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Apple TV or Apple Airport Express?

ITFCMarco

Standard Member
We currently have a Pioneer Kuro with Pioneer AV (older type 1017) so no wifi lan capability.....KEF 3005SE surround speaker set up in main lounge 5.1 and then two Kef Ceiling's on the back taking up the other part of the 7.1 in our kitchen.....we can switch via the AV.

N Series Belkin Router being used for Laptop wifi only at the moment, plus we have PS3 for Blue Rays some games and Wii for the kids!

Considering buying an Ipad, want to have music into surround sound system, Pioneer has HDMI and Optical inputs / outputs. Also very keen on photography , have loads of slides on dvd's or cdr's

The question is whether to go for a ATV or Airport Express...like the idea of having a remote / wireless facility to control the music.

Thoughts would be appreciated.
 

Matt_C

Distinguished Member
I think in your case, the ATV is a no brainer. The AEx will give you an audio output to stream to from a laptop/computer running iTunes, or to send music from your iPad, but so will the ATV, along with a) adding video support (and photos, but you'd need to have them as files on a computer) and b) is a cinch to set up, compared to some of the horror stories on here about the AEx.

On the other hand, the AEx will also give you a wifi bridge (for better wifi reception) and a USB port to hang a hard drive off for sharing. The ATV won't do that.
 

bpsmith

Well-known Member
The Express will give you better quality sound than the ATV, along with the extras already mentioned. The setup is an absolute doddle on both do ignore the horror stories!

It just depends on what you want? Better sound, but sound only, or all of the extras an ATV can give?

Sounds like you already described the ATV as being what you need though.
 

Flashy

Well-known Member
The setup is an absolute doddle on both do ignore the horror stories!
I'd disagree with that, and I think Azzin might, too. :)

My AirPort Express wasn't a doddle to set up by any stretch of the imagination. Now it's working, it's fantastic, but I've never had that much trouble from any wireless technology, ever.

If I had an AV amp or any kind of home cinema set-up, or even if my stereo amp had an optical in, I'd have gone for the ATV. But I don't and it doesn't, so AirPort Express was my only option. And, as I said, now the setting up is out the way, it's great.

But I still often think about an Apple TV and how nice it would be, but just can't justify it at the moment.
 

bpsmith

Well-known Member
We're you setting up to link to an Airport Extreme or to a 3rd party Router though?

If the later, then you can't solely blame the Express if the Router wouldn't talk nicely to it.
 

Flashy

Well-known Member
It's a third party router. And I'm not solely blaming the AirPort Express, but one could look at it the other way and say it wasn't talking to the router nicely.

It is an amazing thing and it's often in use with great success. But it remains the hardest to set-up wifi/networking piece of technology I've ever used. I'm no tech whiz but I'm not completely lacking in experience, either, and this almost had me beaten.
 

bpsmith

Well-known Member
True enough, you can read into it however suits. That's my point really. WiFi gear usually plays well within the brands own stable, but you regularly get issues when mixing brands. This isn't only with Apple.

My Express took seconds to set up with my Extreme. Literally took longer to get it out of the box.

With a different Router then who knows, but the blame is shared.
 

mikelj

Well-known Member
bpsmith said:
The Express will give you better quality sound than the ATV, along with the extras already mentioned.
I already have two AE used for streaming music, but was considering Apple TV for my home cinema setup as for £20 more I could stream photos/videos to my screen in addition to music. Interested to hear your opinion on sound quality re. AE vs. Apple TV; could you explain why, please.
 

Matt_C

Distinguished Member
As I understand it, ATV2 resamples everything to 48kHz, whereas ATV1 and AEx don't; they keep it at 44.1kHz (same as CD). I'm not actually sure why 48kHz is deemed inferior to 44.1, since it's a sampling rate - it's the amount of times per second the digital audio stream is sampled, so in theory, 48kHz should be better than 44.1kHz (hence why 96kHz is better). Either way, I'd say it's unlikely you'll hear a difference...
 
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bpsmith

Well-known Member
Matt_C said:
As I understand it, ATV2 resamples everything to 48kHz, whereas ATV1 and AEx don't; they keep it at 44.1kHz (same as CD). I'm not actually sure why 48kHz is deemed inferior to 44.1, since it's a sampling rate - it's the amount of times per second the digital audio stream is sampled, so in theory, 48kHz should be better than 44.1kHz (hence why 96kHz is better). Either way, I'd say it's unlikely you'll hear a difference...
That's pretty much it tbh. I was only re-iterating what I was told when I suggested the ATV2 was the better option in the same argument some months back. A number of people chimed in and put me straight. I only mentioned because the OP mentioned their Kef speaker setup and I assumed sound quality was Nero Uno.

Either will sound awesome IMHO though!
 

mikelj

Well-known Member
Thanks guys (don't know how to thank using forum app!). Given Apple TV can stream movies, it makes sense that audio is re-sampled to 48KHz: it is the standard sampling rate for legacy Dolby Digital/DTS decoding/pseudo surround sound processing of stereo tracks.
 

Matt_C

Distinguished Member
As standard (ie, not jailbroken and running XBMC), AppleTV only supports Dolby Digital (AC3) for surround sound; DTS isn't supported (actually across the board, Apple does not support DTS in anything other than DVD Studio Pro (and that is only passthrough, not encode)

XBMC on the other hand, does support DTS
 

mikelj

Well-known Member
I was thinking more along the line of AV amps/receivers/processors - 48KHz sampling is required in order for to apply Dolby Digital (AC3) decoding or Pro Logic II/DTS Neo6 processing.
 

jreed110

Novice Member
I've recently purchased an atv and an aex. Had no problems with the aex but the atv won't play in surround on my amp, a denon 1909. Stereo is fine though. Not sure the reason for this but it's making me consider swapping the atv for another aex. The sound quality was far superior with the aex, albeit only because the atv won't play in surround.
 

mikelj

Well-known Member
jreed110 said:
I've recently purchased an atv and an aex. Had no problems with the aex but the atv won't play in surround on my amp, a denon 1909. Stereo is fine though. Not sure the reason for this but it's making me consider swapping the atv for another aex. The sound quality was far superior with the aex, albeit only because the atv won't play in surround.
How's the Apple TV connected to your Denon - HDMI plus optical, or HMDI only?
 

jreed110

Novice Member
Hdmi only, was advised 5.1 should pass fine through this. Is it worth giving it a go with an optical as well?
 

mikelj

Well-known Member
jreed110 said:
Hdmi only, was advised 5.1 should pass fine through this. Is it worth giving it a go with an optical as well?
I think that the HDMI will pass both LPCM stereo and a DD 5.1 bitstream. Are there any settings on the Apple TV that require you to enable 5.1 over HDMI. In addition, I've had a quick search and it appears if you press and hold the play/pause button for a few seconds (I guess whilst streaming video) an audio menu appears allowing to select stereo/5.1).
 

jreed110

Novice Member
Tried with an optical as well and realised my mistake, in my fiddling the positive wire had come out of my centre speaker! Would explain the muffled voices on surround. Working fine now, but thanks for your help!
 

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