from TV to amp: hdmi arc extractor vs optical dac

So, I've seen a lot of small HDMI Extractors selling on Amazon and elsewhere... the purpose is to take HDMI ARC from TV to an analogue amp (HDMI arc in, RCA out). ... just to play the TV in stereo (2.0 or 2.1) through my amp and nice speakers. 

Do those little boxes actually work well for that, at $29 or whatever?  I've seen them up to $189.  

Likewise, there's also optical "extractors" boxes too, similar (optical in, RCA out).  Again, two-channel.  They are basically a small dac to do the job, apparently.

For just TV and movie watching in stereo, is one solution better than the other? 

Is it worth it to spend more money, or are the simple inexpensive ones fine?

Is it better to get something like a Schiit Modi 3e dac, run the optical from the TV into it and then RCA out to the amp?  

I don't want to underspend, but I don't want to overspend either... I'd say the $189 is the most I'd want to spend, and only if it's worth it, which is why I thought maybe Modi as a midground?   I'm not super critical for audio in my two-channel system while watching TV or movie, but I do have a nice stereo and may as well use it.  Where's the sweetspot solution? 


To be safe, stick to a simple stereo DAC like the Topping D30 will work just fine, or any other stereo DAC with optical input. You can go cheaper but I wouldn’t go more expensive than that. 😁

I say to be safe because HDMI is always a little fussy.  HDMI requires handshaking and protocols and has more settings than optical out, especially just for 2 channel. Especially if you plan on using Audio Return Channel (ARC) from the TV those are just naturally fussy.  Even among big brands ARC/HDMI may be buggy so I never trust a cheap HDMI extractor to work reliably.

OTOH if you get an inexpensive 2 channel DAC, and set the digital output to stereo you are never going to have a problem. Never. It just works.

Even among big brands ARC/HDMI may be buggy so I never trust a cheap HDMI extractor to work reliably.

Agree with @erik_squires. As someone who’s fallen victim to HDMI compatibility issues it’s just not worth dealing with for what you want to spend. I think Erik’s suggestion of running optical into an E30 is excellent and will be more than sufficient for your needs with none of the headaches. Best of luck.

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I ditched cable years ago... and thousands of dollars later:  voila Marantz Ruby in the house.  I can't speak to any cable tv method... hell, I couldn't even speak without cable, so can't help there.

I like simple, so I think I'm going w a simple optical to dac to amp... probably the Schitt Modi, as it is less expensive than the Topping and for TV viewing I'm sure it's more than good enough.  That way the TV has its own input on the amp, easy for me and any other even-more-novice-than-me household member to use.

Thank you all for the suggestions.