good; if the lines grew too fuzzy, the cable's quality was deemed poor.
It was a good way to evaluate the physical differences of cable. Fortunately for cable shoppers, nearly all of the cables we tested—both pricey as hell and totally on the cheap—passed all of the tests, guaranteeing that they'd be great for use in our home-theater setup, even if we sprung for the 1080p set.
But some of the longest cables from Monoprice failed our so-called "real-world" 1080p test. We assumed that any cable that failed the digital serial analyzer's criteria would also fail a real-world test, but we knew, one day, this would have to be tested. And so we tested.
Here's how it goes down:
• Since the disputed cables were the 35 footer and 50 footer from Monoprice, I entered them in the final stage of the Battlemodo against a 10M cable from Monster. I could have gone with many cables that people sent me, but that would have drawn out the results process, and confused the issue. We found issues with cables in the lab, and we want to see if those issues come to bear in the living room.
• "Real world" in this final round means real sources playing on real TVs while I sit on a real couch. I used both a PS3 and Samsung's BD-P1200 Blu-ray player, playing into a Samsung LN-T5265F 52-inch 1080p LCD. (I also did some preliminary testing with a Sony Bravia LCD rear-projection set, with 1080p inputs but 720p display.) The movies I chose were Hellboy and Happy Feet. Go ahead and bitch all you want about my choice of gear (and my taste in cinema). This is not an endorsement of Blu-ray, though as you might imagine, given this setup, the BDs looked pretty durn good.
• The trick here is to give the cables time to reveal their flaws, if there are any. People told me what to watch for, and indeed in Monster's original New York summit, I could see with my own eyes the signs of a crappy HDMI cable: bits of digital snow, particularly at the top and bottom of the screen, frame jitters and other aberrant behavior.
Will my test results be scientifically proven beyond a shadow of a doubt? No. Will they confirm or deny the findings of our lab testing? You tell me. Seriously, go ahead and guess the results. I'll meet you back here at 2 p.m. EST with the final data.