Apple TV (the device) + Phonak TV Connector

The Apple TV device, the way I have mine set up, does not work with the TV Connector.

I’m posting this in case anyone else has tried or is contemplating setting up an Apple TV device with their TV and soundbar/audio system, as I have.

In my case, so that I could take full advantage of my system’s capabilities (which includes Dolby Atmos) I must connect the Apple TV, via. HDMI cable, directly to my Samsung Dolby Atmos Soundbar. I then connect the soundbar, via another HDMI cable, to the TV.

There is no Audio Out feature on my Apple TV device for splitting off or accessing the Audio from the Apple TV.

Of course, there IS an Audio out (Optical Out) at the back of the TV where a Phonak TV Connector can be connected. However, the sound from the Apple TV never makes it to the TV itself (from which the audio could be output via the audio Optical Out and to the TV Connector). The TV is acting as a monitor only, to the Apple TV video signals.

It is possible to “bypass” the Soundbar and, through the TV Settings menu, change the output to the TV Speakers. When doing this I do get audio to my HAs through the Phonak TV Connector. However, the sound bar does not put out any sound and I do not get the benefits of Dolby Atmos, etc. Just the tinny TV speakers put out sound for anyone else in the room.

I also tried using a splitter between the Apple TV HDMI Out to the Soundbar IN to split the audio out and connect that to the TV Connector. The splitter (at least the one I used) could not pass through the Dolby Atmos signal to the soundbar, just 5.1 Dolby Digital. Also, when doing this, the video goes from UHD (Ultra High Definition) to SHD (Standard High Definition) and believe me, you can tell the difference. So that idea was also a bust.

My solution has been to use my newly acquired Phonak Roger Select in listening mode placed on top of the soundbar in the middle of it (it’s about 5 feet long). This works pretty well once balanced. (Note, I am NOT connecting the Select base unit into the TV Audio Out where the TV Connector would normally connect. I am using it in microphone mode, as if in a restaurant.)

This is a little complicated, so I hope I’ve explained it well enough. I spent a lot of time trying to make this work as well as I could and I’m hoping I can save someone else a little time by reporting on my experience.

Do the other people in the room care about audio that much? My spouse doesn’t notice or care. I have some decent speakers and a sub for my ambient listening with the aids (or not) and then I might choose to use the TVC.
Can you post the make and model of the tv and the model of the soundbar and maybe the version of the Apple TV box.
My tv basically acts as the audio center doing 2.1. It’s adequate. All video sources pipe into it via HDMI.

TV: Samsung Ultra HD (2160P) Model: QN65Q80RAFXZ A
Soundbar: Samsung HW-Q80R
Apple TV: 2021 Apple TV 4K (32GB) - it has only an HDMI out and a LAN plug and power input.

you can buy a HDMI to HDMI and optical converter adapter. Search for Tendak or similar adapter. It’s 20 bucks on Amazon.

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Have you done all the software/firmware updates to all the devices?
The tv appears to have Apple TV built-in. Is that not an option?
Page 101 of the tv manual seems to talk about output.
Does your TV Connector have buttons on the top?

I’m surprised at your findings that the sound doesn’t make it to the tv. I would think there should be sound at the tv with that HDMI connection.

Can you connect the Apple TV to an HDMI port on the tv and then optical out to the soundbar? Or even HDMI out to the soundbar? It looks like things are all Atmos aware. Then split the optical out to the soundbar and the TVC. Does the tv mention HDMI ARC?

I have a Vizio TV, Apple TV, Bose soundbar and a TiVo dvr. I have the TiVo and Apple TV connected to the TV by HDMI cables, optical audio out from the TV to the soundbar and analog audio out from the TV to a Philips Hearlink TV connector. I have the Vizio speakers turned off. I get the sound to the TV connector just fine from both the TiVo and the Apple TV.

Terost, as I described, I tried a splitter and it could not pass though UHD or Atmos audio. Are you saying you have one that did? Which particular model?

I see peeps trying to help - thank you! I’m sure there is a hardware combination out there that would produce the outcome I have obtained while also using the TV Connector. My solution, given my particular hardware, is to use the Roger Select as a microphone next to my Soundbar.

The outcome I have is:-

Video: Dolby Vision (or UHD)
Audio: Dolby Atmos
HAs: Roger Select in Microphone mode

This works for me with the devices I have. Balancing the sound of the Select gives both an immersive listening experience (due to Atmos when provided by the source) and clarity of speech via the Select.

For ambient listening, when I had a 5.1 system I finally figured out reducing the satellites to let the center dominate where the dialog is. Some shows these days just have so much background music that it’s not background anymore…the dialog seems to be background. Very irritating. Even the able-hearing spouse struggles with those shows.
I also played around with a loop that was split off the center output.
I don’t use a loop or the 5.1 anymore. Plain old 2.1 and everything centered off the tv. The TVC is great for a little extra while watching with the spouse. And great for when the spouse has gone to bed (in our small place).
I think of these things a bit like a computer network. Everything is centered off the hub (router/switch). In this case my hub is the tv. In your case it’s the soundbar. I would have done it differently.

But hey if you’re happy with what works now then great.

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I believe this is what you’d need for UHD and Atmos to be passed through, while providing you an audio tap for the TV Connector:

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Indeed that looks like it should work - thanks!

Update: I ordered that device with high hopes. It arrived a couple of days ago. Unfortunately it did not work as advertised - at least not with my setup. Straight out of the box and connecting it directly into the Apple TV then out to my TV/Audio setup, was a complete fail. Either nothing or a spinning wheel then nothing or occasional screen image then nothing. Downgrading Chroma (in the Apple TV setup options) from 4:2:2. To 4:2:0 solved that problem and a stable video was possible, however at the more grainy 4:2:0 level.

However, no setup configuration would pass through Dolby Atmos to the audio system I have. 5.1 DD did pass through and the Optical out did then feed to the TV Connector and Roger Select TV base unit.

But, it couldn’t perform as advertised so I returned the item for a refund. Worth a shot though.

Sorry about that. It seemed as if it would do the trick. If they’d just put a headphone out on anything these days, it would be so much easier.

Found this. Not sure if it helps.

Do not have a connector.
I do connect my tv to a sound bar via optical.
I guess if you connect Apple to the TV and the TV to the sound bar you lose Dolby Atmos?

It’s a complicated issue when it comes to Dolby Atmos and how to sling it around the place.

My Samsung TV will send Atmos to my Samsung Soundbar via eARC. But only when one uses the Internal Samsung Smarts. For some reason known only to Samsung electronics engineers theTV will not accept an Atmos feed from an external source such as an Apple TV smart box and then feed it down to the Soundbar via eARC. That is what most of us do when setting up our TV and sound system. And I tried that too. But no Atmos. I prefer the overall experience and quality of image from the Apple TV versus the Samsung Smart TV front end and the only way that works, to get Atmos to the sound bar and 4K to the TV, is to connect the Apple TV directly to the sound bar and the TV to the Soundbar. ARC still works and the Apple TV controls the TV and the Soundbar using the Apple remote.

Again, my workaround to all this is to use the Roger Select as a microphone placed on top of the Soundbar. It does a reasonable job of sending speech to my HAs.

A better solution would be a splitter that can actually pass through 4K (and Chroma 4:2:2) UHD + Atmos with an Audio Out for the TV Connector. Or even better would be an Audio Out on the Apple TV like they used to have.