Apple TV without TV

Hi all,

After a long hiatus I am looking to put a computer based system together. I'm not an Apple guy but the Apple TV with hard disc seems to fit the bill: reasonably good analog output and output to a DAC, has a 160GB hard disc built in, plus it's cheap.

Only hangup is that I've read on Positive Feedback that you can't use it without a TV connected. In the parlour, this will not fly. Not even a small one. I do own an Android phone or I could buy a Harmony remote. Can either of these run an ATV without the TV monitor?
No go on the above. You can use it with an iPhone or iPad.
What Macdadtexas said.

A Harmony remote will control an ATV,but you need to be able to see what you're highlighting and selecting.

iPhone or iPod Touch will control it without a TV. Check out Apple's refurbished stuff on their website to save a few bucks.

The analog output isn't all that great to my ears. The digital output to my Rega DAC sounds fantastic.
Have you considered Squeezebox touch? Much better sound quality via analog out.... easy interface, and no need for Ipad or Ipod touch...
Thanks for the replies.

Macdadtexas: I wanted to avoid using the Apple ecosystem other than ATV if possible.

Kbarkamian: Hoped a Harmony with display would give the visual needed. Might consider a marked down touch... The analog out is short term, plan is to add a DAC after the system is up and I'm dialed in to its sound. Glad you like your Rega; it is on my list.

Arni: I've considered the SB touch. Almost pulled the trigger but thought ATV's onboard HD was worth a look. ATV 2 is a possibility. Haven't ruled SB out.

If an Android app would show ATV's menu I'd pull the trigger. Don't see devs rushing to support it now since it's discontinued. That leaves ATV 2 and SB the likely contenders.
The internal hard drive is why I chose the ATV too. Computer doesn't need to be running, no wireless issues, etc. If you store everything as Apple Lossless, you should have plenty of room. If you need more room, synch what you listen to most often and stream the rest.

If Android has an ATV 2 app, I don't see why it wouldn't work for the ATV 1.
Exactly my reasons for liking the ATV. The android app for ATV 2 clams it will stream to it. I've posted on their forum to see about whether it will also run ATV. No reply.
I use an AppleTV 160GB for music only in a room without a TV. You need to hook it to a TV for the initial set up, but then you can move the AppleTV to your parlour and it's fine. I don't know about the android, but I control mine with the remote app on my iphone and ipad (ipad has a much better interface with album art and everything) I have plenty of lossless files on my AppleTV and it's my most listened to source. Good Luck.
maybe a dumb question. could poster run a mac mini (use a monitor for setup) and setup android? or ipad remote, remove monitor and go for it. attach monitor as needed for whatever?
I had an ATV running headless...most of the time. I controlled it with an iPod touch. 160gb HD was too small so I just streamed it from my computer. Mac or PC, just need iTunes running. I found ATV to be frustrating at times and quite buggy. New one has no HD and is designed to stream from a PC. I'd recommend that instead. Another option is to use an Airport Express.
Thanks again for the replies. I like that the ATV has a built-in HD, no streaming required. But would like to avoid going further into the Mac ecosystem. Sadly, no Android app I can find will control it.
The potential downside of the AirPort Express is the Very High output jitter.

Some DACs, like my CA840c do not like that and can lose lock.
Silverarrows -
What issues did you have with yours? I've used mine as my main source and have had zero issues. Well, at least zero issues after the first day or two, but those were learning curve related. I remember after I had everything synched (that initial synch took way too long), I checked a box in iTunes preferences that instantly deleted everything I synched.

In regards to running it without a TV, the other issue is that Internet radio is pretty much not an option. I heard you can save stations to a playlist, but I haven't tried it.

I just wish the ATV had presets for Internet radio and could play Pandora and the like without any extra programs. Then it would be perfect IMO.
Refurbished iPod Touches on Apple's website sell for $150. Just an FYI. They're basically an iPhone minus the phone. They can do a lot more than just be a remote, helping justify the cost a little bit.
Quick question on the standalone ATV - I'm downloading all of my 340 gb lossless files to an ATV with a 350 gb hard drive installed. I notice that it is very hot while turned on.
I plan to use my iphone as a remote-can the iphone put the ATV in standby mode or does it continue running all the time? I'm worried it'll blow.
Thanks and sorry for hijacking!!
Kbarkamian, I'm pretty fond of Andriod so not sure if iTouch would provide a lot extra for me.

Advantage of ATV: built in HD, so no streaming. Advantages of SB Touch: Hi Res capable, runs from Android phone.

Yesterday, Google announced their new beta music locker: 20,000 song capacity. Now another new option, but not much fleshed out on it yet...

The iPhone will not put the ATV into standby mode. But, it runs hot when in standby anyway. From what I've heard, the only thing standby does is shut off the video outputs; it doesn't shut the hard drive off/down, which is where the heat comes from (I think). I haven't noticed a temperature difference when in standby or not. Then again, it somehow magically comes out of standby randomly. The only way to truly power it down is to unplug it.


The Google thing looks pretty interesting. I look forward to some more info, user reviews (although 99% of them will be worthless, as they'll be from the mp3 crowd no doubt), and price. Could be my next server if everything comes together. Need iPhone control though, as I have no desire to get a new phone. Guess I know how you feel.

As far as the SB Touch, I'm not sold on high-res. Not that it doesn't sound better when truly high-res, but nothing/hardly anything I'm interested in is available. I doubt that high-res will become the standard for quite some time. And if it does, does that mean the loudness war will end and engineers will finally figure out how to mix an album right? By the time it does, I'll probably have had 2 or 3 sources in the mean time. Hopefully not, but that'smy hunch. If it becomes the standard soon, I'll happily ditch the ATV.

I guess that's another thread though. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.
We seem to agree on a lot. Google, or other cloud storage, looks promising. The rub is that the music industry is preparing for a fight over its licensing. Also, I'm not thrilled with the prospect of paying to store the music I've paid for. It will take a while to sort out.

As to hi res, it'll be a while before it's mainstream, no doubt. But if I can get some of what I want in a truly superior sounding medium I'll take it. As to the ham fisted sound engineers, unfortunately not much we can do about that.