I have an nVidia Shield box which outputs only by HDMI. You can also attach a USB DAC for audio output.

With no line out or anything else analog, would I be right in my belief that this box (and similar) is absolutely dependent on the DAC abilities of what it's outputing to, that it has no impact on the digitial to analog conversion internally; that if it outputs audio over HDMI it can only do so digitally and it's up to the DAC hardware of a television or reciever, and the quality of those components, to perform the audio conversion to analog unless a USB DAC is attached, in which case that takes on the same job.


  • 2
    Yup. They saved the cost of DACs. – Tetsujin Sep 2 '16 at 8:57

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