Can I connect my old system to my Apple TV via chinch?

Apple TV optical audio

Question: I have an old stereo system that only has inputs with chinch sockets. Is it possible to connect an Apple TV to it? The Apple TV offers a 3,5 mm output and with a 3,5 mm to chinch adapter you should get the sound from the television to the system, right?

Answer: An interesting question that I ask too already answered - but without going into the 3,5mm socket on the Apple TV. :) I admit, the socket is a bit confusing, but with the [current Apple TV 3-> apple-tv] it differs significantly from a 3,5 mm jack that is usually found on AUX inputs, headphone sockets or knows something similar. In this case (I assume that you are talking about Apple TV 2 or 3) it is an optical audio output (I also say "Optical Audio" above). To protect the optics from dust, the socket is also provided with a protective flap that would not be found with an analog audio output. In short: your idea with the 3,5 mm to chinch cable will not work. :(

Apple TV optical audio

The optical output on the 3rd generation Apple TV can be clearly seen here. A conversion to chinch with adapter is unfortunately not possible.

Unfortunately, you have to spend a little more money if you want to connect your Apple TV to an old music system that does not have an optical output. The solution to the problem is a converter that converts the optical (digital) signal from the Apple TV into an analog audio signal. Such a converter is also known as a "DAC" for short, which stands for digital-to-analog converter.

In practice, the chain between the devices looks like this:
Apple TV optical output >> Toslink cable >> DAC optical input >> DAC analog output >> chinch cable >> stereo system analog input.

There are of course qualitative differences between the DACs. I don't have a comparison myself, however, as I only have a cheap [DA converter-> DA audio converter]. In various forums, however, there is agreement that the more expensive brand-name converters also produce a better sound from the optical signal. For this reason I have chosen two devices, both of which have received a lot of positive reviews. Power supply unit and [Toslink cable-> toslink cable] are included in the delivery of the inexpensive DAC - the "Premium DAC" only comes with a power supply unit, but no Toslink cable. You probably still have a chinch cable in some box ...

The good-and-cheap variant:

Audio converter digital (Toslink and coaxial) to analog (cinch)
This non-name audio converter converts digital SPDIF Coaxial / Toslink to analog r / l and costs around 20 EUR.

The "high-end alternative":

Musical Fidelity - V-DAC II - digital to analog converter
With the V-DAC II you are sure to have one of the top models in the audio converter sector in mind. When you read the reviews, the reviewers can hardly figure out how awesome this thing is! The whole thing has its price, however, because the V-DAC II is available from the Amazon counter for a good 250 EUR. Attention: Toslink cable is not included here (as far as I could see).

A corresponding Toslink cable for the V-DAC II can be found here .


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  1. were you says:

    is the usb port on the ATV to connect a hard drive, can it be accessed and controlled remotely from the ipad? that would be the reason to buy it and stream music over the stereo system! Reason on the Mac book is not so four free space for music!

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Warsti! Sorry, that is not possible. The USB port on the Apple TV is intended more for service work; e.g. to connect it to the Mac and then reset it. A hard drive doesn't work on it. In your case, a NAS hard drive with iTunes support would be the right choice. This allows you to put your music on the network and then access it from Macs and iOS devices. This works with the, for example Synology DS214sethat can also feed the Apple TV with films and audio, which then sends the music back to the stereo system.

  2. werner kantner says:

    Apple TV is my current problem

  3. Daniel Black says:

    Alternatively, it is possible, for example, to connect an "analog" hi-fi system or active speaker system to the analog audio output of a correspondingly equipped LED display or television (mostly jack plug).

    ! CAUTION: Make sure beforehand that the preamplifier of the TV or the display CANNOT overload the chinch inputs on the hi-fi amplifier!

  4. Daniel Black says:

    Another alternative is the additional use of an Apple AirPort Express base station (79-109 € for example here at overhauled at Apple or used here on amazon).
    Because this offers both an analog (jack plug, 3,5 mmm) and a digital (S / PDIF, integrated in the jack plug socket) audio output in HiFi quality. The audio signals can then be streamed digitally via WLAN or LAN cable from AppleTV to the AirPort Express via AirPlay and finally enjoyed via a hi-fi system or active speaker system. With an optical-digital connection between the AirPort Express base station and a more modern hi-fi system with an optical-digital input, you can even enjoy loss-free hi-fi sound.
    In addition, when positioning the super compact and visually extraordinarily attractive AirPort Express base station (especially when using WLAN), you are much more free than with a direct audio cable connection between AppleTV and hi-fi system.
    You can also stream HiFi audio to the AirPort Express base station directly from a Mac, an iOS device or a Windows PC with iTunes. Ie without "detour" via the AppleTV SetTopBox. In this way, for example, an old, decommissioned Windows PC (in use on the server) can play your favorite music fully automatically all day long via iTunes (via AirTunes) while you use your large TV wirelessly (via AirPlayMirroring) as a second display on your MacBook .
    In addition, the AirPort base station can be used in parallel as an AirPrint-capable print server, as a WLAN-LAN bridge, as a WLAN repeater, as an access point and as a WLAN router.

  5. Daniel Black says:

    Another professional, high-quality alternative: Meanwhile, many hi-fi system manufacturers (including Yamaha & Denon) offer AirTunes ("only" hi-fi audio, "old" standard) or AirPlay (hi-fi audio + HD video, current standard ) capable hi-fi components. This allows you to conveniently stream the music you want from your iTunes media library at home (which, for example, runs on an old, decommissioned Windows PC in use on the server) to your hi-fi system using the IR remote control.

    • sir appleot says:

      Hi Daniel! Yes, you are right, but these Airplay-enabled systems are not as cheap as the Apple TV solution. But for those who are interested in a solution with an airplay-enabled receiver, the DENON AVRC1200WBKE2 (what a product name ...) be exciting. In addition to Airplay, the 7.1 Surround Receiver also offers Bluetooth and Spotify Connect.
      And instead of an old Windows PC in the basement, I'd rather put an old Mac mini in my living room. :)

  6. macmaster says:

    I would like to stream my ipad screen (not camera) via ATV (ispy the securityspy), does anyone know the url that you need?

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