HDMI or optical cable to aTV3 ?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by FrenchPB, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. FrenchPB macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2005
    Hey all,

    I just got an aTV3 which I'll set up in my living room, connected to my Denon AVR-X4000 AV receiver. Quick question : how will I get the best sound quality from the aTV to the AV receiver, HDMI or optical cable ?

    Will apple lossless files be compressed by using an aTV ? I have a lot of uncompressed music files on my iMac, and I'd like to listn to them on my AV receiver. What is the best way to do that using the aTV ?

    iMac <--airplay--> aTV <--HDMI--> AV receiver

    Here's the back panel of my AV receiver :
  2. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Either one will work fine and send a lossless file without modification. The ATV does up-convert audio to 48k but for all practical purposes that's not an issue.
  3. waw74 macrumors 68040

    May 27, 2008
    use HDMI, it will just be easier to setup, and the audio is pretty much the same.

    audio airplay is sent as apple lossless (MP3s are converted as you listen)
    (video airplay, and airplay mirroring are both different protocols)

    you receiver has airplay built in.
    I've got the same and will use that when listening to music. the main reason i do that is i don't like the simulated surround it applies to music. so the airplay input is set for stereo, but the aTV is set for surround so if i have a stereo movie on netflix or something i still have center channel. without having to change settings all the time.

    you could also run an optical cable if you wanted the do the same and set up the optical input as stereo. you will loose track info display on your television this way, both the aTV and airplay to the Denon will put that up.

    there are a few different ways to play back.

    1. in iTunes on your mac, using airplay to the aTV or receiver. Song or album selection would be handled by the mac, but basic controls (pause,skip) are available using the remote for either your aTV or receiver.

    2. on the aTV using home sharing. you would select the song on the screen connected to the aTV.

    3. Home sharing to an iOS device, and airplayed to your aTV or Receiver.

    with 1 & 2 you can also use the remote app on your iOS device to select songs.
    with 1, you gain the ability to send to multiple airplay speakers at once
  4. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    The ATV doesn't do any de/compression, it merely passes the signal for your receiver to do further processing, if needed.

    It not either or.

    Use HDMI for video, since that cable carries both signal.

    Use Toslink for audio only.
  5. warvanov macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2011
    Just use HDMI. They both transmit the same lossless digital audio signal, so it's essentially the same ones and zeros that get sent regardless of which cable you use.

    The only reason you'd use the optical audio cable is if you were using a receiver that did not have HDMI.
  6. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    HDMI and optical are both digital, so either will be fine. HDMI offers far greater convenience from being a single cable for audio and video.

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