Apple-ified my home speaker setup!
Until now, we’ve been using a cheap bluetooth to coax audio dongle to control the speakers in the ceiling, which was kind of a bad solution. The bluetooth dongle had pretty bad range and quality, and only one person could control it at a time.
I used to have a HomePod (ended up returning it, but that’s beside the point), and I really missed having a standalone device that could connect to Apple Music. For those who aren’t aware, anyone could control the HomePod and modify the shared music queue at the same time, which is pretty nice. I wanted the same kind of features but connected to the built-in speakers and not a HomePod.
My solutions was to dig out our old Apple TV (we upgraded to a 4K) and use it as a music player! It actually works pretty well. Unfortunately the only Apple TV output is HDMI, so we used one of [these](https://www.amazon.com/HDMI-3RCA-Composite-Converter-AppleTV/dp/B00ZJ2X6NC/) converters to get the coax audio out and into the amp. One of the bonuses with this is that it tricks the Apple TV into thinking there’s a video signal out and can then run headless. An Apple TV can run headless without a video out, but it won’t allow screen sharing so you’ll have to plug in a screen at some point.
**How can you run an Apple TV without a screen?**
You don’t really need the screen for normal use because anyone can control it from Apple Music or control center, but if you want to change settings or log into something, you can share its screen with Quicktime on a Mac. Open up Quicktime then File -> New Movie Recording. Change the camera input (down arrow next to record button) to the Apple TV and keep your remote handy to accept the connection. Again, this only works if the Apple TV thinks there’s a screen connected in the first place.
With the Apple TV logged into a family Apple Music subscription, anyone can play directly to the speakers from their phone / computer and add songs up next. With the remote, anyone can pause, skip tracks, or tell it what to play without even needing a phone.
**Why didn’t you just connect the bluetooth dongle to the Apple TV**
First thing I tried! Unfortunately, the bluetooth was flaky enough that it wouldn’t stay connected for long or easily re-connect. Also, I couldn’t screen share to it because it didn’t have a fake video output, so the converter solved both problems.
Yes, but it’s still worth it IMO. You have to do a one-time pairing for any device to connect, which means you have to screen share to get the code. Also, volume control is lost because it’s controlled by the amp, but I have a knob for that on the wall. Obviously you need a spare Apple TV, but I’ve seen those for around $100 online before. If I didn’t have built in high quality speakers, I probably would have just kept the HomePod, but this is a better solution.