I just plug my Directv straight into a line level input and listen thru my stereo but the sound quality is pretty bad - thin and lifeless...
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If you have a DAC, use the optical from the DTV box.
Also, go into the DTV menus and look for audio setup. Select PCM only, if that's an option. Also, disable the sound 'leveling' you'd like for late night TV watching. That feature helps keep from 'blasting' during commercials in a quiet house....late. Even a modest DAC will be much better than whatever the DTV box has now.
I have DishNetwork and use the above setup. I find the SQ to be roughly MP3-320. Great background or 'work in kitchen' music. Also, I can hear stuff I'd never buy. But I skip the 'trance music'.....
Consult your TV guide page for music channels. I have a mix of generic but also XM /Sirius on the upgrade. Several Jazz / progressive feeds. 50s? 60s? 70s? Soul? R+B? 'Sinatra'? 7 or 8 Christmas Feeds in-season. More country and BlueGrass than I can count (run out of fingers) and even Hawaiian music!
Be Warned, though, that some music transcribed from Vinyl will come with an awful near-infrasonic rumble. Be ready to turn off the sub.
I use the analogue output from my Direct into a 2 channel HT system and find the sound to be quite good if variable. Shows like the Mentalist or HBO are excellent while some others are mediocre at best. Kung Fu Panda was much better sonically than in the theater on my system. You can take the sound direct from the RCA jacks on the receiver but I have been using the output jacks on my Panasonic Plasma into the pre, can't really tell much difference either way.
I use my DirecTV coax digital out to my Bryston BDA-1 DAC. It works reliable, however the sound quality is so-so. The internet radio channels on my Apple TV sound much better.
It's certainly possible for the music channels to sound excellent, before the Sirius XM merger, the channels that DirecTV carried were different, and some of them just sounded fantastic. Unfortunately, it's now all heavily compressed, and well, better than nothing.
TV shows can sound quite good, and of course you can output sound in Dolby Digital, so for TV shows with a Dolby Digital processor, the sound quality is quite good.
Actually, FIOS does have the advantage in available bandwidth but that doesn't mean the content providers will make use of it. Those boxes are capable of close to 1G bandwidth if the service provider opens them up. CATV is limited by the time slicing that happens due to the conversion to/from RF. So 10 set top boxes hanging off the same network termination box in a neighborhood have to share time. It is amazing what they can do with the technology choices they made years ago. Sat is limited by the number of transceivers on each sat, which is why we crazy sat subscribers have a funky 5 lnb dish. That said most all of us who were developing GPON boxes have been re-tasked to the cable box space. Guess we know who is winning that war. ;-)
And those are still not 1080. The cameras are, but they down convert to 720. They have been doing this for years for several reasons, and the providers have to add all of those shopping channels to help pay the bills. I would love to have ala carte option. I would gladly pay $150 a month for only 10-12 channels IF they were all 1080.