Cables are a necessity for almost all electronic devices. But not much is known about how to select a cable, except where to plug it in and which cable does what. In truth, there is more to a cable than meets the eye. There are gold-plated, oxygen free and shielded cables.

Cables are made up of three basic parts: conductor, shielding and connector. The conductor is the wire that actually carries the signal. One or more layers of shielding prevent the wire from acting as an antenna that picks up radio frequency interference (RFI) and electromagnetic interference. The connector is the plug at the end of the cable that connects to a device.
For audiophiles, using low-end cables with a R25,000 HDTV is like putting cheap tires on a Ferrari.­ It is said that consumers should spend 20% of their total system cost on cables alone.
Cables that are gold plated have more shielding and provide faster data transfer, no data loss and don’t corrode in humid conditions. They are less susceptible to heat and electronic “noise”.
Experts recommend gold-plated RCA connectors for extra protection against corrosion, especially if users live in a humid environment. Here are some facts about cables that are generally not known.
Disadvantages of cheap cables:
* Reduces the quality of the picture and sound.
* Loss of data transfer.
* Picks up interferences, even from a radio.
* Cable deteriorates faster.
Benefits of gold-plated cables:
* Better for use with gaming software.
* Higher rendering of graphics and sound.
* Better TV and Blu-ray output.
* More shielding and better performance.
* Lasts longer.
Speaker wire is made from 99% oxygen-free copper, and usually comes "unshielded" which means the copper conductor can be seen. It comes in different thicknesses or gauges, rated from 12 to 18 (thickest to thinnest). As a general rule, the longer the speaker wires, the thicker the gauge that should be used.
Oxygen can affect the speed and performance of a cable. By having more shielding around the cable, it is protected from interferences and from oxidation causing data loss and speed degradation.
If the cable does not have extensive shielding, little disturbances such as a vacuum cleaner could interrupt data transfer.
To obtain the optimal benefits and performance from an electronic device, such as enhanced high-definition products, quality cabling with shielding and gold plated connectors is recommended.
Cheaper cables can lose data and could even cause damage to electronic devices.