Q&A – Why is Surround Sound not working on my Apple TV 4?
One of the features the new Apple TV 4 promises is the 7.1 Surround sound. This is intended to be a major feature besides the Siri powered remote. Many folks have had issues in setting up the Apple TV 4 Sound aspects. One of the areas to pay attention is in the Apple TV Sound Settings.
When you set the audio setting to “Auto” it sends music in 2 channel PCM and movies and TV shows in 7.1 PCM. On the other end of the spectrum, if you set the output to Dolby Surround everything becomes Dolby Digital 5.1. Even music is mixed into DD 5.1. So Auto=lossless, Dolby Surround encodes everything to Dolby. There seems to be no real bit stream.
Apple TV 3 didn’t have this issue. Your best bet for using your 7.1 set up is to make sure that the audio setting points to “Auto”. That way you will be able to enjoy your 7.1 movies in surround mode from your existing systems.
I think it is more of an issue around how things have been labelled in the new ATV 4 unit.
Q&A – What happened to the Optical Sound Port connections? I cannot find the Optical Port any more on the unit.
Apple TV 4 supports a new and improved version of Dolby Digital surround sound — 7.1. Apple TV 3 only supported 5.1.
The ATV4 design replaced the optical out with a HDMI port. You will need to connect your ATV4 to your TV via an HDMI cable. The other HDMI Cable connects from your ATV4 into your surround sound receiver. People upgrading from ATV3 to ATV4 have not been thrilled about this feature. If you are sitting on the fence with the upgrade, please check this feature out yourself before you buy the new unit.
You can also pick up an HDMI-to-Toslink (optical audio) extractor. This will act as an in-between from your TV and Apple TV, routing the Apple TV’s HDMI connection through a separate box that separates the HDMI video signal and the audio signal. To make this work, you’ll need a spare power port and extra HDMI cable. Not sure if this extra overhead makes sense and provides a lot of value. So if you are an optical audio out fan, please check the new specs.
The other option to take advantage of the HDMI Connection is to route your signal through the OPPO BDP Player, if you have one of those high end blu-ray players. The OPPO unit does a fantastic job in processing both the video as well as the audio signal and offers you quite a few configuration options.