|Don't help companies make huge profit margins at your expense.|
High-Definition Multimedia Input cables are used to connect high-definition TVs to cable boxes, video game systems and set-top boxes, replacing the RCA cables (those red, yellow and white split cables) that once served that role for standard-definition televisions. Unfortunately, high-definition technology is apparently young enough that it's still possible to get people to massively overpay for these cables. Consumer electronics experts generally agree that spending more than $10 on one of these cables is a waste of money, yet we've seen brand-name cables selling for upward of $50 at electronics stores such as Best Buy ( BBY). In fact, Best Buy's Web site is selling a Monster brand cable for $90. Not surprisingly, the sole customer review notes that, "Once you learn how these cables work, you'll know to find the absolutely cheapest ones you can find." I spent $8 on Amazon to get an HDMI cable (which comes with an adapter for a speaker system) and have never had any problem with my picture or audio quality. Don't let a sales rep convince you your $2,000 big-screen TV needs a gold-plated $100 cable to get the best picture quality. Apple accessories
If the headphones or USB cable that came with your iPhone or iPod fails, you can get a free replacement at the Apple ( AAPL) Store -- provided you got the AppleCare warranty. If you didn't, you're looking at $29 for the headphones, $19 for the way-too-short USB cable and another $29 for the adapter that lets you plug the cable into a wall socket for charging. Those accessories can be found for much cheaper elsewhere. My iPhone is plugged into my computer with a USB cable that costs $2.95, or you could get the connector and adapter bundled for $7.95 refurbished, a full $40 cheaper than you'd pay for both at the Apple Store. And you can get those earbuds -- complete with the remote and mic -- for $7.95 plus $2 shipping, though we've seen it even cheaper.