HDMI Trials and Tribulations

I have written several times regarding the problems with compatibility and certain features not working with some HDMI cables. Always try the cable(s) in the system before installing it because there may be an issue either with the cable’s design, version, or build quality. I have had cables with such bulky fittings that you must shave down plastic on the molded fitting to make it fit into the female socket.
Having over 100 HDMI cables from different manufacturers in lengths from 1 meter to 131 feet, in a variety of plug configurations (standard, mini and micro), with unknown quality and connections, leaves too much guesswork. Recently, I ordered from Amazon an HDMI tester built by Pyle; model PHCT85. Pyle is not known for their top quality equipment- but I must say everything I have ever bought from Pyle has out-performed its price. This is no exception; this tester was only about 25 dollars and works great. It comes as a two piece set, one unit which allows a wire not installed to be plugged in twice to the larger of the two units and it will test the cable. If you have a cable installed, you simply hook up one end of the cable to the main tester and the other end to the supplied smaller part of the two unit set and you can test an installed cable. Some longer cables have a built-in equalizer and will only work in one direction. If you are testing one of these, be certain to connect the main output to the cable’s front end.
What I have learned is that, for many applications, cables will come back missing up to 6 connections and still work perfect in an installation. There will be features missing, like Internet and ARC (audio return channel). However, this only matters if these are features you need on your particular hookup.
The cables I prefer which are lightweight and have short molded plugs often test with pins 2, 5, 8, 11, 13, 14. Often these cables, as stated, still work for most applications. The tester has a total of 19 pins to test.
I have seen cables result in snowy pictures on a system, yet you try that same cable on the next system and it works fine. I have learned that a one-sided test is only about 50% accurate. You must test with your tester, and test your cables against other equipment before calling the cable bad. Having an HDMI cable tester is very handy because, if it states that other pins are open on the cable, it is then a bad cable- for any purpose.
I thought I understood HDMI 5 years ago, but with the changing versions, resolutions, compliance and features associated with multiple manufactures and the way they interface with each other, it leaves you guessing…

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