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on July 24, 2009
Received this item as satisfactorily as possible, and promptly, but before installing it (for a neighbor's high def TV), I called the techs at Gefen to be certain it would operate properly for this application. Answer (from Gefen): no. No because high def channels broadcast audio in 5.1, which this converter is incapable of processing. In other words, it will work with a digital non-high def signal, but not with a channel broadcasting high def with 5.1 surround sound. The solution: Gefen model GTV-DD-2-AA, slightly more expensive, which processes any/all digital audio signals. Not having verified the accuracy of what the Gefen tech told me, at least I want to give buyers a "heads-up" about the product.
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on December 2, 2009
So the reason why I bought this product was because my TV only has one audio out connection, an optical digital audio out. I have a 2.1 Shelf stereo system that I mistakingly thought I could connect via RCA to my TV, and to my surprise I saw that there was no RCA or headphone jack, just an optical digital audio out.

We have an xbox 360, ps3, and wii hooked up to our TV, and all work with this product. An optical audio cable goes from the TV to the product, the switch needs to be on 'optical' and then I have an RCA cable connected from my stereo system to the converter.

You must make sure that your TV is not broadcasting in anything but STEREO (2 channel) audio. If you have digital cable, it is likely that some of your channels broadcast in surround sound, which this box DOES NOT SUPPORT. Gefen makes a more expensive model that does support surround sound, but this one does not. If any of your gaming systems are set to broadcast in surround sound, you need to change the options to make them broadcast in stereo only. I haven't tried a movie yet, but it seems the default for both xbox 360 and ps3 games is stereo.

Another thing: I tried contacting Gefen product support to make sure that my setup would work with their product. They have operators that will give you the runaround. When their product support guys are busy, they tell you to call back in 15 minutes and when you call back, they tell you the same thing. Your best bet is to leave your number for them to call you back.

When I finally did get to talk to a tech support guy from Gefen, he really didn't seem very helpful. He gave answers like 'Yeah, that should work' 'probably' and so on.. I even mentioned the more expensive model, asking if it was a better choice, and of course, he said it was. As it turns out, this model works perfectly for my setup and the guy wasn't of much help at all.

My advise is: Do your research - contact your cable provider and ask if your tv channels broadcast in surround sound or not. - figure out if any of your component devices (xbox, ps3, etc..) only broadcast in surround sound.

As long as you know what you are buying, this is a great product, my only real gripe is the price.
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on November 22, 2009
Got this, hooked it up and it would not work,frustrated i tried everything
until i figured out that i needed to change the digital output in the menu on
the tv and it works fine now. If you are having problems, try this to get it
to work.
(This may or maynot work on your tv depending on how its set up)
1.Turn on your tv and get to the menu
2.Find the sound settings and find the digital audio out and change it to PCM.
3.Now it should work (assuming you are able to do this on your tv)
22 comments| 49 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 16, 2010
I have a 2nd Gen Apple TV (which is fantastic BTW). I use the ATV and Airplay for streaming itunes music throughout my home. I also use the internet radio feature for the same purpose. As for amplification I use my Yamaha AVR for the home theatre room and then I have an older Onkyo integrated amp that I use to power my in wall speakers in the rest of the house (BTW, running them through a Niles balance box and using in wall Niles volume controls in each room). The problem I had after installing the ATV is that the Onkyo is analog only, with the ATV pushing out a digital audio signal. I purchased and installed the Gefen DA converter between the ATV and the Onkyo using the optical out on the ATV to the Gefen then RCA audio cables from the DA box to the Onkyo. Works great, sounds great.

One issue I ran into had nothing to do with the Gefen but I will bring it up here in case anyone runs into something similar. I hooked everything up on the first go round (it was the first time I used optical cable) and it didn't work. I checked the settings on the ATV and it still wan't producing sound. I could see the red light in the cable so I new the ATV was putting out something, why wasn't it working? Was the Gefen a dud? After reading some forum postings, I realized I had not removed the little, hardly noticeable clear covers on the each end of the optical cable. I removed those, reconnected the cable and it worked perfectly.

Note: I ordered a toslink optical cable from Amazon when I ordered the Gefen. It turned out Gefen supplies a cable with the DA converter, so if you order one of these, no need for a cable. That said, the Amazon branded cable seemed nicer and more "heavy duty" (Amazon cabling products are usually excellent values) but in the end the Gefen cable would likely have been fine.

Again a nice product that is working well for me in my particular application.
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on November 29, 2011
I ordered a new unit from Amazon and then a used one from Amazon Marketplace. Both times the unit would not power on. I called Gefen directly and they confirmed that there is a 'power on' light (the clear rectangle adjacent to the AC jack). The tech did not seem surprised by my issue so I suspect they had a bad lot of transformers.

ALSO this device works only with PCM audio format as others have noted. The Panasonic Viera LCD TV does not allow you to select the audio output format. I called Panasonic and got some idiot who couldn't tell me if the default output was PCM. I wouldn't try to use this device with a Panasonic TV. I found this out after trying to get the first unit to work, not realizing the essential problem of electricity.
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on April 20, 2010
I bought this so I could use wireless headphones with my flat screen TV. The TV has optical out only. This unit is small enough that I was able to tuck it behind the TV to keep the install clean. I haven't noticed any kind of distortion or anything else with the sound.

Note: this unit does come with an optical cable. It isn't listed as coming in the box so I bought a separate one I didn't need.
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on November 24, 2010
New Panasonic TC-L32U22 32-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV, new AppleTV 2. Both ONLY have digital optical out. Klipsch Promedia GMX A-2.1 speaker system ONLY has analog digital in (3mm jack or RCA stereo). Optical cable that came with this converter has tiny plastic caps over pins - must be removed before plugging in. TV audio out optical cable goes to this converter, then RCA stereo (red, white) from converter goes to Klipsch controller input. Now any audio that would normally come out of the TV speakers from any source (sat TV, Apple TV, DVD) now comes out Klipsch speakers, regardless if TV sound is on or off, or if Surround Sound (thru TV menu) is on or off. Also tested: Apple TV 2 optical out to converter then Klipsch in - yep speakers play iTunes Movie, Music, Apple TV2 other content sound. But since the AppleTV2 connects to Panasonic TV via HDMI, and the converted TV optical audio out to speakers will play any sound the TV normally plays, there is no advantage I can see to connecting the speaker/converter combo to the Apple TV. Just connect it to the TV optical out and you are done. One point, has nothing to do with the converter: TV volume control will not change volume of Klipsch speakers, because that can only be controlled, as usual, through the Klipsch green speaker volume control knob. TV remote volume control only effects TV speakers, not the speakers connected externally thru the Optical Audio out. Here is what I cannot explain: this TV spec manual states it is capable of Dolby Digital (5.1 Channel) from its optical digital output out. That does not seem to matter with this converter, or is the Dolby Digital out only sometimes on some channels with certain packages? I don't know. So far so good. I leave the TV speakers on all the time (it's a menu choice, make the choice once it stays that way), but twist the Klipsch speaker controller on whenever I want, like watching a commercial-free movie.
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on July 26, 2009
Unfortunately I found a review too late to save me from buying this device. It does not work with my HD Monitor/TV. I tried everything.
The other review started that "(this works) with a digital non-high def signal, but not with a channel broadcasting high def with 5.1 surround sound.

I live in Houston and all channels seem to be of that type. I looked at the description and there was no caution.

I looked elsewhere and that sell had it in big red letters.
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on November 24, 2012
Many of the newer TVs are doing away with analog audio outputs on the back. Instead they use optical (TOSLINK) outputs which may carry either digital Stereo or Digital Dolby 5.1. signals. Note that the optical output will only be Dolby if the Audio source was built into the HDTV. Example: the HDTVs own tuner, or Netflix and Hulu that came as apps with the HDTV. If you plug other devices into your TV via HDMI connecter (Cable Box, Blu-ray player, Apple TV) the signal will be converted to 2 channel digital audio (PCM) and only that 2-channel signal will be available at the optical output, (even if it started out being multichannel.)
On my Vizio HDTV I was lucky to have both analog and digital optical outputs. I used the analog output to connect to a ZVOX speaker system, i.e sound bar.
I also wanted to use my Sennheiser "assisted listening" wireless headsets at the same time.Sennheiser SET840 -TV RF Stereo TV Assistive Listening Headphones System I have difficulty understanding dialogue sometimes, and don't want to blast the rest of the family out of the room. The Sennheiser base station also needs to plug into analog stereo outputs on the Vizio. But I had already used those. So I bought this GeffenTV DAC to convert the stereo digital optical signal from the TV optical port to a stereo analog signal the Sennheiser could use. (You need to provide your own TOSLINK cable from the HDTV to the DAC.) There are two types of Geffen TV DACs. The normal one (which I got) and a little more expensive on that will convert both digital stereo, AND Digital Dolby (up to 5.1 channels.) In my set up I did not need to buy the Dolby version. All my sound sources are exogenous to the HDTV.... my Apple TV, my Comcast cable tuner/DVR, and my Blu-ray player all connect to the Vizio via HDMI. Hence the signals will already be converted to 2-channel digital audio by the time they reach the optical audio output. The less expensive Geffen DAC can handle that just fine. If you are considering buying one of these, you need to understand where your audio output is coming from. If you want to listen to a source that is generated within your HDTV and you want to convert that multichannel source to a 2- channel analog output, you should get the Dolby version. My 2-channel version has performed flawlessly for a year and a half.
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on August 26, 2009
Had to order this piece for my new apartment's Panasonic plasma TV which has no RCA outputs, but only a TOSLINK output, because I wanted to connect my Yamaha micro-component system to the TV. The converter works great, and I really can't tell any degradation of sound quality either. The unit measures about 2"x2"x1" and comes with its own A.C. adapter and cable (so no need to buy an optical cable like I did - already included!). My Would recommend.
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