A sample inspection arrangement incorporates a sample of polyethylene with an included defect, or flaw, a light source containing near infrared wavelengths, and a video camera. Polyethylene has relatively high spectral transmissivity for wavelengths in the band of near infrared wavelengths. The video camera collects data from a beam of the near infrared light which either reflects from or is transmitted directly through a portion of the polyethylene sample. Data is collected from both defect free portions of the polyethylene sample and portions of polyethylene sample including at least one defect. A visual image of the polyethylene sample and included defect is produced on either a video monitor, a paper print out, or a photograph. The method for inspecting a sample of cable or a continuously moving section of cable also is described.