The quality of video entertainment is on the rise with next generation TVs, 4K projectors and gaming consoles running even more data between them so it’s important to find the right cable to support your system.
For us it was the Stellar Fibre Optic HDMI 8K Ultra HD 48Gbps cable from Wireworld (available through Canohm in Australia) which was able to handle the sheer amount of data and speed to ensure the best quality end experience.
All cables are NOT created equal and now with the push towards 8K resolutions and 120 frames per second, what’s required is a HDMI cable that can do the job.
I found I needed to improve the connection in my dedicated home theatre between my sources which included the JBL Synthesis SDR-35 Class G Immersive Surround Sound AVR, the Panasonic UB9000 4K player and the Sony VPL-VW590ES 4K SXRD Home Cinema projector.
When watching 4K content, both on disc and on streaming services, I was finding the picture would cut out and sometimes fade back in again after a few seconds.
On other occasions the picture would fade out and lose the signal altogether.
What I worked out was happening was an EDID issue.
EDID is short for Extended Display Identification Data.
This is a metadata standard shared by display devices including TVs and projectors which allows the source to report its capabilities to the video source.
EDID is transmitted from your TV using HDMI and tells your video source the capabilities, size and resolution of the screen.
This data is exchanged in what’s known as a handshake and the HDMI cable needs to have channels which can complete this process instantaneously as soon as the screen and video source a powered on and connect.
This way the source knows what is required of it to maximise the compatibility between the devices.
I believe the issue was an unrecognised or incorrect EDID which went to black when it couldn’t complete the handshake.
The other complication was that there are multiple sources connected to the receiver and then a single HDMI cable to the projector.
Some customers use HDMI Matrix Switchers to call the shots and ensure each EDID handshake is completed accurately each time.
For us, this wasn’t required because we had 4K capabilities from all HDMI inputs with the JBL Synthesis SDR-35.
Another consideration when creating a chain of 4K products – source/receiver – cable – display – all of these must comply with HDCP 2.2 which creates a secure connection all the way along.
HDCP stands for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection which ensures a secure encrypted link.
Without this compliance between your 4K source and 4K display then you’re not watching 4K content.
That’s why the HDMI cable plays such a critical role and need to be HDCP 2.2 compliant as well. Generally, HDMI 2.0 cables meet this standard.
Back to our EDID issue – we decided to go with an even better cable – the Stellar Fibre Optic HDMI 8K Ultra HD 48Gbps cable, which was HDMI 2.1 and could handle a massive 48Gbps of data at 120 frames per second and that was up to HDCP 2.3 standard.
This cable not only meets the required standards it exceeds them.
It uses the latest high quality laser modules and driver chips to improve image quality.
And with 48Gbps capacity, that allows for a lot of headroom for next generation video products and applications all the way up to 8K video.
But another factor that needed to be taken into account was the length of the cable.
From our projector down along the 6m length of the room through the ceiling, down the wall and across to our receiver so we needed a version of the Stellar Fibre Optic HDMI 8K Ultra HD 48Gbps cable that was 15m long.
That job was handled by Sturmans Audio Visual and involved running the cable from our ceiling mounted projector, behind our 150-inch screen and across to our equipment rack,
What helps with the installation is the narrow 18mm width of the die-cast zinc plugs so they can be pulled through a common size electrical conduit.
Conventional copper HDMI cables can support 48Gbps signals but only over a few metres.
For my purposes, the Stellar Fibre Optic HDMI 8K Ultra HD 48Gbps cable was ideal even over the long distance.
The difference is the fibre optics which can handle 48Gbps over much greater lengths.
In fact, the cable is available in a length of up to 30m.
Prices for the Stellar Fibre Optic HDMI 8K Ultra HD 48Gbps cable are $1,099 (5m), $1,199 (10m), $1,299 (15m), $1,499 (20m) and $1,699 (30m).
The Stellar cable uses premium materials and a driver chipset supplied by German company Silicone Line.
The four optical fibres are OM3 laser-optimised grade while the cable’s structure offers double thickness shields and Kevlar fibre bundles for added durability and protection from interference.
The result for us was a flawless 4K picture with no more EDID issues and no blackouts – it provided a consistent high-quality image through our sources and projector.
Yes, these cables cost a bit more, but it provides a better solution for the significant investment of a home theatre system.
If you owned a Ferrari – you’re not going to skimp on the tyres. In the same way, if you have premium home theatre set-up and want to enjoy it at its highest quality, then you shouldn’t skimp on your cables.