These include all the cables you use to connect one component to another. Look for:
High-quality physical construction
Good-quality connectors that fit together solidly but not so tightly that they have to be forced
Ethernet cables that are at least Category 5 (Cat5)
HDMI cables that are officially labeled “High Speed”
Be aware that video cables and audio interconnects are not interchangeable, even though they may look alike.
Speaker cable is essentially the same type of wire used for lamps, toasters, and other appliances. Your home theater retailer typically will offer several choices.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you buy:
Wire gauge (AWG): a smaller number indicates a thicker wire.
Room-friendly: choose flat or colored cable, which may be easier to hide.
Connectors that work with your components: spade lugs and banana connectors are the most common.
Some interconnects and speaker cables cost many dollars per foot. Others are inexpensive: 12 AWG lamp cord, which is plenty thick, sells for pennies a foot.
Is expensive cabling worth the cost? Use common sense. You don’t need a $275 HDMI cable to connect a $150 Blu-ray player and a $900 HDTV.
The same goes for your other connections.
HDMI 1.4, the latest version, adds 3D and other capabilities too. But you likely won’t need new cables. If the cable specification says “High-Speed HDMI,” it will work with HDMI 1.4.
One exception: HDMI 1.4 supports Ethernet. If you want to use this capability and have equipment that supports it, you’ll need a cable that specifies “High-Speed HDMI with Ethernet.” The physical connector will look the same as for the non-Ethernet cable.