I've just ordered a 550 after having chatted to someone at Curry's about connecting it to a Panasonic SC-PT860 surround sound system via the optical cable. I'm told that this is a digital connection and that I will get good 5.1 decoding and sound output. Does anyone have experience with this?
Yes - get an optical cable instead of using a coaxial cable - opticals are best for sound transfer. Don't scrimp though - a quality optical cable should cost about £20 for 1m. Ixos are good. There are plenty of £5 to £10 cables but if you're after top quality sound distribution you can destroy this with a lesser cable. Enjoy!
Don't you sacrifice experiancing DolbyTrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio through the optical and coaxual connections? Think you either need to get the sound through the HDMI cable or the analogue 8 channel outputs.
Yes indeed you do sacrifice HD sound using optical and contrary to an earlier comment, there really isn't any difference between coax digital & optical connection. In fact many prefer coax over optical as the physical connection is more "secure".