What Audio Port Connects to an External Home Theater Audio System, Providing Digital Audio Output?

what audio port connects to an external home theater audio system
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If you have your home theater set up, then you might need to figure out how to configure your connection. A common question encountered is, “what audio port connects to an external home theater audio system, providing digital audio output?” The simple answer would be S/PDIF or HDMI. If you are confused between the two, then we will explain the difference between each one to help you get acquainted.

What Audio Port Connects to an External Home Theater Audio System, Providing Digital Audio Output: S/PDIF vs. HDMI

S/PDIF is a kind of connector used in various equipment to make it possible to transmit audio. It uses a coaxial cable, and it is usually used in home theaters or digital systems. On the other hand, HDMI is a type of connector that can transmit video and audio data that is uncompressed. It is often used in television, projectors, laptops, and computers.

The Benefits of S/PDIF and HDMI

One of the notable reasons to use either S/PDIF or HDMI is to ensure that audio quality will be at its best during usage. This way you can enjoy watching a movie and listening to music.
If you are confused on which one to use for a specific purpose, then do not fret for we will enlighten you to the best of our abilities. For starters, there are advantages and disadvantages for each one. If you are connecting audio devices to another, then it is recommended to use an S/PDIF. This is because most audio devices do not have an HDMI connector built-in.

You should also be aware that although S/PDIF is common between audio devices, there is also a possibility that an S/PDIF connector is not available. If this is the case, then you will have to go to the old school route and use RCA cable instead. Now, it is also worth noting that two types of connectors are associated with an S/PDIF. One is the common coaxial connector or RCA, and the other is the optical connector or Toslink.

In a situation where the two equipment that you want to connect have both HDMI and S/PDIF options, it is just a matter of choosing which is convenient and easier to be done. If you connect your laptop to your home theater just to listen to music, then you can just use an S/PDIF connection. But if you want a video to be displayed, then you should use an HDMI instead.

On the other hand, HDMI cable or connection is handy if you are not only transmitting audio but also video files as well. You will be surprised that there are a lot of devices and equipment that are already HDMI-compatible.

When to Use an S/PDIF Connector?

Most home theaters are set up in such a way that they can transmit audio even if they have just an HDMI connection. But in case your home theater is not built this way, you will need to use an S/PDIF connection as a workaround. An S/PDIF connection is also required for you to hear the sound or music or when your home theater audio receiver cannot switch videos.

Where to Buy S/PDIF and HDMI Cables?

Now that you have learned a little about the difference between the two cables, you may be wondering where to acquire such cables. The great thing about wiring and connectors, you can easily find them online. Additionally, different platforms sell all sorts of connectors. It is just a matter of finding the right one and figuring out which is compatible with your current equipment.

However, if you are not fond of purchasing online, then you can simply go to your local computer store. They will surely have on hand HDMI and S/PDIF cables. Additionally, you may also want to take advantage of your local store visit. If you are not familiar with the different setups and connections for your home theater, then you can consult the salespeople on the best way to approach your current situation.

You may also turn to online forums, read user reviews or watch various video tutorials to get acquainted with how to set up your home theater. This may seem like a daunting task but trust us, it is doable and will pay off in the long run.

S/PDIF and HDMI: The Bottom Line

If you are asked the same question again, “what audio port connects to an external home theater audio system, providing digital audio output? You can now confidently answer S/PDIF and HDMI. Truth to be told, both connectors are capable of transmitting digital audios. It is just a matter of preference and availability.

As earlier mentioned, HDMI has become increasingly popular with other audio devices and quite frankly, it is very dynamic. Some may still prefer S/PDIF, but it can only support a limited array of formats including stereo, Dolby Digital, and DTS. On the contrary, HDMI is very versatile, readily available and convenient.

The best thing about this situation is that both cables are not so expensive so to better help you decide, you can purchase both. You can compare and contrast the difference of using one connector between the other. It will also aid you on which setup works better for your home theater.

We are all aware that constant updates are incorporated into our digital devices and equipment. It pays to know and be in the loop of these updates. This way, when you buy another piece to add to your home theater, you are sure that it is what you need.

If you still cannot figure out the difference between the two, then you can also ask the help of professionals. You may pay your local computer store a visit and inquire about your different options.

If you have a techy friend who can help you out, that would also be a good option. Meanwhile, if you prefer to do more research yourself, then the Internet is your playground. Whatever method you choose to do, it will surely be a great learning experience and beneficial for any future installations or setups.

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