Given that this gizmo was about half the price of similar products it was no surprise to find that it is a very anonymous little box with only the ubiquitous "Made in China" label to indicate its origins. Nonetheless it is solidly built and came surprisingly well packaged in a sturdy, glossy cardboard box with a plastic insert to hold the unit and separate it from the supplied power pack. The power pack itself is one of those all-in-one jobs with an integral UK mains plug (no adapter needed!) and a useful metre or so of low-voltage cable to connect to the converter. The box also contains a tiny eight page user guide in perfectly readable English.
In my case I wanted to connect the optical digital audio output from an Xbox 360 to my hi-fi amplifier in order to get the best sound when using the Xbox for DVDs and CDs, but clearly it could just as easily be used for satellite or cable TV set-top boxes or dedicated DVD or CD players with optical outputs.
This was my first venture into TosLink territory so I was prepared for trouble but in fact there was really nothing to be too scared of, save one little snag which I'll come on to shortly.
There are two standard colour-coded RCA phono sockets for the audio output which I simply connected to the one of the inputs of my trusty old amplifier: easy job.
There are also two inputs, one optical TosLink which I used and an digital coaxial (which I didn't). I used XO Digital Optical Cable 2m / 2 Metre Premium Install Series - suitable for PS3, Sky, Sky HD, LCD, LED, Plasma, Blu-ray, Home Cinema Systems, AV Amps
for the optical connection. It wasn't the cheapest but it seems to be good quality and I needed the two metre length. The connection is a simple push-fit but the connectors are "keyed" for some reason so make sure you've got the plug lined up properly with the socket before trying to click it home. Also, the cable I used is supplied with little protective plastic caps on either end which you need to remove before plugging in, otherwise it's out with the tweezers to remove them from the sockets. Trust me on this.
So with that all done and with the power connected up I turned everything on and heard... a horrible high-pitched squealing! Oh dear.
Having double- and triple-checked all the connections and spent a few minutes cursing the Chinese for producing cheap and nasty non-functioning rip-off gadgets, I had another thought. I checked the audio settings on the Xbox and found that it was set by default to 5.1 channel output. Aha, no wonder it made a funny noise! Changing that to "Digital Stereo" did the trick and glorious sound then issued forth from the speakers at last. It even appears to be in perfect sync with the video, which is a bonus.
I should add that the sound quality seems absolutely fine. Although I'm no audiophile it sounds as good to me as the old DVD/CD player ever did, God rest it's soul.
So, having bought this product with a little trepidation because it was about half the price of the branded items, I would say I'm very satisfied with it. Even at this price it is perhaps an expensive way to connect sound up and perhaps I could have scavenged a feed from the SCART output, but it was a bit of fun to have a go, and if you find yourself without that option this diddy little box is definitely worth a try. Thank you China.