By technical editor Matt Allard:
At CP+ in Japan, Lancer Link were showing their 4K HDMI to optical fibre conversion kit. The system allows you to run a 4K hard wired connection around 300 meters for monitoring, remote recording or for use in outside broadcast applications. HDMI cables work for distances up to around 50 feet (around 15 meters) and even cheap consumer ones are usually reliable at 720p, 1080i and (though this is less consistently so) 1080p. If you use a high quality cable, distances of 100-150feet (30-45 meters) are possible.
What ultimately decides what will work is tied directly to the bitrate being run through the cable, and the difference between what will work at 480p,1080p and 2160p may be extreme. Because HDMI is an uncompressed signal, the bitrate running in the cable corresponds directly to the amount of information in the picture. This makes running 4K HDMI signals over HDMI cables very problematic.
You could of course just change the signal from HDMI to SDI using something like the Blackmagic Design Mini Converter HDMI to SDI 4K convertor but then you still have to run two SDI cables. SDI cables can also have limitations in terms of how far you can run them without having to use multiple signal boosters within the line. The beauty of the Lancer Link system is that your running just one cable and the convertor is actually built inside the HDMI connector they use. The HDMI/ fibre optic convertor needs to be powered at both ends via a USB power source.
The Lancer Link system with 300 meters of optical fibre cable is expected to sell for around $1000US. They also will have a kit available that includes a 4K to HD down convertor.