You don’t have to be smart to be rich…

As a matter of fact, apparently there are enough people in the stupid/rich quadrant that Denon has decided that selling $500 ethernet cables is a marketable idea. I can only imagine what the business case looked like that day in the halls of Denon HQ when the marketing exec pitched the idea to the board. The conversation that morning started out in either one of two possible ways:

1) OK guys, we need an ultra high margin accessory to compliment our standard line of ultra high margin products. What haven’t we charged an arm and a leg for yet? How about this thing – what’s this? An ethernet cable? A what? Well, I don’t know what the heck that is so there’s a good chance that 99% of our customers won’t either since the size of my paycheck means that I’m one of the smartest people in the universe. Perfect. Oh, and if I ever hear you call it an “ethernet” cable again, you’re fired. Are there any more chocolate donuts?

2) Hey Guys! We’ve done it! We’ve finally done it! After years of failure, disappointment, and millions and millions of R&D dollars, we’ve finally made an ethernet cable that can make digital music being transported over our our proprietary IP stack* sound significantly better than with just a regular ethernet cable. You’ve got to hear this! Check it out!

(* I’m guessing here, but they probably changed some bits in the IP header to something weird and can now call it proprietary since it’s not part of the standard. My point with this particular tangent is that nobody makes completely proprietary communication interfaces these days, especially not people that make home theater components.)

Personally, I’m guessing that it went down more like Option #1.

So if you happen to have any friends in the upper left quadrant of the above-mentioned category, please let them know that it’s not necessary to buy a $500 ethernet cable to connect their reciever to their cd player. A $3 one will work just as well.

Just to break this down a little further, let’s take a look at the product photo on the page:

The Cable in Question

Here’s the product sell sheet if you want an even closer look.

Based upon this image alone, I submit:
1) The connector appears to have the same dimensions as a standard RJ-45 ethernet connector. there is no side keying that makes it look any different than a regular RJ-45.
2) The wires that are terminated in the connector are laid out in the following order: white/orange, orange, white/green, blue, white/blue, green, white/brown, brown. You don’t have to be BICSI certified to know that this is a TIA/EIA-568-B connection… known to many as “the ethernet cable”.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are it’s at least a bird.