Soundbar Optical Vs HDMI – 7 Differences?

Is Soundbar optical vs HDMI – digital-audio? Connecting your soundbar to the audio system or AV receiver requires using either an Optical or HDMI connection (digital-audio). Soundbar Optical Vs HDMI

Remember the old day of coaxial cable for video and audio signals to your TV? The new connection, new challenges? 

Well, in this article, I’ve outlined the differences between these Digital-Audio connections – Soundbar Optical Vs HDMI. 

In summary, comparing Optical Vs HDMI, I would take the HDMI. Read on to see my reasoning on this. Read Also: Best Soundbar Under 200

Soundbar Optical Vs HDMI – Differences?

Considering the digital-audio basics, both the optical and HDMI cables will pass your digital-audio between 2 devices. you won’t have a difference either on Dolby digital plus other multi-channel audio. 

However, a notable difference is your HDMI cables will give you higher-resolution audio that comprises the format you’ll find in DTS HD Master and Dolby TrueHD audio. 

On the other hand, Fiber optic can’t transmit similar kinds of high-resolution formats of sound. Further, HDMI will also transmit video signals plus quality sound. 

Therefore, HDMI is a great choice when you want to deal with lesser cables. However, consider if your different devices have the HDMI option or even its an older receiver. 

Also, if you’ve already connected different inputs to the TV and you only require the audio to a quality soundbar – you’ll thus require to use the optical cables.

Detailed Comparison

1. Construction 

HDMI cables are mainly made from Copper – it reduces interference occurrence and its equally less costly. But fiber optics are the key component making your Optical cables. 

Being tiny glass (fiber optics), they won’t transmit electricity but will be great for passing light signals – but they’re expensive. Also, Optical cables will have less interference. 

In addition, the fiber optics are covered by a dark sheath that’ll bar other light sources, and hence they won’t enter to interfere with the signal. 

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2. Length 

For most of use, your cable’s length might not play a major role in the quality of your digital-audio transmission. However, some users may require long cables for various media rooms.

Optic cable – Thus, for longer cable lengths, it’s given that you’ll lose some signal quality. Thus, always for the shortest cable between HDMI fiber optic cable.

  • However, take about 10 meters of the optical cables and this will work just okay but some users still go up to 30 meters.

HDMI – HDMI connections have stricter length limitations compared to what you’ll find with the optic cable. So, for HDMI, only go for a maximum of 5 meters or you’ll get poor quality sound transmission.

3. Audio

On audio support, HDMI will work great with a format like DTS HD, TrueHD formats, and Dolby Digital Plus. 

But the optical cables will support any surround sound that has a maximum of 5.1 channels.  

Most TV programming will be broadcast using surround sound but there are also some Blu-ray discs that provide pimped sound quality. 

Therefore, for Blu-ray content watching, I would say you consider HDMI as opposed to taking the fiber optical cables. 

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4. Video Support 

On video support, HDMI will transmit both video and audio and thus you won’t require an additional cable for video signal transmission. 

However, with optical cable, you’ll require another cable for undertaking video signal transmission. Notable, an HDMI cable could be cheaper compared to the 2 optical cables. 

So, on the choice, it’ll largely depend on your individual requirements. Note that you’ll still get decent audio from the optical cables. 

However, for convenience with your 2.1 vs 5.1 Soundbar, the HDMI will be the better cable – plus most current devices and systems will support it. 

HDMI offers superior quality features buts it’s highly upgradable while it’ll also transmit both video and audio signals – and there’ll be less wire jungle. Read Also – Best Soundbars for the Money?

5. Soundbar Placement 

Also, you must think about where you’ll place the soundbar – and appropriate location for both sound quality and device safety. Note that Soundbar help to reduce the footprint of the home theater. 

Soundbarproviude a minimalistic and sleek sound device compared to the home theater. So, using the HMDI cable will sustain your minimalistic efforts – carrying video and audio. 

However, the Digital Optical implies that you’ll require a larger number of wires when you require to transmit video to the television. 

However, for only sound or music streaming, you’ll do just okay with the Digital Optical cable. Thus, HDMI will save you both cabling and space. 

6. Input Options 

Further, consider the kind of input you have on your devices. This consideration must be made both on the Soundbar and your media devices including TVs. 

Therefore, if the devices you’re using won’t allow HDMI, you’ll require to acquire the appropriate video cables for transmitting images to the TVs.

Read Also: Best Mac for Music Production

Conclusion 

Finally, on soundbar optical vs HDMI – digital-audio? – HDMI will be a better choice depending on the device input you have. With easy installation and bing cheaper, optical is inferior. 

However, some devices may lack HDMI and thus you’ll miss out on the high-res audio from your Blu-ray. Further, Dolby Digital can be a reason you get fitting devices. 

Arthur

I am a 36-year-old trained audio engineer, music producer, and Guitar player; passionate about all things music. I can track bass, guitars, keyboards, and drums and can also program drums. I mix and master with high-end plugins such as Waves, Audiority, Blue Cat, HOFA, etc

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