Sometimes, what you think is obvious does not always turn out to be the case.
So it was when I decided to connect my Tablet PC (an HP Tx2000ed) to my audio amplifier (a Denon AVR-3808). I was driven to this step by the fact that trying to browse through the music libraries stored on my Media Servers while using the interface on the AVR-3808 was an exercise in frustration. The performance is absolutely abysmal.
But then I thought, why don’t I use the GUI of Windows Media Player to browse my music libraries? I can use my Tablet PC running Windows 7 to browse the libraries (the browsing performance is good), and if I play back the tracks on the Tablet PC, and connect via the digital S/PDIF interface to the AVR-3808, then I will send a high-quality digital audio stream direct to the 3808 amplifier, and have the best possible results.
It seemed like a good idea, so I found a cable that had a 3.5mm jack on one end (to plug into the Tablet PC) and a Coax plug on the other (to plug into the 3808) and made the connection. The trouble was, nothing happed – no music emerged from the amplifier. I tried all the settings on the interfaces at both ends – the Tablet PC and the AVR-3808. Result: nada, zilch, nothing – no sound at all.
Luckily, Google is my friend. I entered the search string “HP tx2000ed S/PDIF problem”, and the very first result told me what was wrong. I had assumed that the 3.5 mm jack socket on the front panel of the Tablet PC was for a coaxial connection of the digital signal. After all, the other two 3.5 mm sockets alongside it are also for copper-wired connections. Nope, wrong; it’s actually an optical connection, and doesn’t use copper but fibre-optics. There is, of course, absolutely nothing in the HP documentation to point this fact out. Thank you Google*.
HP – pull your socks up and produce decent documentation.
* Of course, entering the same search string into Microsoft’s Live Search produces no results at all. Sigh. Live Search still sucks.