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The Sony/Philips Digital Interface (S/PDIF) is a protocol that uses an electrical or optical cable to carry digital audio signals between components and devices over short distances. S/PDIF allows data transfers of audio files between devices without the need for conversion to analog and vice versa. Depending on its purpose, it may use fiber optic cables via TOSLINK or a coaxial cable with RCA connectors.
Its formal name is Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format (S/PDIF)
S/PDIF is used for the following processes:
Because the S/PDIF format has no defined data rate standard that allows support of both or additional formats, it sends data using a biphase mark code, which has one-two transitions per bit and allows for direct extraction of the original word clock from the digital signal. A caveat to this interface format is that the receiver has no control over the data rate. Thus, it must synchronize its conversion with the source's clock to prevent bit slip.