Apple AirPlay Optical Apple TV

Should I Throw Away My Apple TV with Optical Out?

Apple has an uncanny way of stripping away ports and features that many music lovers (audiophiles?) deem useful. Remember, the ever-loved 3.5mm jack? Well, even before that, Apple made the decision to remove the optical out from it’s Apple TV hardware.

If you still have the 2nd generation Apple TV that’s functional, don’t throw that away, yet.

If you have a stereo set up already at home, and you’re using Bluetooth to stream music. STOP! You can use your Apple TV to stream via AirPlay.

AirPlay provides better sound quality (no doubt) and wireless range than Bluetooth.

Apple TV 2nd Gen
Apple TV with Optical Out

If you have a stereo set up, you can introduce the Apple TV with optical out into your streaming chain and become happier with the sound quality. All you need is a good DAC (digital-to-analog converter), like the Schiit Modi 3, to convert the digital signal from your Apple TV, to analog signal that can be fed to your stereo amplifier.

For example: Stream Apple Music or Spotify from your phone — AirPlay –to– Apple TV –to– Schiit or equivalent DAC with TOSLINK/Optical input –to– stereo amplifier like Cambridge Audio, Marantz, etc.

Tip: Don’t ever think about hunting for a HDMI to optical cable – just don’t bring in too many conversions in the audio signal path. Let them live in peace.