What are TOSLINK Cables?

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What are TOSLINK Cables?

Consumers have many decisions to make when it comes to creating their home entertainment systems. They must decide on the brands of the system components and the features that enhance each component. One decision that receives little or no scrutiny involves the audio cables that connect the system components to provide superior audio and video. Consumers have only a few options for connecting cables, with Toshiba constructing the connecting cable that receives favourable reviews from industry experts and critical praise from users. Consumers can find Toshiba's TOSLINK cables at electronics shops and online at eBay, one of the leading ecommerce websites. However, consumers should first do their homework by reading an overview of TOSLINK cables, followed by learning what defines the popular audio system cable and what differentiates TOSLINK from RCA cables.

Overview of a TOSLINK Cable

TOSLINK represents one of the three primary ways to transmit digital audio signals. Homeowners who  connect the components of a home theatre system often use optical cable. TOSLINK cables operate as a light transmission device, converting digital electronic signals into light signals that transmit audio data. The converted light signal arrives at a light reception module through tightly woven optical fibres. After the light signals reach the light reception module, the module immediately converts the light signals back to electric digital signals. The light transmission module incorporates the light emission element LED and a drive circuit to transmit the digital audio signals. A waveform shaping circuit utilises a photodiode within the light reception module to drive the light signal conversion. Do-it-yourselfers prefer TOSLINK cables for the TTL interface that provides easy connections to other circuits in a home entertainment system.

What Defines a TOSLINK Cable?

Why do homeowners choose TOSLINK cables to connect their home audio systems? Home audio experts consider the other two connection standards, AES/EBU and S/PDIF, to be overkill for connecting home receivers and speakers. Moreover, the other two connection cables typically are longer than TOSLINK cables. Shorter cable connections improve transmission accuracy. TOSLINK cables possess additional characteristics that define their application for home audio systems.


Toshiba, which is one of the leading electronics companies in the world, develops TOSLINK to transmit audio signals by a pulsating red light. Users can easily see whether the cables transmit the digital signals by looking at one end of the cable for the red light. The combination of the red light and short length of the cable make TOSLINK cables the perfect connector for CD players and receivers.


Remember the days when electronics companies built stereo systems that connected devices located in two separate rooms? Toshiba constructs TOSLINK cables to run at lengths no more than 5 m. The company initially manufactured the cables to be 10 m until technicians realised that 10 m TOSLINK cables require a signal booster to transmit light signals to the light reception module. Unless do-it-yourselfers want to connect a home theatre system within an extraordinarily large room, they only require 5 m TOSLINK cables to link their audio system components.


TOSLINK cables can be constructed with either plastic fibre optic material or the highest quality of strands. Both types of construction produce a cable that withstands the heat emanating from electrical charges. The durable construction also prevents damage to the outer core of the cables that derives from people stepping on the cables. Toshiba recently introduced a TOSLINK prototype that possesses waterproof materials on the outer core and inner optical fibres.

Easy Connection

After years of consumer feedback, Toshiba began to design TOSLINK cables to connect easily to speakers, receivers, and amplifiers. The days of utilizing multiple screwdrivers and wrenches to connect home audio components made way for simple snap-on connectors that require no tools. While competitors include lengthy owner's manuals describing how to connect their cables with audio components, Toshiba only has to devote a short paragraph to describe how easy it is to attach the snap-on connectors to electrical sockets.

The Toshiba Name

Toshiba has established a sterling reputation amongst home audio system consumers. One of the reasons that drive the popularity of TOSLINK cables involves the product review process that is unique to Toshiba's operational culture. Audiophiles did not favor early generation TOSLINK cables because the cable demonstrated signal deviations. Toshiba worked diligently to improve the quality of the connecting cables to rank near, or at, the top of every major consumer electronics publication.


Toshiba constructs TOSLINK cables in two sizes, the conventional size used to connect stereo equipment and a mini size TOSLINK cables that connect electronic devices, such as notebooks to computer speakers. Mini TOSLINK cables accept a 3.5 mm jack that attaches headphones to desktop computer and iPod sockets. The mini TOSLINK became the first connecting cable to gain widespread acceptance for laptop computers and portable audio devices, as well as for mobile communication devices that access audio files from social media websites.

TOSLINK vs. RCA Cables

TOSLINK and RCA digital cables both carry digital audio signals, and hence, many consumers may feel there is not much difference between the two types of cables. However, the two most popular cables have some distinct differences, that in the final analysis conducted by numerous professional electronics companies, tends to give TOSLINK an edge in several categories.


RCA cables only come in the standard size that connects home entertainment components. Toshiba constructs the mini-TOSLINK to connect portable devices and the company has recently introduced a marketing programme that bundles a mini-TOSLINK with a standard size TOSLINK.

Let's Get Physical

The fibre optic TOSLINK cables transmit audio signals as red light pulses. RCA coaxial digital cables move audio signals with electric pulses across the entire length of the cable. TOSLINK's transparent connector allows users to detect interruptions in signal transmission, while users can only guess when an RCA cable experiences a signal disruption. TOSLINK speaker cables are also thicker than RCA coaxial cables due to the extra outer layers added during construction.

Audio Quality

There should not be a noticeable difference in audio quality between the two primary audio transmission formats. Unlike analogue signals, digital signals typically transmit either perfectly or not at all. Since RCA cables run longer than TOSLINK cables, RCA cables are susceptible to electrical interference and degraded signal transmission. Users can discern the difference in audio quality between the two types of cables while listening to music in a small, well-insulated room.


Manufacturers must construct audio systems to withstand the intense bursts of heat that occur during electrical and light signal transmissions. They also must withstand the pounding of human feet and the bending of the cable whenever users move components to a new position in a room. RCA cables appear to be more susceptible to cracks on the outer layer and fraying on the fragile wires that transmit audio signals. Many consumer reviews note that TOSLINK cables are the better choice for connecting audio components located in tight spaces.

Buying TOSLINK Cables on eBay

eBay provides you with buying features that you cannot find by shopping inside of electronics shops. Every eBay TOSLINK cable seller provides an enlarged photograph of the cables on his or her product page. The enlarged photograph is especially important for buyers searching for used TOSLINK cables. You should be able to detect any imperfections that may lead to poor digital signal transmission performance. In addition, the enlarged product photograph enables you to see the Toshiba brand's new cables. Sellers also provide you with the accepted payment methods and delivery terms and other deals on electronics. You can quickly eliminate a potential seller who does not accept your preferred method of payment. You can also quickly eliminate sellers who do not promise delivery in a timely manner.


Audiophiles can purchase the most technologically advanced home entertainment components and still receive less than stellar audio and video if they do not purchase the right connecting cables. Connector cables link televisions, stereo amplifiers, and digital media players. Toshiba constructs a popular digital signal transmission cable that ensures high quality sound and video. TOSLINK cables provide users with rugged durability, excellent audio quality, and easy-to-connect transparent connectors that produce red light flashes. Toshiba also produces a smaller TOSLINK model that connects portable electronics devices with headphones and computers. Perhaps what best defines TOSLINK cables are their 5 m length, which enables uninterrupted signal transmission. Look for Toshiba to refine TOSLINK cables to connect appliances, electronics components, and motion detectors to form smart home automation systems.

TOSLINK Cable|Cable|Connector|Audio Cable|Home Electronics

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