Sending audio from TV to a sound system, buying Kodak’s great P880

Week of September 10, 2006

Q: I have a TV with a digital out port that is an RCA connection. Is there any way to run it through my old Kenwood stereo receiver that has L and R in RCA jacks? I tried going with a single RCA cable from the TV to one of the stereo jacks, but just get a hum. I assume my analog stereo does not understand the digital signal coming from the TV. Is there such a thing as a digital to analog audio converter? Or would I just be better off getting a new home theater system?

-Terry Fruechting, Wichita, KS

A: You are correct- the stereo receiver does not understand the digital connection. Digital-to-analog converters exist, but they tend to be quite expensive as they are directed towards the high-end market. Best to simply buy a new receiver with digital inputs.

If you have a cable box, a VCR, or DVD recorder connected to your TV, you will see they have analog audio outputs. You can use these outputs with your receiver, and use the tuner integrated into these components to change channels. I do think the best, most seamless solution is to get a new digital receiver, and add speakers to it to make surround sound. You can start with the receiver, or get the whole system at once. Since your question regarded a receiver, I will limit my suggestions to that category for now.

The best entry-level model I know of is Onkyo’s newly introduced TX-SR504, selling for $300. It has 75 watts per channel going into seven channels and includes built0in XM radio capability. For $200, check out the Onkyo TX-SR304. It offers 65 watts per channel over five channels. Both will provide excellent sound in most any system.

Q: After reading your Sound Advice column in our local paper on Monday
regarding the Kodak P880 digital camera, I tried to find a location
near my area where I could see the camera to familiarize myself with it and I
am having a hell of a time finding a place that has it. Most places are
just special ordering it without carrying it in stock. Even going to the
Kodak websites was a waste of time. Can you help me find a place to see it?

-Lou DeMorales, Thousand Oaks, CA

A: I wish I knew a store near you that stocked the camera, but with the multitude of models on the market it is hard for anyone to stock them all.

If I was buying a P880 today, I would go to, click on Consumer Photography, then click on Kodak Store. There you click on Digital Cameras and you will see a P880 icon. There you will see the MSRP on this outstanding camera has just been lowered to $399! You can order it right there.

For a better deal, click on the Reconditioned Digital Camera link and you will find it for only $339. Some people hesitate to buy refurbs (also called B-Stock) but I am a strong advocate of them if the savings are considerable. They usually come with a warranty identical to a factory-fresh unit, and are subject to even tighter quality control.

I also recommend you purchase the P20 accessory flash. It dramatically improves flash pictures and is very easy to use. Just attach it and turn it on! Most flashes require tweaking to get great results. This one seems to do a perfect job right out of the box.

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