How HDMI should have been from the start?

Regulars on our Forums may have noticed that I'm not HDMI's biggest fan. Actually, let me be a bit more specific: I've no problem with the connection system itself, carrying everything from hi-def pictures to hi-rez sound – well, unless you have Sky+HD – and control signals.

No, what gets my Capra aegagrus hircus is the useless connector fitted to each end of HDMI cables.

It falls out. It works loose. It only makes intermittent contact after you've pulled it out and plugged it in a few times.

In fact, it seems to have been designed purely to save space on the rear-panel of products, not to provide the very best connection possible.

OK, so you're probably thinking this is only a problem affecting those of us who spend our lives plugging and unplugging cables during the course of reviewing, but it really isn't. HDMI cables – especially the heavy and often stiff 'upmarket' ones – have an alarming habit of suddenly declaring unilateral independence from the back of your TV, receiver or whatever.

Usually in the middle of a favourite TV show. And usually in the most inaccessible place possible.

So I was interested to receive an email the other week from a company in the States making a product designed to lock HDMI cables in place. The hd EZ lock. made by Lakewood, Washington company Blue Echo Solutions, attaches to the rear of whatever has HDMI sockets and, as the name suggests, locks the HDMI plug into the socket.

You can attach the little injection-moulded nylon device using adhesive tape supplied in the box, or using a screw – also supplied - in place of the one holding the HDMI socket to the rear panel of your equipment. The plug is inserted, and a clamp locked down to the cable using an Allen key, also in the box.

We've just received some samples and I've been having a play, and while the thing isn't exactly pretty, as you'll see from the pictures, who's going to see it once in place?

And best of all, it does just what it says: once a cable is in place, it's going to stay there.

You can order it online - shipped from the States in about a week, it'll cost you around £16.50 for a pair of hd EZ locks, enough to lock one cable at both ends.

This is one of those ideas that works so well, and is so simple, that you wonder why no-one thought of it before.

Like the committees responsible for designing the HDMI connector in the first place, for example...

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.