Connect Apple TV to stereo (updated 07/2022)

AppleTV 3
AppleTV 3
The Apple TV 3 is perfect for playing music from the shared iTunes library (Photo: Apple).

With older Apple TV models, the issue of Apple TV and stereo system could still be solved via the optical output. An en Toslink to coaxial adapter was used to branch off the audio signal. If you had a system with an optical input, you were even better off and could work directly with an optical connection cable.

However, the new Apple TV models have thrown a spanner in the works here and unfortunately only offer an HDMI output. Many users are overwhelmed with this when it comes to connecting the Apple TV to the stereo system.

Arguably the most elegant solution is to place two HomePods next to the TV and output the audio through the two HomePods - but of course that costs a bit and isn't necessarily the solution that some people who have long had a quality stereo with the TV connected.

For this reason, I would like to show you how to connect current Apple TV models to a hi-fi system using a cable.

Update 10.08.2022/4/XNUMX: Apple TV HD and Apple XNUMXK without optical output

As a reader just wrote to me, the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD no longer have a Toslink output. So you have to get the audio signal from the Apple TV somehow differently. Since there is only one left HDMIoutput, there is basically only one solution: An adapter that creates an HDMI socket and two cinch audio outputs from the HDMI socket.

For this purpose, there are HDMI audio extractor solutions that offer both an RCA output and an optical output next to the HDMI port. An adapter that you can even use for the Apple TV 4K is the VPFET HDMI Audio Extractor, which can even process a 4K video signal.

HDMI Audio Extractor 4k HDMI optical audio splitter adapter,De-Embed SPDIF Optical 5.1CH + 3.5 mm...
  • HDMI to HDMI + SPDIF Optical Digital + 3.5mm L/R Stereo Audio: HDMI Audio Extractor supports HDMI 4K30Hz over...
  • 3 Audio Processing Settings: HDMI audio splitter has three TV audio modes: PASS 2.0CH and 5.1CH. 3.5mm audio output...
  • Resolution,hdmi optical audio splitter supports 4K@30Hz - input resolution up to 2016P@30Hz and also supports...

High-quality cinch cables from Oehlbach

I looked around for high-quality audio cables and ended up at the Oehlbach company. So if you are not necessarily looking for the cheapest, but are looking for a high-quality solution to connect the HDMI Audio Extractor to the system, you can try this Oehlbach cinch audio cable look at.

Apple TV remote app

A little tip for easier operation: Apple has a remoteApp, with which you can remotely control the Apple TV (ATV). Once you have released your iTunes library and made it available on the ATV, you can control the music remotely from anywhere – provided you have access to the local WLAN.

Did you like the article and did the instructions on the blog help you? Then I would be happy if you the blog via a Steady Membership would support.

The page contains affiliate links / images:

24 Responses to “Connect Apple TV to stereo system (updated 07/2022)”

  1. Hello, I got AppleTV and by means of a converter (brand Goldkabel) I also got the music on my analog stereo system. There is only one catch: I only get the music in mono via a box. I have already checked and tried various settings. But unfortunately everything didn't work. I switched the converter directly between AppleTV and amplifier using an optical cable. Is there a solution for this?
    Thanks in advance, greetings, Frank

    1. Hello Frank! Actually, either the converter can be defective or there is a problem with the cinch cable. What happens if you swap the audio outputs on the cable? Is the same speaker still mute? You might want to test whether it's the cable or the converter. It can't be the optical cable, because as far as I understand it only has one "wire". So there are only the states “completely works” or “does not work at all”. :) Maybe you can tell us again if you got any further! VG and Happy New Year! Jens

  2. Hello Jens, thank you for the quick reference. I returned the converter (wasn't cheap) directly without trying it first. In the shop I was told it couldn't be defective. Since I always have to drive a bit to get into civilization, I didn't want to take any chances and bought the Apple AirPort Express. Someone had probably already bought it (his network was still set up) and returned it. Result: The Airport Express could be set up again, but is not recognized in the network with the error message that there is no WiFi reception at the installation site. But that's rubbish. So will have to give it back. If it works, then it works! Can't imagine doing anything wrong with the installation after trying multiple times and each time it was configured successfully. Or do you have another idea? Thank you and have a happy new year too, Frank

    1. Hello Frank! Well, that sounds like a lot of fun. :-(
      About the Airport Express: I think there was a problem between Fritzbox and Airport Express or Extreme. I had something like this once and somehow it didn't want to work together. When I searched Google, I read that there was an incompatibility that was known. It was the same for others. Maybe it's the same problem as yours? Otherwise you have to see if you can improve the reception. Sometimes a few centimeters or a turn of the Airport Express can help. That works quite well if you plug a short extension cable into the socket. I keep my fingers crossed that you can do it! LG! Jens

  3. Hello

    I have been using the Airport Express to play my music from Apple devices for years with great satisfaction.
    Now I've got an Apple TV as a gift, but it only has one optical output. For this purpose, Apple offers a cable from optical to 1.5mm jack, which in my opinion I can adapt to chinch again. Am I correct?
    My concern is that I don't have to turn on the TV every time to listen to music through my system and ATV.
    Do not understand the previous post, as an ATV and an Express are supposed to be used there now ?!
    At some point it is also good with the WlanStrahlen;)

    1. Hello Christian! Well, not quite. The cable you mentioned is probably the one from Belkin, which has a cinch and a 3,5 mm jack, but unfortunately both ends are “optical”. In the item description in the Apple Store under the technical data: "Connections: Optical". It also doesn't have any power supply, which clearly shows that there can't be any electronics inside that could convert the optical-digital audio signal from the ATV into an electrical one. The article from me gives a help, which device you need to hang an ATV on a stereo system with a cinch input. If I misunderstood something it would help if you post a link to the cable you mean. But I assume we're talking about the same thing. Best regards! Sir!



    I connected my Apple TV to my stereo system via an Oehlbach converter, which unfortunately now remains silent. At the same time, the ATV is also connected to the television. May be the problem. Or are there other cliffs that I haven't recognized yet?

    Thank you for an answer in advance and have a nice weekend

    Thomas Salzman

    1. Hello Thomas! It should actually work that way. Is more or less the standard setup if you want to have good sound on TV with the ATV. Which converter do you use? And is the optical TOS-Link cable okay too? There must be a problem somewhere ... otherwise it would work ...

      1. For completeness: I have just received feedback from Thomas that there is only one switch on Oehlbach DA converter was. There you can switch between optical and coaxial and it was set to “coaxial”. Of course it can't work because the Apple TV only outputs an optical signal... Thanks again for the feedback!

  5. Jonathan Oblander

    Good day,
    I have the following problem. First of all, I have from analog / digital / etc. absolutely no idea ;-)

    I bought a used Sony 5.1 system. This has an optical input and also an audio input with an analog clinch connector (is that what you call it ???).
    Now the television only has an optical audio output and the Apple TV as well.
    My idea now would be to connect the Apple TV to the system using a digital to analog audio converter. Will all boxes go there or can't you get a 5.1 from an analog signal?

    1. Hi Jonathan! Yes, that also works with the analog signal, but you have to buy a DA converter that also converts the optical signal into a 5.1 surround signal. One that does it for example and costs around 50 EUR is the “Ligawo 5.1 digital audio decoder“. Then you have reasonable 5.1 sound again with the analogue system. :)

      1. Ok, thanks in advance.
        And if I “only” take a 20€ part? What happens then? Does the sound only come out of a box or what?

        1. Nope, every halfway suitable DA converter has at least one stereo signal as an output signal. So then the sound comes from at least two speakers. ;)

  6. Hello Sir,

    one more question: can I also record the other way around, for example, records from the amplifier via the DA converter - Apple TV - MacBook? Maybe an additional little program. But does it work in principle?

    Many thanks for your response


      1. I have just received an answer from Thomas that you can no longer switch the 3,5mm jack socket as an input on newer MacBooks as usual. This only works if you connect the Apple headset, but not with other analog sources. A line-in adapter or an external sound card that also works via USB on the Mac can help. After some reading and comparing, I found this one, which is good and cheap and also works perfectly on the Mac: Creative Sound Blaster Play! 2SB1620
        This means that MacBook users without a line-in socket can also enjoy the convenience of recording they are used to ...

  7. Hello, I replaced my Apple TV 3 with a newer Apple TV HD – the new one now has no RCA inputs and no Toslink input. I connected my stereo system to the old TV3 via Toslink and a D/A converter. Unfortunately, the system has no HDMI input, only cinch inputs. Any tip on how to get audio from Apple TV HD on my stereo?

    1. I think you need an HDMI to RCA adapter (like this one from Amanka). From this then come two cinch plugs for the audio. However, I still don't quite understand how you get the video signal on your screen. Shouldn't you actually have an HDMI cable that you plug into the television and that also has two audio outputs?

      In this case the HDMI Audio Extractor (like this one from VPFET) which offers both a chinch output and a TOS link output.

  8. The picture from the Apple TV HD to the television goes via HDMI. But I don't want to turn on the TV while streaming music - which I would have to do to loop through the signal.
    My idea is to split the HDMI output of the Apple TV in a switch and then adapt it from HDMI to RCA.

    1. Hello Axel! No, you can also use the adapter without a television. It splits the audio and it doesn't matter whether there's a TV connected to the HDMI port or not. You get the audio either way.

  9. I installed the extractor - it works perfectly.
    Image signal goes to TV via looped-through HDMI
    The audio signal goes directly to the 12-year-old stereo system via Toslink or cinch.
    Thanks for the tip!

    1. Great, thanks for the feedback. I am pleased that the device not only works in theory, but also in practice. 😊

Post a comment

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked with * marked

In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.