6 Types of HDMI Cables Explained

HDMI cables on a white background.
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What You'll Need
HDMI cables
What You'll Need
HDMI cables

Because there are many different types of HDMI cables with many different functions, it is important to know the differences between them when making choices about your HD setup. If you are replacing your old cables, you will need to know if the new ones you purchase are compatible with your devices. If you are trying to upgrade your system to achieve better performance, you will need to know the advantages of the different types, and which are the most effective for your needs. What follows should give you a good overview of the different types of HDMI cables that are available.

1. Type A

Type A HDMI cables are the original cables designed for use with HDMI 1.0 capable devices. They have 19 pins, which give them enough bandwidth to work with most HD devices.

2. Type B

Type B cables are essentially an upgraded version of the Type A cable. Instead of 19 pins, Type B cables have 29 pins. This gives them much more bandwidth, making them useful for extremely high-resolution screens.

Like Type A cables, Type B cables are meant for use with HDMI 1.0.

3. Type C

Type C cables are another variant on the basic Type A model, but with several important differences. While they have the same 19 pins as the Type A cable, they are configured differently to fit into a smaller space. This is because Type C cables are designed for use with portable high definition devices that use HDMI 1.3.

Because of their similarity, a Type C cable can be used as a replacement for a Type A cable with the use of a converter.

4. Type D

HDMI cables of this type are specifically for HDMI 1.4 capable devices. They have 19 pins but are much smaller than the Type A or even Type C cables.

5. Category 1

Category 1 cables are tested and certified to run at 74.5 MHz. While cables that are not labeled as category 1 HDMI cables may actually be able to run at this speed, or even faster, there is no guarantee that they will do so, as they have not been officially tested as reliably as cables with the certification.

Category 1 cables are thought of as the standard for HDMI cables and will function perfectly in most cases.

6. Category 2

Category 2 HDMI cables are an upgraded certification in comparison to category 1 cables, and because of this, they are thought of as high-speed cables. Category 2 cables have been tested and are certified to work at 340 MHz.

HDMI cables, like all cables, suffer from signal degradation. As a result, HDMI cables work much better if they are shorter. It is easier to make a high-quality short cable than a long one, and making a high-quality long cable requires more expensive materials.

Because of this, it is quite possible to get a cable that is not certified as even a Category 1 cable but actually functions faster than a category 2 cable. However, this is quite unlikely unless the cable is short.