What is digital optical audio cable?

Asked By: Irani Dwornitzak | Last Updated: 9th February, 2020
Category: home and garden home entertaining
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An optical digital audio connection is used to send digital audio signals between devices. It supports stereo audio, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 multichannel audio for people with surround sound systems. It does not support SACD, DVD-A or high-definition audio such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

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Accordingly, how does a digital optical audio cable work?

A digital optical cable transmits digital signals as on/off pulses of red light that go between the components. The light itself is a basic LED light, not a laser light. Optical cables are immune to the effects of Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) and Electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Subsequently, question is, is digital audio output the same as optical? Unlike other cabling standards, the optical audio system uses fiber optic cables and laser light to transmit digital audio signals between devices. The port is typically labeled “optical audio”, “TOSLINK”, “Digital Audio Out (Optical)” or something similar, but you certainly don't need a label to identify it.

Similarly, it is asked, is optical cable better than HDMI?

The major difference is that HDMI cables can pass higher resolution audio which includes formats found on Blu-ray like Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master audio. Fiber optic cables won't be able to transmit these high-res sound formats. HDMI can also pass video signals. Here, optical cables will be the perfect fit.

What is an optical wire?

Also known generically as an "optical audio cable" or just "optical cable", its most common use is in consumer audio equipment (via a "digital optical" socket), where it carries a digital audio stream from components such as CD and DVD players, DAT recorders, computers, and modern video game consoles, to an AV receiver

35 Related Question Answers Found

What is a digital optical audio cable used for?

A digital optical cable is used to transfer data, usually audio or video, from one source to another. Digital optical cables are typically more expensive than other types of cables, such as coaxial or composite, but are much more effective at reproducing a signal through the transfer.

Do all TVs have optical output?

Although we didn't explicitly test it, most TVs are capable of outputting true Dolby Digital via their optical output when using the TV's internal over-the-air tuner.

What does a digital audio cable look like?

A digital coaxial connector looks like an RCA connector, but it transmits digital data instead of analog signals. The digital coaxial cable is thicker than a typical audio cable, however, because it uses the same type of shielded coaxial cable you use to connect your television to your cable box.

Can you use both HDMI and optical audio?

Both HDMI and optical pass digital audio from one device to another. Both are better than analog (the red and white cables). Both can pass multi-channel audio, like Dolby Digital. So if you want just a single cable between two devices, HDMI is your pick.

What is digital audio output on TV?


Locate the analog or digital audio output jack on the television. For analog, the output is often labeled AUDIO OUT and could be two RCA jacks or a single 3.5 mm mini-jack. For digital sound, locate the optical digital output or HDMI OUT port.

What is Optical on TV?

The optical jack is designed to output sound when the video you're watching contains digital audio (PCM or Dolby Digital® technology). This feature is available on certain digital broadcasts and streaming video, and isn't supported on standard cable or analog stations.

How do I connect optical digital audio output to RCA input?

Connection. The digital output from your digital source device goes to the digital input on your digital to audio converter adapter. Plug one end of your RCA audio cables (the red and white cords) into the outputs on your adapter; plug the other end of your RCA audio cables into your analog receiving device.

Do you need an optical cable for a soundbar?

If your TV and sound bar both have an HDMI jack marked ARC (for audio return channel), a single HDMI cable (version 1.4 or higher) is all you'll need. If your TV doesn't have an HDMI/ARC input, you'll need both optical and HDMI connections between the TV and the sound bar. You may have to activate ARC on your TV.

Does Optical Cable carry video?

Optical cables are indeed fiber optic cables. There is currently no consumer standard in place for transmitting digital video signals over a fiber optic connection. In fact, the fiber optic connection will eventually be superceded by latest HDMI standard, at least in theory.

Can you control volume through optical cable?


You can simplify things by using one remote to control your Samsung TV and soundbar. As long as your soundbar is connected to your TV with either an optical cable or HDMI via ARC, you can control the volume and mute the soundbar using your Samsung TV's remote.

What is optical audio output?

An optical digital audio connection is used to send digital audio signals between devices. It supports stereo audio, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 multichannel audio for people with surround sound systems. It does not support SACD, DVD-A or high-definition audio such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

How do you connect a soundbar to a TV without an optical cable?

How To Connecting Soundbar to TV without Optical Cable
  1. Plug in one end of the HDMI cable to the HDMI OUT jack.
  2. Now, connect the remaining end of the HDMI cable to the ARC or HDMI IN jack.
  3. Turn on the soundbar by pressing the power button or use the remote.
  4. Then, click the source button on the soundbar.

Does Optical Cable make a difference?

So if you're getting a Dolby Digital signal, and it's not cutting out, your optical cable is fine. If you're transmitting PCM, the audiophile answer is that different optical cables can cause different amounts of jitter. The reality is, the digital-to-analog converter in your gear has vastly more effect on the sound.

How long can you run an optical cable?

A: The ADAT spec puts the limit on optical cable length at five meters (around 16 feet). However, the length you can achieve depends greatly on the cables you are using. Inexpensive optical cables lose signal quite rapidly. But good-quality glass cables can be used for much longer runs.

Do you need digital optical cable for surround sound?


If you want to hear surround sound, you'll need to make some type of digital audio connection from the cable/satellite box or TV to a home theater receiver. Nearly all current TVs now pass Dolby® Digital and DTS® surround signals from connected components via the optical digital output.

How do I know if my optical cable is bad?

An optical audio cable should have a red light at each of the connectors when it's in place and working correctly. If you don't see the light at either of the ends, the cable isn't connected properly, is broken, or you might just have a faulty cable.

What if my TV does not have an optical output?

For example, if your TV only has HDMI ports and no optical output, while your soundbar only has optical and no HDMI. The adapter adds an HDMI port for the TV (ARC enabled) and an output for the optical, so you just need to plug cables from both audio devices into the adapter, and you should be good to go.