Review: FIBBR Ultra Pro Fiber Optic HDMI Cable
By Mark Vignola on
Updated August 6, 2019
We’ve now put the FIBBR Ultra Pro Fiber cable through seven months of nearly daily use and are very pleased with its performance.
Firstly, the Ultra Pro survived many months of additional heavy construction after installation. I was a bit nervous as the team from Value Electronics removed the painters’ tape I had used to cover each of the cables head units, but the cable linked to the C8 OLED and my Anthem MRX-1120 with no issues whatsoever, with the small blue icon indicating pairing.
In use, the best I can say about the FIBBR pro is that I have no idea that it is different from any other HDMI cable. It passes AppleTV’s “HDMI Test”, and will flags for the AppleTV’s highest picture quality setting of 4K Dolby Vision without issue. In use, the FIBBR flawlessly passes Dolby Vision 4K content from both our AppleTV and Panasonic UB9000.
Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with the Ultra Pro. It produces a robust and reliable HDMI connection with every signal that we’ve been able to throw at it and does so without the complications of extra equipment needed in other long-run HDMI options like HDBaseT. The cord does have the tendency to twist, so in a renovation where we were “pulling cable” vs “laying it” the cable wasn’t easy to work with, but once installed, this was a non-issue. Overall highly recommended.
Over the next several months we’ll be rolling out a series of articles related to my apartment renovation in Manhattan. Today we offer first-look at one of the components we’ll be reviewing: the FIBBR Ultra Pro Fiber Optic HDMI cable. In today’s preview, we will be describing the cable and talking about installation. Once the project is complete we’ll return with a full review.
Working on an apartment renovation brings multiple constraints that might not exist with new builds. We are forced to work within the constraints of existing conditions and structural features that impact all aspects of construction, including but not limited to A/V wiring. Our project in a pre-war building in Manhattan is no exception. On the upside, I was ecstatic to have the ability to have equipment in a dedicated closet – but the downside is that getting video from the equipment closet to the flat panel we are installing was not straightforward and required a circuitous path. Additionally, a few tight turns and narrow openings along the required path means that a large copper HDMI cable was impossible.
The technicians from Value Electronics who are helping with the AV installation, ran ample ethernet cable from the equipment room to the living room – so that we’ll be able to use HDBaseT HDMI/ethernet baluns – but I was eager to evaluate other options – enter the [amazon_textlink asin=’B074SFKK21′ text=’FIBBR fiber optic HDMI cable’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’refehomethea-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’167f2896-787c-11e8-88d2-b13b79c68520′]. Using fiber optic technology means large distances are achievable. In this case, we used a cable that was 50M long.
FIBBR is a relatively new company who offers multiple fiber optic based cabling. The Ultra Pro is their highest end cable, capable of the full HDMI 2.0 bandwidth of 18.0Gb/sec which supports 4:4:4 4K video at 60Hz. The cable is active, but uses power from the HDMI source and doesn’t need any external power source.
The greatest advantage of fiber optic cable is its thinness and pliability. I was prepared for this but had never held one of these cables in my hand until unboxing the FIBBR Ultra Pro Cable. The fiber cable itself is incredibly thin and light; the difference between a copper cable is quite remarkable. The Ultra Pro is directional – with one side designated monitor and the other source. The actual HDMI connectors are a bit longer than standard HDMI plugs – which makes sense as these need to hold the equipment that converts HDMI signal to light for transit over the fiber optic cable. The connectors felt sturdy – but I did worry about running these through various holes during the installation.
Installation of the cable in our renovation was challenging. As described earlier, renovation installs provide unique challenges. As we had to run the cabling up through wall channels and framing, we had to unravel the cable to snake it through various channels. Unfortunately, the FIBBR UltraPro had a high tendency to twist once unwound. We spent quite a bit of time fighting tangles in the cable once we ran it through the first channel. This wasn’t insurmountable but did add to the time we spent running the cable. In a new installation situation we doubt this would be as much of a problem – but here it proved frustrating.
As our project is still very much underway, all we were able to do was verify the cable was functional after the drama of stringing it – which it did. A small light on the source side indicates the cable is getting a signal – and on the other end, we see a light indicating that the signal is passing uninterrupted. Plugging into a small monitor showed that a test video signal was, in fact, traveling around the apartment, 50 meters, over fiber optic and arriving unharmed at the site where we’ll eventually install a monitor. During this test, we only were able to use 1080p SD content.
Once our project is complete we’ll come back with a full review of the cable – including of 4K HDR content – but so far we are quite impressed!
Carl Mulder says
So did you install this HDMI for your demo room / home theater? Is it setup yet? Would like to know if there is any difference. Normally HDMI cables just pass the signal like an on off switch and there is no difference in quality, so it will be interesting what you have to say about this cable. How does ISF effect the cable or is it just a licensing and branding thing?
Chris Heinonen says
Mark’s new place is still under construction, so the home theater isn’t set up there yet. We don’t expect it to offer any difference in picture quality, but standard copper HDMI cables are limited to around 25-30 feet for 18.0 Gb/sec data rates. Beyond that, there aren’t many, if any, certified ones and you run into more issues with maintaining a signal. That was far too short for this situation, while this cable comes in lengths up to 164′ long. It’s also far thinner and easier to run through wire channels and around tight corners.
Bob Rapoport says
Thanks for your insightful review of the 50m FIBBR Ultra Pro HDMI v2.0 Fiber Optic Cable. I am the distributor for the USA and want your readers to know if they have questions, they should get in touch with me. There is no customer service from Amazon and this is a pretty technical topic. My prices are the same as those found on Amazon too.
As you point out, HDMI copper cables are distance limited to 25 ft max, beyond that point there is no picture. The reason this happens is that copper cables have a resistance to the signal, known as the impedance. It’s measured in ohms and creates attentuation of the signal, meaning it drops the zero’s and one’s along the way. Fiber optic cables are sending lightwaves with zero impedance so there is no attenuation, thats why you get a picture at 165 ft. This is a big reason fiber optics are the best choice for long distance runs. They work!
You mention you dont see any difference between copper and fiber but the difference is there on short runs. Even a 5 ft copper cable has resistance and loses some of the signal, whereas a 5 ft. fiber cable still has zero attenuation. The picture and sound are always superior to copper, even at short distances. To prove that, we did a side by side test using 5 ft fiber vs 5 ft copper. You can see the results on the FIBBR product page on the Essence website, https://www.essenceelectrostatic.com/product/fibbr-tech-hdmi-v2-0-ultra-pro-fiber-optic-cables-v2/.
The color uniformity is far superior and accurate to the original signal, its easy to see. There is content missing from the copper connected display, the grey and blue are washed out too. FIBBR Ultra Pro cables come in 1.5m, 2m, 3m, and 5m lengths starting at $139.99 for that reason, we want consumers to connect their source devices with fiber optic cables too so they can achieve an all fiber throughput for optimal results.
The LED flashlight at the display end connector is a smart feature to help people find their way in the dark spaces behind their displays, people love it. Its also further confirmation that the cable is powered up, as you point out.
Like you, most consumers love the braided jacket. Its so light that it never pulls the HDMI connector out of its socket. Heavy jacketed cables can fall out from the weight of the jacket. The bend radius is also the lowest in the industry, capable of hair-pin turns of 180 degrees.
The FIBBR cables are certified by Joel Silver at ISF. He was most impressed by the reliability, he travels around the world doing classes for calibrators, setting up a new system in every city. After 6 months of set ups and comments from those present, he made FIBBR his brand of choice for fiber optic installations. We are honored to have his support.
I hope my comments help your readers. Thanks again for your great article.
CEO Essence For Hi Res Audio
USA Distributor for FIBBR.
What is the difference between this and the Crystal series with respect to performance? I know the Ultra Pro has 3 fiber optic cables plus copper cables. The Crystal series has four fiber optic cables, but no copper cables. Moreover, Fibbr’s website says the Crystal series has TransFuture tech, but I can’t find much info on TransFuture. I’d really like to know what TransFuture tech is.
I have both the Ultra Pro and the Crystal series. The Ultra Pro seems to have slightly richer colors, but the Crystal series has less seems to have less handshake issues with 4K content with my Apple 4K TV. Both look superb BTW.
I have this cable and it produces the cleanest HDMI signal I’ve seen. No noise whatsoever.