I’ve just been on the mighty fleabay and got hold of an official Microsoft audio dongle so that I can use both HDMI and optical digital outputs of my Xbox 360. Bizarrely, Microsoft have opted to have the optical out built into the AV lead rather than the Xbox itself. There is an optical audio output built into the standard component hi-def lead which comes in the box, and there’s even one on the SCART lead, but if you opt for HDMI then you’re scuppered. Weird. Obviously it’s not an issue if you’re plugging the HDMI into an AV receiver that accepts audio over HDMI, but I’m not. I still need “old-fashioned” optical. And the other thing is Microsoft bundles the dongle with the top-of-the-range 360 Elite, but not with the lower models, meaning you have to shell out extra. Typical.
Anyway, it is bought now, so I’m looking forward to an HD picture and 5.1 Dolby Digital any day now.