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HDMI Over Fiber - How to Extend HDMI With Fiber-Optic Cable

Find out what HDMI over fiber is and if it's worth getting for your situation.

HDMI cable Brandon Jones / TechReviewer

Last Updated: July 27, 2022

Written by Brandon Jones

A standard HDMI cable isn't good enough for some setups if you need to connect a device farther away, like in another room or across the house. Standard HDMI cables have a limited reach, which means you'll have to extend the connection somehow. Thankfully, there are multiple ways to extend HDMI connections, with HDMI over fiber-optic extenders being a great solution if you want to connect it from a farther distance.

This article will discuss HDMI over fiber-optic extenders and the limitations of standard HDMI cables. After reading this article, you won't be limited by the distance of where you want to connect your devices to a display.

Best for Longer Distances
Easiest to Set Up

What Is an HDMI Over Fiber Extender

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HDMI over fiber-optic extenders increases an HDMI connection reach, similar to an HDMI over Ethernet extender or using fiber optic HDMI cable.

An HDMI over fiber extender uses a fiber-optic cable to extend the connection between devices. The extender device that converts the fiber-optic to HDMI is on each end of a fiber-optic cable. You connect a standard HDMI cable from the HDMI over fiber extender to your display.

HDMI over fiber extenders eliminate the typically limited range of standard HDMI cables since a fiber-optic cable transfers the signal differently while the converter device retransmits the signal.

When connected, the picture quality will look the same as if you had your device (PC, game console, or similar) connected close by your display. The HDMI over fiber extender can convert the signal through a fiber-optic cable and back to the HDMI signal without disrupting the quality.

Do HDMI Over Fiber Extenders Support Audio?

HDMI over fiber extenders can send video and audio to a display like most standard HDMI cables. The HDMI over fiber extender I recommend supports multi-channel PCM, Dolby, and DTS HD audio supported up to 7.1.

If you want support for Audio Return Channel (ARC), you'll want to get an HDMI over Ethernet extender instead. ARC allows TVs with a built-in tuner to send audio upstream to a surround sound audio receiver. With that said, every cable and manufacturer is different, so it's best to confirm the cable and devices have these features before getting it.

Uses for HDMI Over Fiber

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An HDMI over fiber extender is similar to the HDMI over Ethernet extender but instead uses a fiber-optic cable. HDMI over fiber is best for in-wall installations or for extending the connection a lot farther than the other solutions can go.

For example, if you wanted to extend from the top floor of a building or to another house, you could run the cable through the walls or underground. HDMI over fiber can still be used for shorter extensions if you wanted also. For shorter extensions, HDMI over fiber can be used as a solution also even though it's made for longer extensions.

Fiber-optic cable is made of glass, which eliminates extra electrical interference. Electricity from lightning, power surges, and static electricity cannot transmit across a fiber-optic line. If you are using this for outdoor use, be sure to use an optical fiber cable rated for using outdoors.

There are other ways to extend HDMI connections, but HDMI over fiber is the best option for long distances.

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Other Ways to Extend an HDMI Cable

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HDMI over fiber is a great way to extend an HDMI connection. Other options are available to extend an HDMI connection, like an HDMI repeater, fiber optic HDMI cable, or an HDMI over Ethernet extender. Each solution has its limits, so it's best to pick the best type for your situation.

For example, if you need to extend an HDMI cable across a room, an HDMI repeater would be good enough. If you wanted to extend the connection from your top floor to the basement, you could use an HDMI to fiber or Ethernet extender.

Below, I list the recommended ranges and devices and more details about each solution:

HDMI Repeater

An HDMI repeater is best for shorter ranges of up to 60 to 100 ft for 4K displays. It's not recommended to go through walls when using an HDMI repeater.

An HDMI repeater extends the connection for shorter runs by connecting two HDMI cables and amplifies the signals for better transmission.

Determining the max length when using a repeater depends on the HDMI repeater and the HDMI cable type, but I give the average ranges below. Remember that HDMI repeaters are directional, so be sure to use the device's correct input/output sides.

HDMI Repeater Range
ResolutionLength
4K @ 60 Hz 60–100 ft (18–30 m)
4K @ 30 Hz 100–130 ft (30–40 m)
1080p @ 60 Hz 135–195 ft (40–60 m)

To be safe, assume a repeater can reach only the shorter end of those ranges.

Fiber Optic HDMI Cable

Fiber optic HDMI cables can extend the connection similar to HDMI repeaters. You will only need a fiber optic HDMI cable instead of also needing extra extension devices or cables, which makes using fiber optic HDMI cables a cleaner option.

Fiber optic HDMI cables are like standard HDMI cables but made with optical fiber inside the cable and meant for farther distances up to 164 ft (50 m) for 4K @ 60 Hz.

These cables aren't meant to be used with an extender, repeater, or switch and should be used alone. They also must be installed in the correct direction, with the output/display label connecting to the side with the display.

HDMI Over Ethernet Extender

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HDMI over Ethernet extenders can extend an HDMI connection similar to a repeater or fiber optic HDMI cable. This solution is suitable for in-wall installations, like HDMI over fiber extenders.

For example, if you want to extend the connection from upstairs to the basement, you'd run an Ethernet cable through the walls then put the extender devices at each end of the cable close to your display. Then run a standard HDMI cable from the extender to the display. If you are using this for outdoor use, be sure to use an Ethernet cable rated for using outdoors.

The HDMI over Ethernet extender is similar to an HDMI over fiber optic extender but uses an Ethernet cable for a shorter extension.

An HDMI over Ethernet extender can extend the connection up to 130 ft (40 m) for 4K @ 60 Hz or 230 ft (70 m) for 1080p.

Learn About TVs

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Want to learn more about TVs? Check out the articles in my TV series: