You are here:

Electrical Engineering/Fiber Optic and Cat5 Cable in Cable Television and Telephone Systems.


QUESTION: Dear Prof Cleggsan

Can we alternatively use Fiber Optic and Cat5 Cable in Cable Television and Telephone Systems as a replacement to Coaxial Cable ?.

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Not without connector revisions and front end provisions in the circuitry to accommodate the digital interface, impedance, signal level and other requirements dictated by those cables.

Coax is used to prevent radio frequency interference getting in from the long run these cables often require.  HDMI is becoming an interface standard for digital tv and audio.  Telephone systems have their own incompatible requirements for interface.

Fiber Optics are now included in many digital audio products whilst cat5 is most often thought of as an Internet or digital data connecting medium.

Cost is another factor.  HDMI cabling is relatively expensive but simplifies hookup among video and audio devices.  Cat5 is more expensive than coax but can run longer lengths and is easy to use.  Connector standards must be maintained making universal exchange of cables a very difficult task.

I don't expect to see universality any time soon.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Prof Cleggsan

Thank you.

Can the cable TV provider provide a fiber optic cable which will interface
with both the TV Setup Box and TV receiver circuit modified to work ?.

Will this have advantages over coax or HDMI cable in terms of Quality video transmission,more channel bandwidth etc apart from cost factor incurred in implementation of the above ?.

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

In the USA the standardized methods for delivery by over-the-air transmission are set by government and industry jointly and are now fully implemented and pretty much unchangeable.

The cable industry has industry organizations that set practice standards but each cable company is free to adopt the deliver method they choose in conjunction with the provider of their hardware systems including settop box, etc.

Most tvs now on the market in the USA are HDMI equipped with any where from 1 to 4 HDMI connection sockets on the back or front of the tv.  HDMI includes the full signal to and from the various products whereas fiber and coax, depending on its function may necessitate separate cables for audio.

The HDMI is firmly embedded in the practice and probably dominate for some time to come.  Whereas in audio the digital format and optical fiber is prevalent.  Most tvs have a fiber or coax output which is fed to the audio multichannel system for surround sound.

In other countries of the world various systems are used - such as the SCART connection scheme used in England and some other countries.

Hope this helps.  

Electrical Engineering

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




All technical areas of Electronics Engineering.


BSEE, MBA, Design, R&D, University Research.
Senior Life Member of IEEE. Life Fellow of AES.

IEEE, Consumer Electronics Society, Audio Engineering Society.
Broad teaching experience; work experience mostly in consumer electronics and conversion from analog to digital technologies. Pioneer in digital audio at all levels.

BSEE (Equiv) BYU BSEE University of North Dakota MSBA (MBA) Illinois State University Graduate Studies in Computer Science - Bradley University Graduate Studies - Ohio University Graduate Studies - University of Missouri Kansas City DeVry Tech - Electronics

©2017 All rights reserved.