Of all the technologies we have right now, that suggest we really are living in the future, perhaps nothing sounds more futuristic than the fact that we can transmit data with laser light. Indeed many of the highest capacity cables that form the backbone of the internet use fiber optics and fiber-to-the-home connection that deliver very high speeds. Some have become more popular in recent years. Talking about home connections, RMS Installs in Atlanta GA provide the best home network integration services as well as sound bar installation in town.
But did you know that one optical technology used to be common place in home audio is now getting replaced by good old fashioned copper? I’m actually referring to the ‘Toshiba Link’ or Toslink connector. If you are not sure what that is, there’s a chance that you have one at the back of your desktop PC. It’s a squarish connector that lights up with red light. They were also extremely common in DVD players. You see, although Toslink was originally developed in the 1980s to connect CD players to other audio equipment. It made its way into DVD players and computers as an easy way to deliver digital audio over just one cable.
So if you had 5.1 surround setup you could use a single Toslink cable to send a digital signal to a receiver that would then decode it. Rather than one RCA cable for every channel. So what we had was a convenient clean futuristic pathway for high resolution audio.

So why is it going away?

Well one reason is that it’s actually not very good at carrying signals over any kind of significance distance. So what gives? The answer is how cables are physically constructed. Unlike higher spec, higher bandwidth fiber optic cables. Toslink cables are often built with cheap plastic as a transmission medium inside. This contributes to losing its strength as it travels down the pipe. This means that not only do Toslink cables have a maximum length of around 10 meters. But also they are bandwidth limited compared to other solution. The latest version of Toslink has data rates up to 125MB/s which is certainly fast enough for a high res audio. Even for high def video at the same time.

Downfall of TOSLINK

But the release of HDMI in the early 2000s created a very sticky situation for Toslink. Not only did HDMI offer a relatively easy 1 cable solution for both audio and video. Even the very earliest versions of HDMI were a lot faster than Toslink.
Despite the fact that HDMI just uses copper cables without any fancy optical data transfer. Their construction meant that they could carry faster signals over long distances. Toslink cables had a bad habit of breaking if you bent them too much. That was due to their more rigid cores something that HDMI cables could withstand a lot more easily
So as time went on, the industry concentrated on expanding the HDMI spec to support more and more audio standards. Such as DTS master audio, Dolby TrueHD and the newer DTS:X and Dolby Atmos. Toslink on the other hand more or less left to languish. Although it would certainly would have been possible to update it and make it more compatible with newer formats. No one ever really got around to it.
That doesn’t mean that Toslink is useless today. It still works well as a simple hookup for compressed digital audio like Dolby digital or DTS. Also you’ll find it on many sound bars out there as an easy way to connect to a display even if there’s no HDMI out available.
To sum it all up. If you’re interested in sound bar installation and Atlanta home network integration. Feel free to contact RMS Installs Atlanta GA. They are best in town.