Apple TV 4 arrives without optical digital out

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Slow ethernet as well

In contrast to previous models, the fourth iteration of Apple TV 4 will not provide an optical digital output anymore. This unexpected change might potentially irritate quite a few customers. Also, as of now only a slow ethernet connection is provided. We show you some workaround strategies.

Music streaming over TV or AV receiver only

The new Apple TV looks promising – as long as you plan to use it with a TV or an AV receiver. Should you only want to stream music via AirPlay, options are limited. Lacking of digital audio output it is no longer connecting to audio-only devices such as digital-audio converters (DAC). An analog audio out is lacking as well. The previous iteration (Apple TV 3) served audio signals at least through digital connector via a toslink interface.

This shouldn’t be much of a problem for the majority of users. Most will integrate both audio and video via the HDMI 1.4 connection which offers full control and comfort. Connecting this to either the AV receiver or the TV and relaying from there to either amplifiers or active speakers and surround audio systems.

If however you want to solely use the Apple TV 4 for audio playback - without AV receiver or HD TV - you will be lost. In this case the only option is the previous model that is still available for $79.

Alternatively, an Airport Express Station could be used for streaming audio via the built-in digital-analog 3.5mm connector. To enable digital output a special cable will be required, though.

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Ethernet speed no longer state-of-the-art

Another detail not appearing in most reports and reviews is the comparably slow ethernet connection. Just as its predecessors, the Apple TV 4 is using 10/100BASE-T to enable “the future of television“. Some streaming and network competitors are offering gigabit for the integration into the home LAN.

Meanwhile, the newest model sports fast 802.11ac WiFi standards. A fast WLAN router presumed, WiFi speeds will enable considerably faster connections than network cables.

For many users this will be a new experience. With the further expansion of 4G mobile networks this effect will become more prominent in other areas as well. As of now already the 4G mobile network is considerably faster than the stationery DSL or cable connections.

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Pictures: Apple Inc.; Author & Editor: Thomas Landgraeber; Translation: Mathias Rhein

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