Flat Or Round HDMI Cable For Your Home Theater?

Just when you thought it was safe to go out and buy an HDMI cable, you now have to consider a new and interesting concept; flat HDMI cable. What in the world were the manufacturers thinking when they came up with that idea? I thought all cables are supposed to be round.

There are a few advantages to using flat HDMI, but in my opinion, these advantages have nothing to do with the quality of video. I have used both flat and round HDMI cables in many installations and compared them side-by-side. I have never seen a difference in picture quality. I have asked other installers that I work with to also compare the flat against the round and they agree with my comparison. Visually we cannot see any difference in picture quality between the two cables.

Of course the hard-core home theater buffs will disagree with me and say that a flat HDMI cable will give you better video quality. There is a theory that states a round HDMI cable has internal wires that are wrapped around each other, where the flat one separates each internal wire across the width of the cable. This is supposed to eliminate the “crosstalk” (interference) that you may experience in the round cable. The flat HDMI may eliminate this “crosstalk”, but visually, it sure doesn’t make much difference in picture quality.

The biggest advantage to using a flat HDMI cable is convenience. It is easier to work with and I use it when my installations don’t afford me a lot of room to move around.

Here are a few advantages to using a flat HDMI cable:

  1. It bends easier. A round HDMI cable is thicker and cannot bend as easily as a flat one. This makes it easier to install into/along walls.
  2. It’s easier to tuck behind a hanging HDTV. A round HDMI cannot be wrapped up as tight as a flat one can, and will tend to bulge from behind the television.
  3. You can hide it behind a baseboard better. It lays flat against the wall and this lets you put the baseboard back flush without gaps.
  4. Running it under carpet is easier. Just make sure you don’t put it in under the carpet in a high traffic area. This is something that installers are doing these days since the cable with not cause a bump in your carpet.
  5. It can be painted easier than a round one can. This is a huge advantage if you decide to run your flat HDMI along the top of your baseboards and paint it to blend into the wall.

So the flat HDMI cable will function just as well as the round one will (maybe even better if you believe in the “crosstalk” theory), and as long as it is certified by the HDMI committee, you should consider buying the flat HDMI cable because of convenience, not video quality.