Iis it beneficial to run an optical digital cable directly from sources like an HD Cable Box and Blu-Ray Player to my AV receiver, rather than having those hooked up to a Samsung PND8000 TV via HDMI, and then just using one optical digital cable from the hdtv to the receiver? I am not sure if there is a significant advantage to one over the other. I do not care about running more cables, am only interested in sound quality.
After browsing forums it seems like this question depends on the receiver, and how well it can handle video processing. Since I own the Marantz SR4003, in addition to it being only 80 watts per channel, it may be better to only send audio signals through the receiever that way it can focus more on the job at hand, mainly SOUND as best as possible.
Yes it does depend on the receiver, with an older receiver like the 4003 it may indeed be best to just to pass the audio to the receiver via optical and then send the video directly to the TV via HDMI.
However if you get a new receiver with a high quality video processing chip, then it makes sense to take advantage of that by sending everything via HDMI to the receiver first and then out from the receiver to the TV.