The HDMI standard refers to a cable and corresponding connectors to transmit high-bandwidth signals.
The HDMI interface is ideal for transmitting audio and video streams of the highest quality.
Hence, high-definition TV (HDTV) sets, DVD players, and other digital devices include an HDMI port.
Multiple manufacturers of consumer electronics contributed ideas toward the HDMI standard. The HDMI interface eliminates the need for separated cables for audio and video. Instead, you can use a single cable to connect two multimedia devices.
An HDMI interface can transmit practically any type of video signal as well as digital audio. The interface supports as many as eight audio channels.
These cables come in different lengths and can be as long as 50 feet (15 m). But, to prevent signals from losing quality, you should avoid using HDMI cables longer than 25 feet (7,5 m).
Fiber Optic versus Copper HDMI Cables
Originally, HDMI interfaces are made of copper, as specified by the standard. There are several copper lines inside an HDMI cable.
If you use very high-quality cables and high-end equipment, the maximum distance can be 65 feet (19 m). For distances exceeding the above limit, the use of an extender is a must.
That was the only possible way to circumvent the drawback. While an extender often solves the problem, they are bulky and cumbersome.
However, with 4K video, the video quality degradation in long distances is evident anyway. Moreover, you need extra work to install one.
Hence, you will not need cumbersome extenders. Moreover, fiber optic HDMI cables exceed the performance of the best conventional cables in all aspects.
Fiber optic cables alone had been used previously to transmit home audio. Fiber optic cables demonstrated some advantages over conventional HDMI cables. However, they didn’t perform very well with high-resolution audio.
For instance, they were outperformed by conventional HDMI cables for Dolby TrueHD and other similar standards. For video, fiber optic cables were not the best solution.
This is why fiber optic HDMI cables are so versatile. They combine the best of fiber optic technology and the HDMI standard.
How These New HDMI Cables Work
The new fiber optic HDMI cables are very slim, flexible, and light. They come with detachable connectors to attach the interface to the HDMI ports of your devices.
To transmit the HDMI signals, the device has to convert them into pulses of light first. A laser provides light pulses.
These pulses travel through fiber optic at a very high speed. At their destination, the light pulses become electrical signals again.
Digital devices, as mentioned, can transmit audio and video signals this way. However, these fiber optic HDMI cables allow for the transmission of other signals. Such signals carry additional information.
Why Should You Use Fiber Optic HDMI Cables?
There are many advantages to this type of HDMI cable in comparison to conventional ones. The most important ones are:
- A fiber optic HDMI cable has all the advantages of the HDMI standard.
This means that you need just one cable to transmit all the signals necessary for the proper display of video and audio of the highest quality;
- A fiber optic HDMI cable can deliver top performance even in very long distances.
Signals transmitted through conventional HDMI cables start to lose quality at 25 feet (7,5 m) of distance. At 50 feet (15 m), the quality loss is evident. This doesn’t happen with fiber optic HDMI cables.
It’s not uncommon to see fiber optic HDMI cables as long as 1000 feet (304 m). Such long cables are perfectly fine to transmit 4K video of the highest quality together with high-resolution audio;
- A fiber optic HDMI cable can deliver significantly higher throughput.
For comparison, a fiber optic HDMI cable delivers 18 Gbps, surpassing by far the 3.4 Gbps delivered by high-speed copper HDMI cables;
- Electric signals transmitted through conventional HDMI cables are prone to suffer from electromagnetic and radiofrequency interference (EMI/RFI). A powerful radio transmitter or large electrical machine can be a source of interference to electric signals.
Contrastingly, the light pulses that travel through optic fiber HDMI cables cannot be affected by EMI/RFI. This ensures a much better quality of the audio and video signals delivered through fiber optic HDMI cables.
Hence, if you are planning to install the infrastructure for a new entertainment system, choosing to use fiber optic HDMI cables is the smartest decision.
Connectivity for All Devices
Fiber optic HDMI interfaces are designed to provide connectivity to all your digital devices. As mentioned, the HDMI connectors are detachable.
When you detach it, a micro HDMI is revealed.
The only disadvantage of the fiber optic HDMI cables is their directionality. All these cables are marked “source” on one end and “display” on the opposite end.
Fiber optic HDMI cables are the ultimate interface for home theater systems. They effectively combine the best of conventional HDMI copper cables and fiber optic technology. They offer superior performance in comparison to conventional HDMI cables.
Hence, if you are going to install the infrastructure of a new entertainment system, you should opt to use fiber optic HDMI cables. These cables guarantee functionality with newer digital technologies.
Can fiber optic HDMI cables carry current? I had a lightning strike that damaged some equipment connected via copper HDMI cables. I assume fiber itself doesn’t carry current, but I’m not sure if there’s still some wire in there that would. If it cannot carry current, this would be yet another advantage of fiber cables.