Shiny upgrades, packages not worth the cost

Thursday, May 15th 2008, 6:09 pm
By: News 9

By Joel Craig, NEWS 9 Contributor

I'm still amazed how easy it is to get people to spend more money than they really need to by making something shiny or over packaging it.

Don't get me wrong there are differences in quality and performance in many items and there is truth to "you get what you pay for," but not always.  Let's limit today to those ever present connecting cables.

Some cables have silver colored connectors and others gold.  While it is true gold is a better conductor - the flash of a few microns of gold on the connector doesn't really do anything.  I'm sure someone can create an argument about how great the gold connector is - I just don't think you're getting your money's worth.  The connector is simply soldered onto a copper wire.  So what have those few microns of gold done for you except make the connector look pretty and cost you 5 to 20 bucks more?

You buy the "pretty" high tech looking one in the spiffy package, spending maybe 10 times more than the plain one. You plug it into your piece of electronics, turn the thing around and never see it again. But it sure looked good in the store.

If the cable is a USB cable for a computer buy one that is USB certified.  If it's an HDMI cable for your new HDTV then buy one that is HDMI certified.  These cables have to be made to specific standards in order to be certified; so you can be confident it will work within the industry's specification for its intended use.