AVS Addicted Member
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Collingswood, N.J.
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Try the optical from the sat box to the AVR by all means. There's a very good chance that audio will be "cleaner".
As alluded to by HDMI Guy, you won't get Dolby Digital (5.1) from OTA, but it may get encoded to PCM stereo by the satellite receiver. If so, you can then engage Dolby Pro-Logic in the AVR to get "surround sound".
With OTA signals, there is no way to get Dolby Digital audio without an ATSC (digital OTA) receiver. Although, with satellite channels, you may be able to get "true" Dolby Digital on some of the channels/programming.