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Choosing a Cable

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Home Audio Connections

Audio connections are either analog or digital. Typically analog connections take the form of stereo (right and left) RCA connectors; digital connections use a single RCA coaxial connection or a single optical (TOSLINK) connection. Or in the case of HDMI capable equipment, digital audio is carried within the HDMI cable along with video. Different equipment will have different connection options, and some equipment will give you a choice of an analog or digital connection. If you are unsure of which connection options you have, please refer to your owner's manual or the audio connectors on the back of your equipment.

Analog Interconnects
An analog audio connection transfers a stereo (right and left) audio signal by using a two-channel cable.

Digital Interconnects
A coaxial digital connection transfers a digital audio signal over a standard, shielded coaxial cable. HDMI digital audio is carried over twisted pair cable, within a cable that also includes digital video.

Digital Optical
An optical (Toslink) digital connection uses a fiber-optic cable to transfer the digital audio signal via pulses of light from a digital source. A fiber optic cable is simply several small strands of polished plastic specifically designed to transfer light. An optical connection is immune to possible ground or "hum" problems and interference because it does not contain any metal, but it is more sensitive to extreme bending than a coaxial cable.

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