The SPDIF Connection
There are two kinds of consumer-level SPDIF connections, coaxial and optical. The coaxial connection uses a mono RCA connector, usually painted orange, to make it easier to differentiate it from video connections that use a similar connector. The optical connection uses a square connector called Toslink (Toshiba Link). Some equipment has both connectors; some have only one of them. Let’s see some examples.
In Figure 6, we have the back of a professional-grade CD player (Pioneer CDJ-100S), which has a coaxial SPDIF output. Note how it has a switch for you to enable this output. The other connectors are the analog audio outputs and a jack for an optional remote control.
In Figure 7, we see the back of a DVD player, which has both the optical and the coaxial SPDIF outputs.
In Figure 8, we have the back of a video game console, which has an optical SPDIF output as well as an HDMI output.
In Figure 9, we have the back of an audio receiver, featuring an optical SPDIF input and a coaxial SPDIF input. See how, on this particular receiver, the optical SPDIF input is labeled “Video 2 In,” and the coaxial SPDIF input is labeled “DVD In.” This is important information because these are the names the equipment uses for these inputs.