Can you use HDMI and Optical Audio at the same time?(2023)

Author: Anirban Saha

Last Updated On:

If you’re a gamer, you know how frustrating it can be to separate your video and audio output.

HDMI is a simple yet powerful standard used to transmit video and audio to an external display or speaker.

You may be wondering if you can use HDMI and Optical Audio at the same time.

Many modern televisions can output video to a user’s soundbar simultaneously using an HDMI and optical audio cable.

However, often, this can cause screen distortion or audio issues, depending on what kind of connections are used. 

To avoid these problems altogether, users should consider taking advantage of the TV’s HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) or using another television with an optical port that is not being used for anything else.

HDMI has become the de facto standard for connecting video devices and televisions, but many TVs are only compatible with specific HDMI formats.

Some will work with only 1080p, and others can display 4K video via HDMI, but not both.

Can you use HDMI and Optical Audio at the same time

Let’s get started!

Can you use HDMI and Optical Audio at the same time?

You can use HDMI and Optical Audio at the same time. Using the HDMI cable and optical audio cable depends on the type of device and the feature present in the device.

Other devices will not allow the use of both cables simultaneously, even though both the optical audio and HDMI ports are available on display.

Alternatively, some television and monitor models will allow you to choose the cord you want to use, while others will automatically detect the last connected cable to the device.

There are many ways to connect devices to televisions. However, it can be confusing when different cables are incompatible.

HDMI cables can transmit audio and video output simultaneously, but not all receivers can support this feature.

They are typically equipped to deal with only surround sound or optical cables.

If you have a receiver that is compatible with both, you can use both at the same time without any issues.

What is an HDMI Cable?

High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is an audio/video digital interface standard for connecting audio-visual devices.

It is the recognized digital connection standard for transferring both high-definition video and high-resolution audio digitally over a single cable from one device to another.

It’s typically used with digital televisions, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, soundbars, etc. 

HDMI has become the de facto standard for the digital connection of video devices and televisions, but some TVs are only compatible with specific HDMI formats.

HDMI also has control features that you may use to control other devices.

Unlike standard analog television connections, HDMI cables can carry video and audio in one cable.

You must convert the audio and video signals received by the digital audio/video device from analog to digital.

High-definition video and audio signals require greater bandwidth than those used in the standard definition.

The encoded digital signals are stored on a disk or other storage medium. 

The encoded digital signals are then converted back into analog form.

This process may be done in the digital audio/video device or at a broadcast facility before the signal is broadcast.

The digital audio/video device converts the signals into a format supported by the TV.

What is Digital Optical Audio Cable? (TOSLINK)

Optical audio, also known as Toshiba Link (TOSLINK), is a fiber optic cable introduced in 1983 by Toshiba intended to use new Compact Disc players.

Optical Audio is a cable that utilizes fiber optics to transmit audio signals between compatible devices, and it, however, does not transmit video signals.

Digital Optical Audio Cable is a new technology that supports high-quality audio and video.

A digital optical audio cable is an audio cable that produces a pure digital signal, which means the audio signal is not converted from analog to digital form.

A Digital optical audio cable is similar to a fiber optic cable, although smaller in diameter.

The digital signal produces an exact copy of the audio.

Digital audio makes it possible for the digital cable to be compatible with all digital devices.

Digital Optical audio cables are the new trend in audio.

They are used the same way as traditional analog optical audio cables.

But, they are better, more convenient, and more affordable. 

Which one is better between HDMI and Optical Audio?

HDMI cable is made of copper and therefore prone to electromagnetic interference. In contrast, the optical audio cable is made of optic fiber, which passes the signal through light, thus being insusceptible to interference. 

You can use optical audio cables without the audio losing its quality up to a length of 30 meters, while the HDMI cable is a maximum length of 15 meters.

The optical audio cable is only limited to transmitting audio signals.

In contrast, the HDMI cable transmits both the video and audio signal, thus making it the most preferred of the two.

Therefore, HDMI is the cable to use between two devices if you use a single cable.

Although both cables transmit high-quality, multi-channel audio, the HDMI cable passes higher-resolution audio that includes formats such as Blu-ray, DTS HD master audio, and Dolby TrueHD.

These formats, however, can’t be transmitted through optical audio transmission.

The above reasons clearly show that the HDMI cable is the most preferred of the two cables.

Here are some of the best HDMI cables at Amazon that you can look into:

Last update on 2024-07-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How to use HDMI and Optical cable at the same time?

Some monitors and television models will allow users to use separate cables to transmit the audio and video signals.

The HDMI cable will send the video signal and the optical cable for audio signals in such cases. 

Many people have televisions hooked up to a sound system with an optical cable, while others connect their TV to a monitor with an HDMI port.

However, many people are unaware that the two audio outputs can work at the same time, and this article will explore how to accomplish that.

Many people have televisions that you can hook up to a sound system with an optical cable, and people often wonder if they can use HDMI and Optical Audio at the same time.

A few things to keep in mind when connecting these two devices is that you will need to have both the HDMI cable and the Optical Audio cable- you cannot combine them into one cable.

It is also important to remember specific configurations of speakers as it will affect how the sound is played through them.

Do you need both HDMI and optical?

HDMI and Optical Audio are two different technologies used to deliver audio to your TV or speakers. HDMI is used for digital signals, and Optical Audio is used for analog signals.

HDMI cables send audio through an HDMI cable, while optical cables send audio through an optic cable. 

HDMI produces the best quality digital audio, but Optical Audio can deliver audio in other formats, like Dolby Digital and DTS.

If you have an older TV or speaker system, you may not be able to use an HDMI cable, and in this case, you will need to use an Optical Audio cable.

You need an optical audio cable for Dolby Digital and DTS audio to work.

If you need a good Optical Cable, then you can look at these best picks:

Last update on 2024-07-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Do you need an optical cable for surround sound?

If you have 7.1 Surround Sound speakers, you will need an optical cable.

However, it is better to use an HDMI cable.

It will send the audio through an HDMI cable, splitting the audio between the left and right channels.

If you use 5.1 Surround sound, then the HDMI cables can carry.

However, for Surround sound 7.1, you will need to use optical audio.

Also, if your surround sound supports higher audio sound like Dolby Atmos, DTS, then having an Optical cable for audio is the best.

What are the benefits of using HDMI and Optical cables together?

Most people worldwide use HDMI cables with their high-end TVs to enable better image quality.

This is because HDMI cables allow a clearer image than the standard AV cables used in the past. 

On the other hand, people also use separate optical audio cables to get better audio.

It’s not a surprise as optical cables have been around for a long time.

This might seem like unnecessary duplication, but several benefits to using both. 

Here are the benefits of using both:

  • It is easy to connect home theatre components without an HDMI port. For example, if a TV only has an optical audio port and a Blu-ray player only has an HDMI port, the optical audio cable can connect the two. The transfer of audio and video through the optical cable is identical to that through an HDMI cable. This can be a real advantage to people who have older home theatre components that don’t have HDMI ports.
  • Using both cables, we can use the whole experience of 7.1 Surround sound systems, which is not possible by HDMI to carry its surround sound. You will also enjoy the higher Audio effects as in Dolby Atmos using Optical Audio Cable.

What are the disadvantages of using both cables?

There are not many disadvantages of using both HDMI and Optical cables together.

However, most people with simpler systems don’t need both cables to connect to your TV.

So, there is no need for them to install this setup for their TV.


Let’s conclude this post on whether you can use HDMI and Optical Audio at the same time.

In conclusion, HDMI and optical audio are different types of cables that you can use to connect devices to play music or watch movies.

HDMI is a digital cable that transmits data in zeros and ones, whereas optical audio uses light to send information.

HDMI is typically used for video, while optical audio generally is used to transmit sound.

HDMI and Optical Audio can both be used simultaneously to achieve high-quality sound.

A soundbar with HDMI and Optical Audio is a great way to get both of these types of audio output.

If you’re looking for a new sound system, consider getting a soundbar that has HDMI and Optical Audio.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post.

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