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How can I connect headphones to an Optical Digital Audio Out port?

Posted on 2010-08-14
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I recently bought an LG 32LH30 32-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV.  With my old (analog) TV, I could plug my headphones, with an extension cord, into a standard mini-plug port, but the HDTV doesn't have a mini-plug port.  Instead, it has a squarish port, covered by a tiny flap, labeled Optical Digital Audio Out.  I talked via Internet Chat yesterday with an LG rep, who basically said that you couldn't connect headphones to this TV.  I hope this is not the case.  Does anybody know if I can get an adapter to convert the Optical Digital Audio port to mini-plug, or perhaps a set of headphones (I would be willing to buy new ones for this purpose) that would connect to this port?
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Question by:Helen_Feddema
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Expert Comment

by:Solutionabc
ID: 33436986
the only way I can think of is to purchase a A/V reciever with an optical input, then plug headphones into the reciever. viola!
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Author Comment

by:Helen_Feddema
ID: 33437008
I have seen a number of products on Amazon.com that might work to do the conversion I need.  One of them, for example, is called Optical Toslink to Coaxial (RCA) Digital Audio Converter.  Does anybody know if this type of converter would work here?
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Author Comment

by:Helen_Feddema
ID: 33437011
I don't feel like connecting another device to this TV -- it is already connected to an HDTiVo and a DVD/VCR player.
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Accepted Solution

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greenasp earned 333 total points
ID: 33437017
You will only be able to do it with something like this.
http://www.radioparts.com.au/ProdView.aspx?popup=1&Category=SXBB47&Product=64550001&ProdDesc=PRO1259+AUDIO+CONVERTER+DIGITAL+TO

you have to convert the signal before it can be used with regular headphones.
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by:Helen_Feddema
ID: 33437037
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by:Helen_Feddema
ID: 33437047
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by:Helen_Feddema
ID: 33437260
The headphones I currently use are Sony Mdr-As30G.
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Author Comment

by:Helen_Feddema
ID: 33437264
These are lightweight headphones, good for listening to audio books while walking or exercising; I would be willing to buy another set for connecting to the HDTV.
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Expert Comment

by:fredshovel
ID: 33450459
I  think you're barking up the wrong tree trying to convert a digital signal to analogue headphone level. All sound that hits speakers -- including headphone speakers -- needs power. The power from your optical output only carries the digital signal -- it wouldn't provide power to power your headphones. -- even a L/R (left right)  analogue audio output, which is a line-level signal-- meaning it's only about 1 or 2 watts. And it's only for going into another amplifier. Even if you converted your digital signal to analogue you would hardly be able to hear it without a small power amp to power the headphones.
One solution is to buy some wireless headphones and connect the wireless headphone transmitter to the red/white L/R audio output of your TV (I'm sure there's a spare one there somewhere) -- or you can use plugs to parralell one of the other L/R analogue audio outputs.
Another solution is to buy a cheap headphone amplifier and connect the spare L/R analogue audio outputs to that.
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Author Comment

by:Helen_Feddema
ID: 33454269
One of the devices I looked at on Amazon.com had an illustration of the setup sheet, and it showed headphones being connected to an Optical Digital Audio port.  A TOSLink cable connected the port to the device, and then the headphones were plugged into a mini-plug port on the device.  I have ordered this device, and a TOSLink cable, so I will shortly find out whether it works.
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Assisted Solution

by:fredshovel
fredshovel earned 167 total points
ID: 33459363
It would simply be a D/A (digital to analogue) converter with a small headphone amplifier in it. My preference would have been to go with the wireless option like the Pioneer (bit expensive) which take a toslink -- but c'est la vie!
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Author Comment

by:Helen_Feddema
ID: 33465658
I will find out soon.
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Assisted Solution

by:greenasp
greenasp earned 333 total points
ID: 33467785
Soory, I was out of town.  I have set them up and they work fine.  That is why they require AC Power to boost the signal.  Let me know if you have any problems.
Thanks!
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Author Comment

by:Helen_Feddema
ID: 33523495
I got the DAC and the TOSLink cable, and connected the Optical Digital Audio Out port to the cable, and the headphones (actually an extension cable connected to the headphones) to the DAC, and after some fiddling, it works fine.  Originally I didn't hear anything from the headphones, but (to make a long story short), I found that when there is a cable plugged into this port on the HDTV, it doesn't cut off the TV sound (as it did on my old analog TV).  And the DAC has its own volume control.  So to get sound in the headphones, but not on the TV speakers, I had to turn down the TV sound to the lowest possible setting, and adjust the headphone volume on the DAC.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Helen_Feddema
ID: 33523514
Thanks for the help, guys!
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