Monster Cables: A bastardization of epic proportions

Everyone loves their expensive home theater setup. Some of us have poured thousands of dollars into enjoying reruns of the Brady Bunch; and after splurging on the TV, audio setup, and next gen media player, said devices need to be wired up for optimum viewing pleasure. Most people with money to burn would decide on outrageously overpriced Monster cables to get the job done.

Sure, Monster has –up until recently– had a pretty spotless reputation with HDMI and other cabling, but did you know that retailers make about an 80 percent profit off of pretty much every Monster cable that they force down your throat? The Consumerist put together a handy table which outlines the wholesale price of these cables as compared to what you and I would actually pay. A 19 foot Monster HDMI cable retails for about $180 with the wholesale clocking in at just under $100, creating a comfortable profit margin of 80 bucks.

You’re probably thinking right now: “But Ilya, if Monster Cables make things just a smidge more ‘Hi-Def’ then aren’t they worth it? Can’t you spare some of your advance journalistic integrity and rugged good looks to explain to me why the price is actually worth it?”. Sorry, but they’ve been proven to offer just about no visible improvement over cheaper wires.

In short: Go with cheaper cables and put the extra few hundred towards some new equipment.

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19 Responses to Monster Cables: A bastardization of epic proportions

  1. Having once sold TVs and stereos for a living, I can vouch for the truth of the extreme profit margin on Monster-brand cables. On HD video I’ve never noticed a difference between Monster and other brands in terms of signal quality, but analog audio cables are a whole other ball-park. In systems where sound quality is of the utmost importance, Monster is actually low- to mid-range in terms of pricing, but they’re still far better than the real cheapies.

  2. Having once sold TVs and stereos for a living, I can vouch for the truth of the extreme profit margin on Monster-brand cables. On HD video I've never noticed a difference between Monster and other brands in terms of signal quality, but analog audio cables are a whole other ball-park. In systems where sound quality is of the utmost importance, Monster is actually low- to mid-range in terms of pricing, but they're still far better than the real cheapies.

  3. Do you sexy geeks buy sexy clothes and shoes? Those are marked up 100-200%. Why don'y you boycott that also. Stores are entitled to make a profit where they can. ANd they certainly cannot do it on video, the driving force of the home theatre market.

  4. What store doesn’t markup all accessories like the mafia? All of my retail jobs have proven so. Monster Cables got their halo when we all had analog cables for everything, and now they’re providing the same Monster quality and prices for digital cables. If people can afford to fall for it, great! But I know more than few home-owners that love to brag about their 100% Monster setup the same as their A/V equipment.
    I’ve never bought Monster personally and I’m still satisfied. I usually wire CAT-5e for a clean, less-tangled, install.

  5. What store doesn't markup all accessories like the mafia? All of my retail jobs have proven so. Monster Cables got their halo when we all had analog cables for everything, and now they're providing the same Monster quality and prices for digital cables. If people can afford to fall for it, great! But I know more than few home-owners that love to brag about their 100% Monster setup the same as their A/V equipment.

    I've never bought Monster personally and I'm still satisfied. I usually wire CAT-5e for a clean, less-tangled, install.

  6. The point is not only that they are marked up, it's the fact that the improvement in performance (none) doesn't justify the high price. Had there actually been visible improvements, I wouldn't have written the article.

  7. Generally, anytime you’re talking about a digital signal, the quality of the cable shouldn’t be of primary concern. This applies to both audio and video. Basically, if you get a signal at all and the cable fits snugly, the $30 cable is identical to the $300 in all but aesthetics, brand and price. Where you want to shell out the big bucks for wires, as I mentioned above, is in analog cables (like speaker wire, composite/RCA audio and the like), though even the quality jump in that case is up for debate.

  8. Generally, anytime you're talking about a digital signal, the quality of the cable shouldn't be of primary concern. This applies to both audio and video. Basically, if you get a signal at all and the cable fits snugly, the $30 cable is identical to the $300 in all but aesthetics, brand and price. Where you want to shell out the big bucks for wires, as I mentioned above, is in analog cables (like speaker wire, composite/RCA audio and the like), though even the quality jump in that case is up for debate.

  9. Hey, it's Monster.

    Here is the response to the Consumerist posting on Monster Cable…

    Monster would like to acknowledge and respond to the publishing of the alleged Monster pricing from an employee at RadioShack in the article titled “Monster Cables, Monster Ripoff: 80% markups.”

    The article can be misread that consumers are paying inappropriate prices charged by our retailers for Monster Cable products. The article misleads the reader in citing retailer markups of 80% as if the retailer makes 80% profit margin on products that they sell. Anyone in retail knows that one does not calculate profit by markups, but by profit margins made on the sale as a ratio of what they paid for it. So in the example of the 19ft. HDMI-DVI cable that was highlighted as Retail $179.95, wholesale of $99.40, that’s a profit margin of 44%. Also the DVI and the S-Video cable cited are both discontinued products using old cable technology. Most of the products listed in the article are 37% to 39% profit margins. This is much less than profit margins on other consumer products like clothing, jewelry, furniture, and accessories to other consumer products.

    It’s also misleading when the tone of the article alludes to Monster Cable ripping off consumers, when Monster cannot legally set retail pricing. This is clearly up to the retailer. However in defense of retailers of consumer electronics, it is typical that small items warrant higher profit margins, while large items like TV’s have small profit margins. The consumer clearly wins in the electronics category.

    We would also like to point out that Monster makes the highest quality cables in the world, but always with a variety of price points for the consumer to choose from. For example, with today’s most popular digital connection, HDMI, the consumer has a wide range of performance choices with four models of Monster Advanced Speed Rated HDMI Cables, ranging from $49.95 to $99.95. The performance of each of these Speed Rated cables is independently verified by Simplay Labs http://www.simplayhd.com, so our customers know exactly the performance they are paying for. In addition, these prices are in line or lower than other high performance cables offered by Monster’s competitors at retail locations throughout the country.

    There is also a comment about digital cables not making a difference and that the only difference in digital cables is the price. This is simply not the case. HDMI Licensing, LLC, the group that develops the HDMI specification, has published two different cable speeds for the current 1.3 specification: Standard Speed at 2.23 Gbps, and High Speed at 4.95 Gbps, which is known as HDMI 1.3 Category 2. For more information, go to http://www.hdmi.org.

    In fact, Steve Venuti, Vice President of Marketing for HDMI Licensing, LLC, stated in a recent Widescreen Review article:
    http://www2.widescreenreview.com/127venuti.pdf

    “…HDMI evolves as it continues to react to the demands of the marketplace. With the introduction of HDMI 1.3 in 2006, HDMI doubled the bandwidth of the specification, and with that, gave manufacturers the ability to design products that can output and receive signals at unprecedented levels…And where there is increased bandwidth, there is increased demand on the cable to deliver the HDMI signal.”

    This clearly states that not all HDMI digital cables are the same. Buying the best cables possible will insure that one always gets the best possible digital picture for the components they own.

    For those who want to get the real facts on HDMI, please visit http://www.monstercable.com/HDMI/advancedhdmi.asp for the following videos:

    1. The Constant Evolution of HDMI with Steve Venuti, Vice President of Marketing, HDMI Licensing, LLC

    2. Certified HDMI Cable Performance with Joseph Lias, President of Simplay Labs, LLC

    For those who want technical information on why there are different levels of HDMI Cables, one can reference the white paper on HDMI at http://www.monstercable.com/HDMI/whitepaper.asp, where you will learn about why different HDMI cables are needed.

    For those who want to get an inside look on the testing of Monster’s HDMI cables, visit http://www.monstercable.com/HDMI/advancedhdmi.asp for an eye opening video of Monster’s quality R&D and testing.

    The digital TV revolution is moving fast, as one sees from the introduction of 240Hz displays from TI and Ultra High Definition Displays from Samsung at CES this year. These advanced displays paves the way for vastly improved high definition components that will need even higher speed HDMI cables, all of which are available today from Monster’s Advanced Speed Rated cables.

    For those who want to know more about higher definition, Monster and Disney have partnered together on a DVD that educates customers on the various levels of higher definition and how to buy and set up for higher definition TV. The DVD is called The Higher Definition Home Theater Experience, and we would like to offer it at no charge to everyone who is visiting this site by sending your shipping address to the following email: [email protected].

    Monster has always made the highest quality products at reasonable prices. We stand behind the retailers that offer great service and advice to our customers at a fair profit and we hope that this additional information clarifies some of the confusion that the article might have generated.

    • While I agree that your cables are of better quality than what the competion has (When it comes to toughness) , an hdmi cable found AMAZON.com for $1 does the exact same job, with the same quality up to 1080i (You do a better job with 1080p) . This has been said times and times again all over the web. I know that there is a market for your cables… some people will want to buy absolute quality for their home entertainment system, and I can understand that..

      But I think a markup of 44% is overkill in this situation… I've got a corporate account with a major distributor in Canada, and they take a fixed markup of 4 to 6% on all product they sell us.

  10. Hey, it's Monster.

    Here is the response to the Consumerist posting on Monster Cable…

    Monster would like to acknowledge and respond to the publishing of the alleged Monster pricing from an employee at RadioShack in the article titled “Monster Cables, Monster Ripoff: 80% markups.”

    The article can be misread that consumers are paying inappropriate prices charged by our retailers for Monster Cable products. The article misleads the reader in citing retailer markups of 80% as if the retailer makes 80% profit margin on products that they sell. Anyone in retail knows that one does not calculate profit by markups, but by profit margins made on the sale as a ratio of what they paid for it. So in the example of the 19ft. HDMI-DVI cable that was highlighted as Retail $179.95, wholesale of $99.40, that’s a profit margin of 44%. Also the DVI and the S-Video cable cited are both discontinued products using old cable technology. Most of the products listed in the article are 37% to 39% profit margins. This is much less than profit margins on other consumer products like clothing, jewelry, furniture, and accessories to other consumer products.

    It’s also misleading when the tone of the article alludes to Monster Cable ripping off consumers, when Monster cannot legally set retail pricing. This is clearly up to the retailer. However in defense of retailers of consumer electronics, it is typical that small items warrant higher profit margins, while large items like TV’s have small profit margins. The consumer clearly wins in the electronics category.

    We would also like to point out that Monster makes the highest quality cables in the world, but always with a variety of price points for the consumer to choose from. For example, with today’s most popular digital connection, HDMI, the consumer has a wide range of performance choices with four models of Monster Advanced Speed Rated HDMI Cables, ranging from $49.95 to $99.95. The performance of each of these Speed Rated cables is independently verified by Simplay Labs http://www.simplayhd.com, so our customers know exactly the performance they are paying for. In addition, these prices are in line or lower than other high performance cables offered by Monster’s competitors at retail locations throughout the country.

    There is also a comment about digital cables not making a difference and that the only difference in digital cables is the price. This is simply not the case. HDMI Licensing, LLC, the group that develops the HDMI specification, has published two different cable speeds for the current 1.3 specification: Standard Speed at 2.23 Gbps, and High Speed at 4.95 Gbps, which is known as HDMI 1.3 Category 2. For more information, go to http://www.hdmi.org.

    In fact, Steve Venuti, Vice President of Marketing for HDMI Licensing, LLC, stated in a recent Widescreen Review article:
    http://www2.widescreenreview.com/127venuti.pdf

    “…HDMI evolves as it continues to react to the demands of the marketplace. With the introduction of HDMI 1.3 in 2006, HDMI doubled the bandwidth of the specification, and with that, gave manufacturers the ability to design products that can output and receive signals at unprecedented levels…And where there is increased bandwidth, there is increased demand on the cable to deliver the HDMI signal.”

    This clearly states that not all HDMI digital cables are the same. Buying the best cables possible will insure that one always gets the best possible digital picture for the components they own.

    For those who want to get the real facts on HDMI, please visit http://www.monstercable.com/HDMI/advancedhdmi.asp for the following videos:

    1. The Constant Evolution of HDMI with Steve Venuti, Vice President of Marketing, HDMI Licensing, LLC

    2. Certified HDMI Cable Performance with Joseph Lias, President of Simplay Labs, LLC

    For those who want technical information on why there are different levels of HDMI Cables, one can reference the white paper on HDMI at http://www.monstercable.com/HDMI/whitepaper.asp, where you will learn about why different HDMI cables are needed.

    For those who want to get an inside look on the testing of Monster’s HDMI cables, visit http://www.monstercable.com/HDMI/advancedhdmi.asp for an eye opening video of Monster’s quality R&D and testing.

    The digital TV revolution is moving fast, as one sees from the introduction of 240Hz displays from TI and Ultra High Definition Displays from Samsung at CES this year. These advanced displays paves the way for vastly improved high definition components that will need even higher speed HDMI cables, all of which are available today from Monster’s Advanced Speed Rated cables.

    For those who want to know more about higher definition, Monster and Disney have partnered together on a DVD that educates customers on the various levels of higher definition and how to buy and set up for higher definition TV. The DVD is called The Higher Definition Home Theater Experience, and we would like to offer it at no charge to everyone who is visiting this site by sending your shipping address to the following email: [email protected].

    Monster has always made the highest quality products at reasonable prices. We stand behind the retailers that offer great service and advice to our customers at a fair profit and we hope that this additional information clarifies some of the confusion that the article might have generated.

    • While I agree that your cables are of better quality than what the competion has (When it comes to toughness) , an hdmi cable found AMAZON.com for $1 does the exact same job, with the same quality up to 1080i (You do a better job with 1080p) . This has been said times and times again all over the web. I know that there is a market for your cables… some people will want to buy absolute quality for their home entertainment system, and I can understand that..

      But I think a markup of 44% is overkill in this situation… I’ve got a corporate account with a major distributor in Canada, and they take a fixed markup of 4 to 6% on all product they sell us.

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