Once you've actually decided what hardware to purchase, avoided the perilous purchasing decisions involved in finding cables, but actually setting it up can trip up the newbies among us. Suck is our friend David's problem, trying to figure out if lossless audio is a possibility for his HDMI-less receiver:
"I read your article and I would like further advice. I have the brand new PS3, which I'm going to use with a 1080p Sony Bravia - the video is fine..HDMI to the tv. The problem is that I have an ONKYO THX 7.1 system (really 5.1), and there is no HDMI, so I plan on using an optical audio cable from the PS3 into the receiver. How do i get the best sound? Will the PS3 decode the trueHD (or whatever it is) and send the full spectrum of sound across the optical to the receiver? Will NOT having the HDMI to the receiver affect my sound, or will the PS3 internal decoding send a perfect lossless sound to my non-HDMI receiver?"
Just in case our HD 101 explanation wasn't enough (First off, S/PDIF transmission -- over either optical TOSLINK or coax -- does not have the bandwidth to carry Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA signals. If you connect your Blu-ray player to your receiver with optical or coax, the audio will "fall back" to Dolby Digital, DTS or two-channel PCM -- lossless, but only two channels,) any tips on how David can get the highest audio quality possible out of the equipment he has? Of course, if you think replacing one of the components is a better choice, that's always an option as well.
Got a burning question that you'd love to toss out for Engadget HD (or its readers) to take a look at? Tired of Google's blank stares when you ask for real-world experiences? Hit us up at ask at engadgethd dawt com and keep an eye on this space -- your inquiry could be next.