The S/PDIF standard ("Sony/Philips Digital Interface", or SPDIF for short) is a digital audio data transfer format. It is an international standard known as "IEC-958 type II", which defines both hardware specifications (physical connection characteristics) and a data transfer protocol (16-bit to 24-bit encoding). The S/PDIF standard can be considered the consumer version of the professional interface AES/EBU, to which it adds some power-saving measures.
S/PDIF is used for storing sound digitally on media like DAT (Digital Audio Tape) or manipulating it with audio-manipulation devices. The primary advantage of S/PDIF lies in its ability to transfer sound between two digital audio devices without using an analog connection, which by necessity would reduce some of the quality.
S/PDIF is used for encoding stereo or multichannel sound data (AC3, DTS, MPEG2, etc.).
The S/PDIF standard supports the following sampling rates:
The S/PDIF standard allows for the following connection methods:
In practice, most devices (like sound cards, CD and DVD players, 5.1 amplifiers etc.) usually come with an RCA jack (CINCH).