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What Are the Advantages of Using TV Optical Cable?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 17, 2024
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Many cable providers use TV optical cable, or fiber-optic cable, but many consumers do not understand the advantages of these cables. When a provider uses TV optical cable instead of copper cable, the cable itself is cheaper, so the customer still has to pay for the installation but pays less per month after that. More fibers can be bundled together in optic cable than copper wires can be bundled in a copper cable, meaning more data — which translates to more channels — can go through the optic cable. Fiber-optic cables use light instead of electricity to transmit data, so it is much harder for a hacker to crack fiber-optic cable. Light signals in optic cable also do not interfere with one another, unlike electricity in copper wires, so optic cable provides less static and more clarity.

Optical cables are known to be far more advanced than copper cables but, unlike most advanced objects, fiber-optic cable is cheaper than its predecessor. This means the provider has to spend less to install TV optical cable than he would spend on installing copper cable. The provider then will charge the customer less per month, because it costs less upfront. Fiber-optic cables also use less energy, meaning the customer will save on his or her energy bill, as well.

All cables are a bundle of wires that transmit energy or data. A TV optical cable can place more fibers in the cable than a copper cable of the same diameter, so the space is used more efficiently. By placing more fibers in the cable, more data can be transferred with cables of the same size. This means customers generally will have access to more channels and features, and channel packages may be cheaper.

Copper cables rely on electricity to transmit data, and the systems are old and easy to break into, so a hacker can easily enter the TV system. A TV optical cable does not rely on electrical signals but on light signals that cannot be easily interpreted. This means hackers have a much harder time breaking into the system.

When data are sent through a cable, there are many signals going through the cable simultaneously. In a copper cable, these electrical signals can bump together and interfere with one another, causing interference on the TV. With TV optical cable, the light signals do not interfere with one another. TV reception is generally clearer as a result.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By maximumtech — On Jul 22, 2015

Optical fiber cables are much thinner and lighter then the copper cables. It has great tensile strength.

By everetra — On Nov 06, 2011

@NathanG - Yeah, I’ve heard of cable companies buying up the old telecom companies just to get all their fiber assets. They really didn’t care too much about the other stuff, even the customer base. All they wanted was the fiber.

So the merger was really nothing more than a fiber optic cable sale. I think the presence of so much fiber has made it possible for a lot of would be cable companies to get in on the act.

What’s neat is that a lot of the fiber network is already in place. They just need to plug into it, and start delivering service to the customers.

By NathanG — On Nov 05, 2011

Fiber optic cable is the only way to go in my opinion. I worked in the telecommunications industry for ten years and I can tell you that fiber was the gold standard, and it still is today.

What many people don’t realize however is that there are thousands of miles of dark fiber (“unlit fiber”) buried in the ground. This is fiber that hasn’t been used.

It was purchased in bulk during the big boom in telecommunications, but once many of those companies went bust, the fiber went unused. So your local cable company probably has access to this massive reserve of fiber.

If you have a choice, you should always choose a company that uses fiber over copper. Fiber optic cable TV signals will always be much sharper, clearer, and as the article says, you’ll get more channels bundled onto the fiber.

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