Flat or Round Home Theater HDMI Cable?

When you thought it was safe to go out and buy an HDMI cable, you need to think about a new and interesting concept; flat HDMI cable. What the hell were the manufacturers thinking when they got this idea? I thought all cables should be round.

There are several advantages to using flat HDMI, but in my opinion these advantages have nothing to do with video quality. I have used both flat and round HDMI cables in many setups and have compared them side by side. I’ve never seen a difference in picture quality. I have asked other installers I work with to compare flat to round as well, and they agree with my comparison. Visually, we see no difference in image quality between the two cables.

Of course, avid home theater enthusiasts will disagree with me and say that a flat HDMI cable will provide better video quality. There is a theory that a round HDMI cable has inner wires wound on top of each other, and a flat wire separates each inner wire along the width of the cable. This should eliminate crosstalk (interference) that can occur in the round cable. Flat HDMI can eliminate this “crosstalk”, but visually it does not significantly affect picture quality.

The biggest benefit of using an HDMI flat cable is convenience. It is easier to work with and I use it when my setup doesn’t give me much room to move around.

Here are some of the benefits of using a flat HDMI cable:

  1. Bends more easily. A round HDMI cable is thicker and not as easy to bend as a flat cable. This simplifies installation in / along walls.
  2. Easier to hide behind a hanging HD TV. Round HDMI cannot be wrapped as tightly as flat and will bulge out from behind the TV.
  3. Better to hide it behind the baseboard. It fits snugly against the wall, allowing you to install the skirting board flush with no gaps.
  4. Running under the carpet is easier. Just make sure you don’t put it under carpet in a busy area. This is what installers do these days, as the cable doesn’t hit the carpet.
  5. It can be colored easier than a round one. This is a huge benefit if you decide to run the flat HDMI along the top of the baseboards and paint it to blend in with the wall.

So an HDMI flat cable will work as well as a round one (maybe even better if you believe in the theory of crosstalk), and if it’s HDMI certified, you should consider buying an HDMI flat cable. for convenience, not video quality.

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