Published on 16th Feb, 2017 by Cable Chick

HDMI 4K HDR: Going Beyond the Limits of Copper Cabling

HDMI 4K HDR: Going Beyond the Limits of Copper Cabling

HDMI 2.0a content used to have a problem with long HDMI cables. Not any longer! Avencore has broken the bandwidth barrier to deliver 4K60 & HDR content up to 100 metres.

The Cost of 4K

The dawn of 4K content has seen practical HDMI cable lengths drop below 5m for good quality High Speed with Ethernet HDMI brands, with even the most expensive of Premium Certified cables topping out at 7.5 metres - anything longer and the loss of bandwidth prevents you from utilising all the special features of HDMI 2.0a - namely 4K@60Hz and High Dynamic Range (HDR) metadata.

Even when dealing with 1080p content in 2D or 3D, methods of extension have always had their drawbacks. Extenders, boosters and powered splitters required special configuration or additional power which wasn't always easy to supply in all installations, and workable solutions rarely went beyond 40 metres. Again, loss of bandwidth over distance is the culprit.

Copper just can't keep up.

Data for Days

The problem is with the amount of data HDMI 2.0a features use. 1080p video and audio needs as little as 4.95Gbps, which is achievable on a good quality copper HDMI cable up to 20 metres. 4K@30Hz content needs less than double that at 8.91Gbps, and we've had good results up to 15 metres. In both cases, boosted cables and powered splitters can be used to run these signals up to 40 metres or so.

But 4K@60Hz content needs 17.82 Gbps (plus a little extra for HDR), which is more than double the 30Hz requirement, so long High Speed HDMI cables which were previously happy are now stopping consumers from experiencing the full potential of their new hardware. HDMI 2.0a is rated up to 18Gbps, so any cable solution would have to hit this benchmark and be HDR-ready...

Optical to the Rescue

Adoption of new HDMI technologies has always been fast in the big-budget world of televisions and home theatre systems, but painfully slow in the aftermarket where cables and AV accessories are produced. Already, this has left consumers with HDR displays and new toys like Playstation VR in a bit of a pickle - how can they get their 4K HDR content to go past 5 metres? Even 4K lounge room gaming from a powerful PC is on a short leash, with DisplayPort HBR2 and HBR3 cables also coming up short.

Fortunately, Avencore have announced their new range of active optical HDMI cables which solves the problem handily. By using a hybrid of optical and copper cores, they have completely destroyed the old cable length limits of HDMI - regardless of content. Carbon Series optical HDMI cables don't just extend 4K60 to 10, 20 or even 30 metres, either. This new range can go up to 100 metres and retain full Ultra HD & HDR compatibility.

Avencore Carbon Series Active Optical HDMI Overview

High Bandwidth

18.2Gbps bandwidth over all lengths in the Carbon Series range. This offers plenty of overhead to accommodate all the latest HDMI 2.0a features at full resolution without any compromise, making it a perfect partner for the latest hardware and UHD televisions up to 100 metres.

Because the critical video data is transmitted over optical fibre, Carbon Series is unaffected by most EM and RF interference, making them great for trouble spots where regular cables break down.

Advanced Features

Carbon Series Active Optical HDMI supports HDCP2.2, 1080p 3D, CEC, EDID and HDR. Other HDMI 2.0a features like 24-bit colour and 4:2:0 chroma sub-sampling are also on offer (they are part of the video signal sent by the source device) so there's no worries about missing out on critical features for new Blu-ray Ultra HD discs and HDR gaming.

No External Power

HDMI over Optical kits from the past have relied on additional power being supplied to the cable (generally via USB). Avencore's Carbon Series active optical HDMI cables have everything they need built right into the HDMI plug, so there are no special requirements which could limit installation. As long as your hardware is powered up and HDMI-ready, these cables are plug-and play just like their traditional copper counterparts.

They are directional however, so the source/display labels must be observed.

Easy to Manage

We've seen some bulky HDMI plugs in our day. Sometimes they encase high-gauge cores, and sometimes they're just bulky for no good reason. Carbon Series HDMI plugs are a slender 17x9x36mm and the cable is just 4.8mm in diameter including the PVC jacket. This makes them nice and flexible - a 25mm bend radius is achievable - suitable for use with bullnose wall plates, articulated TV brackets and even 25mm electrical or telco conduit. It's also lighter than nylon-braided copper HDMI, so it can run inside a floating ceiling without worry.

High Quality

Carbon Series is an incredibly well put-together cable that hides its technical prowess under a simple design. The metal alloy plugs are bolted together so they never fall apart, and the plastic optical cores stand up well to repeated flexing and abuse where glass fibres would be too fragile. That such a thin, unassuming cable is capable of 18.2Gbps up to 100 metres is an incredible accomplishment.

Avencore Carbon Series Optical HDMI compared to Platinum Series Copper HDMI
Avencore Carbon Series is easier to manage than its bulky copper cousin, the Avencore Platinum Series.

Meet the Team

Avencore Carbon Series Active Optical HDMI cables are available in a range of lengths. Each cable has the same technical specifications for bandwidth and HDMI 2.0a compatibility, leaving customers free to choose a solution based solely on the distance they need the signal to travel.



These cables are seriously hardcore tech, but they couldn't be easier to use in the home, office or even light commercial installations. However, if you have any questions about the Avencore Carbon Series Active Optical HDMI range, please contact us.

Back to Top