When Regular Cable Won't Do
As chief technology officer in my house, it seems I am regularly heading off tech problems that threaten the "Shalom Bayit" or "Peace of the House". I'm perfectly content with wires and tech everywhere; so it came as something of a shock to learn that my spouse finds the intrusion of tech visually intrusive, damaging to our fung shuie or something like that.
Tolstoy wrote "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.." I would add "All families have technology problems, but some are so intractable that they can turn us into an unhappy family". Such is the story of my cable.
When my spouse told me that my Xbox One could no longer sit next to the TV, but had to be moved across the room into a cabinet and out of sight, my first thought was, to paraphrase Roy Schieder, "I'm gonna need a bigger cable". Little did I know it wouldn't be so simple. The cable I would need would have to be bigger and better!
You see, both the Xbox One and my TV had been happily and compatibly connected for 4K UHD performance via a short cable, but when I tried a longer cable I got no signal or one that would flash in and out. I needed a cable that would carry a 4K signal at 60Hz for 30 feet.
So I turned to Monoprice, purveyor of generally excellent and reasonably priced cables. They offer a wide range of 4K cables, including the one I settled on that was rated for the job. I bought the 30' cable, the shortest throw I could safely use to wrap around the room and connect the devices. It was in my hands several days after ordering.
But, guess what? Nothing. Now I got no signal at all! My first thought was that in moving the Xbox One I had damaged it. However, moving it back to the neighborhood of the TV and connecting with the old, short cable, proved that it was working just fine.
Research led me to the virtual doorstep of Celerity Technologies. They advertised a Universal Fiber Optic HDMI cable. As have most of us who connected a TV in the past decade I was warry of expensive cables that worked with no better perceived performance in the real world than their generic counterparts.. (I'm looking at you Monster Cable.)
Still, my wife was increasingly unamused by the reemergence of the Xbox One. I had to try something. I contacted the company and they provided me with a review unit that consisted of a hundred foot spool of the Fiber optic cable and a pair of adapters that clipped onto either end that looked like standard HDMI connectors. I plugged the one labeled source into the Xbox One, and the other into the TV.
I turned on the TV and Xbox One with great skepticism. After all, the cable was so thin and more than three times the length I needed.
Guess what? It worked immediately. At full speed/full bandwidth. I could now watch 4K movies and play in 4k!
There are no gotchas. The entire "setup process", if you could call it that took less than five minutes. Connect the adapters, plug it in. Done.
Celeritytechnologies cables worked perfectly. Of course, as with all fiber optic cables, you have to be careful not to pinch them lest they break, but in this kind of installation, tucked behind cabinets there is little danger of them getting damaged.
Increasingly, bandwidth on our entertainment devices is going to zoom upwards. Cables designed for 720p or 1080p just can't cut it in the new super-high-definition world that is slowly evolving. Just as when we ditched component video cables for composites, and then for HDMI, if you want to get the most out of your equipment you may need upgrade once again. Celeritytechnologies cables prove that we can easily (if not inexpensively) bring 4K UHD to our home theaters easily and with dazzling success.
Were all family problems so easily solved.