If you have a newer A/V receiver and DVD player, you may have one more way to make the digital audio connection—via the combined high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) port.
HDMI is a newer digital connection standard that carries audio, video, and control signals over a single cable (see Figure 3). Audio-wise, HDMI can carry up to eight channels of digital audio; it's also capable of carrying full high-definition video signals.
Figure 3 HDMI cable.
HDMI connectors can be found on some higher-end cable and satellite boxes, DVD players, A/V receivers, and high-definition television displays. It's still a brand new standard, however, and not yet available on many devices.
Since HDMI carries uncompressed video data, it's the preferred way to transmit HDTV signals. The fact that it carries audio and video in a single cable also makes it attractive for connecting all manner of devices—when you're connecting everything, one cable is always better than two.
If your DVD player or set-top box and your A/V receiver or television have HDMI jacks, use them. HDMI will be the preferred audio/video connection format of the future.