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HDMI cable price gouging continues

This weekend my partner and I decided to finally execute a many year plan to set up a home theater in our basement. We shopped around a little and scored an LCD television, receiver, disc player, and speakers from a local Best Buy. I was sad to see that the decade old practice of price gouging on the HDMI cables, TOSLINK cables, and component video cables continues. The cheapest price Best Buy had for any HDMI cable of any length was $39.99! They had HDMI cables all the way up to $149.99!!! A high quality HDMI cable of the same length is $2.91 from and only $3.60 from Both mail order companies have hassle free packaging. I knew there would be a mark up for the local store, and I was even willing to pay a small one (say 4x the web price), but over 13x!?!? Shame on you local retailers. We also checked a local Lowe’s and they were not much better, HDMI cable prices ranged from $29.99 to $89.99 for essentially the same cables.

This extreme price gouging was all very publicly exposed 8-10 years ago in news papers and on the news. I assumed market pressures and exposure would bring the prices into a reasonable markup, but I was wrong. We paid perhaps 24% more for the Blu-ray player and perhaps 14% more for the TV that we could have scored on the internet to both save on shipping and support the brick and mortar store. The receiver was a bargain because it was an “open box” item missing it’s manuals, pink noise sensing microphone, and it had a substitute remote as it’s original was missing… We got the speakers for less than internet pricing because we were buying so much stuff all together. Am I wrong to be all rant enabled over the cable and incidentals pricing practices? I know they have to make a living, so a reasonable markup on every item is perfectly understandable.

Best Buy:

  • LG 55LD520 (deliberately chose older model for composite and S-video input and analog tuner)
  • Denon AVR-1610 receiver (deliberately chose older model for composite and S-video input and TOSLINK/Coax inputs)
  • Definitive ProMonitor 1000 pair of front speakers
  • Definitive ProMonitor 800 pair of surround speakers
  • Definitive ProCenter 1000 center channel speaker
  • Polk Audio PSW110 subwoofer
  • Panasonic DMP-BD85 Blu-ray player (chosen for being cheap, fast, and having good reviews)


  • 1.5′ HDMI cables at $1.83 each (source to receiver)
  • 6′ HDMI cables at $2.91 each (receiver to television)
  • 6′ TOSLINK cables at $4.41 each (television to receiver for broadcast sound)
  • 3′ S-video cables at $1.25 each (LaserVision to receiver)
  • 3′ coaxial cable with RCA ends at $.79 (LaserVision to receiver)
  • 12′ coaxial cable with RCA ends at $1.87 (sub-woofer from receiver)
  • 150′ of 14AWG speaker wire $$17.34 + $9.19 (speakers from receiver)
  • RCA male to F female connectors $.83 each (connect sub-woofer through in-wall coaxial cable)

Already have:

  • Pioneer LaserVision player (S-video and coaxial digital audio)
  • Sony Playstation (composite video and RCA Stereo)
  • Nintendo 64 (composite video and RCA Stereo)

An interesting find, if you are looking for home entertainment options, is that the most modern A/V Receivers and large screen televisions are dropping composite and S-video connectors and reducing the number of optical and coaxial digital audio inputs. The largest televisions are also dropping the analog (NTSC) tuners. For many people this will not be a problem, as modern Blu-ray and up-scaling DVD players all support HDMI (and new TVs and receivers have plenty of HDMI connectors). We have (and I suspect we are not alone) a lot of older gear that still needs to connect though, and it was hard to find gear that connects via S-Video and old fashioned composite video. I am not sure what newer XBox, Playstation, and Wii games connect with – I suspect it has all gone to HDMI give the dearth of older connections on newer model TVs and receivers. We also wanted an analog tuner because we use a ChannelMaster system to rebroadcast security camera feeds and our DISH satellite receiver throughout the house, having the analog tuner means the newer TV can pick that up too.

Update: I was able to mail order replacements for the missing remote control and pink noise microphone for $65 from, and I found a free PDF of the manual online.

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