New AppleTV: HDMI and Optical audio at the same time?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by packerfan, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. packerfan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    #1
    I'm an owner of an original AppleTV but am thinking of buying one of the new ones to save space and heat in my HT rack. I like to listen to music out on my deck from time to time and didn't want to run speaker wire outside, so I bought a nice little wireless speaker to get my tunes cranking outside. My receiver has the ability to do dual zones, but like I said, I didn't want to make things that complicated. My current configuration is hooked up like this:

    AppleTV HDMI -> AV Receiver
    AppleTV analog -> wireless speaker transmitter

    This works great because I don't have to touch my receiver to get music playing outside - I just use the Apple Remote app for my iPhone to control the playback via the AppleTV. Once it starts playing, the wireless transmitter activates and all is good.

    The new AppleTV obviously doesn't have the analog outputs, so my existing setup won't work. I took a look at my receiver to see if I could do a digital-to-analog conversion for my Zone B, but alas, that is not supported. It says that for Zone B, the destination audio source type must match the input source type (i.e. digital-to-digital or analog-to-analog).

    I've found a couple optical to analog converters online, so my first question is this: Does the new AppleTV support audio output from the HDMI and optical jacks when both are plugged in? I rarely plan on having the AppleTV outputting via HDMI while playing music outside, so the streams wouldn't necessarily be simulatneous. I assume the receiver blocks off the HDMI connection if the AppleTV source isn't active, but I just wanted to see if anybody has done something similar to what I'm trying to accomplish.

    Second, when outputting simple AUDIO (music, not movies with surround tracks) via the optical output, how is it encoded? Is it 5.1 or stereo?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #2
    Yes, I've setup my Apple TV 2 to output to both HDMI and optical at the same time or just one at a time.
     
  3. packerfan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    #3
    Cool, thanks.

    I also noticed that somebody posted an almost identical question not too long ago. I must have missed it... sorry for posting again :)
     
  4. IrishTiger macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #4
    Correct. I've got my optical going to my stereo surround sound and my HDMI going to my TV. Works flawlessly.
     
  5. mydigitalself macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    #5
    Slightly related question - does the HDMI on the 2nd Gen Apple TV do surround sound or would I have to connect the optical cable to achieve this?
     
  6. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2008
  7. limborocks macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    #7
    Audio does not work

    Hello, you say the audio works out of both ports. I have 2 AppleTV(2nd gen) units and neither send audio out of the digital port, with or without the hdmi cable plugged in. What setting are you using to achieve this?

    I would love to use this unit as a music only at times.
     
  8. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #8
    Actually, I do not think you can turn it off. Both the first and second generation Apple TVs produce output on the optical port anytime you have media playing.

    A.
     
  9. mrbofus macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    #9
    OK, but when you press mute, does it mute both or just one? When I press mute, it mutes the optical, which is connected to my receiver, but audio through the TV speakers keep playing.
     
  10. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    #10
    AppleTV doesn't have a mute function as far as I know. You are muting your receiver. If this is an all-in-one remote, program it to mute both the TV and the receiver when you hit the MUTE button.
     
  11. PassMeAGuinness, Nov 15, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011

    PassMeAGuinness macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #11
    According to many of the AppleTV forums on apple.com, the Apple TV with version 4.4.2 will NOT transmit audio via the OPTICAL OUT port alone.

    The HDMI MUST be plugged in to the television, and the television MUST remain on.

    Again, this is why I am not ready to buy an Apple TV just yet. This used to work, prior to OS 4.4.2.

    More info can be found on the official forums, as stated:

    https://discussions.apple.com/message/16735572#16735572
    https://discussions.apple.com/message/16726170#16726170
    https://discussions.apple.com/message/16724675#16724675
    https://discussions.apple.com/message/16715617#16715617
     
  12. Caliber26 macrumors 68000

    Caliber26

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #12

    Yep...I can attest to this. I have speakers connected to my ATV2 via Toslink and if I turn off my TV and leave the speaker system on, it will stop the audio. It sucks because a lot of the time I just want music playing and have no need to keep my TV powered on. Yeah the screensaver is pretty cool but if I'm not there staring at it, it's pretty pointless to have it on.
     
  13. PassMeAGuinness macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #13
    Thanks for confirming this. I assume that your Apple TV, is running an OS past 4.4, right ?

    From what I understand, an Apple TV running 4.3 (or before) should still work, as far as sending audio via the Optical port, without having the need for a television to be on :rolleyes:

    For what its worth, I believe you can always revert to an older OS, if you are on 4.4.2, therefore giving you the ability to play music without the television, If I am not mistaken -
     
  14. bolshoi, Nov 15, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011

    bolshoi macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2011
    #14
    Can't you simply turn your TV speakers off, so all audio is processed through the receiver?
     
  15. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    #15
    My HDTV's speakers are always turned down to 0 volume since all of my equipment is routed through my receiver and my various surround sound speakers.
     
  16. Caliber26 macrumors 68000

    Caliber26

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2009
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #16
    Yes, I am on 4.4.2 right now (the latest version). Hopefully it'll be fixed in a future upgrade.
     
  17. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #17
    My copy of iTunes is currently streaming to the Apple TV and thence to my stereo via the optical out. My television is off and has been all day.

    I think there's more to the story.

    A.
     
  18. PassMeAGuinness macrumors member

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    Oct 20, 2009
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #18

    Yes, but what OS version is your AppleTV running ?
     
  19. Alrescha macrumors 68020

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    Jan 1, 2008
    #19
    4.4.2
     
  20. PassMeAGuinness macrumors member

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    Oct 20, 2009
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #20
    What if you unplug the HDMI, still work ?
     
  21. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #21
    I turned the TV on, turned it off. Music plays

    Unplugged the HDMI from the Apple TV. Music plays.

    I pulled the power cable (yes, that stopped the music). I needed to restart iTunes to recover from that.

    Television is off, music is playing.

    A.
     
  22. PassMeAGuinness macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #22
    Thank you. You are one of the few who apparently, can do this. I really don't know why it works for you, and not others.
     
  23. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #23
    I'm not so sure – all the people for whom it works fine don't show up in forums complaining.

    I did find one possible failure mode: If I unplug the Apple TV and plug it back in without the HDMI connected to anything, it did not play music. I plugged in the HDMI and did a soft reset and it worked fine after that.

    A.
     
  24. tomville macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    #24
    I'm listening to music through the optical to receiver right now. The TV, which is connected though HDMI, is off. This has always worked for me.
     
  25. adbe macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #25
    This may be a TV setting.

    I don't have an ATV2 to test, but I'm mildly interested in the subject as my ATV1 is often used as a music player, and that's a feature I don't intend to lose.

    However, my TV will automatically turn off my receiver and BD player when it goes into standby. This is an HDMI feature (it's part of CEC), that allows for one click power off.

    Anyway, it may be that Apple have begun supporting that feature in the newer iOS. If that's the case, and you don't want your ATV to quit streaming audio, then take a look at your TV manual. You can probably disable the feature (try looking for CEC settings).
     

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