You don't need cables made out of gold, but you often do need them to conform to the specs. I've had this problem with cheap as shit HDMI cables where my components wouldn't recognize each other until I replaced the cables with monoprice cables. So it's not like I had to spend a ton, but I did have to get actual certified cables.
In days past, I've had issues with HDMI cables. And I don't mean some hodge-podge "the colors were much richer with the expensive wire, and the blacks were more black" I-just-spent-$900-on-a-bottle-of-snake-oil type of issues.
I mean real, tangible brokenness: Green screens, sparklies, failure to sync culminating in 15-minute-long cycles of hard-cycling the cable box, subsequent angry wife -- that sort of thing.
And I'm not even talking about long runs. 6 feet, tops.
So I went to Monoprice, as one does, and ordered a handful of differently-colored (because wiring is easier with colors) heavier-gauge ("premium") cables. And lo, the cables showed up and they were colorful and the wiring began.
Much to my surprise, the new Monoprice cables worked even worse than the old and crappy cables that barely worked previously.
My solution (being of an engineer's mindset) was to look at the new ones vs the old ones. The Monoprice cables were apparently well-constructed with heavy wire, and had ferrite beads. The old ones also appeared to be well-constructed, but with much smaller wire and no ferrite beads.
I decided to minimize these differences. And so, using a sharp knife and a hammer, I removed the molded-on ferrite beads from the Monoprice cables. And the thus-modified the Monoprice cables have worked marvelously and flawlessly to this day.
So is it a matter of meeting spec, or is it a matter of a product that actually works? Was the gear non-compliant, or the cable, or both? (Further: Which end, source or destination? Both ends? Which cable? Are both cables non-compliant?)
Footnote: Consequent to this, for my own purposes, I've taken to buying cheap used HDMI cables through Ebay or Amazon from folks who appear to be hard up for cash and are able to take accurate-looking photos. Haven't been let down yet, with my own pile of gear. For my day job, I order from Monoprice as a rule, and haven't had any issues with their "premium" cheap cabling outside of my own system...even for lengthy 45' runs with wire the size of a thumb. It just works, just not for me with my stuff. Deductively, my gear is the problem...but my gear is the expensive part and I'm not looking forward to replacing it any time soon.
tl;dr, If the cabling doesn't fucking work in an application, it doesn't matter how much it cost. And if it does work, it *also* doesn't matter how much it cost.