Well, I'm with you Analog Bill. Add to the fragility of the average HDMI cable the fact that most consumers are getting ripped off, paying $25 and up by buying their cables at Radio Shack or Best Buy and/or with their TV. They don't even know that if you go to newegg or one of a host of other online electronics vendors, you can get a cable for the $8 it's really worth. The HDMI cables will actually all fail after a rather small number of cycles (attach/detach). I don't know what order of magnitude, but certainly we're not talking thousands. Worse, I've seen HDMI cables detach by being pulled (not the connector detaching from equipment, but the cable coming off the connector). Compared to HDMI, USB is positively ruggedized.
The reason for most failure would still be the user. Little bit of care when the connector is not going in ( rather than forcing it ) will reduce the connector breakage. If you observe (at least in the case of laptops insert the cable when the USB trident logo will be visible from the top.
There's one part of the USB connector spec you left out that MAY help explain why many people have issues (not all; I haven't experienced any failures over many years of using USB. The connector itself has a lifetime requirement of only 500 insertion/removal cycles! That applies to both the board-mount and cable ends. Also, since most people (myself included) and OEMs use ONLY the cheapest possible cables, the quality isn't always the best, and may not meet even that modest requirement. I ran into this when an automotive OEM customer insisted on a 50K cycle life rated A connector for attachment of USB memory devices. I told them we'd be happy to comply IF they "directed a source" and PAID for the "superconnector!" Requirement went away.....
Yes, JLS, I have a laptop that has its USB ports too close together to plug in more than one. That's why I started using a hub. I truly can't believe the design. It's a good thing the workaround is easy and inexpensive.
How very cavalier of you ervin0072002. I'm guessing you're young, have perfect coordination, smaller-than-average fingers, excellent eyesight, etc. You certainly don't represent all users ... perhaps not even the majority. I compared USB and HDMI connectors to the ubiquitous RJ-45 style because it was so well thought out that you could plug it in even if all you could do is feel your way around in the back of a device in a poorly lit room, without using reading glasses or a flashlight. I simply don't understand the pre-occupation of the industry with ever smaller connectors and ever lossier (signal attenuation) interfaces ... but it's likely because folks like you dictate to the rest of us. Maybe I should think of all this as part of an awkward advance toward fiber interconnects - remember 40 years ago when the industry was telling us that copper would become obsolete in less than 10 years? Well, no, I suppose you wouldn't.
Andrew, thanks for the explanation. But that may still be partly a PC/Mac thing. My latest Mac is a few years old, I grant, but all my Macs to date have either had ports on the side where it's pretty obvious (laptops), or if they're in back (desktops) I don't change them often anyway.
The first time I encountered the blind mating problem on the back of a machine was with my first ever Windows computer, a laptop. The port was not only in back but also sideways, which struck me as pretty stupid.
This is some empty talk. Yes fine the connector is not impervious to damage, we knew that. The reason for most failure would still be the user. I have never broken a USB connector. HDMI is fine too. The issue is not the connector but the clumsiness of the user. As we miniaturize things we have to remove their idiot proof design to remove some of the bulk. Just be a little more careful of how you use the equipment.
I know that the correct way is marked on the connector, but I always forget which way is correct. Also the vertical ports tend to throw me on my laptop. I have seen the same issue with my Flip camera. The screen should face up, but it does not. I am guessing that this was an oversight in design.
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