Originally Posted by TheMoose
But you can't get lossless audio from optical.
There is nothing technically stopping you from getting "lossless audio" from an digital optical connection, other than the current industry implementation.
The "industry" are the same folks that told you via their past initial offerings that they didn't consider it feasible to implement discrete multi-channel audio (even though there were discrete 4 channel systems in the 70's, as well as some experiments in quadrature encoding that had some merit), so a DECADE OR THREE LATER they gave you phase quadrature encoding with its horrible sound quality in the center channel and essentially no localization on the rear, and called it "ProLogic".
Next, they told you via their offerings that they didn't consider it feasible to use full range speakers in the surround and center channels, resulting is some pretty sad acoustical mismatches between main and surrounds.
They are just now getting around to offering components with a significant fraction of the capabilities that are present in the original source material, and they still appear to be hell-bent on mucking it up.
As usual, I just don't buy what they're currently selling, and do not subscribe to the rationale provided for these arbitrary limitations on what the implementation could be, given the state of the art in high-data rate transfer technology used in the communications industry, and in the "signal sources" available now. Consider the following:
(1) High speed large capacity optical connections are a big chunk of the
communications infrustructure. They are also the best choice for long local
runs of high speed "1 & 0" traffic between sources and destinations.
Simultaneous bi-directional operation over single fibers is feasible too, using
multi-frequency (multiple color) LED/Laser diodes, and photo detectors.
(2) Optical connections have been present on performance equipment for years,
but they have been needlessly limited to carrying crippled audio content.
(3) You are getting all of your audio and video from optically read digital media
at the front end of your player right now, but for most of us, ALL of it doesn't
exit the equipment in that form.
(4) HDMI is a digital connection, but it runs over copper media that has severe
physical limitations that constrain its available frequency (called skin effect).
This in turn limits ultimate bandwidth and run distance. Optical media was
designed, developed and deployed to overcome these limits cheaply.
My beef with HDMI is that it is a dirt-poor implementation that should never have been deployed.