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How to play speakers 2 feet from router. Do I really need an APExpress?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by dmaxdmax, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. macrumors 6502

    I've just turned on iTunes Match and have about 12,000 songs on a shared drive that's plugged into an AirPort Extreme. I want to play iTunes through a pair of powered speakers on top of the cabinet holding the electronics. Will I really need to get an APExpress to plug into the *same powerstrip* as the APExtreme?

    An APExpress is the same price as an AppleTV. Can an ATV work with audio only without a screen to run the menus? Is it possible to control it using an iPhone or iPad?

    For now I'm simply plugging the speakers into a 1G iPod Touch which limits me to stored playlists but it has the advantage of being both free and bulletproof (no network streaming issues).

  2. macrumors 603


    The latest ATV2 patch 4.4.3 will do audio without a screen. It's optical only audio out though.

    Use the Remote app.
  3. macrumors 6502

    thanks blueroom - that's almost good news since I don't have optical in.

    Would the ATV2 get its music from the disk or the cloud? (Match)
  4. macrumors 603


    I believe it does, but we're still waiting for iTunes Match here in Canada so I can't say for sure. An AirPort Express has both optical and analog out and will work as a basic AirPlay device.
  5. macrumors 6502

  6. macrumors 6502

    I've never used one of those before but it looks like that's exactly what you would need.
  7. macrumors 6502

    Oops - not so fast - that converter goes to RCA jacks. There must be an equivalent that goes to a mini.
  8. macrumors 603


    Just get a RCA to Mini cable.
  9. macrumors member

    I think this may be what you are looking for.

  10. macrumors 68030


    Rather than an ATV, D/A converter, and RCA-3.5MM adapter... you can get the APExpress refurbished from Apple for $69.00. The ATV2 really isn't buying you any extra features, so why spend the extra money?

  11. macrumors 65816

    There is *some* overlap in the functionality of the AirPort Express and the AppleTV: ie. It is possible to stream audio from iTunes to both of them, using the "Multiple speakers" tab in iTunes.

    But its not ALWAYS a better idea to get the AppleTV 2 instead of the AirPort Express. The AirPort has some uses that the AppleTV doesn't have.

    1) You can use the AirPort as a portable wireless router. Some hotel rooms have only wired DSL internet. With practice, you can establish an ad-hoc wifi network in less than five minutes using an AirPort Express. Its also nice to have the AirPort Express as a backup in case your regular wifi router does down for any reason (as mine did about a month ago.)

    2) You *can* run AppleTV without a screen. But its awkward to do so. If your are mainly going to be streaming music to a set of remote speakers, the Airport Express, with its simple mini stereo plug, is probably easier to connect to a small (or old) amplifier or receiver than the ATV, which requires either HDMI or Optical input jacks.

    3) You can also use the AirPort Express to turn a printer into a wireless network unit. Kind of handy if your ever have the need to do so.

    Again, I'm a big fan of the AppleTV. But if you are planning on running it without a screen, you *may* be better off with the AirPort Express.
  12. macrumors 6502

    Buy the AppleTV and be done. My guess is that the AirPort Express won't be supported by Apple too much longer. It was good for AirTunes before the advent of AirPlay.
  13. macrumors 6502

    The only reason is that if my audio streaming needs change I'll be left with an ATV to be used elsewhere.
  14. macrumors 6502

    I strongly disagree here. Discontinued? Maybe. But no longer supported? I seriously doubt it. I'm curious about what your reasoning is for this.

    In a market where you can buy a $25 wireless router at Frys, Apple needs an entry level wireless router. Even if that router is $99, that's a lot more appealing than the $179 AirPort Extreme to somebody who's just looking to set up a basic wirelss network and wants the reliability of the Apple brand.
  15. macrumors 6502

    Just as I was set to pull the ATV trigger I discovered you can't use it to control volume.

    APExpress refurb at Apple for $69. The boring path of least resistance.
  16. macrumors 6502a

    This seems backwards to me. Prior to the big marketing push for AirPlay, only geeks new about and could usefully leverage AirTunes. For years the AE has been a tough sell even to techies who appreciate a decent networking utility knife.

    The concept of streaming audio to amplifiers from iTunes or iOS devices is now becoming mainstream, and without remote admin á la the AE, the ATV is a poor choice for that task.
  17. macrumors 68040

    What do you mean by this? Volume is controlled by the host computer or iOS device.

    In any case, I think the AE is a much better choice for audio only. In my experience the ATV is not terribly reliable at receiving an audio stream from AirPlay. I often have to try multiple times, or sometimes even reboot by pulling the plug. I've been using the AE for what, 6-7 years now, and they are near 100% reliable. Also, afaik, the ATV must be updated through the video interface, whereas the AE can be managed from a utility on a computer on the same network.

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