Using Apple TV to play music.

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by BilbooToo, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. BilbooToo macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2012

    My iTunes library currently sits on a Synology NAS, and I'm looking for options to play this music via my amp.

    The main functionality for me is to be able to play this music with just the NAS, streamer and amp on i.e. I don't want to have the Mac, TV etc on to play the music. At the minute I stream the music using my PS3 but obviously I need the NAS, amp, PS3 and TV on for that.

    Using my iPad as a controller would also be a huge advantage!

    The most obvious answer (to me anyway!) to buy a Sonos Connect, however this has had mixed reviews, is quite expensive, and aligns me to the Sonos ecosystem which I'm not convinced is the way I want to go.

    One option I've considered is to move my music to the cloud via Match then use Apple TV connected to my amp to play the music, however (as is currently the case with the PS3) I don't want to have the TV on when listening to music.

    So the question I have is in this set-up (Cloud - Apple TV - amp) could I leave the TV off and use my iPad to control the Apple TV?

    I might be completely on the wrong tracks or overly complicating it here so any advice would be gratefully received, however essentially I would like to listen to my iTunes library as per one of the following...

    * NAS - Connector/Streamer - Amp
    * Cloud - Connector/Streamer - Amp

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance
  2. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    I play all my media from my mac pro via atv using ipad by using plex..... the atv2 isnt playing the music directly from the mac pro, but its streaming from the mac pro and airplayed to the ATV2. Whilst its not the same, the principle is similar, you need some kind of DLNA server on your NAS.
  3. Pyromonkey83 macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2009
    Both of these options will work. Since you have a Synology NAS (Good choice!) you can download the DiskStation apps that connect to your NAS inside or outside of your network. You can use either DS Music or DS File. Both of these will allow you to browse your music library and play them. From there, you can AirPlay it to your Apple TV with only it and the receiver on.

    Your cloud option will work the same way, however you can also do the cloud way by using the Remote app and controlling your Apple TV through your iOS device. Both options will work fine and you should have no problem.
  4. salohcin macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2008
    If you go the iTunes match route, I suggest looking into the Airport Express. You could then Airplay your music to the Airport Express from your iPad, which would be streaming it from the cloud.

    I would only suggest this if you plan to only use the Apple TV for music. It just makes things a bit simpler, and you don't have to mess with any video connections. Plus, you can extend your Wifi network this way.
  5. TJ61 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 16, 2011
    I'm considering doing this, but I'm a little apprehensive about the possibility of audio dropouts due to the network overhead. Have you had any trouble with this?

  6. salohcin macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2008
    I think it would depend on the strength of your network. I haven't really tested it with music, because my iTunes server is always on, and holds all my music.

    I can say I've streamed video from online, through the iPad to the Apple TV with no problem, so I would think that music would be less intensive. I'm guessing it should work just fine, but can't be 100% sure.

    I'll test it out when I get home tonight.
  7. Jetson macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2003
    I've used my ATV, now gen 3, to play music all the time.

    It works very, very well. It didn't when the service was first released, but it works really well now.

    On rare ocassions the streaming drops off, and my connection has failed - at the source, Apple.

    Overall though, I'm extremely pleased with the elegance and convenience of listening to music through Apple TV.

    However, I've always wondered why ATV doesn't have the visualizer as is available on the iMac. Displaying and flipping the album every 30 seconds is all well and good. But it gets a bit boring. Being able to choose visualizers would be great.
  8. TJ61 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 16, 2011
    I probably wasn't clear -- especially given the subject of the thread. My concern was with using an Airport Express (not ATV) to stream music AND extend my network. I think Apple even states that there may be audio dropouts due to the network operational "overhead" involved in extending the network. Eventually I'll probably just buy the Express and try it out (while they still have non-optical out :rolleyes: ).

  9. salohcin macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2008
    Well in that case, I can't say I've had any problems streaming and extending my network. However, my apartment is very small and the express is only in the next room from my extreme so I doubt I gain very much by extending it, and it might not tax it as much as it would if they were farther apart.

    I'm able to stream music just fine from my computer to the express. I can't remember it ever just dropping out. I have had a few issues with it connecting initially if iTunes has been running a while (by a while I mean for weeks) and if I haven't used the express for a while either. This is usually fixed by either restarting iTunes or the express. Once I'm connected though, the music plays great, with no dropouts.
  10. TJ61 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 16, 2011
    Excellent! That's what I was wanting to hear. I'll understand if there are some dropouts if the extender is being used to pass a lot of data, but I was concerned that there would be periodic dropouts due to the extender just "checking in with the home base" or something.

    Thanks for the info!

  11. octatonic macrumors regular


    Mar 23, 2010
    This is what I do.

    I have an Apple TV in the living room but a pair of speakers attached to an Airport Express is just easier.
  12. JGRE macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2011
    Dutch Mountains
    Just turn of the TV.


    You have 2 options using an ATV:
    1. you operate the ATV via your TV directly with the ATV remote.
    2. you operate the ATV via iPhone/iPad/iMac/Macbook indirectly.

    With option 2 your TV does not have to be on, only your amp to which your ATV is connected. Whether you use the cloud our your local library is your choice.
    The music is all the same irrespective of the choice you make.

    Can't judge whether your proposal is really complicated but it sounds that way.
  13. warvanov macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2011
    If you buy an Airport Express you will have one option to play music on your NAS: Using your iPad to stream it to the APX. This is a bad option, as everything will have to be transferred over your wireless network twice, once to the iPad and once from the iPad to the APX, and the battery life of your iPad will suffer considerably because it will be constantly working and constantly using the wifi.

    If you buy an AppleTV, you'll have several options, including the bad option described above. Your best option will be to use your iPad as a remote to control your AppleTV. This way music will stream directly from the NAS to your ATV, and your iPad will only be active and using battery life for brief periods when changing the music, skipping to the next track, etc.

    An additional option you'll have with the ATV is to use it without the iPad to stream music from your NAS. This would require you to have the TV on to set up the stream, but you could turn the TV off once music is playing if you had the ATV connected directly to your stereo.
  14. salohcin macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2008
    Except you'd still need some sort of iTunes server running to stream to the Apple TV (whether it's one on the NAS or another computer). Unless you jailbreak it, and as far as I know the Apple TV 3 still hasn't been jailbroken.

    If an iTunes server is running locally, you can still stream directly the the Airport Express using the remote app on the iPad the same way as you can to the Apple TV. My suggestion was simply for streaming from the cloud, not from the local network. That extra step would not be needed if it was coming from the local network.
  15. warvanov macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2011
    Ah, I suppose you're right. My NAS experience is very limited. Still though, I'd recommend the ATV to the original poster, for the increased versatility that that system would afford.
  16. BilbooToo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2012

    Thanks for all the replies.

    My NAS has got an iTunes server so will pick up an Apple TV plus set-up Match and see how I get on.

    Even if it doesn't work out the Apple TV still looks a decent piece of kit to own, plus I've been meaning to sort Match for a while.

    Thanks again,
  17. Pyromonkey83 macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2009
    your NAS's iTunes server will not work with the Apple TV. It is the outdated form of iTunes Server which does not support HomeSharing, and therefore the Apple TV (or any other iOS device) can't "talk" to it. iTunes Server will only help you with sharing files over multiple PCs or Macs.

    iTunes Match will work, or you can AirPlay from an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch using a DLNA enabled app (Plex, media:connect, airAV, etc.) with most NAS units.

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