Apple TV 4K audio to Playbar via ethernet rather than digital optical

  • 26 July 2023
  • 7 replies
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  • 6 replies

I replaced my old Apple TV HD with a newer Apple TV 4K yesterday and have great video but lost the audio. After taking down the wall mounted TV I noticed that the optical output from my TV was not hooked up to the optical input in my Sonos Playbar. 

So my question is, how did I get audio from my old ATV HD to my Playbar without the optical connection? The only way it could occur is through the ethernet connection (my entire Sonos household system is wired via ethernet rather than Wi-Fi).

The reason I disconnected the digital optical input from my old ATV to my Playbar is because the optical output from my Sony TV is damaged - the connection is loose. So I would like to again get audio from my new ATV 4K to my Playbar via ethernet again, but I cannot figure out how to do that. All of the documentation I can find about hooking up my Sonos Playbar (it is the older model not the newer one - I purchased it in 2016 or 2017) directs me to hook it up to the TV via an optical cable.

Any suggestions out there? How did I manage to get audio from my old ATV to my Playbar via the ethernet connection? I really wish I had written that down when I set it up like that a few years ago.


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7 replies

There is no way to get TV audio via Ethernet to the PLAYBAR, it only accepts it via optical.

I would be looking at an inexpensive HDMI switch that has an optical output. That would remove the need to have the TV as part of the audio path. 

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Thanks for the reply, Bruce. But then, how was it working before when there was no digital optical connection? It has been working without an optical cable for years. The only connection between the ATV and the Playbar was via the ethernet connections.

Thanks for the reply, Bruce. But then, how was it working before when there was no digital optical connection? It has been working without an optical cable for years. The only connection between the ATV and the Playbar was via the ethernet connections.

 

I’m afraid that is impossible.  If you were getting TV audio from the Playbar, it had to be through the optical.  Perhaps the Apple TV was connected directly to the optical, bypassing the TV?

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Hmmm… No I don’t think that is possible because I was getting Playbar audio when using only the TV and not the ATV.

Yeah… it just doesn’t make sense to me.

At the risk of gaslighting myself, I wonder if the optical connection fell out when I took the TV off the wall? It is a very loose connection. But I don’t remember the optical being plugged into the Playbar when I disconnected it. But then again, I wasn’t paying close attention because the cables are so jammed packed in between the back of the TV and the wall.

But that is the only thing that makes sense… it must have just fallen out.

Well, I’ll try reassembling it with that damaged loose optical output on my TV and hope for the best. If anyone else can see how this could be possible - audio from ATV to Playbar over Ethernet - please let me know.

As I say, if the optical port is so broken on the TV that it’s loose and not usable (a frequent issue from people trying to seat the connector ‘upside down’, not realizing there is an orientation to it, in some cases), the HDMI switch is a common, and inexpensive solution, as it pulls the audio off of the HDMI before it reaches the TV. Many, many folks have used this solution, for various reasons, from TVs that don’t have optical outputs (ancient!) to those who have been unable to get the TV’s circuitry from messing with the audio. It’s a very common solution. 

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Thanks, Bruce, I may do that and purchase an HDMI switch. But for the moment it appears that a couple of thin strands of duct tape have done the trick. I have audio again after taping the optical digital cable securely (sort of) into the TV optical output. 

Now if I can just figure out why my TV video is very grainy. It wasn’t like that this morning when I started to sleuth out the audio problem.

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It’s all fixed and running perfectly. Duct tape is still holding the optical cable in place for great sound and the grainy video was fixed by plugging into HDMI input 2 rather than input 1. This Sony TV is going to need to be replaced one day. I got it when 1080p was all the rage! 😀