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Why are HDMI cables better than component cables?

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HDMI cables are not better than component cables. They are different and the HDMI interface provides features that are not available on analog component interfaces. HDMI absolutely does not automatically result in better quality images.

HDMI carries a component signal for television. It's often the same component signal that analog cables carry other than the fact that it is in a digital form. The information it carries is the same as analog component. In both cases, the image quality is dependent on the signal that is output and not the type of interface.

HMDI can also carry a wide range of signal formats and it is now the only domestic connector that is compatible with HD signals. Although there is an HD analog component interface, it is never seen on domestic equipment for one reason. HDMI interfaces allow copy protection systems (HDCP) to be used so that uesrs cannot extract the signal and record it. Analog HD component signals cannot be protected in the same way. The restriction to HDMI is the industry's way of protecting content and reducing piracy.

HMDI is also more convenient in that it carries video audio and control data as wel as allowing players and televisions to talk to each other. It reduces set up time and reduces the number of cables behind the equipment.

HDMI is limited to short lengths. Although long cables can be purchased, they are expensive ad bulky. Analog component (and other digital component signals) can be run far greater distances without problem. There are now HDMI extenders that use low cost CAT5 cables to run signals up to 100 feet or more and these often work out less expensive than long HDMI cables.
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