Soundbar, Apple TV and LG UHD TV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by TRICKorDEVICE, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. TRICKorDEVICE macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2014
    Hi all,

    I have been using the Apple TV 4k with an LG UHD TV (about 3 yrs old). I think we need some better audio for movies, etc.

    I want to incorporate a soundbar - nothing off the charts, just something in the $150-$300 range. Based on my setup I'd actually prefer a solo bar or a 2.1 setup.

    I also use Google Home throughout the house for multiroom audio and I want to be able to use this soundbar in that setup as well. There are a few soundbars that have Chromecast built in, but as long as it has an aux jack I can always add a Chromecast Audio at a later time.

    Here's the main question for this forum. Do any of you use the Apple TV with an optical cable going from the TV to the sound bar? I was expecting to go like this Apple TV--->HDMI-->Soundbar--->HDMI--->TV. Where the soundbar would act as a pass-through to the TV for audio and video.

    It seems many soundbars don't have HDMI and instead it would look like this Apple TV--->HDMI--->TV--->Optical Cable--->soundbar.

    If I use the optical cable setup, do you anticipate any issues with having the Siri remote control the soundbar audio or any other weird issues with playback from the Apple TV? Assuming my TV has an optical out (haven't checked that part yet).
  2. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Feb 9, 2009
    Hi there. If you are not interested in Dolby Atmos then the new SONOS soundbar should be exactly what you'd love. It's getting amazing reviews AND connects via HDMI!
    Slightly expensive at 399dollars but SONOS really do deliver when it comes to both sound quality and bug free reliability.
  3. TRICKorDEVICE thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2014
    Thanks for the rec. I’ll look into it.
  4. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    if you connect the way you say, you'll need to make sure the sound bar also supports 4k video, since the video signal will have to pass through the sound bar.

    the better option is
    aTV --HDMI-> TV --HDMI-> sound bar

    using ARC (audio return channel) the TV can send audio "backwards" out an input.
    This will also allow audio from the TV's apps to go to the sound bar instead of only getting audio from the aTV.
    Devices capable of this also usually support HDMI-CEC, which will allow the volume to be controlled over the HDMI cable.
    Your TV should support both ARC and CEC. (different manufacturers call CEC different things, LG calls it simplink)

    If you use optical to the bar, you will have to teach the aTV remote the IR codes of the sound bar for volume control.

    to what Paul said...

    I'm also looking at getting the new bar from sonos, the "beam".
    it supports both ARC and CEC
    it has airplay 2, so you can send music directly from your phone to the bar, without having to turn on the television or aTV.
    and it has microphones with support for siri and alexa. (alexa now, siri soon)

    and being sonos, as long as you have the $$, you can upgrade and ....
    • add 2 speakers and set them up as the rear L&R channels for surround sound.
    • add a sub.
    • add additional speakers in other rooms (can you see the TV from the kitchen, but can't quite hear it? send the beam audio to a speaker in the kitchen)
  5. orbital~debris macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    England, UK, Europe
    In support of @waw74 response, I'd add that this is how I have my Samsung soundbar set up, and an added benefit of HDMI-CEC is that you can press & hold the Siri remote's home button (the one with the display symbol) to show the Sleep option, which will turn off connected devices - i.e. the TV - as well as the tv! Very handy :)
  6. TRICKorDEVICE thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2014
    This is all good info. Thanks everyone. My only hesitancy is that if I go ARC route, I have to make sure the soundbar supports 4k. Which will likely put it in a price range of more than I really want to spend right now.

    I'm going to play with a few ideas and see which one works for functionality and price.

    Thanks again for all the good info.
  7. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    Isn't it just the other way around? If you go ARC route, means you'd connect all your sources to TV's HDMI inputs and only sound will exit to soundbar over ARC. So no 4K support needed from soundbar.
  8. TRICKorDEVICE thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2014

    Hmm...I guess that makes sense. So the ARC HDMI cable from TV to sound bar would just act as an audio out.

    Apple TV and DirecTV would be HDMI in to TV and then ARC HDMI from TV to sound bar? That may just work. The only issue is that I would burn one HDMI port on the TV (I have three in use now). I suppose I could try to find a good 4k HDMI switch - but I don't want to spend a lot on that, and I have found switches to be flaky in the past.
  9. Mrbobb, Jul 6, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018

    Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    If you go ATV ---> TV ---> SB..... often times the TV can't "pass-thru" unfortunately the TV vendor doesn't tell you that either. Hooked up in this sequence, your SB will have to have a secondary input to play things other than the TV.

    ATV ---> SB ---> TV (with ARC) is been known to work.
  10. TRICKorDEVICE thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2014
    Hmm, The last configuration assumes the sound bar has an HDMI out/pass-through.
  11. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    Either way, ARC is the Audio Return Channel - meaning signal flows from TV (HDMI sink) back to AVR/SB (HDMI source).
    It is used to pass any audio TV produces itself (this includes the apps on smart tvs), or passes through from its HDMI inputs, to external sound system.
    Only if you put your AVR/SB along the signal path from source to sink (the display), you need to make sure that all intermediaries are capable of 4K throughput, otherwise they will degrade signal quality. Because HDMI uses capabilities negotiation, the source will know the least common quality setting for full signal path.
  12. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Feb 9, 2009
    Could it be that the majority of soundbar manufacturers are waiting for HDMI 2.1as eArc will simply everything?
    Maybe if you want to buy one right now, go for the SONOS Beam as it at least has the HDMI socket. For what it is, it does look a beautiful soundbar with really excellent design.
  13. b-slice macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2019
    Hi All! I'm new here, but created my account since this is exactly the thread/help I need.
    My case: 4K ATV, LG 65'' 4K UHD, Monoprice Soundbar (optical only)
    My Objective: Only use 1 remote (ATV) and use audio via soundbar (not TV speakers). Currently, I manually programed the ATV for the SB. Works fine but will not power on the SB if its off.
    My Issue: Monoprice SB times out after 15min of no input and requires the remote to be powered on.

    If I upgrade my SB (maybe Sonos or another SB supporting 4K), should I connect like this:

    Option 1 = ATV - HDMI - SB - HDMI - TV (ARC)?


    Option 2 = ATV - HDMI - TV - HDMI (ARC) - SB?

    All of this assumes the SB Supports CEC and 4K (for option 1)??? i.e. I want the SB to turn on or wake up once I hit the Home button on the ATV.

    Thanks for your help! Which I would have researched this before mounting the TV. Its a flush mount and very tight to rearrange cables :)

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