There isn’t a scarcity of sources—together with TechHive—that can let you know one HDMI cable is just about pretty much as good as another HDMI cable. Effectively, right here’s the exception to that rule: the $100 Marseille mCable Cinema Version
What makes this HDMI cable particular? It has an embedded microprocessor that upscales and enhances 1080p or lower-resolution video to take full benefit of a 4K UHD show. It doesn’t do something for 4K UHD (2160p) video, although, which is one thing I’ll go into extra element later. The mCable is on the market in 3-foot ($119), 6-foot ($129), and 9-foot ($139), although you’ll discover it street-priced for much less (Amazon sells the 6-foot model reviewed right here for $99).
You’ll discover a captive USB cable at one finish of the cable that can present energy for the microprocessor. Plug the sort A connector into any commonplace USB port in your TV and also you’ll be up and working. In case your TV doesn’t have an out there USB port, a USB AC energy adapter will do. The HDMI cable ends will not be interchangeable, so take note of the labels: The one labeled supply connects to the output out of your supply system (DVR, set-top field, DVD or Blu-ray participant, and so forth), and the one labeled TV goes to the HDMI enter in your TV. That’s it.
Every part else is auto-magical, or sensible, or automated. Take your decide. There’s no app or distant, so in the event you don’t just like the impact on any specific materials, you’ll want to make use of a special cable. That proved to be a non-issue for me—largely. I’ll get to that later.
The mCable’s raison d’être is to course of 1080P and lower-resolution video with numerous upscaling methods to make it look higher on 1080p and 2160p (4K UHD) televisions. Left on their very own, some TVs upscale splendidly, however some don’t. Some deal with some materials nice, however different materials… not so nice.
To check the mCable Cinema Version, I broke out a wide range of older format DVDs and 1080p Blu-ray discs, and I additionally performed again the number of information that I take advantage of for TV testing utilizing each a Samsung UBD-9500 and a UBD-8500. UBD stands for Extremely Blu-ray Disc. I used a number of 4K UHD TVs to check the outcomes with and with out the mCable Cinema Version within the loop. I didn’t do any gaming, as Marseille presents a separate Gaming Version cable that’s optimized for the upper refresh charges that kind of content material usually options.
I used to be largely impressed with the outcomes with the vast majority of discs and information, although with a couple of information—largely older 1930s films—I observed no enchancment in any respect. As I used to be enjoying these from a USB stick in an outboard participant, it might need been format associated. In any other case, 1080p, 720p, and nearly every part under that regarded noticeably sharper, extra vivid, and with much less noise. Noise elimination really considerably undid the deliberate graininess within the first scene of the latest model of On line casino Royale. I assume you may’t have every part.
The mCable didn’t do something for the 2160p information I performed; in actual fact, video streams at that decision are handed straight by way of from the supply to the show. However video at that decision hardly wants enchancment. Fairly than relay how each single file and determination is processed or enhanced, I’ve included the charts discovered on the Marseille, Inc. web site under:
Above is the table for what the mCable does with various resolutions of video output to a 4K UHD TV. Below is what happens when output to a 1080p TV.
Ultra HD Blu-ray bummer
I was all set to simply leave the mCable in place when I finally tossed in a copy-protected Ultra Blu-ray disc to further test the claim that 4K UHD (2160p) was simply passed through. Drat. Darn. Phooey. If I’d read the info carefully, (I don’t as part of usability testing), then I’d have known that the mCable with its processor is a link in the HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) scheme that’s intended to foil pirates, and that it’s limited to HDCP 1.4. The current version that 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs use is HDCP 2.2. By design, if any link in the signal chain doesn’t support HDCP 2.2, the delivery device will automatically reduce a 2160p video stream to 1080p.
If you’re using a Blu-ray or DVD player, or if you’re playing a Blu-ray disc or DVD on an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, this is a complete non-issue. Likewise when you’re playing Ultra HD Blu-ray discs on an Ultra HD Blu-ray player with two HDMI video outputs: You’ll connect the mCable to one output, connect an HDCP 2.2-compatible cable to the second, and switch HDMI inputs on your TV accordingly.
If your Ultra HD Blu-ray player is a more common model with just one HDMI output, or it has two HDMI outputs, but the second one is for audio only, you’ll also want to buy an HDCP 2.2-compatible HDMI splitter that has one input and two or more outputs. The alternative would be a cable-swapping nightmare every time you change disc type.
It’s worth the cash
The mCable Cinema Edition does a bang-up job of upscaling and processing 1080p and lower-resolution video. Buy one for your favorite DVD or Blu-ray player or set-top box. If you intend to use it with a single-output Ultra HD Blu-ray player, know that the absence of HDCP 2.2 support will dictate that you also buy an HDMI splitter.