It’s understandable, then, that the cables you use to hook everything together are often the last thing on your mind. While changing your cables won’t make as much of an impact on your signal as the other equipment in your set-up, it is important to maintaining the quality of your signal the entire way through from source to speaker. You want to look for a cable that’s shielded to prevent any extraneous signals or other interference from impacting your ultimate sound—especially important for an HDTV and home theater system, where you’ll have a lot of electronics in a relatively small space. The material of the wire used to conduct the signal is also important to the ultimate sound.
If you’re not sure where to start, check out the 4 cables below, one of which will be perfect for your home theater. They’re the best coaxial cables for HDTV on the market.
RG-11 HD coaxial cable
RG11 cables use a 14-gauge wire, which is a higher gauge than other video cables. This gives the signal more space to transfer, making it ideal for carrying high definition signals with the greatest speed and signal strength. It works at a higher frequency than many other types of cables, and can improve both the video and the audio performance of your home theater system. Because they are thicker than other wires, RG11 cables tend to be less flexible, which can be an issue if your set-up requires a lot of tight twists and turns. Overall, though, this cable will give you reliable, accurate signal reproduction for your entire home theater system.
Mediabridge Coaxial cable
This cable from Mediabridge uses three layers of aluminum shielding and dielectric insulation to protect your signal from the influence of outside electrical impulses or other interference. This means your signal stays clean and true the entire way from source to screen. Your sound and picture will be crystal clear, with no static or annoying hum.
Because the aluminum shielding is lightweight and flexible, these cables are versatile to a wide variety of set-ups, and are suitable for use with both indoor and outdoor theaters. This cable gives you the best balance of durability and flexibility of any cable on the market, making it perfect for people who need a cable for high-traffic areas or one that’s versatile enough for a variety of applications. Hands down, it’s one of the best coaxial cables for HDTV systems out there.
Channel Master RG6 Digital Coaxial Cable
If you’re more interested in flexibility than the level of shielding, Channel Master has the answer for you with their RG6 digital coaxial cable. The aluminum shielding used on this cable is. It’s also a very budget-friendly cable at under five bucks for a nine-foot cable that’s plenty long enough for most home theater applications.
This cable is also EGL rated, meaning you can plug it straight into your wall, and uses a copper-clad conducting wire for a transparent and pure signal. The weatherproof F connectors also make it ideal for outdoor applications, like connecting digital satellites or TV antennas, giving it the versatility to serve you well wherever you need a new cable in your theater system.
What sets this Monster cable apart from the rest is the company’s attention to detail. This starts with the contacts, which use 24-karat gold both for its resistance to corrosion and to give you the cleanest possible signal transfer. The cables themselves use double shielding around stranded copper wire. Any cable that bears the THX label is rated for the minimum THX certification standards, which means you’ll get reliable performance. The design of these cables also makes them very easy to install, with color-coded connectors and a molded grip for easy hook-up.
Strength vs. Flexibility in the Best Coaxial Cables for HDTV
The main difference you’ll see between different HD coaxial cables is in the shielding around the outside of the cable. Most cables will use a very similar material for the wire that conducts the signal itself, if not the exact same material as other cables in the same price point—typically some form of oxygen free copper with slight variations in metal purity, which have a very slight impact on the clarity of your sound. Copper is a tried and true material for sound and video signals, and there’s little reason for experimentation, thus resulting in the lack of variation between different brands.
When it comes to shielding, however, there is a balance that must be struck by the manufacturer. The more layers and harder the materials used in the shielding, the more protected the wire inside will be. This translates to both less interference from outside vibrations and electronic waves and less potential physical damage from the wire being stepped on or otherwise impacted by objects in and around your home. On the other hand, though, more layers of shielding can also make the cable less flexible, and some extremely well-shielded cables, like the types in play in professional studio applications, can be difficult to bend with your bare hands.
Of course, you don’t need studio-level durability out of the cables you’re using in your home audio set-up, but you do want to make sure the wire is insulated well enough that you won’t get feedback or distortion in either your sound or picture. A good rule of thumb is to get the strongest cable that will work with your set-up. Exactly how much flexibility you need will be determined by how your theater is arranged.
If the cable will need to snake around any corners or bend back on itself to make the connections work properly, you’ll need to find something more flexible, like the Monster (see full specs) and MediaBridge (see full specs) brand cables listed above. If pure signal quality and protection is your standard, however, and you’re willing to modify the arrangement of your theater equipment to accommodate a stiffer cable, the RG-11 model on the list above will give you some of the purest sound reproduction you can find in a home application.
The difference in sound will be subtle between the four cables above, all of which are made of high-quality materials that are designed to maintain signal clarity for a life of several years. Each could conceivably qualify for the best coaxial cable for HDTV’s. For most listeners, practicality, convenience, and price will be the main determining factors in which cable is right for your set-up. All the cables on this list deliver on all these fronts in one way or another; it’s the balance of which is most important to you that will determine the right cable for your needs.