Review by Guest Contributor: Augustine Bettencourt
In many projection applications, the projector is located several feet away from the source, so a long HDMI Cable is required. In this review, we will be looking at the Bullet Train 20-meter Premium Active Optical Cable (AC-BTSSF-10KUHD-20).
With the introduction of High Dynamic Range, High Frame Rate, and 8K content, the bandwidth that an HDMI cable needs to pass has increased dramatically. Passing high bandwidth becomes even more challenging as an HDMI cable gets longer. Bullet Train lineup of 48Gbps Active Optical cables is designed to pass 8K and high frame 4K content distance up to 100 meters which is the length of a football field.
Bullet Train is a company based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota that specializes in building HDMI cables for mission-critical environments where stability is key. As a sister brand of Murideo, a manufacturer of HDMI testing and troubleshooting equipment, its team has tested cables from over 100 manufacturers trying to pass a consistent 18Gbps signal, so when they saw so many companies fall short, Bullet Train was formed to build better cables.
Bullet Train has developed Active Optical Cables (AOC) HDMI 2.1 cables built for mission-critical environments where stability is key and by delivering data over Cleerline SSF fiber optics alongside copper wire. Bullet Train AOC Cables deliver 48Gbps and a high frame rate signal with much lower latency – up to 20% less than a passive copper HDMI cable.
Since Bullet Train comes from a family of companies focused on HDMI Testing and Display Calibration, they offer Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) certification on every single cable they sell. ISF is a leader in scientifically accurate display coloring, so the certification helps to ensure Bullet Train HDMI cable allows you to see accurate, vibrant colors in SDR and HDR content.
Bullet Train used the engineering prowess of Murideo and AVPro Edge (its sister companies) to create stable HDMI products capable of handling the ultra-high bandwidth and speed required by High Dynamic Range and Wide Color Gamut. To deliver the highest quality signal possible, they use high-quality copper. With proprietary engineering, as well as manufacturing practices, they twist the internal cables in a way that maximizes signal flow for speed and quality for the highest quality signal possible.
Not only are Bullet Train HDMI cables extensively tested in-house, but they are also ISF (Imaging Science Foundation) Certified, the name to trust in picture quality and calibration. Tried and tested and fully CMP/Plenum rated, Bullet Train cables are highly engineered to be a long-lasting part of any audio/video system.
The Bullet Train’s latest active optical HDMI cables are HDMI 2.1 compliant, so they support content up to 4K/120fps and 8K/60fps. While I didn't have the ability to test the cable's maximum bandwidth capability, I did use the HDMI diagnostic tool built into my Denon AVR to verify the cable can pass at least 40Gbps.
We should note that HDMI inputs/outputs found on most A/V Receivers, video switchers, and gaming consoles are limited to 40Gbps. This is fine because the video information in a 48Gbps signal far exceeds the capabilities of the 10-bit panels /display devices found in consumer TVs and projectors.
In addition, Bullet Train AOC HDMI cables can also pass a variety of Dynamic HDR metadata, the frame-by-frame information found in Dolby Vision and HDR10+ that helps TVs and projectors adjust the picture which ensures HDR content looks its very best. HDMI 2.1 also supports eARC – an update to the ARC (Audio Return Channel) the connection that will let you send DTS:X and Dolby Atmos soundtracks from your display to your audio system in the highest possible quality, assuming your hardware is capable.
Active Optical Cables (AOC) function similarly to an HDMI Extender, meaning they feature both a Because Active Cables have additional circuitry, they require additional power, and Bullet Train AOC Cables use the 50mA of power provided by an HDMI Port. Some HDMI Ports may not provide the necessary amperage to operate an HDMI Head; for this, an additional 5V USB dongle may be required to provide supplemental amperage for the AOC Head.
Due to Active Optical technology these Bullet Train cables are able to pass double the 4K Frame Rate of an HDMI 2.0b cable, increasing the support from 60 frames-per-second (FPS) to 120 FPS. In fact, at some resolutions, frame rates as high as 240 (FPS) are also supported.
A Bullet Train HDMI AOC cable has four Cleerline SSF Fiber Optic strands, each capable of transmitting over 100Gbps. The HDMI ends can even be cut off, and the fiber strands terminated again for data, control, or A/V if/when HDMI technology becomes outdated.
Bullet Train active optical HDMI cables are available in various lengths, from 5 meters to 100 meters. Regardless of the length, all the cables are rated to pass 48Gpbs, so they are capable of supporting 4K, 8K, and even 10K in the future.
|AC-BTSSF-10KUHD-05||5 Meters (16.4 Feet)|
|AC-BTSSF-10KUHD-10||10 Meters (32.8 Feet)|
|AC-BTSSF-10KUHD-15||15 Meters (49.2 Feet)|
|AC-BTSSF-10KUHD-20||20 Meters (65.6 Feet)|
|AC-BTSSF-10KUHD-30||30 Meters (98.4 Feet)|
|AC-BTSSF-10KUHD-40||40 Meters (131.2 Feet)|
|AC-BTSSF-10KUHD-60||60 Meters (196.9 Feet)|
|AC-BTSSF-10KUHD-80||80 Meters (262.5 Feet)|
|AC-BTSSF-10KUHD-100||100 Meters (328.1 Feet)|
The Bullet Train fiber optic cable comes packaged very nicely, and one of the first things I noticed about the cable after unboxing it is how thin, pliable, and light it is compared to standard HDMI cables. This could be very handy in tight spaces or under carpeting.
Bullet Train cables are terminated with high-quality metal ends with gold-plated connectors. The cable is uni-directional, so the source and display connector are clearly labeled. The HDMI cable uses the 50mA of power provided by an HDMI port.
As mentioned earlier, it’s an active HDMI cable and functions similarly to an HDMI Extender with transmitter/source, head/display ends.
Since active cables have additional circuitry, they require additional power. However, some HDMI ports may not provide the necessary amperage to operate an HDMI display side. In some cases, an additional 5V USB dongle (supplied) may be required to provide supplemental amperage for the display side.
Even if the display can power the cable, for maximum reliability, we recommend that the external USB dongle is always used.
Admittedly, I can’t say I saw image quality improvements, but the fact that I wasn’t able to see any signal degradation or experience any lag with a 65-foot-long HDMI cable with 1080p content viewed on a 133” HDTV screen is a big accomplishment. I was very impressed.
I also tried connecting another active fiber optic, 20-meter HDMI cable made by RuiPro called the RuiPro 8K Fiber Optic HDMI 2.1 that stated at 48Gbps, 8K@60Hz 4K@120Hz. It also worked flawlessly with zero lag or degradation, but required I connect the supplied dongle to work properly.
HDMI cables are the vital link between our A/V components TVs, projectors, receivers, and other devices. The Bullet Train Ultra High Bandwidth/ Ultra High-Speed HDMI cable does an excellent job of solving the need for a long HDMI cable when there’s no other choice other than using a 60+ foot long HDMI cable and is when an active fiber optic HDMI cable can become invaluable.
As an HDMI 2.1 cable that supports Dynamic HDR at 4K/120fps and 8K/60fps, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and is ISF Certified, it’s a great option for applications requiring a long HDMI cable. It can reach distances longer than most CAT6 HDMI repeaters but with a more compact and flexible solution. Bullet Train fiber optic HDMI cables are worth getting if you want to extend the range to connect a device to a display while keeping it as simple as a standard HDMI cable, and if a long HDMI is what you need, I highly recommend Bullet Train Ultra High Bandwidth/ Ultra High-Speed HDMI cables.