There are several options in connecting your sound system to your DVD player or Satellite receiver. One of these connections is optical audio. You may be asking yourself, “What is an optical connection, and is it better than the digital coax connection or the analog (red and white) rca options?”
Both optical and digital coax will deliver exactly the same sound. They both deliver digital sound. The only real difference is the cost of the cables. The optical cable is much more expensive than the digital coax. The digital coax can use a standard RCA cable.
Both the optical and digital coax connection will deliver better sound than the analog connection. This is especially true if your sound system has 5 speakers and a sub-woofer. The analog connection can only deliver stereo sound.
So why use an optical cable? The main reason to use optical cable is when you have to run the connection over long distances. For example, if you have to run the sound cable over 50 feet, you should consider using the optical option. This is because the optical connection converts the digital signal to light pulses which can be routed hundreds of feet without signal loss.
So don’t go out and buy an optical cable unless you don’t have any way to connect the digital coax output or you have to run long distances.