This perhaps isn’t news, but there was something super amazing that I saw on the show floor at IFA this year that I wanted to write about. Despite writing about the technology industry for nearly ten years, I still like to pace around a show floor to find new and exciting things. After bypassing room upon room of ovens and carbon-fibre fridges, I was stunned to be introduced to Samsung’s One Invisible Connection. This is a tiny thin cable that seems to do everything.

Everyone dislikes cables. If we could transmit data wirelessly, and transmit power wirelessly, I’m sure I speak for most people and say that our lives would be far less cluttered if we could do away with cable messes. Samsung’s One Invisible Connection, in turn, aims to simplify everything. In one small cable they are able to power a full-sized 4K display (up to 230W) as well as transmit 4K video (75 Gbps). A picture says a thousand words:

A cable supporting that much data and that much power, to me, seems crazy. Apparently Samsung is shipping this on all their high-end QLED displays already, and it connects to a host box which deals with power and the video inputs, such as a Blu-Ray player, console, or cable TV. (ed: for anyone wondering, the cable appears to be an optical cable with additional wires for carrying high voltage DC power)

Cable indicated by white arrow

I still can’t get over how thin this cable is. It’s as thin as my 65W charger cable for my laptop. And Samsung offers the cable in both 5m and 15m lengths (~16.5ft and ~50ft), so it's not a short-run cable either. I asked why it wasn’t a standard across everything, and the reason is because of the high cost. Not the cost of the cable, mind you, but rather the extra hardware that goes into the device before the TV, and into the TV itself. I tried to take a picture of the back of the TV, but it didn’t come out well. This is the danger of having a Perspex booth to demonstrate the technology.

Well like I said, it isn’t new. But it is something that made me a bit speechless.

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  • ajp_anton - Thursday, September 13, 2018 - link

    Where is the 75Gbit coming from?

    4K at 144Hz at 16bit per RGB component (RGB48) is still only 57Gbit. I don't know what more I can overkill to get up to 75.
  • boeush - Thursday, September 13, 2018 - link

    Stereo 3D? :P

    Not to worry. 8K will need 4x the bandwidth, anyway. 4K is so yesterday...
  • FullmetalTitan - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    That figure comes directly from the booth, first picture. That isn't the actual data transfer rate in the setup, but what Samsung claims the bandwidth is for the cable.
  • boeush - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    Optical data cable, wrapped in high-voltage power transfer wires, wrapped in an insulating sheath. I've always thought this should be the interconnect of the future, not to mention the interconnect for VR gear and such. Don't know why it should be taking this long for industry to figure out. Yes, transceivers, etc. are expensive - when built in minimal quantities for boutique products. Standardize and mass-produce them, and they'll be cheap as dirt.
  • mode_13h - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    This almost seems like a step backwards from Samsung's TV that use a wireless optical beam from the TV's base. If you have an AC outlet behind the TV, then you literally have nothing between it and the base.

    Of course, the location of that base is more constrained, and you could also just run HDMI through the wall, as well.

    I'm not put off by cables, although I like to keep the cabling neat. Anyone remembering having component video + audio between multiple components already appreciates HDMI quite a lot.
  • piroroadkill - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    Invisible, huh? I guess they took their marketing inspiration from the "unlimited" plans of mobile networks....
  • iwod - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    What sort of cost are we looking at ? Could we bring this down once it is standardise across the industry with volume?

    No one wants to replace their TV Panel every 4 - 5 years. But the TV box, controller, and the electronics needs updating.
  • Spunjji - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    "the cable appears to be an optical cable with additional wires for carrying high voltage DC power"

    It's Thunderbolt! Or rather, what Thunderbolt was supposed to be when it was an Intel pipe-dream and before it was fundamentally compromised.
  • boeush - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

  • vailr - Friday, September 14, 2018 - link

    The QR code in the first photo leads to:

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