The basic way to get audio from your Mac to your receiver is by using your Mac’s stereo minijack audio output. Because most receivers accept RCA audio cables as input, you need to get an adapter cable that converts minijack to RCA and then purchase an RCA cable. Connect your Mac’s audio output to the receiver’s audio input, and you’re all set.
Figure 5 A minijack adapter makes it easy to get your Mac’s audio out into your receiver’s audio in via an RCA audio cable. Monster has a high-quality version available for under $10.
If you have a receiver that accepts optical audio (lucky you!), you might want to consider a USB adapter that puts out optical audio, such as the M-Audio Transit, which runs about $100. If you’re lucky enough to also have a Power Mac G5 with optical audio out, add an optical cable and you’re all set.
Figure 6 The M-Audio Transit is a nifty USB device that enables any Mac to send audio out via an optical channel for high-quality digital surround sound.
With audio and video connected, it’s time to test. Boot up your Mac, turn on your receiver (and set the input to your Mac), and power up the television. You should be able to use the Displays portion of System Preferences to set up and send video to your Mac. Check your audio by playing back some beeps and make sure you have a good connection. Once you’re set, try testing your setup: Play a couple of songs using iTunes and fire up the Visualizer. Then pop in a DVD and play it back—you ought to be all set. You can even use the Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" version of Preview to play back a slideshow of open images.