Had to cancel my ATV4 because no optical audio, question...

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by SRLMJ23, Oct 26, 2015.

  1. SRLMJ23 Contributor


    Jul 11, 2008
    Central New York
    So I had ordered a 32GB Apple TV 4, but then realized that it has no optical audio port which is what I use on my current Apple TV (Gen. 3) to hook up to my Sony Sound-Bar w/ Subwoofer system.

    Is there any other way I can hook it up to sound system? I mean, what is the point of getting the new Apple TV when if there is no way to hook it up to my sound system, I would have to depend on my TV speakers not the sound system. To me that is a big downgrade!

    I have a Samsung OLED TV, which only has two HDMI Ports, and component inputs. It has no Outputs, which is mind boggling to me because it is only two years old, but I got it at a good price. So unless there is a way I can get the ATV4 hooked up to my sound system I cannot buy it until I get a new TV with sound outputs.

    First Apple product I have ever had to cancel. :(

    Thanks in advance for any answers/help!

  2. d21mike macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2007
    Torrance, CA
    I have seen on a number of blogs that you can buy a device adapter where you go from ATV HDMI and out of the adapter is a HDMI pass thru to your TV and an Optical Out to your sound system. I do not remember the brand but I think they have them on Amazon at a reasonable price. Very surprised your TV does not have Optical Out. All of my TV's do. My latest VIZO 70" 4K had both Optical Out and HDMI-CEC (type) out.
  3. jumpmonger23 macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2009
    Does your soundbar have an HDMI in/out? I also have a Sony Soundbar, and what you can do is hook up the ATV HDMI to that, and then take the HDMI out from the soundbar into the HDMI on the TV. It's basically passing through the video to the TV.

    That said, I'd check again on your TV for an optical out. I can't imagine a higher end OLED TV like yours not having one.
  4. noanker, Oct 26, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2015

    noanker macrumors member


    Sep 30, 2015
    Lack of optical audio output on the 4 is an issue here. Not only has the price gone up on the new device, but I have to purchase an adapter if I want to use optical audio?

    At this point, the only way I will purchase the ATV4 is if Apple ever comes out with their cable-killer service. Provided that the service has most of the primary channels and networks available on cable and if the service is only available on the ATV4, then I'll buy the cheapest one.

    I still have an unopened, refurbished ATV3 (MD199LL/A) I bought as a spare back in 2013 in the event my ATV2 or ATV3 (MD199BZ/A) dies.
  5. 2010mini macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2013
    To be fair optical audio is very old and has been fazed out since HDMI. In fact A lot of modern HDTVs now come without audio output of any kind. They just come with inputs as surround sound systems and sound bars have become so cheap.


    Your OLED TV was really made for a Home theatre setup. Pairing it with a sound bar....and one that does not even have HDMI in and out is really bad IMHO.

    I see so many threads with people complaining about optical audio which has become obsolete. Time to upgrade people....technology gets old. Move on.
  6. TrueBlou macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2014
    You can get HDMI breakout boxes from eBay for as little as £10. Or whatever that would be in other currencies, about $15 US I guess, although I suspect you'll probably get them around the $10 mark. They provide a HDMI pass through, optical, coaxial and analogue audio out.
  7. Gueeds macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2015
    1. Optical is very old, HDMi is a better connector for audio with the advanced codecs and only needing one cable for audio and video. Get a new receiver, they aren't very expensive at this point, or a sound bar. Equivalent to complaining about devices not having component anymore.
    2. You didn't notice this during all the buildup?
  8. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    I find these comments really unhelpful. Audio equipment doesn't have fast cycles like computers or phones. And if you want a *good* receiver or speaker system, that's not cheap. Suggesting that the user should spend hundreds or thousands of dollars just because Apple wanted to save $2 on a device that's already twice as expensive as the previous generation seems like the tail wagging the dog to me.

    Anyway, if you search Amazon for "HDMI audio extractor" you'll find some inexpensive devices that can split off the audio from the HDMI signal and convert it to optical S/PDIF. If possible try to find a model that supports Dolby Digital Plus on the input, since that's likely what you will get when streaming from Netflix.
  9. Macwick macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2008
    This may make me a total fanboi, but I bought a brand new receiver just for the ATV4 because my old receiver was optical audio only.
  10. 2010mini macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2013
    you really think electronic equipment like receivers don't keep up with the life cycles of the TVs people pair them with? Yes people don't change their receivers like their mobile devices. BUT, optical audio has been dead since HDMI became standard. And that was a while ago. YOU just didn't decide to change your receiver. Yes, it works... but it is old.
  11. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    TVs have slower cycles than computers, phones or streaming boxes too.
    Nonsense. The first devices with HDMI came out more than 10 years ago. And you can still buy brand new TVs with S/PDIF outputs today. High-end audio devices also tend to use S/PDIF (via optical or coaxial cables) rather than HDMI.
    You have no idea what kind of receiver I'm using.
  12. 2010mini macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2013
    the "YOU" wasn't a specific you. that was meant for all the other who moan about an old standard being put out to pasture. 10 years ago? you are off by about 2 years. HDMI came out in 2002-2003.... And back on 2006 when all consumer digital cameras and camcorders started coming with HDMI, you knew optical audio was dead.

    You all are seriously berating Apple, who has always prided itself of letting go of legacy systems, for not supporting a dead audio output????
  13. rmhop81 macrumors 68020


    Apr 4, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    it's not apple's fault that many people have outdated sound systems.....

    plenty of receivers nowadays that have multiple hdmi ports on them. What i don't get is everyone is complaining about lack of optical output...what do you do if you have more than 1 device though? So i don't really see the argument here. I find it funny that in almost 2016 people only have 1 optical input, 1 or 2 hdmi ports on the tv, and ZERO hdmi ports on their sound system. yet they complain about new hardware not having outdated ports? people are complaining about lack of 4k, but don't even have proper up to date sound equipment to run current hardware. It all seems so silly to me to be complaining....
  14. Gueeds macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2015
    It's technology, if you want to stay current with new gadgets as they come out, you have to refresh everything every 5-10 years if not sooner.

    I expect with the next Apple TV refresh to support 4k standards and I'll need a new receiver, and TV if I decide to buy that one too.
  15. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    It's always the same on this forum. Apple drops some feature to cut corners, and of course that needs to be defended because it was "outdated" or "dead" anyway, regardless whether it makes any sense or not. When the Macbook came out without any ports that can be used in the real world, the fanboys defended that too.

    The fact is that connectors are not dead as long as a significant number of people are using them. Can you provide any reason at all why dropping this output is a good idea, besides making Apple's profit margin even fatter?
    Most better receivers (yes, including brand new ones) have multiple S/PDIF inputs.
    People who are not affected often don't.
  16. grouch macrumors member


    Sep 20, 2011
  17. Chill2 macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2015
    Optical digital ( or coaxial ) is still the preferred digital connection for high end 2 channel ! I only know of one quality DAC that uses HDMI ( NAD 51 ) and that is more of an additional feature as it still runs optical and coaxial.

    HDMI is notably worse for jitter that optical and is not in any way a better connection for music.

    For the cost of a few cents in production Apple have lost and entire, but small market, those who use external DAC's or DAC equiped 2 channel amplifiers.

    Adapters, as posted are a pain and typically made of cheap components and sound poor.

    Those saying that optical is old tech are demonstrating a very incomplete knowledge of the audio world.

    There are / was a reasonable group of "audio" guys hoping that this ATV would have HiRes, 24bit, audio, and that apple might enter that area perhaps with a higher fee as some others have done, seems that instead they had gone backwards.
  18. Gueeds macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2015
    If you're worried about high end audio, why are you interested device where the majority of the music/sound options are going to be filled with compression instead of a dedicated high end audio player?

    I enjoy high end AV as much as the next guy, but I know I'm getting less than stellar AV quality out of any streaming box compared to something like a Blu-ray player or audio deck, but I'm willing to make the concessions out of convenience, ease of use and not having 10 things connected to my receiver.
  19. inkahauts macrumors regular


    Sep 7, 2014

    People don't replace high end audio recovers like they do iPhones. They cost a hell of a lot more overall generally speaking if they're really good receivers. And for custom set ups it's a nightmare to replace sometimes. Apple should've kept optical out or at least put a coax audio out.

    I can't even find an AV receiver with the quality amps in it that mine has at a reasonable price (under 2000) and I also don't see the need to replace it for an appletv. I ordered an adaptor and I'll be fine. But it should have been on the box.

    Oh and my AV receiver has 3 coax 5 optical ins and two optical outs. No HDMI. But a million analogue connections. And kicks most of today's receivers buts in audio quality.

    Oh and most tvs don't pass full and all audio from HDMI sources out their Digital outputs to soundbars.
  20. comptr macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2007
    yes they do visit avs forum the people on those forms upgrade their a/v gear quite quick. Why not switch to a processor and amp setup that way you can have nice amp and keep changing the processor as new technology changes.
  21. Chill2 macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2015
    I agree, no one interested in quality sound would use an ATV as the main source, but we might like to use it as a secondary one.

    Fact remains why did apple feel the need to remove something that would have cost only a few cents. Despite what a few on this thread say optical is still a up to date connection in common use for 2 channel audio
  22. garylapointe macrumors 68000


    Feb 19, 2006
    Dearborn (Detroit), MI, USA
    So you're saying that people that hang out in audio/video type forums upgrade quite often? That's your sample?

    That's like saying mac rumors forum users represent most of the Apple users.

  23. page3 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2003
    Vicar of Dibley-land, UK
    Was watching from AppleTV last night, to this (via optical). Sounded sublime!

  24. loekf macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2015
    Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    I sincerly hope optical out or at least coax (= digital out) stays on TVs for a while. If you have a CI+ module inside your TV.. otherwise your only hope to get the sound to your home theatre setup (receiver) is using ARC (audio return channel) which totally s*x in some cases due to incompatibilities in the HDMI CEC protocol layer between brands.

    In my case: Onkyo receiver + Philips TV. If you use ARC and switch on the radio, TV goes on. TV off => receiver off. That's why I'm still using SPDIF over COAX.
  25. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    I'm still using my original Apple TV as an audio streamer because it's got analogue audio outputs. :D


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