Connecting Apple TV to Amplifier and Speakers

Connecting Apple TV to Amp and Speakers

If you want to connect an Apple TV to you stereo amplifier and speakers but don’t have a digital input then this article is for you.

Toslink

Apple have thoughtfully provided a Toslink port on the back of every generation Apple TV. This is so that you can connect via a digital cable for enhanced audio whilst watching films or as a means to enjoying streamed music either from iTunes, iPhone or iPad.

I have an amp without a Toslink port

If you wish to connect your Apple TV to a traditional amp and speakers which doesn’t have a Toslink port then you will need to invest in a DAC and Toslink cable. The DAC (or Digital Audio Converter) translates the digital signal into an analogue signal which you stereo amplifier can understand. Plug in a set of RCA (Red and White / Black) cables between your amp and DAC and then the DAC to the Apple TV and you are set.

This is how it all logically connects together

Connecting an Apple TV to Amplifier and Speakers

What works

Without breaking the bank these two components from Amazon will enable you to cheaply (<£20) connect your Apple TV to amp and speakers. I know because I have them doing just this job myself.

Digital Audio Converter (US link here)
Toslink Cable (US link here)

Things to be aware of

Your DAC requires a power source so may have to find an additional plug socket to power it whilst in operation. Also the Toslink digital cables are more susceptible to damage than traditional analogue cables – so it is a good idea to take a little bit of care whilst moving them around.

My favourite benefit

What I like most about this setup is that you can play music through the Apple TV without the display being switched on. Streaming from Spotify is a great way to spend the evening listening to old faves and finding new tunes that might one day become old faves.

Video

The following video shows this how you can connect all this stuff together

  • chris thornton

    if i wanted to use the Toslink as u segregated and also use the same amp to work with my tv the same way how would i get around it? there is only oneToslink per item.

    • Chris, If your amp has a Toslink input then I’d suggest that you use this for one input and then a component connect with Toslink adapter for the other. If you amp has no Toslink input then you will either have to put up with swapping the cables between the TV and Apple TV or buy two adapters and cable sets. This does presume that you have two free component connections on your amp that you can use for this purpose. Hope this helps.

  • Yazeed

    What about an amplifier to connect to apple tv that supports 5.1 surround sound?
    I’ll be connecting the amp and hooking a headphone for surround sound movies..
    Thanks!

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  • Scott merrills

    Thats all good and i have this set up! BUT, what i carnt get is the sound from movies that are purchased via apple tv movie link through my amp!????
    Its not a digital amp but play music ok through airplay etc!!!
    Any ideas???
    Mail me scott5_@hotmail.co.uk

  • Julien

    Isn’t it possible to just use one of these super cheap converters?

    http://www.amazon.com/Recoton-Fiber-Optic-Toslink-Adapter/dp/B0002MQGRM/ref=pd_bxgy_e_text_y

    When reading the comments concerning the product, i doesnt’ seem like the DAC is necessary at all…

    • If you have a digital receiver then the adapter you suggest will convert the socket to work with a 3.5mm digital cable. Looks like it would work well with laptops and sound cards that can receive this kind of signal. What I’ve described in my post is how to connect your Apple TV to an analogue amp and speakers. If you use that adaptor with an analogue setup you will get nothing (well perhaps a little bit of static as the amplifier might pick up some noise from the digital signal).

      • Julien

        Thanks for the quick reply Gary! Sorry for being so ignorant about the subject but how do I know if my receiver is digital or analog? The thing I’m trying to do is connect my Apple TV to a rather cheap iPad docking stereo station, which has only 3.5mm audio in, so that I could play music from the above mentioned iPad via AirPlay.

        • No problem.

          I cannot see any reason why a company would include a digital input without making a fuss about it. So if it’s not labelled as a digital or optical input then it will be analogue.

          You can check the manual or speak to the manufacturer if you want to double check.

  • Ed

    Thanks!

  • Sherry

    I have a question. I can get a picture from my apple tv to my tv but not audio. I have connected RCA cables to my amplifier, and I bought a splitter for the HDMI cable because I only have 1 port. I am very frustrated.

    Sherry

    • Hi Sherry, have you tried using the optical output with a DAC as suggested in this post?