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Amazon Basics Digital Optical Audio Toslink Cable, 6 Feet, Black

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TOSLINK connections were initially designed to run to a maximum of 48 kHz. However, many newer devices increased the supported resolution to 24/96. Use an HDMI audio extractor to split the 5.1 audio from the DVD player’s HDMI output and send the optical signal directly into the soundbar. You may also need an optical audio switch if your soundbar only has one optical input. The consumer version of the TOSLINK standard has stayed stable for decades. A TOSLINK optical audio cable from the 1990s will work just like one you buy today. An optical digital audio connection sends uncompressed stereo or compressed 5.1 surround sound digital audio between devices using light transmitted through optical fiber cables.

Older devices with HDMI may not support audio over HDMI. Optical audio ensures compatibility with those devices. A potential benefit of optical connections is that they won’t be affected by electromagnetic interference. In theory, coaxial could be. You may be tempted to buy the most expensive optical cable because you think it will sound better. But it won’t sound any different. Let's look at three common situations where it is beneficial to use TOSLINK over HDMI. Keeping Older Audio Gear In Service You may see cable manufacturers claim that their optical cables support the transfer of high-resolution audio and Dolby Digital Plus.Here is a handy table comparing the differences between optical and HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC connections: Optical, HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC Connection Comparison

In this example, there is an optical output and a coaxial connection above it – plus some other connections you don’t need to worry about right now. In addition to the long run as a tech writer and editor, Jason spent over a decade as a college instructor doing his best to teach a generation of English students that there's more to success than putting your pants on one leg at a time and writing five-paragraph essays. While his days of steering students toward greatness are behind him, his lifelong desire to delight, entertain, and inform lives on in his work at How-To Geek.

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Blu-ray players, DVD players, and game consoles also typically have optical outputs to send digital audio to amplifiers, AV receivers, hi-fi DACs (digital-to-analog converters), and soundbars. In the picture above, the optical port has a protective ‘door’ that will move out of the way when you push the cable in. TOSLINK is just the shortened trade name for Toshiba Link, both named for the company that introduced optical audio as a consumer standard. When connecting two devices, one device will have an optical output. This device sends the sound – like your TV, for example.

Optical audio cables are used extensively for digital audio applications, providing clean audio signals without interference. These types of digital audio cables are often used with entertainment systems and devices such as: Use an AV receiver and speakers for your surround sound rather than a soundbar. You can then connect the DVD player directly to the receiver. The bottom line? HDMI supports more audio formats and might save you an extra cable if your system supports ARC or eARC. While this might be technically true regarding bandwidth, you are unlikely to find many devices supporting these audio formats via their optical connections. Surround Sound/Home Theatre - Many high-quality sound systems use a digital optical cable to connect a subwoofer to a receiver. This makes the sound quality getting through the subwoofer significantly higher than it would be comparing to only connection with speaker wire.

What is an Optical Audio Cable used for?

A DAC performs this process, so a poorly designed device may create audible differences when using optical or coaxial inputs. In contrast, a high-quality device shouldn’t sound any different. Variations like in labeling are just that, "Digital Audio,""Optical Audio," and "Digital Audio (Optical)" all refer to the same standard. Are There Different Types of Optical Audio Connections and Cables? Coaxial connections commonly support 24/192 resolution audio, so higher resolution audio formats may be one reason to choose coaxial over optical audio. For example, you might have a TV, a DVD player and a soundbar. The DVD player connects to the TV via HDMI, and you send the TV’s audio from the optical output to the soundbar. A fast cable connection can deliver speed up to 50Mbps, however, fibre optic speed can be as much as 20 times faster than 50Mbs. What is an Optical Audio Cable used for?

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