I use my Mac Mini for everything… Surfing the net, managing my humongous iTunes library, watching HD video files? You name it, I do it. Sitting next to the Mac Mini is my Sony DAV-DZ260 Home Theatre System (amazing amp) which outputs to a 5.1 surround sound system.
Ever since getting the Mac Mini, I’ve connected it to the amplifier with a standard PC audio cable, but this meant that when I was watching my downloaded TV or movies from iTunes or other sources, I could only get 2.0 stereo sound which wasn’t as good an experience as the 5.1 I got from DVD’s played through the system.
When setting about on a solution, I decided to take a look at the Mac Mini’s audio specs and saw that it was capable of outputting digital audio. Using a standard PC audio cable, I couldn’t send the digital audio to the amp, but there’s a special cable that allows you to do this that plugs into your headphone/audio jack (Optical Mini) of your PC/Mac Mini and has a Toslink adaptor at the other end, which plugs into the amp of your surround sound system.
You can purchase an Optical Mini to Toslink adaptor very cheaply on the Internet (I got mine for £3 off eBay) and set up is extremely simple. Connecting the cable to my Mac Mini, it automatically recognised that I was connecting to a digital receiver and now I can listen to my music and watch movies in perfect digital sound.
If you play video through VLC Player you may have to change the audio device to ‘Encoded Output’ for the audio to be in Dolby Digital. The whole process is seamless, and if you have a digital receiver then you should definitely buy one of these cables to get a much richer audio experience from your Mac or PC!
Image Source – Samsung