New CIR Report States that Sales of Active Optical Cables for Consumer Electronics, Personal Computing and Digital Signage to Reach $1.2 billion (USD) by 2019

Charlottesville, Virginia: The market for active optical cables (AOCs) for non-data center applications will reach US$1.2 billion by 2019, according to a new report from industry analyst Communications Industry Researchers, (CIR).  Non-data center applications for AOCs include personal computing, digital signage and consumer electronics.


CIR’s annual report on AOCs in data centers will be published in June 2014.   More information of the CIR data center AOC report can be found at

About the report:

This report identifies and quantifies opportunities for selling AOCs for the applications listed above.  In addition to AOCs with standard data interfaces, the report provides coverage on AOCs supporting HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, Thunderbolt, PCIe and USB 3.0/3.1 environments.

The report provides detailed nine-year forecasts of non-data center AOC markets, with breakouts by end-user application, interface standard, cable lengths, type of cable and wavelength.  Forecasts are provided in units shipped and revenue terms.

The report also includes an assessment of leading suppliers active in the non-data center AOC business.  Firms discussed include:  Ace Plus, Apple, Avago, C2G, Best Buy, Broadcom, Chromis, Comoss, Corning, DeLock, Dell,Electronic Links International, FCI, Finisar, Hitachi Cable, IBM, Intel, Luxtera, Marvell, Mellanox, MiraDeed, Molex,OneStop Systems, PalPilot, Quiktron, Radio Shack, Samsung, SiFotonics, Sony, StarTech Sumitomo, TE Connectivity and Via Labs.

From the report:

AOCs have already found some use as a bandwidth-efficient means of transporting video streams for digital signage.  This market will grow as it becomes more common to feed digital signage with multiple content streams and signage is networked over entire cities. Today, the connection between the display and the media server is usually DVI or HDMI. The connection from media player to content server is usually Ethernet connection.  Either connection could be implemented with AOCs. By 2019, AOCs sold into the digital signage space will reach just over US $350 million.

Revenue from sales of AOCs in the personal computing sector will grow to $835 million by 2019. These would support high-speed connections to peripherals/storage, but also LANs-on-Motherboards (LOMs) and board-to-board connectivity.  AOCs aren’t necessary for such applications until higher speeds are reached, but at 25 Gbps AOCs have better costs than copper over three meters – and the Thunderbolt interface common on Apple computers already operates at 20 Gbps.

In fact, Thunderbolt may be the best example of how AOC’s fortunes could evolve in the personal computing environment. Optical implementations of Thunderbolt continue to emerge. Firms currently offering Thunderbolt AOCs include Corning, DeLock, and Sumitomo. Intel continues to develop optical Thunderbolt.  As early as 2011, a Sony Vaio laptop utilized optical Thunderbolt to connect to a graphics card.

For AOCs to really take off in the personal computing market, they will need active support by high-profile OEMs or network interface card (NIC) vendors, making the advantages of AOCs become better known to PC users.  For AOCs to be a success in personal computing AOCs must also be sold through mainstream PC channels, the same way as other cabling.

However, CIR is more pessimistic about the consumer electronics sector.  It believes that the opportunity for AOCs in consumer electronics will be limited to extenders in home theaters and for personal video editing.  For AOCs to generate more than niche revenues, the large consumer electronics retailers will have to be convinced AOCs are worth their while.  This may be hard given the arrival of 10 Gbps USB 3.1 in 2013

About CIR:

Communications Industry Researchers has been publishing hype-free industry analysis for the optical networking industry for more than 20 years.  We have provided market coverage of Active Optical Cables (AOCs) for six years. Our annual reports on this topic are widely regarded as the most authoritative market forecast and technology assessment in the AOC space.

Visit for a full listing of CIR’s reports and other services.

Media Contact:

Robert Nolan
(804) 938-0030

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