Spectrum TV

What are digital audio cables?

A digital audio cable provides an audio connection between your A/V receiver and your TV or Spectrum Receiver. Unlike analog audio cables, which uses two separate wires to provide a left and right audio channel, a digital audio cable uses one wire to pass multiple channels of sound, meaning it can be used for Surround Sound.

Even if you do not have a Surround Sound setup, a digital audio cable can still be used in place of of analog audio cables.

There are two types of digital audio cables: optical (sometimes called toslink) and coaxial.

Optical Digital Audio Cable Coaxial Digital Audio Cable
Optical Digital Audio Cable Coaxial Digital Audio Cable

Most users will not detect any difference in sound quality between the two types. Which wire to use mainly depends on which wire your equipment supports. If you have a choice, consider the following based on your particular setup needs:

  • Coaxial digital audio cables tend to have a tighter, more secure connection. They are very durable but begin to suffer a loss in quality at lengths longer than 10 feet.
  • Optical digital audio cables are more fragile and cannot be pinched or bent at sharp angles. However, they can be used at extremely long lengths with no loss in quality.

To minimize the number of wires you need, consider using an HDMI cable if your equipment supports it.

Article Number: 6128

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