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HDMI vs. Optical Audio Cable (Sound Quality Compared)

HDMI and digital optical are two types of cable connections used for audio, but which is better? Read on to find out!

An optical digital connection uses optical fibers and light to transmit audio signals from your TV or a transmitter to your speakers.

Optical Digital Connection

These fibers can be plastic, glass, or silica, but what makes it an excellent audio transmitter is because noise can’t pass through an optical cable.

HDMI is made mainly of copper, which makes it cheaper.  In addition, the technology boasts various advantages such as high bandwidth and compatibility with most devices.


Differences Between HDMI and Optical Cables for Audio

Copper is a cheaper material but is more susceptible to interference. On the other hand, optical fibers are more expensive, but they use light to transmit signals, making them less likely to suffer from interference.


Optical cables retain sound quality even at 10 meters. But if you’re going to use HDMI for your sound system, it would be best to keep it under 5 meters to maintain sound quality and low latency.


Digital optical audio can only support channels up to 5.1 surround sound. On the other hand, HDMI can support Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio.


There’s no doubt that both cables are highly capable of transmitting audio signals, but you’re most likely to find HDMI cables in electronics stores.


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