- Bewildered shoppers are paying up to £89.99 for HDMI cables that ought to cost a fraction of the price
- Consumer tests for Asda confirm that shoppers can't tell the difference in picture quality between an £89.99 cable from Currys and a £10 cable from Asda
A bewildering range of options means that shoppers are being seduced into buying unnecessarily expensive HDMI cables to connect their TVs to Blu-ray players and satellite boxes, according to Asda.
Testers connected high definition TVs to Blu-ray players with a range of HDMI cables, including a cable that costs £89.99 at Currys, a £44.99 cable from Argos and a fully-featured cable that costs £10 at Asda. Thirty-five viewers were shown images. Eighty-eight percent said that they were unable to detect any difference in image quality. Of the 12 percent who believed that they could, half thought that the Asda cable delivered a superior picture and half thought the Currys cable delivered a marginally better picture.
Asda's cable, at £10, is capable of handling HDTV images, 3D HDTV images and carrying Ethernet. The price has recently been rolled back from £17.42 and will remain at this low price until January 20, 2012
Last month Asda offered the UK's lowest priced Blu-ray player at £40. With the amount potentially saved on a player and a premium cable at Asda, the average household could pay for two average weekly shops.
"We think shoppers should go into the process of buying an HDMI cable with their eyes open," said Wayne Steenson, vision expert at Asda. "Charging shoppers more than eight times what they ought to pay is a real rip-off. If you buy the most expensive cable, you're effectively throwing away more than the cost of an average weekly shop. Put another way, you could buy a fully-featured future-proof cable AND a Blu-ray player and a Blu-ray disc at Asda for the price of one flashy cable from elsewhere."
For the duration of the all-important pre-Christmas period, Asda is capping the price of its HDMI cables and has rolled back the price of its fully-featured HDMI cable to £10. Christmas is a time of the year when sales of televisions and accessories tend to rise as households get ready for weeks of cosy sofa viewing over the festive season.
At Asda saving money and keeping costs low is part of our culture. Saving you money every day isn't a marketing slogan; it's the single-minded focus of everyone at Asda.
When we're asked what it is that we do differently from other retailers - what it is that gives us the ability to keep costs low and pass that on to customers in lower prices - we don't point to a handful of major initiatives. We talk about everything we do - all of the little things that when added together make a big difference.
Thirty-five viewers participated in the test and were shown concurrent images using the same equipment and different cables. Each image was shown for 30 seconds using the same piece of Blu-ray quality footage. The sequence in which the cables were used was changed to avoid any order-based bias. All viewers were asked whether they required contact lenses or glasses to correct imperfect vision. Eight indicated that they did and all were wearing corrective lenses during the test.