Sunday, June 15, 2008

Cable Madness Redux

Back in November of last year, I wrote about the insane Pear Anjou audio cables for audio-extremophiles (a.k.a. idiots with too much money to spend on audio kit). Now the same kind of idiocy has infected Denon network cables. Below are two images, which link to their relevant product pages:

normal cat-5 ethernet cablepremium cat-5 ethernet cable

Now, what's the difference between these two products? Okay, so the Denon ones are in a flashier package, with nicer cable wrap, and indeed, might be made using a higher quality of wire, but how (given that they're exactly the same length; 1.5m/59in) can anyone justify the 56x multiple in price? The bog standard CAT-5 ethernet cable on the left will cost you £4.45 (including VAT (UK sales tax)) whereas nice blue, fabric sheathed cable on the right, that does exactly the same job is... wait for it... $499 (or about £250 at today's rate, or £499 if Denon do what many electronic hardware manufacturers do in the UK and just swap the $ sign for the £ sign).

So, to take the optimistic view, that's a 5500% markup for little difference in product. And given that ethernet is a digital signal, your network is either there, or it's not, quality barely comes into it.

You have to ask yourself what the mental state is of someone setting such insane prices. Are they laughing out loud (hysterically, perhaps), or do they think their customers are 7 sandwiches, a magnum of champagne, and a crate of strawberries short of a picnic?

If a post like this can prevent just one person from supporting such outright exploitation of a market sector that's clearly under-educated and over-financed, then I've done my good deed for the day.

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