The Upsell Is Strong With This One


I worked retail for years. It helped me pay my way through college, and I learned a lot in my time as a regular associate, assistant manager and eventually a manager. What I hated most about the job is what really irks me today. The Upsell.

You know the drill. You go to a Best Buy and get a new device. Maybe you got a new Xbox, PlayStation or television and you need those extra cables to get up-and-running. The associate probably tried to sell you this $52 HDMI cable with a pitch along the line of "it'll help you get the best clarity out of your new Xbox, Playstation, television."

I almost fell for this a few years ago, and after seeing someone else get this same pitch recently, I thought I'd pass along my experience and the information I've been told.

You do not need a $60 cable. You can get this two pack of ([Amazon Basic] cables for $8 and you'll get the same quality picture. I asked people I trust, and they've all told me the same thing.

The Wirecutter has them as the runner-up in terms of the best deal when you look at individual cables (not the two pack).

I purchased several of them years ago, just in case and I've never needed to buy more. I give them as gifts to friends when they get a new device and need a cable.

But if you need a third-party, here's what Digital Trends had to say on the subject:

“In terms of picture quality there’s no difference,” explains Jeff Park, Senior Technical Manager for HDMI Licensing, LLC. “It’s digital, so it’s all or nothing.”

So the short answer is no. If you think a more expensive cable is going to deliver a better picture, then you’re mistaken.

“Whether you have a $100 cable or a $5 cable, if they meet the same specification requirements there should be no difference,” says Jeff. “From a technical point of view, they are exactly the same.”

Don't get duped by the salespeople. I realize they have a job to do and if you can afford the more expensive cables, by all means, go ahead. But information is power, so go in armed with the facts before you get upsold.


Mike Loveday

I started my journalism career in college as an entertainment writer and eventually moved into the Sports Editor position. After graduation I worked as a Stringer for the Wilmington Star-News and covered Track & Field and Lacorsse. After eight months I was hired as a General Assignment Reporter for the Topsail Voice. In 2006, I was hired by Student Sports as a general assignment writer and moved into the role of Editor for Purchased by ESPN in July 2008, Student Sports relaunched as and I was promoted to the Contact Sports Editor in charge of football and lacrosse. In 2009, I took over lacrosse full-time. I am currently the Founder and COO of and the Mid-Atlantic reporter for US Lacrosse and where I manage the Nike/US Lacrosse Top 25 voting panel and a staff of four freelance journalists.