look over on AVS forum probably locate better information there
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I changed from a Sony A-55 DD sattelite receiver to a Phillips DSX 5540. There are a couple of significant differences: Audio- the Phillips has a digital coax out (almost unheard of) along with a Toslink and Video- it also has component video out connections along with S-Video. These two things add to the overall audio/video quality that the Phillips is able to provide over the Sony. Also, if you have caller ID and your phone is hooked into the DSX, phone info will appear on your screen through the sat receiver (kinda cool). Even though I use the s-video connection, it's still a better picture than the Sony, and with a good digital cable, the audio is much better.
My Sony was modified by Theta. I actually had MSB modify it first and was unhappy. They each used different digital boards. You'll probably never guess what my reference was--what I was trying to duplicate ? ---Cable's original digital radio---it had its own box;the readout song info was in the remote. Back then I was using a Digital Lense and Theta's Gen 5 a--- Yup, it WAS, "cd-quality".
"the Phillips has a digital coax out (almost unheard of)"
I dunno... The Samsung SIR-TS160 had TOSLink & digital coax, component up-convert, on-screen caller ID, and all that since at least late in 2002. We can vouch for the video & sound and if possible only watch (and listen to) cable through the 160, also. Oh - and it has games, too :~).
I have the SIR-TS160. I put it on a Svelte with Aurios Pros. I use a Kharma digital cable on it. For power I use just an old Whale but I use a ps audio 300 to keep the power stable. (Especially good for projection bulb life too).
Anyway, with all that stuff on it, it sounds much better than without!
Try treating whatever you decide to use like a source component and you will get an improvement.
Mejames is correct about AVS forum, but AVS tends to dwell on video performance.
(I always click on the little text box "Thread ---> Show printable version". I puts the text into a legible black and white field.)
I am running my Satellite's audio through my Audio Aero Mark II's DAC. Since the audio feed from satellites is compressed I really don't think there is much more I can do to improve it. My results are better than using the tuner's DAC.
I have also found that my local PBS over the air audio feed is better than Satellite.