Is Harvey Norman Misleading Customers About HDMI Monster Cables?

We've all been there — you're buying a television/console, you've agreed to buy your brand new plasma/LCD/PS3/360 and within seconds the Old Gill-esque salesman is trying the old 'spend $200 on a ridiculously overpriced HDMI cable' trick. Looks like Harvey Norman has taken that trick to all new levels, cleverly attempting to compare Monster HDMI cables with regular composite cables in store.

Trog for Ausgamers spotted the above, completely unfair comparison in Indooroopilly, QLD.

The first thing I saw was the two screens and the Monster cable sign, so I immediately was interested to see the "Monster difference".

The second thing I saw was that the difference between the two images was simply staggering. The one on the left - with the Monster cable - was crystal clear and looked fantastic. The one on the right was blurry and terrible. You can't tell the difference in the photo (from my mobile phone) but it was immediately obvious, even from a distance.

However, the bad one on the right was way, way, way too bad to be anything other than non-digital. Anyone that has ever compared a monitor plugged in via DVI to one plugged in via VGA would know exactly what I mean - the difference is amazing - and completely unsurprising.

I could not believe that they would do a display like this with such a cheap "trick", but looking behind the screens, sure enough I saw a composite cable plugged in.

This is crazy. I'd love Harvey Norman to plug in its cheapest HDMI cable for a comparison between that and the Monster cable, and see how many poor folks it could rope into spending a ludicrous amount of money then.

As far as I'm concerned this is pretty shady. As Nick Broughall over at Gizmodo Australia so aptly put it: friends don’t let friends waste buckets of money on Monster cables…

Monster Cable Display at Harvey Norman Indooroopilly [Ausgamers — Thanks Gizmodo!]


    It seems the common knowledge that pretty much all HDMI cables are the fucking same hasn't dribbled down to the lay person. I am sure this actually works on people, that is what is truly sad.

      I work in a locally owned electronics store, and I do my best to tell every customer looking at HDMI (or any other digital cable) that the expensive ones look no different.

        Should have switched them around.

        BUT SON!!! Tell'em the price!!!

        I likewise work in a chain electronics store (wont name names) and i do the exact same thing too, nothing in them.

        hope that doesn't get you guys fired

        I used to also work for a chain electronics retailer also.. We never pushed monster cables. I was a manager too, no one is getting sacked for not selling that stuff. Its nice if you can sell it, but its a very hard sell. Some people will still by it even if you tell them a $10 one is just as good.. too much money I guess..

        I remember one time a sales rep from Monster came and told us all about their products.. we lol'd the whole way through it..

        One time they had a contest for who could 'sell' the most, so we gave away their cheapest $15 coax cable with each TV we sold and won ourselves a bunch of money from Monster for a night on the piss.. win.

    Hella shady, but I expect nothing less from Gerry and his lackeys.

    Harvey Norman being deceptive in order to make money? Mind blown

      Standard practice. They make nothing on the major products but a killing on the accessories. All those $500-$700 laptops, zero profit and in somecases they're running at a loss. But the laptop case you bought to put it in, 500%+ markup.
      My little brother left HN a month ago because he just wastn't [email protected] enough to keep ripping off the customers, he kept giving good advice and discounts so they "asked him to leave".

        Well to be fair giving "discounts" is generally frowned upon unless agreed to by management. It's kind of like stealing.

          Wrong, most places add more to the price just so they can give discounts. They usually only discount if someone asks for it and they brag about fools that pay full price. Go to any store like Harvey Norman and watch how many things they will "discount" upon request.

    This is an incredibly dodgy practice thrown on top of an already dodgy practice - the notion of advertising digital transmission as having a level of 'quality'.

    Fact is, in the realms of HDMI cables (a digital technology), the data either gets there or it doesn't. There is no such thing as signal degradation in this space as there is with analogue transmission.

    Either your HDMI cable is capable of transmitting the data correctly or it isn't - there are no shades of grey.

    That 'premium' cable companies sell their product at a premium with any reason that does not relate to the durability of their cables upsets me know end.

    Damnable misinformation.


      The picture is on, or off. none of this quality shite..

    Hahaha, amazing stuff.

    I've used Monster cables, and I've also used $8 cables I've bought online. Never saw appreciable differences, in either video or audio... YMMV.

    "See what >>>your<<< missing"
    This disgusts me more than the scam.

      Yeah, that's on par with the Myer "Get's the right size" gaffe.

      Both the grammatical error and the practice itself are appalling.

      If this was Kotaku US I'd heart you, or do one of those sorts of "I approve this message" things. As it is, all I can do is make a more or less useless comment.

      Also, the mix of typefaces looks like ass.

    If your spending more then $30 on HDMI your getting ripped off. I bought a Apple TV from JB and they asked if I need a HDMI cord. I said yes but then asked how much and they said $60. I laughed and said I'll buy one somewhere else. I was told that by them that the $60 cables are the only HDMI cables that will work with it. I laughed at him and left.

    Back when Sony were offering free PS3's with their TV's, I got the TV/PS3 deal from Harvey Norman, and as I'd never had any HD products before, got roped into buying a $200 1 metre HDMI cable. No problem with the cable... it remains plugged into my TV and PS3 and have not had a problem with it.

    I also use a HDMI cable to plug my PC into my TV to watch movies etc. For this, I use a $5 5 Metre HDMI cable I bought online. Out of curiosity, I swapped the cables to see the difference...
    ...There was none. At least, none that I could see.

    The only problem with the $5 jobs, is that they don't seem to last as long. That being said, I use the $5 one, as I said, to connect my computer to my Tv. Often the cable is running across the floor, and gets tripped over, etc. Also, I am constantly plugging/unplugging the cheapo one, where as the expensive one remains constantly plugged into the PS3.

    Still, I'd rather spend $5 once a year toi replace the cheap one that spend $200 on the "good" one.

    I hope this has been passed on to the ACCC. If a big company like HN gets away with it once, then everyone will try it on - the margins they can make on those cables are insane.

      Why? There's nothing illegal about overpriced crap. The ACCC really has better things to do than hold the hand of people who won't use Google...

        True but the price is not the issue, false advertising is, which is exactly what HN are doing.

        The ACCC actually does something other than take reports and sit on them?

    Take a photo.

    Take a photo of the back.

    Ask a shop assistant (record on phone in hand) if they're both HDMI cables.

    Report to ACCC.

      You forgot the final step

      When ACCC does nothing, report ACCC to Today/Tonight.

        And then Today Tonight goes and does a story on "Dodgy Plumbers".

        Then after realising that ACCC is about price fixing and anti-competitive trading and that you went to the wrong place; report them to consumer affairs as false and/or misleading advertising is within their jurisdiction and they will take action. Eventually.

      The thing is, if you look at the sign in the picture - the one on the right says "connected with the cable in the box". It doesn't actually say that it's HDMI or not. So there's not reeeeally anything wrong with it. Sort of. Technically. Still pretty dodgy though.

    I used to work in HiFi for a big Aussie retailer, and while there I took advantage of the buy direct discount for Belkin's top of the range cables to refit all my interconnect and speaker cable. What would of cost me nearly $2500 at retail I got for just over $400. Talk about mark up!

    and this i why i am glad not to be working for that mob anymore... shit like that happened ALL THE TIME where i used to be working...
    they easily make 200% to 300% margins on those cables if not more

    I am shocked and appalled.

    Not really.

    I remember, i once won a 1k gift voucher at HN, so i thought, what the hell, might as well get a new TV from there.

    The salesmen tried so hard to push crap like Monster cables on me, claiming i would not be getting the real 'Hi Def Experience' with normal HDMI cables and that Monster cables could only produce True 1080p.

    "your" is not the same as "you're"

      "Your 'your' should rather be spelt you're. You're probably infuriating your customers with your slipshod use of your/you're. You're welcome. Your.

    I work in retail, for a competing company, and you wouldn't believe how many people Harvey Norman have brainwashed into thinking that Monster cables are so much better.

    There was one customer who came in asking for Monster HDMI cables because his system was so "high end" that it NEEDED Monster cables, otherwise it wouldn't work properly.


    My mate works at dick smith and he gats a commission on most of teh stuff that he sells. He says that the markup of any type of cable is astronomical. He always tries to sell one whenever someone buys a tv because he gets a bigger cut from the cable then he does from the tv.

    They are dodgey. Full stop. I was robbed recently, and my insurance company forced me to go to Harvey Norman, with a certain amount of money to spend. I went to HN at Garden City and did a list, was then forced to go to Aspley. The prices at Aspley were ATLEAST 15-20% dearer than Garden City - Aspley is the "Insurance Store" apparently.

    I will never shop there again if I can avoid it.

    Did he plug the HDMI ones in? would be funny to see people walking past ond not seeing a difference.

    While it's not a fair comparison at all, no where on the sign does it say it's plugged in with a HDMI cable, it's just saying it's from the box. So while it could actually be useful and helpful to some people, the fact that they're trying to push with the stupidly expensive cable is just dodgy. Especially when you know how much the store pays for those cables... And for the really expensive ones, I would be surprised if they paid more than $30 for it.

      ^ this.

      Yes, it is deliberately misleading. However, the sign does say its using the cable that comes in the box, and it's rare to see an HDMI bundled in with anything!

    I don't think it's dodgy, just overpriced. The sign doesn't say it's a 'better' HDMI at all.

    It would be another thing if you could catch an employee claiming that both TVs are on HDMI. But honestly, if you reported this to any watchdog they'd ignore it cause it's not making any false claims.

    Having said that, it might not be dodgy but it's completely overpriced. They're just sharks. I don't shop at Harvey Norman's cause it's all overpriced.

    Its not wrong though? They COULD sell they're cheapest HDMI, but why would ya?

    I bought my TV from them on a 40 month interest free deal, they had no boxed ones left so I took the display model and all the cables that were plugged into it anyway haha. Win for me.

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