Connecting a TV + Apple TV + sound bar using HDMI

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by C64, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. C64 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2008
    Hi all. I recently bought a new Sony BRAVIA TV and I'm planning to add an Apple TV and sound bar. I'm looking through all the manuals of these devices on how to connect them using HDMI, but some expert advice would be much appreciated.

    Here are the connections for each device:

    TV: 4x HDMI, 1 supports ARC
    Apple TV: 1x HDMI
    Sound bar: 1x HDMI IN, 1x HDMI OUT

    My best guess as to how to connect them:

    Apple TV > HDMI cable > Sound bar HDMI IN
    Sound bar HDMI OUT > HDMI cable > TV HDMI+ARC

    What I'm expecting in terms of functionality:

    1. Both sound and video go from the Apple TV to the sound bar. The sound bar outputs the sound, and redirects the video to the TV and everything is great and in sync.

    2. I leave the TV off, and send music to the Apple TV, which is played through the sound bar (effectively making it an airplay speaker).

    This should work, right?

    However... what about:

    3. I ignore the Apple TV and play something directly on the TV. Of course I'd like it to use the sound bar as well, but the TV's HDMI+ARC is connected to the sound bar's HDMI OUT.

    Is it smart enough to know that the TV is trying to send audio, even though it's coming into the sound bar on the "output" port? Or do I need to connect an additional optical audio cable between the TV and the sound bar for this scenario?

    As an alternative, I was thinking:

    4. I connect the Apple TV directly to one of the regular HDMI inputs of the TV, and then the TV's HDMI+ARC to the sound bar's HDMI IN. Then the audio would always come directly from the TV. But I'm guessing the TV should then be turned on in order to play music via the Apple TV?
  2. D.T. macrumors G3


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    ARC will handle output to an audio device like your soundbar, so I believe you could go:

    ATV >> [HDMI-IN] >> TV >> [HDMI-ARC] >> [HDMI-IN] >> SOUNDBAR

    As far as the TV needing to be “on”, some devices support passthrough while “off”, though it’s technically like a standby mode (so not totally powered down).

    So assuming that works, then you could run any HDMI into the other TV inputs and get audio via the soundbar (like a cable STB/DVR, PS3, whatever)
  3. emjaycee18, Apr 24, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014

    emjaycee18 macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2010
    As long as you have your sound bar connected to the HDMI ARC you'll be fine. I'm currently using a similar set up to you. I have a Sony Bravia as well with 4 HDMI ports. Soundbar goes to HDMI 2 on my TV (ARC support), and I have my Apple TV connected directly to my soundbar (this is my choice, and you shouldn't have a problem if you connect it direct to your TV).

    Edit: Just re-read your post. What do you have for a soundbar? If you have a Sony soundbar as well, you will probably have to change some of the Bravia Sync settings to play music with your TV off. Sony by default turns off all connected devices when you power the TV off. What you want to do will work, but you may have some extra settings on your TV that need to be adjusted.

    You will be able to get sound through your TV with leaving the Apple TV out. Your soundbar should have an input setting. When using your Apple TV, set the soundbar to "HDMI 1", when using any other device connected to you TV (such as a Blu Ray or cable box) set your soundbar to "TV".
  4. dbanderson1 macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2013
    Yes... ARC is audio return channel and the audio from the television is returned to the sound bar from television (essentially turning the HDMI into a two way street]. I have a sony internet television with ARC and my panasonic sound bar is connected to the sony tv from the hdmi OUT on the sound bar. All the sound from the TV, my blu ray player, and game system play on the sound bar. My sound bar also has an hdmi in , however at this point I am not using it because I have enough ports on television. Also if your sound bar supports hdmi arc it is probably decently feature loaded... mine also has bluetooth which allows me to stream music from my computer/iphone/ipad to the sound bar (no apple tv required). But your apple tv set up should work, you will probably just have to use the sound bar remote to turn it on and change the input when using apple tv to stream music with the tv off.
  5. mneblett macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2008
    I also have a Panasonic sound bar, in my case working with a Panasonic TV.

    My set up is:

    Apple TV >> TV >> sound bar control box


    BluRay player (also Panasonic) >> sound bar control box (HDMI pass-through of BluRay signals to TV) >> TV

    The same HDMI cable that passes audio from the TV to the sound bar carries the passed-through BluRay signals from the sound bar to the TV (obviously, an ARC link).

    I also have an HDMI cable from my cable provider's box to the TV. A total of 4 HDMI cables: three going to the TV and one between the BluRay and the sound bar.
  6. McScooby macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2005
    The Paps of Glenn Close, Scotland.
    ATV to bravia using HDMI (carries sound aswell)
    bravia to sound bar using optical out (toslink)
    sorted, better not to complicate stuff!
  7. Redsfan macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2012
    Greater Toronto Area
    I have an LG tv, and have an optical input/outputs going from my TV to my polk soundbar. Now everything running into my HDMI on my tv will product sound through the soundbar..including my ATV..
  8. dbanderson1 macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2013
    That is an option is well. The benefit of HDMI-ARC is that it supports CEC as well meaning your television remote can control volume and mute the sound bar with it's remote.
  9. GeekGuys macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    This is the way to go. I have this for my Sony TV setup.
    Use the TV as the HDMI hub. Soundbar just makes the noise.
    I have ATV, DVD and SAT all connected via HDMI to Sony TV.
    TV connected to sound bar with toslink (optical out).

    All controlled using Logitech One remote to make it all very easy and simple to control. One button and everything turns on.
  10. jbzoom macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2010
    Mumbai, India
    It really depends what is your major objective.
    If you mainly watch TV and Video with multiple inputs then connect the ATV to one of the TV inputs and the TV HDMI ARC to the sound bar HDMI in.
    If you play music and often don't want the TV connected, then connect the ATV to the HDMI in on the sound bar and the HDMI out on the soundbar to the TV.
    Some hardware - Philips DVD players for example - do not put the sound out through HDMI in a format some soundbars - Panasonic for example - can play. Any non-Sony devices you have other than the Apple TV (which behaves) may give these sorts of issues and require some creativity with Toslink etc. I take the video out of my DVD player as a DVI (computer graphics) connection and the sound from the digital coax output, and merge them using a $20 Chinese combiner box that outputs an HDMI signal my soundbar recognises.
    This sort of nonsense is necessary because Hollywood makes so many damn fool efforts to prevent piracy - including bullying the consumer electronic companies - and ignores the pain it gives customers through making HDMI difficult.


    What we really need is a de luxe version of the ATV with three or four inputs each capable of taking multiple formats and a similar couple of outputs. Then the ATV can be the hub device and easily controlled from an iDevice.

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