Definitely frustrating -- I just don't know why it's always so difficult to get unambiguous answers on these technical issues. Moreover because the letter states that you can get HD sound via the digital optical connection, which isn't totally true because you CAN'T get multi-channel HD sound via optical. I'm not giving the customer service rep enough credit to think they were making the implicit distinction between stereo and multichannel.
Anyway, it looks pretty clear that, at the least, if you have a digital optical connection available, and you set your player on "PCM" in the audio setup, you will get a hi-res 2-channel PCM downmix of the DD+/DTHD audio via the optical connection. Which is good enough for me, and seems superior to using just two of the multi-channel ins on my receiver, since at least I can apply processing in the receiver to the 2.0 PCM signal.
But if you have just stereo analog inputs, it's still up in the air!
I'm so curious -- what the heck is the real difference between:
1. using just L/R stereo analog outs and
2. using just the "front" two of the 5.1 analog outs?
Why would they be any different, as long as you let the player know you only have front L/R speakers? I don't have anywhere close to enough technical understanding of this stuff to really know.