When I received my new LG OLED 48CX from Value Electronics, I was excited to start gaming at 4K and 120Hz with full 4:2:2 or better chroma, but found myself in a bit of a quandary. I had a lengthy (11 ft) run to my PC,and my existing HDMI cable could not handle the goal of pushing 4K 120Hz @4:2:2 chroma content despite my best efforts, as this exceeds the bandwidth an 18Gbps HDMI cable can handle. A brief bit of research found Monoprice and their SlimRun optical HDMI cable series.
If you haven’t been paying close attention, you may not have noticed that HDMI cables have come a long way in the past couple of years. New HDMI 2.1 compatible cables that support 48Gbps bandwidth are now hitting the market, with a myriad of affordable (but not necessarily reliable) cables available at Amazon and other online marketplaces.
When I first made the move to UHD in my theater, I found myself hitting a brick wall when it came to copper cables at lengths beyond 30 feet. I was frequently plagued with HDMI handshake issues, signal drop outs and other annoyances that made enjoying my new 4K projector a challenge. At that time, I first discovered optical HDMI cables and installed a 50ft optical HDMI cable in my room. As you can read in my review of that cable, my experience was dramatically improved by making that single upgrade.
Since then, I’ve learned not to take cable quality for granted and have largely moved away from copper HDMI cables wherever I can. Upon running into issues with my new 48CX, I was excited to learn that Monoprice has revved their line of SlimRun optical HDMI cables to support 48Gbps bandwidth for 8K displays. I reached out to the Monoprice PR team, who arranged for me to be sent a sample of the 50ft SlimRun 8K cable – which would enable me to test in the theater room and my office with the 48CX.
SlimRun Optical HDMI Cable In Use
The 8K SlimRun Optical HDMI Cable like most Monoprice cables ships in a foil and plastic pouch that can have the top torn off for easy access. The cable itself has protective caps on both ends and comes neatly coiled.
The construction of the cable is solid, while still remaining extremely slim and flexible compared to traditional HDMI cables.
I was able to swap out the cable in my theater in about 5 minutes, as I don’t currently run the cable in the wall but under my baseboards. With the narrow jacket an optical cable provides, tucking it under a baseboard is extremely easy. With the cable swapped out, I fired up the Sony VPL-VW995ES I was reviewing and immediately had picture with no HDMI handshake issues whatsoever. I tried various sources, including my AppleTV 4K, an Oppo UDP-205 UHD Blu-ray player and my custom HTPC via my Anthem AVM60 processor and had no issues passing SDR or HDR content.
Satisfied with the performance of the cable in my theater, I moved on to my office, where I inserted the cable between my PC’s video cart (an RTX 2080Ti) and the 48CX OLED. I was able to quickly and easily toggle 4K 4:2:0 120Hz in the control panel now, without any trouble – but wasn’t able to test 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 chroma as my video card does not support HDMI 2.1.
While I had hoped by the time this review was published to have a new RTX 3080 or 3090 in my machine to test HDMI 2.1, supply constraints have made that impossible. I’ll be posting a follow up to this article once I get a new video card in hand, and will report my experience with leveraging full HDMI 2.1 bandwidth.
It’s clear that Monoprice has engineered a high quality cable that works exactly as advertised in the SlimRun Optical HDMI series. For anyone who has a requirement for high bandwidth at lengths beyond 10 feet, this is definitely a great buy and a worthy solution to the many HDMI handshake issues that plague longer cable runs. Recommended.
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