AirPlay over Apple TV while TV is off?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by PalacePlayers, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. PalacePlayers macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2011
    Can one stream sound to a pair of speakers connected to Apple TV, while the television is off? I'm thinking of connecting the speakers to the Apple TV via the optical audio port, so that nothing goes through the television, except the HDMI from Apple TV of course.

    I'm asking because my current setup is: AirPort Express for AirPlay, Time Capsule for backup and Apple TV for entertainment. As you can see there is a slight overlap here somewhere, I'm hoping to remove the AirPort Express while still not needing to turn the TV on.

  2. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    it will work, while i haven't tried it, i believe i've read in these forums that it outputs the same audio on the HDMI and optical ports at all time.
  3. Otago Lad macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2011
    New Zealand
    That's correct. I use this setup in a couple of different locations in our house.

    In one, I have the HDMI going into my Denon amplifier and then out to the TV and with this I can have the TV off and the sound coming through the speakers attached to the amp.

    In the other scenario I have the HDMI straight into my TV with an optical out into an older Denon amp (it doesn't have HDMI input or output) and again I can have the TV off and the audio comes through the speakers attached to the amp (i.e. the sound is going via the optical connection to the amp).

    Hope this helps.
  4. LongSticks macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2012
    Kent, UK
    I have a newer HDMI connected Denon - HDMI from ATV to Denon and then HDMI from Denon to TV - and this works in TV off mode as well for airplay from iOS and our iMac.
  5. PalacePlayers thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2011
    Thanks for the replies. How is the AirPlay via Opitical Audio via Apple TV compared to minijack via AirPort Express?

    In my experience, running audio AirPlay through HDMI -> television -> minijack -> speakers brings considerably more lag since Apple TV wants to display track info on screen etc. When I use AirPort Express the music just instantly gets on. Does this lag disappear if TV is turned off?
  6. mclog macrumors newbie

    Sep 8, 2010
    I have both AEX and ATV2 connected to different pairs of speakers without any display connected to the ATV2. I can't say I notice any lag with the ATV2 myself compared with the AEX, but I would assume that the ATV is still doing it's UI work even without a connected display. How about just unplugging it and trying?
  7. PalacePlayers thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2011
    Thing is I don't have an optical audio cable yet, and I wanted to know how well it works before I invest in it.
  8. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    not a huge investment.
    a 3 footer at monoprice is $1.65 plus shipping (link) (a 50' is $8.38)
    I just looked at best buy's site, don't go there, those cables are a massive ripoff.
    The cables from monoprice work just as well (less buzzwords on the package though), and they have a lifetime guarantee.

    all audio airplay has lag, there is a delay of about 2 seconds built in so it can buffer a bit. apple gets around this by delaying the interface in iTunes (or other airplay source) to match the output.

    you will notice this if skipping tracks, but when letting tracks play from one into the next you shouldn't notice it.

    i stream to multiple devices at once, and they are all in sync.
    (denon AVR receiver with airplay-displays track info, airport express with speakers, iHome iW2, B&W A7) I've also had an aTV in the mix, and it was fine.
  9. warvanov macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2011
    As others have stated, you should have no problems running audio out from your Apple TV via the optical audio cable out when the TV is off. I do this myself and the audio plays fine whether or not the TV is on and displaying the Apple TV display.

    As for ATV via optical audio vs. APE via minijack, the audio quality may be improved with the digital optical cable but that would depend somewhat on the source and your stereo. You might or might not be able to tell the difference.

    As far as latency or lag, I haven't noticed a difference between running audio through my ATV and my APX, although I haven't done any deliberate testing. However, I wouldn't expect any existing latency to disappear just because the TV is turned off, but I don't know for sure.
  10. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    AirPlay over Apple TV while TV is off?

    I get confused with all this audiophile talk very easily so bare with me.

    However my setup is ATV hdmi > TV for video and ATV optical > receiver for sound. In settings Audio is set to optical.

    I did this initially for ease of installation but never changed it. It works just as you'd expect. Watching AppleTV everything is perfect or if you want to AirPlay music with the TV off it's perfect too.

    Not exactly sure what you mean by lag but with pandora for example. If I directly compare the song timers from my iOS device to my TV there is a 1-2 second difference.

    Sounds like lag right? Here is the weird part, the TV is displaying AHEAD of my iOS device. Good luck figuring that out.
  11. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Yup. I use mine like that all the time. It's not even connected to a TV.

    Sorry, no AE to compare with. My ATV2 doesn't instantly play there is a slight lag but it's no different than it is with my Airplay speakers or my Denon receiver with Airplay.

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