Active optical cables are getting a lot of attention lately. Affectionately known as AOC, this technology merges the simplicity of an HDMI cable with the power and processing of fiber optic extenders.
AOC is like a cable that transmits HDMI up to 1,000 ft....no extenders or power supplies necessary. Pretty cool, huh.
Ok, just so we're clear, TechLogix doesn't actually manufacture AOC technology. However, anyone who knows our exec team from previous gigs knows we're pretty bullish on the technology. We know the marriage of bandwidth and simplicity can be a pretty powerful thing.
We also know that our target markets can benefit. Huddle rooms and classrooms need quick, low failure-point installations and AOC can deliver. It can also benefit custom installation which requires 18G 4K@60 4:4:4 long-distance transmission--something AOC can be very good at.
Active Optical technology isn't new: companies like Liberty AV Solutions and Celerity have been shipping AOC cables for years. And they offer pretty good products with some pretty forwarding thinking designs. However, there's been a major challenge that everyone's encountered: preserving bandwidth while minimizing cable and connector size. Simply put, HDMI connectors have a hard time fitting through conduit.
Celerity innovated with detachable heads, but power was needed to drive the transmit/receiver technology. Liberty innovated with detachable heads AND a power supply free design in their DL-HFC series, but the bandwidth maxed out at 10.2 Gbps. Close, but not perfect. And that's where Chromis enters...
Chromis is one of the true innovators behind the technology. They've been around for years, but mainly behind the curtain helping others perfect and deploy their brands. Sounds familiar, right? They've looked at the bandwidth versus size issue and came up with a solution--a chiclet style connector that fits through conduit AND supports 18G 4K. An online video they posted is pretty impressive.
This addresses the bandwidth-hogging custom installation applications, as well as the space sensitive commercial installations. Chromis nailed it, and thanks to their engineering I think we'll see many more AOC deployments in the coming installation seasons.
That's great news for companies like TechLogix that are focusing on in-room connectivity with native HDMI outputs (as opposed to built-in extended outputs).
It's also great news for designers, integrators, and DIYers that want simplicity without compromising performance.