using Apple TV4 with spdif (opyical audio)

rjgaylord

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 31, 2015
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I have a VERY high end home theatre set up ($25K plasma display and $2K surround sound bar) and my audio uses Toslink optical digital, with no way to get audio directly from an HDMI cable so i thought i wouldn't be able to use the Apple TV4 since it has no optical digital audio output. but it was easy and inexpensive to do. all you need to do is get an extractor. The big question is whether the video and audio will sync properly when you use an extractor. i got the J-link extractor from Amazon for $31. and when i ordered the Apple TV4, i also bought the HDMI to HDMI cable ($19) from Apple. Initially, the audio was a total mess but it only took me about 5 minutes with the help of apple tech (i've been using Apple since 1984 and i ALWAYS get Applecare with all of my many Apple products - not fjust or repairs because i've hardly ever needed that - but becuase the tech support is absolutely superb. they will stay with you on the phone for as long as it takes to resolve your problem and if a particuar tech can't help, you get passed along to higher level techs until you get one who can help also, it is easy to sell my apple products when i upgrade becuase the Applecare goes with the product which gives the buyer confidence that hes not getting a dysfunctional product and if it does fail, Applecare will take care of it). It took a minute or two of making audio setting adjustments on the Apple TV4 and i found that setting the audio on the Apple TV4 to 16 bit and to Dolby surround sound worked (others may use other settings, depending on their audio system). The sync works perfectly with iTunes shows and also with Netflix and with YouTube; that's all i've used so far (and Airplay works perfectly as well when i used Amazon video and Acorn TV from my Macbook air). One note - Apple, rather stupidy IMO, sells the remote strap separately from the Apple TV so if you want one, you need to order it (i'm disabled and i don't play games but the strap keeps me from losing the remote (why do they make them so small?). also, i was initally not happy that the remote control app on my iPhone doesn't work with the Apple TV4 because i liked the keyboard for making entries doing searches (my hands don't work well due to my disability). but the entry on the Apple TV4 remote is reallyeasy to use. oh and the original set up is incredible. i just turned on bluetooth on my iPhone, held it 6" from the Apple TV4 and it correctly set up by itself the router name and password. finally, my video using the Apple TV4 is much better than it was with the apple TV3. i give this product a solid A grade.
 

rjgaylord

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 31, 2015
14
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i wasn't looking for a cheap way. i was looking for ANY way. and a lot of the people who are thinking that they can't use the apple TV4 happen to have high end audio systems - like my doorman who has a much more expensive sound system than i do becuase he's totaly into audio which i'm not at all. and maybe if you read further, you'd find some useful info. doesn't matter to me if you do or not. and if i ever do brag, it won't be about something totally insignificant like anything related to $. i just got my $ the old fashioned way, i unknowingly married into a Trust fund. you don't get rich being a professor or writing textbooks.
 

leesweet

macrumors demi-god
Feb 1, 2009
1,040
239
Northern Virginia, USA
Some excellent details in there. But please do break things up into paragraphs. :)

I'm sure some others will appreciate the details on making optical work, that's been mentioned a lot.
 

zone23

macrumors 68000
May 10, 2012
1,965
739
i wasn't looking for a cheap way. i was looking for ANY way. and a lot of the people who are thinking that they can't use the apple TV4 happen to have high end audio systems - like my doorman who has a much more expensive sound system than i do becuase he's totaly into audio which i'm not at all. and maybe if you read further, you'd find some useful info. doesn't matter to me if you do or not. and if i ever do brag, it won't be about something totally insignificant like anything related to $. i just got my $ the old fashioned way, i unknowingly married into a Trust fund. you don't get rich being a professor or writing textbooks.
I'll just leave it at this because I guess your intent wasn't to brag but you could leave out the details of what all your stuff cost. We get it you have a fortune tied up in your audio and I'm sure I would love to see and hear it. I just don't see the need for it. Congratulations.
 
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rjgaylord

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 31, 2015
14
0
thanks. i have read the 'professional' reviews of the Apple TV4 at various websites and they are pretty awful. almost none of them mention the dropping of the spdif, or any other things that one might want to know. and sorry for the one long paragraphs and no caps. my disability places major limitations on what i can do
 

zone23

macrumors 68000
May 10, 2012
1,965
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Its an issue for me as well because I like to be able to split my audio and video that way I can watch something and listen to something different. I'm sure after I sleep on it for a few days I will come up with some solution. I believe my receiver in the living room can split HDMI audio but the one in the man cave cannot and thats were this box will end up. Sometimes for example I like to watch hockey but listen to music. I'm strange like that I guess.
 

rjgaylord

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 31, 2015
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ok. sorry if it seemed to be bragging. it wasn't intended. i get comments all the time about my 'expensive' home theatre and it annoys me because my disability prevents me from driving so i don't have a car and a lot of people have cars that cost way more than my monitor. (and they also pay for gas and car insurance) and when you're a 'shut-in' with major vision problems, having a good monitor is really important. i couldn't do anything without Airplay throwing my Macbook display up onto a hugh screen because i hack code and write programming textbooks. and i can't go to theaters to watch movies..
 

zone23

macrumors 68000
May 10, 2012
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ok. sorry if it seemed to be bragging. it wasn't intended. i get comments all the time about my 'expensive' home theatre and it annoys me because my disability prevents me from driving so i don't have a car and a lot of people have cars that cost way more than my monitor. (and they also pay for gas and car insurance) and when you're a 'shut-in' with major vision problems, having a good monitor is really important. i couldn't do anything without Airplay throwing my Macbook display up onto a hugh screen because i hack code and write programming textbooks. and i can't go to theaters to watch movies..
It's all good I probably came off as a dick so I apologize for that, sounds awesome. Wish I had a friend like you so we could talk about that stuff. My friends are all broke. LOL
 

bruinsrme

macrumors 604
Oct 26, 2008
6,517
2,249
A very high home theater setup?
Does that $25k tv have an optical out.
A tv costing that much you should be able to take the hdmi audio into the tv and have the tv process the audio to the optical out to the sound bar.

Professional reviews - this is a $150/$200 device that acts as a transfer medium from one source to the display. The new ATV only supports a few audio formats and average consumer video processing.
Don't get me wrong it's a great device and plays a strong role in the family room.

You didn't mention a receiver. If I was in your position I would look at a Yamaha, onkyo or pioneer receiver in the $500 range. The video will be passed through or upscaled to 4K and the audio extrapolated from the hdmi signal.
You'll be able to run all your sources through receiver to the sound bar and the receiver hdmi out to the tv. The receiver will have much better conversion capabilities than the tv and some sound enhancements for the sound bar
 
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TrueBlou

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2014
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Scotland
There are a multitude of HDMI breakout boxes available ranging from 10 bucks to several hundred. All of which will provide a HDMI pass through, optical, coaxial and analog audio outputs.
 

rjgaylord

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 31, 2015
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can you give us some names of these devices? i found a $480 device by Atlona but that's all?
 

TrueBlou

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2014
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can you give us some names of these devices? i found a $480 device by Atlona but that's all?

If you don't want to spend a fortune, something like this or this will do the job perfectly fine.
There are many more at varying price points, search for HDMI optical splitter, or HDMI coaxial splitter depending on the connection you want.

Oh, and I'm not getting into the debate on quality so if it crops up, I'm staying out of it. But unless you are going to spend many, many hundreds of bucks on one of these devices the cheaper ones do an absolutely good job. It's not so easy to mess up a digital signal as it is an analogue one (despite what a lot of companies will tell you to sell products) so you won't notice a difference unless you spend a fortune.
 
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nebo1ss

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
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Actually i hate to break it to you but a $2,000 sound bar is not high end sound. You want high end sound look at a top end ARCAM AVR and perhaps some Monitor Audio gold or platinum surround sound speakers.
 

TrueBlou

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2014
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Scotland
Actually i hate to break it to you but a $2,000 sound bar is not high end sound. You want high end sound look at a top end ARCAM AVR and perhaps some Monitor Audio gold or platinum surround sound speakers.

That's the setup I had for years, sooooo good. I absolutely love Arcam and Monitor Audio gear.
Started out with an Arcam 8 and some KEF speakers then went through a long process of upgrading to 8R, with power amps, Alpha 8 CD Player and so on with B&W speakers. Then eventually got a DAVE and more B&W's. Finally found my way to the AVR and Monitor Audios, not that thats relevant to anything :D.
 
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oftheheavens

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2008
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cherry point
some of these people got rather rude quick to you, thanks for this post. I found that doing ATV>HDMI>TV>optical audio>polk soundbar I get a static popping I can't seem to get to go away. So for right now I am just using my normal tv speakers and that kinda stinks..
 

oftheheavens

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2008
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cherry point
A very high home theater setup?
Does that $25k tv have an optical out.
A tv costing that much you should be able to take the hdmi audio into the tv and have the tv process the audio to the optical out to the sound bar.
this is my problem. I have my new ATV in the man cave and that TV has optical out but is about 5-6 years old now, wonder if that is why I get static when it converts HDMI to optical for my polk bar.
 

TrueBlou

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2014
3,775
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Scotland
this is my problem. I have my new ATV in the man cave and that TV has optical out but is about 5-6 years old now, wonder if that is why I get static when it converts HDMI to optical for my polk bar.
Might also be worth trying a complete swap out of cables if you haven't already and if you can. A good old dust out with a can of compressed air wouldn't hurt either after 5-6 years.
 
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jeve_stobs

macrumors newbie
Nov 1, 2015
2
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Well I have a low-end AV Receiver that also doesn't do HDMI audio so I bought one of these from Amazon. It has three options (pass-through, 2ch, 5.1ch) and only configuration I can get to work is to use the "5.1ch" setting with the "Dolby Digital" option set to "on" in the ATV settings.

However, this forces everything to be DD regardless and consequently any content that's actually not in DD is problematic. The issue is that, usually, my amp will recognise stereo input and use Pro Logic to fake 5.1 meaning that the central speaker gets used. However, forcing DD means it can't do this any more and as a result the output is in stereo. There's no way of forcing my amp to use Pro Logic and it would be annoying to manage this anyway.

Any ideas if there's any solution to this? I don't know why the "auto" setting doesn't work for DD—I simply get no audio at all.

EDIT: I was wrong, if I set it to "auto" it always outputs in stereo—I never get DD.
 
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rjgaylord

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 31, 2015
14
0
A very high home theater setup?
Does that $25k tv have an optical out.
A tv costing that much you should be able to take the hdmi audio into the tv and have the tv process the audio to the optical out to the sound bar.

no. it only has a L &R stereo out. it's a question of how old the system is. mine is 7 yrs. old (it's a Panasonic. - they don't make it anymore. they also used to make a 100" plama monitor but it cost $150,000 and they had to remove a side of your house to get it inside - i couldn't aford it and it was too big to fit into my condo unit. the 85" only cleared the entrance by 1/8".). they didn't even do HDMI audio in those days (my soundbar is a Yamaha 1100 YSP - not made anymore either). and it's a plasma display. i don't think anyone makes plasma displays anymore. but it's a better display than any LCD or LED. still waiting for an OLED over 85" or bigger. Bang & Olefin has an 85" LCD 4K for only $27K.

i read that Tom Cruise just had an IMAX consumer system installed into his house. only costs $2,000,000.

i'm so old that remote control was your father telling you to et up and change the channel for him. the TV's were B&W. and had rotary channel selectors - one for UHF and one for VHF.

i owned the first commercial betamax sold (i think it cost $1K and was top loading and had an naog clock and dould only be programmed to go on once 19 hours in advance and only recorded for 1 hour.. and the first Faroudja line doubler that converted 480i to 480p for only $15K.tere was no such thing as HD, let alone 4K.

when i bought additional RAM for my Mac II, it cost over $450 per Mb.

heck, i had a 15' C satellite dish. that was before there was direcT or DISH or even cable TV

the saying goes " early adopters are the first to have their equipment becme obsolete.
 

oftheheavens

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2008
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cherry point
Might also be worth trying a complete swap out of cables if you haven't already and if you can. A good old dust out with a can of compressed air wouldn't hurt either after 5-6 years.
you mean blast air into the optical port of the tv? It sounds perfect until I am converting the N-ATV from HDMI to the optical. either way I am a retired Marine so my house is actually rather dust free lol but still couldn't hurt!
 

rjgaylord

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 31, 2015
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it was high end when i bought it. it was in fact, the first sound bar ever made for consumers. i've since seen $50,000 speakers. doesn't mean much to me becuase i have to use closed captioning anyway due to hearing loss.