Apple TV: Analog Out?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by hairypoo, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. hairypoo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    #1
    According to the Apple shop website, Apple TV does not have analog out for music, only digital. Is this right or do I miss something?
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #2
    That is correct, the current Apple TV only offers digital audio and video out ports.
    If you only have analog audio inputs, you need a converter box, costing from 30 to 60 USD (and probably more).
     
  3. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #3
    :apple:TV version 1 had analog out and some of us hopes it makes a comeback in :apple:TV3. Why? It seems that those with receivers that include a zone 2 option (play main audio on zone 1 and a separate stream of audio on zone 2) generally require feeding that zone 2 functionality with an analog stereo signal.

    As I understand it, the :apple:TV2 is a stripped down iPad board, which means the capability is on there for analog out (just as iPad has analog audio out). If it's on the board, it would be nice to resuscitate the feature for :apple:TV3.

    Of course, the zone 2 issue is a bit nichey so maybe it isn't important enough to make the featureset of the new version. Often, the zone 2-capable person doesn't even know he has a problem until he tries to make zone 2 work (so it's probably not a make or break feature). Still, it would be nice to see a tiny mini-jack out option added to the back just for this kind of purpose.
     
  4. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #4
    +1. I will probably be buying an ATV3. I sure hope it has analog audio out. It seems no one manufactures an affordable receiver that can route digital audio to zone 2.
     
  5. hairypoo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    #5
    Zones?

    Thanks. So we are waiting for version 3 even though I am not sure to understand the issue of "zones". Do you refer to the video copyright zones?
     
  6. LaWally macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2012
    #6
    From an article on the web:

    http://hometheater.about.com/od/audiocomponents/a/multizoneinfo.htm

    Multi-Zone capability is a function in which the Receiver can send a second source signal to speakers or a separate audio system in another location. This is not the same as just connecting additional speakers and placing them in another room.

    The Multi-Zone function allows a Home Theater Receiver to actually control either the same, or a separate, source than the one being listened to in the main room, to another location. For example, the user can be watching a DVD movie with surround sound in the main room, while someone else can listen to a CD player in another, at the same time. Both the DVD player and CD player are connected to the same Receiver, but are accessed and controlled separately using the same main Receiver.
     
  7. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #7
    LaWally covered it great. Here's how it's applied for me...

    In the living room, the family might be watching a 5.1 surround sound movie on the :apple:TV. Out on the deck, I might want to pump some stereo audio from the SATT receiver to listen to music out there. The receiver is built to do this (play both sources of audio at the same time) but it needs analog in for zone 2 (digital in doesn't work).

    The desire for :apple:TV3 to have it goes like this: family is watching surround sound show via the SATT receiver. I'd like to play my favorite iTunes playlist on that deck. This works just fine for me now because I kept the :apple:TV1 (with analog out). :apple:TV2 couldn't work this way without some kind of added hardware.

    Many people see :apple:TV as some kind of video player- especially an iTunes store rental video player. In fact, it's many traditional pieces of hardware rolled into one- and generally done better. It was not that long ago that I owned Sony disc jukeboxes: one for the DVD collection and one for the CD collection. Now all that resides in iTunes and all can be played via :apple:TV. Sure, it's pretty good for video playback but it is also a good audio device too (generally much better than that old CD jukebox hardware-- shuffling the whole collection on the jukebox meant long delays between songs while one disc was swapped for the next).

    While HDMI and optical make sense for preserving surround sound audio associated with movies & TV shows, good old analog audio is still a pretty good way to move stereo audio (all our music) around. Sure, technically pushing that through an optical cable is maximizing the preservation of sound bit for bit, but if we've embraced compression vs. CD, we're really saying we're not that hung up on purist quality of audio and probably few of us could tell the difference of whether an audio track got to our receivers via optical digital or analog cables anyway. As I understand it, the hardware is already on the iPad-based board so it's not like they have to go way out of the way to make analog audio out an option. And a mini-jack would easily fit into lots of empty spaces for it on the back.

    All that said though, for a subset of us, it would be a nice feature to resurrect from gen 1 to gen 3. Especially for multi-zone receivers, it certainly has a tangible application.
     
  8. Bill.the.Cat macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    #8
    This plus a toslink cable is all you should need for analog stereo out. Not terribly elegant-looking (particularly since it requires AC power) but should do the job for about $25.
     
  9. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    #9
    I was going to suggest an Airport Express but that's a great route if one already owns an AppleTV (or other Apple device).

    Kudos for using a monoprice link.
     
  10. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #10
    Understand. But wouldn't it be nice if I didn't have to pay another $25 to make a $100 device do what I need? There are so many applications where you need analog. In my case, it's like others here; I run a second zone to my patio. I rarely want to listen to anything different than zone 1, but I nevertheless need an analog signal for my receiver to route it to zone 2.

    This capability really belongs in the AV receivers, but only expensive ones do it.
     
  11. Bobcat02 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    #11
    I feel everyone's pain. I too, recently realized I could not ouput my iTunes music library on my computer via ATV2 to Zone 2 on my AV receiver. Zone 2 requires analog signals only and my ATV2 is connected HDMI to receiver. This appears to be a common issue among all receiver manufacturers (even cheap vs. expensive ones). Does anyone understand why? Is it a physical size constraint or $$ one?

    I also have an AE connected to my AVR and this streams audio to zone 2 with no problem. I just want to do it with ATV2 also - for the money i have in my system i should be able to.

    Bill.the.Cat - you mentioned the Toslink to Stereo RCA DAC. This 'should' work, but has anyone seen a device that passes the digital signal through the converter and then has a seperate analog audio out? I would like to maintain the digital signal from ATV2 to my reciever for movie playback, but would also like a seperate analog to send to zone 2 for audio on my deck.

    I've read other posts where people said they couldn't get the audio to work on ATV2 using a DAC with their AVR's in zone 2. Who knows why not. I haven't tried, so I don't know.
     
  12. Djay1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2011
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    #12
    I have tried a DAC to feed a pair of headphones ( both atv2 & atv3). Movie Preview playback audio works perfectly. But, I pay for the same movie and get electronic garble. I think Apple thinks I am using a patch to record the movie's audio so a protective antipiracy loop kicks in. :confused:
     
  13. steve-p macrumors 68000

    steve-p

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    Newbury, UK
    #13
    The difference between previews and actual movies is that previews only have 2 channel audio, whereas the full movies have 5.1 Dolby Digital. If you want to watch a movie using a DAC which in itself has no 5.1 decoding circuitry you may need to turn off surround sound in ATV settings. But if you are watching a movie, why not just plug the headphones into the TV?
     
  14. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    #14
    A Toslink splitter, along with the DAC, should do the job (don’t know if anyone combines the capability into a single device).

    Most of these affordable DACs will not work with surround audio, only stereo, so that could be the issue. I just bought an ATV3 and one of the Monoprice DACs. Since I’m only using zone 2 for stereo audio, it works like a charm.
     
  15. Lumpy05 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Location:
    Bloomington, IN
    #15
    I bought the ATV3 and the linked monoprice dig to analog converter. I added a optical splitter at the output and send both digital and analog to my receiver. It replaced my airport express. I find it superior because before I was using the analog out of the airport express to feed both main and 2nd zone on the receiver. Now I have best of both worlds plus ATV video on my TV and it sounds better!

    Think of it this way, those of us using the second zone are a niche market. Apple would have to tack on $ to the price to add analog capabilities and change the form factor. There is NO chance of that happening. Be happy with the $99 price tag for a awesome device and buy the converter you will be happy with the results.
     
  16. Hammie macrumors 65816

    Hammie

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Location:
    Wash, DC Metro
    #16
    Personally, I would prefer to have a digital out and use my own DAC to convert to analog. I would not need 5.1 for a Zone 2 or 3 since they typically are only 2-channel zones anyway.

    However, I do not use my ATV for music. I use a headless Mac Mini connected to an external DAC. Much cleaner solution, IMO. I control all music via the Apple Remote app on my iPad.
     
  17. chris650 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2010
    #17
    when it comes to high quality audio streaming from your computer/itunes, please note that atv re-mix it to 48khz signal. All bit perfect (audio CD, apple lossless from iTunes) outputs 44khz signal.

    Fortunately, airport express outputs pure unadultered signal of 44khz. Perfect for high quality music streaming
     
  18. AppleHater macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    #18
    Is audio out of optical output digital? I noticed that the volume on my iPad affects the volume on ATV. If it's digital signal, it shouldn't affect, right?
     
  19. steve-p macrumors 68000

    steve-p

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    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    Newbury, UK
    #19
    Yes it's digital. Airplay controls volume using a multiplier prior to sending. Digital is just a series of numbers after all.
     
  20. AppleHater macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    #20
    Yes, but that also means that signal is not processed by DAC. I wasn't sure about that.
     

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