My post about high-priced A/V cables is generating some interest among people who find the science of luxury wires to be dubious.
Derek Bowers, an integrated circuit designer with quite an audio pedigree - including leading the development of ADI's Dolby Pro Logic chip - had this to say about A/V cables containing silver.
I read your recent column on cables where you wonder whether silver plating on cables makes a difference. Well, silver is more corrosion resistant than copper, but with insulated cables in an indoor environment corrosion is not likely to be a problem. The usual argument for silver plating goes something like, "At high frequencies the so-called 'skin-effect' forces electrical conduction to be near the wire surface. Since silver is a better electrical conductor than copper, the plating reduces the overall electrical impedance." I went round repeating this for a while until I looked at the actual numbers. First, the 20 microns or so of plating used commercially is only really relevant for frequencies above 10MHz, beyond standard video frequencies (5MHz) and of course way beyond audio frequencies (20kHz or so). So maybe it makes a difference for HDTV? Not really. Copper is only a slightly worse conductor than silver (~6%) and in any case cable impedance is dominated by inductive and capacitive effects at HDTV frequencies and and has little to do with the conductivity at all. Simply another technological myth.