I haven't auditioned any component video cables, but my research suggest that two cost effective, but probably very high quality component video sets are:
1) Outlaw Audio PSC cables (http://www.outlawaudio.com)
2) The DIY Audioasylum digital cable, which I believe others says also works very well as a component video cable. I have just purchased this DIY digital cable from Audioasylum member Cousin_Dupree, but there are others who also make the same cable (check the Audioasylum.com classifieds, or RhinoCables, or Boldercables, and others).
I've used several cables. The best I've tried is the Audioquest YIQ-4, but a very close (and I mean VERY close) is the Better Cables component video cable. I think their newer ones are better than the ones I have previously used. At just about any price they will give any cable a decent challenge, and at their price I haven't tried anything that comes close.
I was using the Audioquest YIQ2 before, and prior to that Monster Cable M1000i, now I'm using three Audio Magic Sceptor Digital/Video Cables (discontinued model, being sold by HCM audio) and let me tell you the difference from the prior two set of cables is pretty significant at least in my set up.
I tried the Straight Wire Silver Link II's vs their cheapo conx one, very little differance. I was surprised as other cables (ic's) can make a huge differance.
Must be a video thing or just me...If/when I try again I will try the Better Cables out.
Rives is right on the money.The Silver Serpent is a great cable and priced right.Go for it!!!!!!!
My experience with Rick and his audio and video component interconnects has been my choice after wide and, yes, expensive experimentation. I have VD (not the infection) wire and no regrets. Jim.
I just got the zu meglar component cables and am very satisfied with the picture. I am using a vidikron vision 2 and faroudja dvp 3000. Frankly I am having serious doubts about the performance differences in video cables once you get to a certain point. I hired a certified video installer to set up and tweak the system and he used a high end monster cable. Frankly on my system the picture is so good it would have to take something remarkable for me to discern the difference. I know the lower end cables aren't as good because I A/B tested several.
I can indirectly add to the chorus: I use a Better Cables Silver Serpent S-video cable, and it's terrific, and a great value for the money. I can only imagine the component video cable would be comparably good at its price point.
I second the Zu, I compaired to Monster level 2 and A DIY Belden w Canare connectors, The Zu was much of an improvement.
From Monster to Harmonic Technology was so much clearer, with better blacks, less noise, richer color without bloom, etc, etc. I have no reason to look further.
I'm currently using the LAT Component video cables. LAT gives you a 45 day trial period so you might want to look into them. Because I was unable to compare them to other cables I'm interested in hearing what other people have to say about them after different comparisons. Check them out at www.latinternational.com and please let me know how they compare with others.
My .02: Try the Pure Note Sigma digital/video cable (75 Ohm)($200). I use three of them for component video. Great color saturation and focus www.purenote.com/sigdatarca.htm
Just saw someone mention Harmonic's component cable. I'm a HT neophyte, but had an opportunity to pick up the Harmonic a couple of years ago and did for my Mits Diamond/DVD setup. I have no idea if its good or not. How does it stack up, if you know?
I am a audio cable freak, but never believed in them for video. Then my dealer recommended trying the Purist component cable and it was extraordinary. The color saturation and detail were astonishing. I had tried the Synergist Research "Line Doubler" but it made the reds too red and washed out the blues. The sharpness and detail were equivalent to my $150 straightwires. Fortunately I was able to send them back and get the Purist.
I have the reference component cables from VD and they have made a huge difference over the previous cables I had with my Sony 40" XBR400. It is like you are right there. I have them hooked up to my cable box and I am going to try them with my DVD and compare them against my silver link II. They are built like tanks and take a little work to make turns.
In regards to your question, I was running Monster video 3's and recently switched over to the zu cable megular. I noticed that the zu were not as good initially because they had not yet been burned in (Still burning in and I'll need to retest afterwards). however, I feel that they don't really make a big difference if you are within the $100-$200 range. I've also tested the wireworld starlight S-video cable. that was a bit better than the monster video 3 cable but it's also more expensive. If you are really serious about upgrading I suggest the audioquest YIQ5 I've heard that these are one of the best.
You might want to try the new Nordost Silver Screen HD Component Video cable. It is not on their web site yet, but it was made available to the dealers in January 2004. The difference between the Optix cable and Silver Screen is Optix is 22 gauge and Silver Screen is 18 gauge and is also stranded differently. It is their new reference video cable.
I switched from radio shack to Zu cable. First from my HD stb to my Hitachi and the difference was immediate. More color saturation and a sharper picture. And this was after the set was callibrated. Next from my Denon 2900,the same thing.Much higher PQ. As a matter of fact,the Zu Cable looks better then the DVI connection.