REVIEW: RUIPRO TRUE 4K FIBRE HDMI CABLE
The increased popularity of 4K content has presented problems for many with HDMI cables, particularly over extended runs between a source and display device. RUIPRO delivers an affordable HDMI cable solution for that problem.
True 4K Fibre HDMI Cable
From $170 (6m Length)
Ailing NBN network aside, we've known for some time there's only so much data that can be carried over copper. And, while in most cases copper HDMI cables are okay for short runs when it comes to sending a 4K signal to a TV or projector over long runs, all bets are off.
In reality, there's only so much that HDMI 2.0 can do. Limited to a bandwidth of 18GB it's simply not possible to have the whole enchilada. Granted, 18GB is going to be enough most of the time, however, where you're likely to encounter problems is when it comes to HFR (High Frame Rate) and performing 4:4:4 chroma up-sampling from a 4K Blu-ray player.
All of this is, of course, assumes your cable can cut the mustard. In reality, few copper HDMI cables can reliably transmit 18 GB over long runs (10m+). Like many other enthusiasts regularly report on the forums, I too have had my share of issues with copper HDMI cables and 4K. So, what's the answer? In my case at least, it was fibre.
However, just like everything, it pays to do your research. Sure I'm still limited to 18GB, so I can forget about playing Billy Lyn's Long Half Time Walk at 4:4:4 and 60 FPS, however, cases like this are the exception rather than the norm. For the most part, my Panasonic 4K Blu-ray player happily performs 4:4:4 upsampling with 24 fps (frames per second) HDR.
If you've done any research for yourself, you're probably already aware of RUIPRO. In case you're not, RUIPRO offers True 4K optical cables. 'True', as they're capable of carrying the full 18 Gbps bandwidth of the HDMI 2.0 spec.
What's In the Box?
We ordered a 10-meter ($259) RUIPRO cable for review from Australian distributor EZYHD. Anybody who has spent some times on the StereoNET forums will testify that EZYHD has built a reputation for providing no BS HDMI cables that work well.
The cable itself is quite thin in diameter and with its rubbery outer jacket, exceptionally flexible. The HDMI connection housing is constructed of metal and features gold-plated connections. The cable is marked, showing which end to connect to the display and the source.
Overall build quality was excellent, but not to quite the same standard as the FIBBR Optical cable which I usually use.
When it comes to installing HDMI cables, it doesn't get much easier - plug one end into the source and the other to the TV or projector and you're good to go. That is of course unless you have to route the cable through walls or ceilings.
In this regard, the flexibility of the RUIPRO cable makes things much more manageable. While the woven outer jacket of my FIBBR both looks and feels more rugged than the RUIPRO, it is the less flexible of the two. It's essential to keep in mind, however, that fibre cables are more delicate than their copper counterparts, so it pays to be gentle with the installation.
It's also crucial that you connect the right end to your display and source devices as being an active cable, the RUIPRO won't work if it's back to front.
While the connection to my devices was snug enough, due to the HDMI connections being on the longer side, there was a little bit of wiggle. In this regard, the RUIPRO was no different from the FIBBR cable, which also has more extended HDMI connectors.
Once installed, the RUIPRO was fed a variety of 4K content to test its bandwidth capabilities. Starting with a YouTube clip of Costa Rica, the cable showed that it was more than up to the task of playing back 4K HDR at 60 fps, albeit at 4.22, which is a limitation of HDMI 2.0 rather than the cable itself.
Likewise, the RUIPRO had no difficulties displaying the Pygmy three-toed sloths in all of their HDR glory in Sir David Attenborough's Planet Earth II.
For a real test, the RUIPRO was tasked with playing Billy Lynn's Long Half Time Walk at 60 fps with a Panasonic UBD-9000 performing 4:4:4 Chroma Upsampling. In this regard, it performed identically to my FIBBR cable, in that it also wasn't able to pass the signal in all of its HDR glory.
As previously mentioned, this is not a fault of either cable, but rather the bandwidth limitations of HDMI 2.0 - reverting the chroma upsampling to 4.2.2 did the trick, however.
During my time with the RUIPRO, I was struggling to find anything to fault with it. It's a well built HDMI cable that matched the performance of my own and more expensive FIBBR cable. Although the outer jacket of the RUIPRO wasn't quite as rugged as the FIBBR, it offers more flexibility, which will be helpful with installation.
Likewise, the RUIPRO doesn't exude that same sense of 'high-end' as the FIBBR, but given the fact that it's both cheaper and likely to find itself tucked away in a ceiling, you need to decide how important that is to you.
The only thing that gives me pause in wholeheartedly recommending RUIPRO's 4K Ultra-Slim HDMI Active Optical Cable is that there's an 8K version on the way. However, if you're not worried about future-proofing, you can purchase RUIPRO with confidence that it's more than capable of passing the full HDMI 2.0 spec.
For more information, visit RUIPRO.
As the owner of Adelaide based ‘Clarity Audio & Video Calibration’, Tony is a certified ISF Calibrator. Tony is an accomplished Audio-Visual reviewer specialising in theatre and visual products.
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