For audio, Optical is always the best way to go. All signals are transmitted by light and have the lowest resistance than its digital coaxial counterpart. They cannot be assigned to the same source at the same time. The Optical cable (Toslink) is cable of trasmitting all the different sound formats. Your left/right composite audio cables are capable of only transmitting one channel of audio per connection.
In order to get 6.1 surround sound from a multi-composite input you would need to have 7 connections. 2 - front, 2- surround, 1 rear-surround, 1 center and 1 sub. Best to use a optical cable.
For video, in the following order from least quality to highest. Composite (Yellow), S-Video, Component (Red, Blue, Green), DVI (Digital Video Interface) and finally HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) which is capable of handeling all audio and video formats and bi-directional communication between the different components that are connected via the HDMI cable.
Hope this helps.
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OK - I am pretty new at all this tech stuff, so some of these questions may be redundant (ie asked already at this forum), and very simple...but here goes.
So for sound (AUDIO), going from my DVD player or CD player to a reciver, what is the best way to get the best quality and surround sound possible. Obviously the standard, red and white (left and right) or composite is not as good as multiple composite, but is digital better than multiple composite or are the 2 equal. I have also noticed while looking around that most recievers that have an optical audio imput always have an RCA input labled "Audio Output Digital - Coaxial" - do optical imput and this other imput get used together? If you did use a multicomposite cord for audio, which splits up the signal to each individual speaker, if you have a reciever that has only Front, R, C and L speakers, and 2 surround sounds R, L and a sub input, but you have a 6:1 speaker system, do you get true 6:1 surround sound if you use an optical input?
For video, are there optical capabilities for this yet? All I have seen are component imputs, the standard Green, BLue, Red cords. Is this the best way to go? Is S-video better?
Thanks for the info and help