Question Apple TV (4K) vs. dedicated Streamer

andy mc

Standard Member
Hi There

I've just upgraded my AV to Anthem Amp and Monitor Audio Speakers. I watch a load of Movies and am happy with the setup.

Now its time to think about my Music. My question is whether I should stick to my AppleTV (4K) streaming music from my Apple iCloud repository / Tidal App or should I look as something more dedicated like Bluesound?
 

larkone

Member
Why, what are you trying to achieve or fix?
 

spinaltap

Distinguished Member
It depends on if you’re content with AppleTV’s restricted 16/48 output, or if you want proper hi-resolution output buy a different product that’s fit for purpose.
 

andy mc

Standard Member
Why, what are you trying to achieve or fix?
Nothing is broken. I just want to get the best reproduction of hi-res music I can from the kit I have. If AppleTV isn't up to the job or at best 'average' sounding then I'm look for something that is more fit for purpose.
 

xmb

Well-known Member
The Apple TV spec sheet for audio format support states:

HE-AAC (V1), AAC (up to 320 Kbps), protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Apple Lossless, FLAC, AIFF and WAV; AC‑3 (Dolby Digital 5.1) and E‑AC‑3 (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound).

So also support 24 bit.
 

xmb

Well-known Member
It does NOT support 24bit.
If Apple are staying FLAC support for the Apple TV 4K then they must be able to support 24 bit otherwise they can't state they support FLAC. Where have you seen that it can't support 24 bit audio?
 

xmb

Well-known Member
Plex on the Apple TV 4K supports FLAC playback. The HomePod is due to get FLAC support so possibly iTunes may get an update to directly support, this rather than using AirPlay 2 via an iPhone.
 

Synchro

Distinguished Member
I use Plex on Apple TV for my Hi Res music. Works fine. I'm sure there are other options though.
 

spinaltap

Distinguished Member
FLAC 16 bit is feasible.

I state again, AppleTV is not capable of 24 bit. To prove my point, here is an untouched screenshot from my Mac's Audio Settings (AppleTV4K)...

AppleTV Audio Out.jpeg
 
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xmb

Well-known Member
All you are showing is that your Mac is using AirPlay to connect to your Apple TV, so is showing the default setting. (Although iTunes on macOS 10.13 supports AirPlay 2, I am not sure about the other macOS applications, such as the MIDI audio tool you show.)

As I said, you would need to use Plex or a current iPhone (A10 processor) to playback the FLAC files (from the iPhone you have the FLAC in Files and not iTunes).
 

spinaltap

Distinguished Member
Whatever hi-res signal you feed AppleTV it will always downsample it to 16/44 (music), or 16/48 (movies).

As for AirPlay2, it’s only capability over the original is in multi-room/device streaming, and has nothing to do with steaming hi-res music files above 16/44.

BTW, I was not depicting MIDI output: that’s a different Mac utility.
 
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Synchro

Distinguished Member
My
Whatever hi-res signal you feed AppleTV it will always downsample it to 16/44 (music), or 16/48 (movies).

As for AirPlay2, it’s only capability over the original is in multi-room/device streaming, and has nothing to do with steaming hi-res music files above 16/44.
Plex on Apple TV 4K now supports 4K video, FLAC & HEVC - FlatpanelsHD

"In addition, it adds support for “direct playback of FLAC music” on tvOS 11, meaning both versions of the Apple TV box. The second update adds support for “direct play support for HEVC video codec” on tvOS 11 (both Apple TVs). That is possible because Apple has enabled native support for the formats with the release of tvOS 11."

Apple Lists FLAC Audio Playback Support for 4K Apple TV, iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone X

"That said, Apple's latest iPad Pro range should also be capable of FLAC playback thanks to their high performance A10X Fusion chips, yet Apple hasn't updated its iPad Pro tech specs to indicate they will also support the standard. "
 
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spinaltap

Distinguished Member
Despite your post, AppleTV will pass-through FLAC (I’ve never denied that), but only at 16/44.
 

xmb

Well-known Member
Are you saying all audio formats only output at 44 kHz on an ATV 4K? Clearly this is wrong, as if so you could not playback surround sound material. Are you sure you have connected your ATV to a receiver that can support LPCM? Looking around the Infuse App and now the Plex App use LPCM to support the higher resolution audio files.
 

spinaltap

Distinguished Member
My last post concerned music at 16/44. Movies are at 16/48.

Tell me, in your ‘expert’ opinion, if the ATV4 is supposedly able to stream hi-res music as you propose, at what sample rates does it perform?

Is it capable of 24/96, or 24/192? That would be truly awesome if it could, but it cannot. It’s limited to 16/44 (16/48).

If I wanted to improve my AppleTV’s output, my external Meridian Director would be required to upsample the AppleTV’s 16/44 to 24/88. But, since, unlike my previous ATV3, with optical out, the ATV4K only has Ethernet out, so can’t be used with a USB DAC.

That’s why I don’t utilise my AppleTV for music playback, and use a Squeezebox Touch instead to achieve up to 24/192.
 

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