Best answer by Keith N
While I understand you did not want to use an HDMI-to-optical converter, I wasn't sure if you knew the Beam already includes an HDMI-to-optical adapter. It's much smaller and snaps right onto the HDMI cable, rather than most "breakout-box" style HDMI converters. This would require your source (older AppleTV's, Xbox, cable box) to have an available optical audio port. Just now, I tested this with my own Beam setup and wasn't able to set up my new AppleTV via HDMI (no optical port), but my Xbox was able to use optical to finish TV setup and it was able to pass an audio signal to the Beam.