BetterCables Silver Serpent
S-Video Interlink

BetterCables Silver Serpent S-Video Review

I want to start out this review by thanking Brad Marcus of BetterCables for being so gracious in allowing me to review the Silver Serpent Series Cables. After making my initial request for the 2 cables I wanted to test, UPS delivered them 2 days later!

We will be conducting ongoing reviews over the next several months to give everyone an overall view of their complete product line. I'm starting off with their Silver Serpent S-Video Cable.

Before I get into the actual review, I wanted to share something with you all. I've been into gadgets and high tech electronics ever since I was a boy. I've always taken things apart, put (or tried to put) them back together just to see how things really worked. When it comes to wire and cable, I've always been a big believer that the cables are the weakest link between your components, since they have the duty of transporting the digital or analog signals. When it comes to cables, there are many variables such as solid or stranded center conductor, solid copper core or copper clad, tin plating, etc. I've always believed that a pure copper center conductor had the least amount of resistance and a great conductor. If not, someone would've come up with something better at a higher price. I recently began reading articles and reviews about silver plated copper being used in high-end cables. I thought, that's interesting but how much better than copper can it be and is it worth a higher price? Well, everyone I asked came up with the same answer. Silver is more pure than copper so it makes perfect sense to plate the copper in silver. The result is less resistance, which means less degradation of the source data. The moral of story is don't skimp on your cables. You spend a lot of money on your Home Theater gear so why not enjoy it to the fullest!

On to the review...

Silver Serpent S-Video Cable

The first thing I noticed after opening the package from BetterCables was the silvery mesh that covers the cable. It gives the cables a very unique, high-end appearance. It also seems to add some rigidity to protect the cable itself. Just to let you know, my S-Video cables have always been Monster. I've always been happy with the performance at the price points I've paid. After seeing how nice the Silver Serpent cables looked, I knew I was in for a pleasant experience.

The DVD player I used for testing is the Sony DVP-S530D, which has 2 S-Video outputs. The first output was using my existing Monster Super Video 2 while output two used the Better Cables Silver Serpent S-Video cable.

As I mentioned earlier, I've always been happy with Monster Cable but after inserting Toy Story 2 and realizing the brilliant color depth using the Silver Serpent S-Video Cable, I was ready for a change! The contrast and overall clarity was nothing short of amazing. I began to see the importance of the pure silver plating as the movie came to life even more than before. As I did my switching back and forth from Monster to Better Cables, it was apparent that the Super Video 2 cable lacked the depth, color saturation and overall clarity of the Silver Serpent.

The next movie I used was Terminator 2. This is one of my favorite movies, not only for the great action special effects & sound but also for the picture quality. I've watched this movie not only on my system, but also the systems of several friends. The one thing I've always noticed is the difference in the skin tones and overall color depth between my system and others. On my system, I never thought the color purity and skin tones could improve that much but after watching it again using the Silver Serpent cable, I was blown away to say the least. The skin tones are nothing short of perfect and the visual effects are stunning!

Because I already knew I wasn't going back to the Monster Super Video 2 cable, I put in Monsters Inc to see just how much more I could be impressed. Well, let's just say I'm now beginning to revisit many of the DVD's I've collected to experience the movies all over again!

In short, the Better Cables Silver Serpent S-Video cable needs to be looked at seriously as it is as good or better than the other so-called high-end cables out there, at any price. The 1-meter S-Video cable I tested has an MSRP of $59.95 for the first meter and is well worth the money. The results will speak for themselves.

S-Video Specifications

The Silver Serpent® S-Video cable features twin 99.999% pure Silver coated copper conductors (7X38), hard-cell high-density foam PE dielectric, and dual-shielding for outstanding RF and EMI interference protection. The nominal impedance is 75-ohms and its low-capacitance is 17.3 pF per ft.

S-video distance is limited by the design of the system. So, to get the maximum out of a "minimal" system you need the highest quality cable, such as this Bettercables'® design. S-video requires two 75 ohm coaxes. Many S-video (S-VHS [TM], Y-C) cables are not 75 ohms. This impedance 'mismatch' contributes to loss on the cable. This is often referred to as return loss where the signal is reflected or returned to the source instead of the destination. Bettercables'® design guarantees a cable of 75 ohm +/- 5 ohms. In addition, timing between the two internal coaxes (variations of electrical cable length), are better than 5 nanoseconds per 100 ft. This means vanishingly low timing variations for short cables. Compare this to any other S-video design. Do they list timing variations? Do they list the impedance and impedance tolerance of their designs?