Understanding the Cable Market
It’s almost time to install those new gadgets everyone got for Christmas, and you know what that means for retailers—cables.
But do you know what kind of cable to offer your customers? Or why one cable might be superior to another for a particular project? Brush up on your knowledge of these confusing connectors so you can offer every customer exactly the right product they are looking for.
Customers love HDMI cables. One simple cable can transfer high quality audio AND video with little room for deterioration. These cables are perfect for connecting Blu-ray players, DVD players and gaming systems to TVs when the sound and video are being sent to the same source. Some even carry Ethernet as well, like the Tripp Lite High-Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet.
When it comes to quality, according to CNET.com, you can expect the same quality data transfer among almost any price cable. However, one reason to splurge might be for a cable with gold-plated connectors, since gold doesn’t tarnish like copper. Try the high-quality mywerkz 500 Series HDMI High-Speed Cables with Ethernet for 24k gold-plated contacts. Another thing to keep in mind when offering cables to your customers is how long the cable needs to be. If they are purchasing an extra-long HDMI cable (over 50 feet), they definitely want to invest in a more expensive, higher quality cable, since it is difficult for data to transfer over that length. Try offering the Manhattan 75ft HDMI 1.3 Cable that supports 4K resolution and 3D video. For shorter cables, most price points will be more than adequate.
A digital optical cable transfers audio signals only. Crutchfield.com explains that it doesn’t carry the highest resolution data like HDMI cables, but it is capable of Surround Sound up to 5.1 channels, unlike analog RCA cables. They are very resistant to interference because the data travels on pulses of light rather than electricity.
These cables are perfect for when your customers want high quality sound and picture, but using an HDMI cable isn’t an option, such as when they want the sound and video to go to two different sources, like a TV and a soundbar. Try offering customers the GE Digital TOSLINK Optical Cable.
Digital coaxial audio cables also transfer audio signals but are less common than digital optical cables. Coaxial cables are still superior to RCA analog cables because they are Surround Sound capable and have a similar quality transmission to digital optical. These cables, like the GE 6ft Digital Audio Coaxial Cable, are essential when an output requires a coaxial signal and an analog cable is inadequate. According to Apartmenttherapy.com, this is especially common when connecting subwoofers to audio receivers.
Component/Composite Video & Analog Audio Cables
If a customer is using a digital coaxial or digital optical cable to transfer audio, they might additionally need a component or composite cable to transfer video. The composite cable, like the RCA 6ft Stereo A/V Cable, uses only one cable to transfer video while the component cable, like the Axis 50ft Digital Component Video Cable, uses three. According to opposingviews.com, composite cables only transfer standard definition data, whereas component cables transfer standard- or high-definition up to 1080p resolution.
Though they are the lowest quality audio cable, the benefit to analog cables is that they are universally compatible. From a Super Nintendo to new HDTVs, these cables will be able to hook the oldest equipment up to the newest device. For analog audio connections, try offering the mywerkz 2m 500 Series RCA Stereo Audio Cable
Custom installers probably have a pretty good idea whether they prefer to use a CAT-5E or CAT-6 cable, but plenty of at-home DIYers install devices on their own and need assistance choosing the right cable. For any installation requiring the transfer of an Internet signal, an Ethernet-capable cable is necessary.
According to CNET.com, either CAT-5E or CAT-6 cables will work with most routers, so the choice is not an issue of compatibility. However, CAT-6 cables, like the GE 14ft CAT-6 Network Cable, are certified to handle Gigabit Ethernet speeds that might be difficult for a CAT-5E cable. If, on the other hand, cost or ease of installation is an issue, the CAT-5E comes out ahead. The Intellinet 100ft CAT-5E UTP Patch Cable is great for installation requiring a long cable.
What about USB cables, smartphone chargers and more? Check out our incredible selection and variety of cables and connectors at Petra.com. See what else we have to offer!