There have been several new entrants into the A/V cables market lately.
Accell has been an OEM for others’ products for a while, and has decided to launch their own brand. The packaging isn’t especially eye-catching, but the products are well priced and well constructed. Accell sent over a large box of goodies around the beginning of the year, and I’ve been using them interchangeably with traditional AV brands such as Monster and Acoustic Research with no noticeable performance problems. I haven’t seen them distributed anywhere at retail yet in New York/New Jersey, so that could be a bigger hurdle than anything else. (I wrote a report for JupiterResearch -- where I used to head up home theater research -- on home theater distribution models; it should be published soon.) Secrets of Home Theater – for whom I’m a Staff Writer – has a short review of Accell’s cables as well, faulting them primarily for the unopenable packaging.
Belkin is well known for their computer cables, and you could easily make the case that A/V cables are a logical brand extension for them. While their analog audio cables are nice, I’m particularly impressed with the DVI-to-HDMI breakout cable. It’s long and shrink wrapped in a semi-flexible plastic jacket. The overall construction is top notch, and the moderate stiffness can save the cable’s life by preventing sharp bends. I have nothing on hand to compare it to, but I’m using it to connect an LG HDTV tuner/upsampling DVD player to JVC’s 50” D-ILA (LCOS) HDTV, and there were times during the 720p World Series broadcast that I could tell which direction the player had shaved in. The packaging looks fabulous, the pricing is competitive with Monster, and I’ve started seeing the Pure AV line at retail. If my experience is a guide, it should do well.
Note: Belkin's packaging is semi-openable, as it has a pre-cut “window” in the back. Unfortunately, it doesn’t extend far enough into the rounded box, so you can put your hand in, but can’t get the actual cable out without resorting to a chainsaw.