How to convert TV optical output to XLR

I am looking at a new TV set that outputs digital audio via an optical cable and I need to input the optical cable into my Ayre AX-7e Integrated amplifier that takes XLR. It seems all new TV’s output using optical cable (and no longer use RCA plugs).

How do I convert the optical output to XLR? Does this extra step degrade the signal? Do you have any recommendations?
First check if the TV has an option to output digital PCM. If it only outputs Dolby Digital, your DAC will need to support the format or you'll need something like the Gefen GTV-DD-2-AA. No idea how the Gefen sounds.
If I'm not mistaken the AX-7e only provides analog inputs (on both its XLR and its RCA input connectors), not digital inputs. So you would have to connect an optical cable from the TV to a DAC, to convert the digital signal to analog, and connect the left and right channel analog outputs of the DAC to the AX-7e.

-- Al
You will need a DAC that accepts optical aka toslink and has XLR outputs. Or you could use RCA to XLR cables or use one of the single-ended inputs on the Ayre. But as far as I can tell, the Arye does NOT accept digital inputs, where toslink, co-ax, aes/ebu, ATT, or I2S. OTOH, you may be able to get an analog audio signal from your cable box.
You can't connect the digital output from your tv to your Ayre because the AX-7 doesn't have a dac. If you have a cable or sat box, you may be able to get analog audio out of that. Otherwise you'll need to get a dac.
In addition to getting a DAC with optical input, you need to make sure that the DAC will convert Dolby Digital to analog. Typical analog DACs cannot do this because they accept only PCM. Unfortunately, most TV outputs are not PCM.
Like the other guys said.

Step 1 - Turn Dolby Digital into PCM
Step 2 - Turn PCM into XLR

The question is where will this happen.

My cable box can output PCM (although they don't call it that), so I am okay with my DAC.

I didn't have a DAC in an older setup, and the analog output of the cable box was far inferior to the digital, so I used a Digital Surround Processor to do the conversion to RCA. I doubt you will find something like this with XLR outputs though.

I really doubt your TV won't be able to output PCM, but you never know.
Many TVs, including Panasonics, don't even allow to choose PCM, outputting automatically Dolby for ATSC and PCM for NTSC. I bought Samsung LED TV because of that - it has choice in the menu for PCM or Dolby output.
Thank you very much for the above information. This TV digital output was new to me. I am reviewing my options.
I just got a Samsung smart TV. Digital audio out is optical. Menu came set a PCM. There were other options but I didn't care at that point. Purchased a doo-dad that converts optical to coax and plugged it into a Tascam DA-30 MK2 Dat deck. Works like a charm. Way better than the analog output of my cable box.
Whoops. I made a mistake. If you ask enough questions, someone will give you the right answer. The correct answer is not to use the TV for audio.

I was told to run the RCA audio cable from my cable box to my Ayre RCA inputs (and bypass my TV) and run balanced cables from my Oppo 105 to the XLR inputs on my Ayre. My cable problem is solved and will result in much better sound by not running audio through my TV and then to my amplifier.

I select one input for TV listening and a 2nd input when listening thru the Oppo 105. My problem is solved. Thank you very much.
Today, I also ordered a new Astound cable box with Tivo scheduled for installation on May 4th. The new Astound (ISP) cable box will enable me to correct the "incorrect wiring" of my Pioneer TV, Ayre AX-7e amplifier and Oppo Blu-Ray player.

I will be using a HDMI cable from the cable box to the Pioneer TV and my WireWorld Silver Eclipse 7 interconnect cable from the cable box to my Ayre amplifier. The Oppo Blu-Ray player audio will also be connected to my Ayre AX-7e amplifier for audio and HDMI cable to the TV. In addition, the new cable box with Tivo will give me more options including recording on one TV and listening on my 2nd TV.

The Tivo Mini box (used for 2nd TV Set) will have a MoCA Adapter that will enable it to connect to the internet using the coaxial cable and not an Ethernet connection. These changes should result in better flexibility, sound and picture quality.