I know the audio line-out port on the MacBook Pro – and even older MacBooks and the Mac mini – sport a dual capability: in addition to providing the expected and obvious 3.5mm analog stereo audio output, the port is capable of digital optical audio output.
Then by using a Mini-TOSLINK cable, it is possible to connect such a Mac to an A/V receiver (or a dedicated DAC, if you're really into this kind of thing) and thereby enjoy fully digital audio from the Mac.
Sadly, I also understand the MacBook Air does not enjoy this dual-purpose audio output port. I tried, and I checked the specs, and I was disappointed it is simply plain analog stereo. So, what I'd like to know is:
Is it possible, using a third-party device, to produce digital audio output from a MacBook Air? I'm wondering if this may be possible via USB or the Thunderbolt port. Do such devices exist?