Testing HDMI Cables

I recently helped set up a new house with cables including long HDMI cables that would not be easily replaceable after drywall went up. We wanted the latest HDMI 2.1 cables, which are capable of at least 40Gbps bandwidth. To do this for long cable runs, we needed expensive optical cables. Since these cables needed to work, we had to test them. To do so, we purchased a receiver that we planned to buy later anyway, the Denon AVR-X6700H.

Denon AVR-x6700h HDMI Cable Diagnostic

If you press the back button (below and left of the circle) and up cursor button (part of the circle) on this receiver, an “installer” secret menu item appears, a diagnostics mode. This can test cables and show the throughput achieved by the cable.

We’re glad that we ran those tests. Two of the cables we purchased failed the full HDMI 2.1 spec by not achieving 40Gbps:

There are a couple of tells for which cables fail in this list. First, the failing cables are 50-60% the cost of the passing cables. Second, the failing cables have the word “con” in their name.

We were able to switch out the failing cables before the drywall arrived. If you’re looking to test cables and you need a receiver, the new Denon lineup does an impressive job.

HD Radio in Washington D.C.

What is HD Radio?

Unfortunately, HD Radio has a misleading name. The letters “HD” stand for nothing. They only mean that it is digital instead of to analog. Digital does not mean that it is higher definition or higher quality than analog. It does mean that radio stations can fit more channels on the same spectrum.

What does HD Radio give you?

The Washington D.C. metro area has some great HD Radio stations. HD Radio gives you free extra channels to listen to outside of what is available on a normal AM/FM radio. Every channel listed below with a -2 or -3 is an extra channel that is not offered in analog AM or FM.

Washington D.C. HD Radio Listing

WAMU-HD 88.5 FM Nws/Tlk/Inf, American University
WAMU-HD2 88.5-2 FM Bluegrass, American University
WAMU-HD3 88.5-3 FM BBC / NPR / WTMD, American University
WPFW Soon in HD 89.3 FM Jazz, Pacifica Foundation
WCSP-HD 90.1 FM Nws/Tlk/Inf, National Cable Satellite Corporation
WCSP-HD2 90.1-2 FM C-Span, National Cable Satellite Corporation
WCSP-HD3 90.1-3 FM C-Span 2, National Cable Satellite Corporation
WETA-HD 90.9 FM Clscl/NPR, Greater Washington Educational Telecomm Association
WKYS Soon in HD 93.9 FM Urban AC, Radio One Inc.
WTGB-HD 94.7 FM Alternative, CBS Radio
WTGB-HD2 94.7-2 FM Adult Alternative – The Jam, CBS Radio
WPGC-HD 95.5 FM CHR/Rhymc, CBS Radio
WPGC-HD2 95.5-2 FM Gospel, CBS Radio
WHUR-HD 96.3 FM Urban AC, Howard University
WHUR-HD2 96.3-2 FM WHUR World, Howard University
WASH-HD 97.1 FM AC, Clear Channel
WASH-HD2 97.1-2 FM Smooth Jazz, Clear Channel
WMZQ-HD 98.7 FM Country, Clear Channel
WMZQ-HD2 98.7-2 FM Classic Country, Clear Channel
WLZL Soon in HD 99.1 FM Tropical, CBS Radio
WLZL-HD2 Soon in HDon 99.1-2 FM Hispanic AC, CBS Radio
WIHT-HD 99.5 FM CHR, Clear Channel
WIHT-HD2 99.5-2 FM New CHR, Clear Channel
WBIG-HD 100.3 FM Oldies, Clear Channel
WBIG-HD2 100.3-2 FM Oldies 50’s & 60’s, Clear Channel
WWDC-HD 101.1 FM Rock, Clear Channel
WWDC-HD2 101.1-2 FM eRockster, Clear Channel
WMMJ Soon in HD 102.3 FM Urban AC, Radio One Inc.
WTOP-HD 103.5 FM News, Bonneville International Corp.
WTOP-HD2 103.5-2 FM iChannel -Global Unsigned Bands, Bonneville International Corp.
WTOP-HD3 103.5-3 FM Traffic and Weather, Bonneville International Corp.
WPRS-HD 104.1 FM Black Gospl, Radio One Inc.
WJZW-HD 105.9 FM Oldies, Citadel
WJZW-HD2 105.9-2 FM Smooth Jazz, Citadel
WJFK-HD 106.7 FM Talk/Sprts, CBS Radio
WRQX-HD 107.3 FM Hot AC, Citadel
WWWT-HD 107.7 FM Talk, Bonneville International Corp.
WTNT-HD 570 AM Talk/News, Red Zebra Broadcasting
WMAL-HD 630 AM News/Talk, Citadel
WXTR Soon in HD 730 AM Sports, Red Zebra Broadcasting
WTEM-HD 980 AM Sprts/Talk, Red Zebra Broadcasting
WYCB-HD 1340 AM Gospel, Radio One Inc.
WOL-HD 1450 AM News/Talk, Radio One Inc.
WWWT Soon in HD 1500 AM Talk, Bonneville International Corp.

How to get HD Radio?

HD Radio’s Wikipedia page lists several HD Radio receivers for your car and home.

One of my favorites is the Sony XDR-F1HD. This costs about $100 and needs to be connected to an amp/receiver. It can not be connected directly to speakers unless they are powered speakers that can be connected with RCA cables.

If you need a new amp/receiver, there are some that have HD Radio built-in. My favorite of these is the Yamaha RX-V863, which can be ordered for $619 currently with a little haggling.

Is HD Radio worth it?

HD Radio has been around since 2002 and has been somewhat slow to take off. But if you like the extra stations it gives you, it can be worth the cost of the new equipment. Unlike Sirius and XM, there is no subscription to get HD Radio.

Washington D.C. offers more HD stations than most markets. The extra stations cover many genres and niches such as News, Bluegrass, Alternative, Country, Oldies, Jazz, and Gospel. If any of those stations interest you, give HD Radio a try.