PDA

View Full Version : Help on how to: Apple TV and Surround Sound




PassMeAGuinness
Nov 10, 2011, 11:14 AM
Greetings all.

First, let me preface my question with a bit of background info.

Last night I discovered the "Remote" app in the AppStore. I learned that I can control my iTunes music library with my new iPhone 4s (first time iOS user, loving it so far, btw).

I hooked up my laptop via AUX, to my Bose SoundDock. I was able to play my music from my iTunes library onto my SoundDock this way, which was great.

Then I thought, that perhaps there was a way I can do the same thing, without having the need for the laptop. Here is where Apple TV comes in. I just called Apple's tech support, but I am not sure the rep knew what he was saying.

So, onto my question:

Is there a way, that I can hook up Apple TV to surround sound, WITHOUT having my laptop powered on ? I don't want to hook up Apple TV to my TV or anything like that. I just want the Apple TV to go DIRECTLY into my surround sound, so that I can control my iTunes library with my iPhone.

Is this possible ?

Thanks all !



nosaj72
Nov 10, 2011, 11:20 AM
1st problem is that the current gen apple tv doesn't have an analog output, only optical and hdmi. So the question is what you want to hook it up to? The sounddock? I believe that only has an analog input. I'm not sure what you mean by "Surround Sound".

You might be a better candidate for an Airport Express. It has an analog out and doesn't involve a TV at all.

PassMeAGuinness
Nov 10, 2011, 11:24 AM
1st problem is that the current gen apple tv doesn't have an analog output, only optical and hdmi. So the question is what you want to hook it up to? The sounddock? I believe that only has an analog input. I'm not sure what you mean by "Surround Sound".

You might be a better candidate for an Airport Express. It has an analog out and doesn't involve a TV at all.

Well, that was going to be my next question ! I realize that the SoundDock only has an AUX input jack, and that Apple TV only has Optical Audio out.

But, there is a cable on Amazon that is Optical Audio to 3.5mm AUX, so I was going to try that cable. (I think its called a TOSLINK cable)

I don't know what Airport Express is, but I am about to check it out on Apple's site.

Thanks !

blevins321
Nov 10, 2011, 11:33 AM
Well, that was going to be my next question ! I realize that the SoundDock only has an AUX input jack, and that Apple TV only has Optical Audio out.

But, there is a cable on Amazon that is Optical Audio to 3.5mm AUX, so I was going to try that cable.

I don't know what Airport Express is, but I am about to check it out on Apple's site.

Thanks !

Airport Express is a scaled down version of Apple's Airport Extreme Router. It can be used as a router, but it also has a USB port and an analog audio out port. You can set it to connect to your existing wireless network and with it you can specify your computer or your iPhone to "Airplay" to speakers that are plugged into it.

They're usually $99, but HERE (http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB321LL/A)is a refurbed model for $69.

nosaj72
Nov 10, 2011, 11:43 AM
Well, that was going to be my next question ! I realize that the SoundDock only has an AUX input jack, and that Apple TV only has Optical Audio out.

But, there is a cable on Amazon that is Optical Audio to 3.5mm AUX, so I was going to try that cable. (I think its called a TOSLINK cable)

I don't know what Airport Express is, but I am about to check it out on Apple's site.

Thanks !

Careful, that cable is for a 3.5 Optical input. The sounddock has a 3.5 Analog input. That cable won't help.

I think the airport express is what you need. Hook that up to the sounddock and you can stream music from iTunes or from you iphone using Airplay.

If there is no TV, avoid the apple tv, because at the very least you will need a TV to set it up.

Gav2k
Nov 10, 2011, 11:59 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

Is your iTunes library on your laptop?

PassMeAGuinness
Nov 10, 2011, 12:06 PM
Careful, that cable is for a 3.5 Optical input. The sounddock has a 3.5 Analog input. That cable won't help.

I think the airport express is what you need. Hook that up to the sounddock and you can stream music from iTunes or from you iphone using Airplay.

If there is no TV, avoid the apple tv, because at the very least you will need a TV to set it up.

Nosaj, Thanks for your help.

I just spoke to another Apple Tech Support rep, and he said that I can completely bypass using my iTunes Library, IF I want to use the library stored on my iPhone.

Which is fine, because it is the exact same library (they are synced)

So, apparently, all I have to do is initially set up Apple TV (through a television, which is no problem) to sync with the iPhone. But you are telling me that Airport Express does this ? Without having the need to have my laptop on ?

Thanks again.

EDIT: Also, on the TOSLINK cable, according to the reviews on Amazon, it seems like people are using the cable to move sound from their TV to their surround sound.

Wouldn't this be the same case, in moving sound from Apple TV to my SoundDock ?

Again, thanks !

here are the reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/Cables-Go-27016-Velocity-Toslink/product-reviews/B0002JFN1A/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

testerdennis
Nov 10, 2011, 05:29 PM
If you just want audio from your device why don't you just get one of these http://www.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=508754

PassMeAGuinness
Nov 11, 2011, 07:31 AM
If you just want audio from your device why don't you just get one of these http://www.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=508754

Its not that I only want audio, but that is my main reason for getting one of these devices.

The fact that Apple TV has all the extras (Netflix, YouTube, photo slideshow, etc) is just a huge bonus, and would be nice to have. But then again, if it doesn't stream my music from my phone to my surround, (without the need of a TV or my laptop) then its useless to me.

Nonetheless, I am going to look into that link you gave me. Thanks :)

HobeSoundDarryl
Nov 11, 2011, 09:34 AM
You (OP) have a lot of varying wants here.

Consider getting a new receiver with HDMI and optical inputs. The Sound dock is OK but it's a little locked down (as you are experiencing right now) as your audio/video flexibility wants expand. A robust receiver should let you do just about anything you want to do for years to come. But paired with a current generation :apple:TV, a good receiver won't resolve the need to have that computer running. The current :apple:TV demands the link to a computer. If you need to be able to turn that computer off and/or take it out of the house and still access your content, the current :apple:TV is not your answer.

Consider :apple:TV version 1. It includes analog audio out and is almost as robust hardware-wise (720p 25fps vs. 720p 30fps). Version 1 won't have Netflix and a few other (newer) niceties and Apple has apparently abandoned it for any additional software updates. But it still does the job and just about everything version 2 can play can be played on version 1. Also, the remote app will run version 1 too, but no airplay. And it has more storage than the iPhone so if you can sync all of your media on an iPhone you could sync it all onto the :apple:TV hard drive and turn the computer off.

Consider a non-Apple set-top box like Roku and others. Some of them come with analog audio out. None of them link as tightly with iTunes but that may not matter that much (to everyone). Generally, you can put all your media on an attached USB drive and it is always ready to play without any computers running. If you can fit all of your media on an iPhone, even a smallish (cheap) attached hard drive should do the trick. If you happen to have some old storage sitting around doing nothing, pull it out of the retired computer and put it in an cheap case. Even older IDE drives can be resurrected for this kind of use (and work fine).

Lastly, (even though you say you don't want to do this) if you have a TV with output options (audio out), consider linking an :apple:TV directly to the TV and then using those output jacks to send the audio back to the Sound Dock. Generally, this means you'll need to turn your TV on for the pass through, but it might be a way to go from digital audio out (of :apple:TV version 2) to digital audio in (on the TV) to analog out (of the TV) to analog in on the Sound Dock. You should test this to see if it works as it may not (but I bet it will). The big downside here is having to leave your TV on to do this audio pass through but it would be one of the cheapest ways to do what you want (though still not solving the "leave the computer off" desire if you go with :apple:TV version 2).

Based on your stated wants, I think you should look to Roku or similar or maybe the first generation :apple:TV. That "turn the computer off" want just about begs you to choose something other than the current :apple:TV. But again, with those options, there's no Airplay and while Roku can handle Netflix and many others, the first gen :apple:TV doesn't have Netflix.

steve-p
Nov 11, 2011, 09:54 AM
Consider getting a new receiver with HDMI and optical inputs.
Optical input is not needed these days if the receiver has HDMI, because HDMI carries the same audio. I'm using HDMI-only with my surround sound receiver both for stereo music and 5.1 surround for movies.

HobeSoundDarryl
Nov 11, 2011, 10:01 AM
Optical input is not needed these days if the receiver has HDMI, because HDMI carries the same audio. I'm using HDMI-only with my surround sound receiver both for stereo music and 5.1 surround for movies.

I've seen a lot of people commenting that if they turn their TVs off the audio for music stops playing from :apple:TV version 2 when passed through just HDMI. This may not affect everyone but I've seen enough such comments to believe there is a problem (that :apple:TV version 2 wants to see that a TV is on or it stops sending signals- video & audio- in some cases). Maybe that's not what happens with your particular setup. The OP seems to be looking for this (audio only playback with TV off) as a principal want.

PassMeAGuinness
Nov 11, 2011, 12:09 PM
The current :apple:TV demands the link to a computer. If you need to be able to turn that computer off and/or take it out of the house and still access your content, the current :apple:TV is not your answer.

Thanks for your reply, Hobe. I have just now spoken to a second Apple Rep, who has confirmed with me that I do NOT need Apple TV to be linked up to a computer, for me to transmit audio from my iPhone to Apple TV's Optical Out port (which would lead into my Bose SoundDock)


Consider a non-Apple set-top box like Roku and others.


Actually, I was just looking into these, as they have a sale today somewhere, where they are doing two for the price of one, IIRC.

Thanks again everyone, for your input. :)