I just got myself Sony BDVE6100 5.1.
My father is convincing me that optical connection is currently being the best choice for the best 5.1 experience, however, I am browsing through some hexus threads and I mainly see people are recommending HDMI connection over Optical one.
If HDMI is actually better in terms of sound quality and 5.1 experience, could you please elaborate on the reason with details?
HDMI supports a broader range of audio formats. Including losses surround formats like LPCM, or higher quality Dolby and DTS formats like DD+, and DTS-HD.
Toslink will only support lossy 5.1 and 7.1 formats. Honestly for 5.1 the compression is so minor for DTS you will not be able to tell a difference. AC3 you will probably hear a little bit of a difference from DD+.
Technically the SDIF connector could carry 8 lossless channels, but it’s only used in the commercial space.
Overall for the best sound HDMI wins.
Optical port/ Toslink and HDMI ARC are almost similar except features like CEC, Lip Sync correction support and Video support capabilities too make HDMI ARC better where as Toslink has least interference since it is optical connection.
HDMI eARC is the one that support DTS formats…
You can read in more details here HDMI ARC vs Optical (TOSLINK) What Connection is best?