Originally Posted by davemchine
I am considering a Panasonic VIERA TC-P55GT50 now that they are being deeply discounted. My only concern is the audio output (toslink) to my older amplifier. Are there any issues where sound would be disabled or where a DAC would not be able to convert to plain stereo? The answer may lie inside this thread but it is 197 pages long! Thanks for any advice.
The audio out on the GT is not user configurable. You will get DD5.1 / AC3 from "internal" sources (OTA tuner, Viera media player, apps) when it's available or 2 channel stereo PCM audio from external sources or when AC3 is not available. You can run into a problem when the audio is encoded with any of the compressed high quality streams like DTS.
So, the requirements for an optical to stereo converter for the GT are that it can handle a simple LPCM signal and also has DD decoder. These little devices are under $100. Look at amazon, just look for one that specifically indicates it has a DD / AC3 decoder. The cheap ones ($20 or so) only handle LPCM. If you want better audio you need to move up to a 5.1 channel system. There are also converters that will handle this for higher prices, but I would just upgrade to a AV receiver with optical jacks.
You may also want to look for a simple Bluetooth audio receiver. They run under $50. The GT has Bluetooth audio and the volume can be controlled with the remote. You would connect the wireless music receiver to your amp with a simple stereo cable just like you would the optical converter. This is also more useful because you can also pair in your smart phone, I-pad, intercom, .... endless. I don't know if the wireless option supports multi channel audio but for stereo this is the way I would go.