Apple based wireless home setup - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 06-12-2013, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

Noob moving into a new house after the last one burned to the ground. All I have is just a couple macbooks and iphones for music sources right now (luckily the iTunes libraries survived). We plan to get one HDTV which will be in my office/TV room upstairs, with a small sound system in that room. We will also want audio on the main floor in the living room and kitchen, streaming iTunes library and podcasts and NPR, Pandora (and the like). TV will be for OTA channels and streaming video - no cable.

The question is how to make this as simple, high-quality, wireless system. I currently have Apple TV/Airplay or Sonos systems in mind, leaning toward Apple. Happy to hear input on that basic choice.

Then, if I do go with Apple gear, I'm really not sure what that setup would look like. For instance, if I have the ATV in my TV room upstairs, hooked up to that sound system, how would that best be setup to control, say, a pair of floor-standing speakers in the living room (components needed and their setup?), and some books-shelf speakers in the kitchen (ditto ?'s)?

Thanks much...
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-12-2013, 04:13 PM
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For audio-only zones, the Sonos solution will be vastly superior, as you need a display to drive the AppleTV interface. But obviously for video zones, the ATV gets you the video support.

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post #3 of 16 Old 06-12-2013, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Can't I run the ATV with my iphone/laptop using airplay? I did that using airplay at my last place (using airport extreme hooked up to my audio receiver (rather than an ATV) but that was just a single audio unit)
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post #4 of 16 Old 06-12-2013, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikeProf View Post

Can't I run the ATV with my iphone/laptop using airplay? I did that using airplay at my last place (using airport extreme hooked up to my audio receiver (rather than an ATV) but that was just a single audio unit)

The iOS remote control for the ATV just drives the on-screen GUI. You can AirPlay to the ATV, but I don't know if you can do that "blind" without a TV to guide you...

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post #5 of 16 Old 06-13-2013, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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This helped a bit...esp regarding options for controlling multiple streaming destinations/networks from an iOS device:

http://www.macworld.com/article/2039770/how-to-get-started-with-airplay.html?page=0

So now - perhaps an ATV for the home theater upstairs, an airport express for the amplified floorstanding speakers in the living room, and either another express & speaker or airplay enabled speaker in the kitchen.

I'm still not sure of any advantages or disadvantages of using the airport express vs. ATV for audio only.

And the super noob issue: I'm also unsure how the networks each ATV or express unit creates interfaces with my wireless internet (to stream internet content, it seems I need to be both on my home internet network, and an airplay network at the same time). Help me be less dumb on this one...
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post #6 of 16 Old 06-13-2013, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikeProf View Post

I'm still not sure of any advantages or disadvantages of using the airport express vs. ATV for audio only.

The ATV does not have an analog audio output, so you'd need more than a simple amp to drive a zone of speakers.

And repeating, I don't know how well you can drive the ATV interface without a display. Not sure if it will always "just play" if you send an AirPlay stream to it. It might, I just don't have one to try...
Quote:
And the super noob issue: I'm also unsure how the networks each ATV or express unit creates interfaces with my wireless internet (to stream internet content, it seems I need to be both on my home internet network, and an airplay network at the same time). Help me be less dumb on this one...

They can just join your existing wireless network as client devices.

Jeff

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post #7 of 16 Old 06-13-2013, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post


They can just join your existing wireless network as client devices.

^^^ THAT was some of the language I've been hunting for - thanks, I now have some more direction
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-19-2013, 10:38 AM
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If you're going to do any streaming of video from mac to ATV, and your walls are still torn apart, I would strongly encourage you do run some CAT 6. I've got a big library of DVDs ripped to MP4 on my desktop and taking wifi out of the equation when you're streaming HD video, in my experience, is always a win.

Running CAT6 now, if it's still torn apart, gives you great flexibility for the future.

I've had Sonos for a few years now Play:3, Play: 5 and Connect running into a Russound WHA system in our new house, soooooo cool. Control the whole house from any iOS device, even my wife can use.
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-20-2013, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

For audio-only zones, the Sonos solution will be vastly superior, as you need a display to drive the AppleTV interface. But obviously for video zones, the ATV gets you the video support.
0

However, for audio-only to an Apple Airport Express, the Apple solution is vastly superior. The airport express has analog audio out on the back, just wire it up to any receiver. Control of audio from any iOS device to anywhere in the home.
this topic has been covered many times before in other threads, and I don't want to get into an apple vs anything else debate. But, I researched the hell out of this before I made my choice, and the Apple ecosystem is nearly flawless.
Plus, when your friends come over, they can connect to your wi-fi network and stream their audio anywhere also!
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post #10 of 16 Old 06-20-2013, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by iamlucas View Post

However, for audio-only to an Apple Airport Express, the Apple solution is vastly superior. The airport express has analog audio out on the back, just wire it up to any receiver. Control of audio from any iOS device to anywhere in the home.
this topic has been covered many times before in other threads, and I don't want to get into an apple vs anything else debate. But, I researched the hell out of this before I made my choice, and the Apple ecosystem is nearly flawless.
Plus, when your friends come over, they can connect to your wi-fi network and stream their audio anywhere also!

The Airport Express is what I use currently as well for my main AV system. And from a cost perspective, it'll be hard to beat it as a $99 solution!

There is a distinct difference, though, in the AE solution vs Sonos. The Sonos product is a self-contained streamer and you're only using the iOS / Android device as a remote control. No need to keep the phone/tablet "tied up" streaming audio for Pandora/Spotify/etc. I use my PC/server running iTunes to serve up the digital library and Internet radio - but Pandora, et. al. has to come from "elsewhere"...

"Guest" access can be handled in a couple of ways, AirPlay is a decent solution but does place some limits on the AE configuration / network access.

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
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post #11 of 16 Old 06-21-2013, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamlucas View Post

0

However, for audio-only to an Apple Airport Express, the Apple solution is vastly superior. The airport express has analog audio out on the back, just wire it up to any receiver. Control of audio from any iOS device to anywhere in the home.
this topic has been covered many times before in other threads, and I don't want to get into an apple vs anything else debate. But, I researched the hell out of this before I made my choice, and the Apple ecosystem is nearly flawless.
Plus, when your friends come over, they can connect to your wi-fi network and stream their audio anywhere also!

Ummmm...there is one major flaw, though. How do you play to multiple zones from iOS? It can be done from the remote app but that only plays you iTunes library.
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post #12 of 16 Old 06-27-2013, 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

The ATV does not have an analog audio output, so you'd need more than a simple amp to drive a zone of speakers.

And repeating, I don't know how well you can drive the ATV interface without a display. Not sure if it will always "just play" if you send an AirPlay stream to it. It might, I just don't have one to try...
They can just join your existing wireless network as client devices.

Jeff

The ATV can be run headless after the initial configuration of connecting it to a wifi network. The ATV will just play the audio stream it receives over AirPlay and nothing needs to be seen or configured on the TV. Choose ATV without a doubt if your speakers can connect digitally. If you need analog-out choose Airport Express.
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post #13 of 16 Old 06-27-2013, 04:15 PM
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Just be sure to disable the automatic updates, otherwise it will prompt you and you won't know until you hook up a display (and it wont stream until you tell it what to do)
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post #14 of 16 Old 06-27-2013, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slorente View Post

Ummmm...there is one major flaw, though. How do you play to multiple zones from iOS? It can be done from the remote app but that only plays you iTunes library.

this is the big problem i see - how to stream pandora to multiple zones simultaneously using AE/ATV
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post #15 of 16 Old 06-27-2013, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by speavler View Post

Just be sure to disable the automatic updates, otherwise it will prompt you and you won't know until you hook up a display (and it wont stream until you tell it what to do)
I don't think this is an issue with newer firmwares. AirPlay streaming isn't blocked by the update prompt. I may be wrong but I will confirm during the next update.
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post #16 of 16 Old 06-30-2013, 08:35 PM
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I'm in the same boat as the OP. I use iTunes, an iPhone and an airport express. It's worked well for me for four yrs and in that time have started listening to a lot more music, mostly when studying. I have the ae (the analog out, which I use since avr won't send a dig signal to zone 2, is also a toslink output) in my den with the HT and a second zone off my avr to the deck. Eventually, I'm getting a new avr that'll pass digital, so that's not my concern. The one airport is not giving me enough wifi coverage throughout the house and on the deck. This limits my range on controlling iTunes or streaming from my phone and have wondered about getting an atv for the den and putting the ae in the office at the back of the house. Also, afaik, the ae and atv are limited to output cd quality (44.1?) from a streaming source (iTunes, iPhone). I know iTunes will output higher rez audio but only if wired, I think. If I understood the sonos reps right, it will allow input/output of high rez formats from iTunes/flac, etc. but that it works off its own wireless different from your wifi? You can also turn on/off different sonos zones from iOS device and play different sources in each or one source in all zones at once while syncing the timing signals. Isn't the sonos DAC superior to that of the ae/atv?Which brings up the same issue I have now, would that one sonos wireless signal cover me inside and out? How do I keep the streaming convenience while playing high rez music?
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