AV system networking questions

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by colodane, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. colodane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2012
    I'm about to update my 15 year old AV system, and have several questions about the configuration choices I'll need to make. I apologize in advance for the general and rambling nature of this post, but feel free to just comment on the items you may have an opinion on.

    I'll be getting a new receiver and Blue Ray player and also an Apple TV. My TV is fairly recent and won't be updated. Right now nothing is connected to the internet, so making this connection will be part of the new setup. Most of my questions are networking related.

    I do have an existing good quality wi-fi network using the latest Apple Airport Extreme dual band tower type router. This is located in my office on the next floor from the AV system, but it is only about 30 ft away without any major walls - almost completely line-of-sight. So wi-fi signal at the AV site is good on both bands. My office iMac has a direct ethernet connection to the router. I use the wi-fi over the entire house with no problems on my iPad and iPod Touch.

    Most of the receivers and Blue Ray players I'm considering have an ethernet port and support AirPlay directly but do not have built-in wi-fi. So I need to either run a CAT 6 cable down there, use power line ethernet adapters, or perhaps an Airport Express. The house layout makes running a cable a major headache, but not totally impossible. I understand that this would be the most reliable option, but I'm also considering the Airport Express. Would appreciate any comments about this tradeoff.

    Whatever I decide, I'll need an ethernet switch so that I can hook up multiple devices to the ethernet. I'm looking at 4 or 5 port switches. Any advice on this? What brands are good?

    I see that some HDMI cables now also include some kind of ethernet connection for "supported devices". How does this work? Is it commonly used? Does the Apple TV support this?

    Kind of bad timing on my part since there will probably be a new Apple TV in a few months. But I need to complete this before then.

    A question about the operation of AirPlay with the Apple TV: Assume I have the Apple TV connected with an ethernet cable directly to my router. Can I access it via Airplay from my mobile devices on both bands? I normally use the 5 GHz band, but have the 2.4 GHz set up as a guest network. Can AirPlay be configured to work on both?

    Also feel free to answer any questions I should have asked but didn't.
  2. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    The Guest Network should not work for Airplay. It is intended to allow Guests to get internet access without exposing your LAN resources.

    Not sure why you want the BluRay player to support AirPlay if you have an AppleTv also connected - sees unnecessary. The A/V Receiver makes some sense as you could airplay audio directly rot the receiver, but I think the ATV could also fill that need.

    I might consider an AP Extreme rather than Express as it will have ethernet ports built in - no additional switch required. It also extends your wireless network, which may not be necessary in your case. Just one less device to plug in in the A/V room...

    ATV works very well on WiFi. It's good that you have the iMac connected to ethernet, but you should be fine with WiFi for ATV.
  3. westrock2000 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2013
    Ethernet Over Power is very convenient and it offers more then enough bandwidth for multimedia. I'm using one to connect to a router in the attic so the two power connectors are a good 40-50 feet from each other. The price has come down really nice on them over the years.

    One thing that is nice about hard line is when your doing fast forward or reverse on local content. The low latency and high bandwidth allow the device to skip through the data more effortlessly. But I have used AppleTV on both CAT and WiFi and over all there isn't much difference when it comes to normal viewing and buffering.

    For switches, you should be able to find gigabit for pretty cheap now-a-days, but if you can find a good deal on 100Mbps switches then they are plenty capable for multimedia. You Internet most likely is not even that fast and for local content it's still about 5x faster then you'll need.

    If you have a spare router, you can go in and turn off DHCP in the admin panel and the router will act as a switch (will let another router do the DHCP).

    EDIT: Oh and nothing I have seen so far utilizes Ethernet over HDMI.
  4. Uofmtiger macrumors 68020


    Dec 11, 2010
    I would also suggest the powerline Ethernet adapters. I have one for my laptop, since I share my photo files for editing over the network and it is a lot faster than wifi.
  5. colodane thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2012
    Thanks, folks, for the input. Helpful.

    Panch0 - yes, I agree that AirPlay is irrelevant on the BlueRay player. Just listed it as it also has a need for an internet connection for other services than ATV. But some of the receivers have native AirPlay that automatically turns on the audio system when it receives an AirPlay request without need to power up the TV. For me, this seems like a useful feature since probably 95% of what I do with AirPlay will be audio only. Excellent point about using an Airport Extreme rather than Express to pick up the built-in switch function. That would also give me 802.11.ac on both ends which might be of some benefit. Thanks for the suggestion - if I go wireless I may do that.

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