How can I set up a simple audio system at home that plays music from my iPhone and also acts as TV speakers?
October 23, 2011 6:31 AM   Subscribe

How can I set up a simple audio system at home that plays music from my iPhone and also acts as TV speakers?

I know nothing about audio hardware. I'd like to set up a simple, cheap system that I can hook my iPhone up to and control from my laptop, so I don't have to keep getting up every time I want to change songs. I would also like it to double as speakers for my TV since the built-in ones are not so great. The TV is a Sony flatscreen. I'd appreciate recommendations for specific speakers or docking systems. I am not an audiophile by any means so I would be happy with some small generic speakers. Looking to spend no more than $200 or thereabouts for the whole thing.

Also note - I used to use Veency to control my iPhone remotely but I don't want to go the jailbreaking route again. Thanks.
posted by pravit to Technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think the sticking point here is that you can't (normally) use your computer to control music playback on your phone. There might be an app that does it, but I've never used one. Your best bet might be to get AirPlay-enabled speakers that have an aux input for your TV- you can stream music to them from either your laptop or your phone without either being physically connected to the speakers.
posted by supercres at 6:40 AM on October 23, 2011

Basically, buy a good receiver and some good speakers. Don't buy crap. And I say that knowing that you really can't do this well on a $200 budget. You can get some docks with speakers and line-in for that, but they're... not great.

But $400 or so will get you a pair of PSB Alpha speakers (Far and away the best bang for your buck on speakers, still), a competent entry-level receiver (There's a few options there) and all the wires you need (from Monoprice), and a dock with a remote control (see DealExtreme for lots of options.) That will get you a basic setup that you will be extremely happy with for a very long time.

You _can_ buy crappy 5.1 surround sets that will sound terrible compared to the PSBs, but don't.
posted by mhoye at 7:50 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sounds like you need an AirPort Express with AirTunes...via Lifehacker. I think this should work, because you just connect the AirPort router to your sound system receiver. Then you set up the remote app on your iPhone.
posted by erstwhile at 8:00 AM on October 23, 2011

Do you only have an iPhone or a computer to go with it? The usual Apple solution is to get either an Airport Express (old method) or AppleTV (sexy new method) and plug it into your receiver. These won't pull music from the phone but rather from your iTunes library on your computer. Then you can use iTunes Remote app on your iPhone to control it.

If you don't want to spend extra money on Apple hardware, the other solution is to just use a 1/8"-to-RCA Y-cable to connect the phone to the receiver, but there isn't really a plausible way to control it remotely with a non-jailbroken phone (VNC is the only thing I can think of).
posted by neckro23 at 9:58 AM on October 23, 2011

The way that I did it before I upgraded my system was I had a cheap all-in-one surround system set that you can buy at Sears, Walmart, etc. A few hundred dollars it ran me, and it wasn't anything great but it was better then nothing. What I ended up doing was buying an audio in line (yellow cord on a/v cables) and just running that into my audio in port on the cheap receiver. From my Ipod, I just connected it through the earphone port.

Was def. not the greatest set-up, but doing it this way, the highest cost would be the all-in-one surround set w/ receiver.
posted by lpcxa0 at 10:19 AM on October 23, 2011

If you have an XBox, PS3, or other DNLA device, you can use the iPhone AirMusic app to stream content if the two devices are on the same wifi network. Possibly cheaper than a dedicated Airplay reciever or an AppleTV.
posted by meowzilla at 1:49 PM on October 23, 2011

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