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Audio: HDMI vs. TOSlink/Optical

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

I know this probably isn't the right place to post this, but I figured it's close enough, and I trust my fellow OCN members. I need to know if an audio signal sent over a TOSlink/Optical cable will be of the same quality as an audio signal on an HDMI cable?

I'm asking because next week I'm buying an LCD TV and a new surround sound system (hopefully I can build an HTPC later). I'd prefer to have a receiver with HDMI switching and be able to use one HDMI cable for both audio and video - with the prices of some receivers/home theater systems, that may not happen. If I get a receiver that has a TOSlink/Optical input, would that give the same sound quality as an audio signal run over HDMI? Thanks for any help you can give Again, I'm sorry that this is a bit off-topic since no HTPC is involved, but, nonetheless, I'd appreciate any help.
    
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post #2 of 4
Found 2 answers. I believe they are referring to the same thing.

Quote:
If you're referring to the fiber-optic digital cable (or the coaxial digital cable, for that matter), it will not transmit the higher, lossless audio formats like TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio. Also, you haven't said what high-def player you are using: Blu-ray or HD DVD? If your receiver has no HDMi connection, your best bet is to see if it has 5.1 analogue inputs. Then, if your player has 5.1 analogue outputs, use those for the higher audio formats. (The Toshibas, for example, will internally decode THD and extract the core DTS MA and transmit them to the receiver via either HDMi or 5.1 analogue outputs.)

If your player does not have 5.1 analogue outputs or your receiver doesn't have them (or both), you're kind of out of luck insofar as the best lossless audio formats are concerned. You'll have to content yourself, for the time being until you can buy a new receiever, with regular Dolby Digital 5.1 or whatever through the optical or coaxial connection.
Source

Quote:
The difference is an HDMI equipped receiver will allow you to access losslessly compressed or uncompressed PCM tracks. A receiver equipped only with optical/coax inputs will not allow you to access lossless or uncompressed PCM tracks. Optical/ coax will only allow you to listen to the older lossy tracks: DD or DTS.
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post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thank you, dhrandy. I'm going to get a receiver with HDMI switching, both audio and video. + rep
    
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post #4 of 4
Highly recommend the Onkyo TX-S605. Kick ass receiver, will do all the audio you want via HDMI and you wont break the bank.
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