Apple TV, music with screen off
January 9, 2012 1:37 AM   Subscribe

Can I use an Apple TV for music with the screen turned off?

I'm thinking of getting a TV (around 30"-38", UK) with an Apple TV. One of the main uses would be for streaming music via AirPlay - particularly radio in the mornings and at night, since it's for a bedroom. For this reason I'd like to be able to have the screen fully off while listening to audio only. Does anyone know of any models of TV that would allow this, or other ways of achieving it? Bonus points if you can tell me how to combine a subwoofer with the speakers on the TV. Thanks!
posted by iotic to Shopping (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I used to use an old model of the Apple TV, connected to the TV via HDMI and an Amp via the RCA outputs.

I used to be able to select the music to play, then turn the TV off and the music would continue to play through the amp.
posted by Simon_ at 2:18 AM on January 9, 2012

The current one has a optical audio out port, but I don't think that's what you're looking for.

The big issue here is that you need more information about the TV set as opposed to the Apple TV device. Yes, you can do this - IF the TV supports audio with the screen off, and the subwoofer depends on the rest of your A/V system.

So look for TVs that fit your needs first.
posted by mephron at 2:24 AM on January 9, 2012

If you're going to connect a subwoofer to the tv anyway, you could connect a full set of (small) speakers, and only switch the tv on when you need to select what to play. I'm doing this in our living room, with an optical-to-RCA converter to get the audio to an amp.
posted by impluvium at 3:22 AM on January 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

You probably already know this, but just in case, I'll mention that you can stream AirPlay audio from a Mac or an iOS device to an AirPort Express with any old set of speakers hooked up to it. If the video functions of the TV are extraneous to you, then this would be a much more cost effective option.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:11 AM on January 9, 2012

I can't speak for any other TVs, but my LG 47LH90 has this option. It is part of the energy savings for the LED back lighting. I can turn the back light from super bright, medium, low, automatic, or off.
posted by DJWeezy at 7:32 AM on January 9, 2012

We do this constantly. The trick is to send all audio to the stereo and mute the speakers on the TV. They're probably worse than anything you could get at Radio Shack, anyway. In addition, a relatively cheap 5+1 stereo setup includes a sub-woofer.

We actually had a problem with this setup when we had the subwoofer hooked up to the Amplifier for AC power. We were watching Mr. & Mrs. Smith (don't judge me) and whenever it when BOOM, the subwoofer required so much power it browned out the Amp, which shut down the aux power outlets and thus the DVD player. BOOM-click. Solution to this was to put everything but the Subwoofer on an old APC battery backup from when we had more computers in the house.

We use S/PDIF audio out from the ATV and in to the receiver.

The only real trick we use is hooking the S/PDIF output from the ATV and from our DVD player to an auto-switching A/B/C switch so that we don't have to change the receiver to change the input source when we play
posted by Mad_Carew at 8:20 AM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

turn down the monitor's brightness setting until it appears black.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 9:01 AM on January 9, 2012

I saved a custom setting on my tv which is entirely black. I'll sometimes play one of the cable digital music channels and then on the tv menu, change it from "movie" or "vivid" or whatever to "user".
posted by hypersloth at 11:40 AM on January 9, 2012

Additionally you can control the apple tv with the remote app on an iphone or ipad so you don't have to turn the tv screen on to browse your itunes library.
posted by ianhattwick at 3:50 PM on January 9, 2012

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