New Apple TV -- Anyone planning on it?

I went ahead and ordered the new Apple TV. It is $99 and I will use it somewhere in the house. But I am seriously thinking about coupling it with a decent DAC and using it to stream all of my iTunes content. My system includes Martin Logan Summit speakers, Jeff Rowland amp, BAT pre amp. Any comments on whether this is a good idea?
I don't know how good the Apple TV is, but your system is going to expose all it's flaws and shortcomings.
I received one yesterday and it sounds great when using optical into my DAC with AIFF and Apple Lossless files. The interface is fast and snappy.
I have the 160GB Apple TV going into a Peachtree iDecco and love it.

One of the concerns I have about the new Apple TV is the lack of a hard drive. When I first set it up, I synced a large library and immediately started listening. What I first heard was somewhat disappointing in that it did not quite as sound as good and "full" as my CD player going into the Peachtree (although I would not describe it as sounding bad and it was more the ability to compare against the CD that the difference was readily apparent). However, I then realized that all my music was available streaming before it was actually synced to the hard drive and what I was initially listening to was streaming. After the music was synced to the hard drive, the sound improved and was as good (if not a little better) than using the CD player.

Perhaps the newer Apple TV does a better job of streaming than the older version. It would interesting to know if anyone has had a chance to compare the older version playing off the hard drive to the newer version streaming and if there is a noticable difference.

FYI, the older 160GB can still be purchased from the Apple store under clearance items.
could you please advice if the new Apple TV support HD audio till 24/96?
I think you have to read your DAC to be sure the stream is transferred correctly at the given sample rate.
Many thanks!
@Granosalis: I don't have any 24/96 content, but I assume that the new Apple TV will work like the previous ATV and AirPort Express (AirTunes & AirPlay) and does not support 24/96. Sorry I can not give more info. I would be interested in knowing the answer, too. I'll keep you posted if I find out anything.
I am a current owner of a 160GB AppleTV (with about 350GB of digital music, almost all in Apple Lossless (M4A) format. I've done very close listening comparisons and can't hear a significant and consistent difference between my AppleTV and my Oppo BDP-83 as a transport. (Neither sound as good as my old Theta David, but then neither require a $400 laser replacement every few years, either.) I highly recommend AppleTV for any audiophile.

I am split on the new one. I love my current 160 GB Apple TV. However, I see two advantages of the new one:
1) Silence - I can hear the current hard drive spinning, which is annoying during late night music listening. The new one would be silent.
2) Higher res Netflix streaming than I currently get with my Wii. (It's my only other streaming device). Also, my Wii audio is only connected to my TV, not my system, so it would give me that.

There are two reasons why I may stick with my current:
1) The loss of having some hard drive storage for those times when my computer is not on.
2) The apparent lack of emphasis on music in the new UI. Music is buried under "Computers," not at the top level.

I believe that things will change soon. There is every indication that the new AppleTV will soon allow apps to run, like all other iOS devices.

Hey Edge22 - you can stream in full resolution from a hard drive on the previous gen Apple TV - it's in the setup. I stream about half my music and it works out just fine.
I thought airtunes or apple tv would transmit 24/96 hi-rez files (as long as audio-midi is set to 24/96) just need a dac on the receiving end to decode.
@Aberyclark: Form what I understand, anything that AirTunes and AirPlay transmits is converted to Apple Lossless, which makes it 16/44 only. The new AirPlay protocol might change this. Could someone comment on this issue?
Just to clarify, my music is in Apple Lossless. I have about 80GB of music (and gradually loading more) and so it all fits on the 160GB hard drive. (FYI, ATV Flash is a program/hack that allows you to add an external hard drive to the Apple TV if you need it.)

When I was listening to the Apple Lossless being streamed through the Apple TV, it sounded good, but not as good as when I use my CD transport into my DAC. On the other hand, when I listen to the Apple Lossless from the Apple TV hard drive (which is how I normally listen), it sounds equal (if not better) to my CD transport into my DAC.

Darkj, have you noticed this difference between listening to "pure streaming" versus from the Apple TV hard drive?
It is possible that the difference that I hear is simply my wi fi connection. I have an Airport Extreme router (which is an "n" router) and get a very solid signal (usually 4 out of 5 bars) in my listening room, but my listening room is not terribly close to my router and is upstairs (with the router being downstairs).

I agree with Darkj that new Apple TV will likely be able to run Apps in the future. I personally find the 160GB Apple TV to be quiet and do not notice hearing the spinning of the hard drive.
I have the original 40 gig Apple TV and since the old one doesn't stream photos, I use the hard drive to store photos, while it streams music from my computer. After adding a DAC downstream, I'm convinced music sounds as good or better than CD. (I don't know how it can sound better, but the DAC may have something to do with that.)

Since the new one streams photos as well as music, I don't think the loss of the hard drive matters, other than your computer has to be on to stream your music.

As long as you have a decent DAC, the Apple TV is an excellent music streamer and the cheapest one I've found with the best interface - that can also be controlled by the Remote app on an iPod Touch or iPhone.
@Edge22 - I did notice that if I stream from my macbook using AirTunes that the quality isn't there, and indeed AirTunes converts the lossless down into something less.

However, I mainly stream from the LaCie drive that's connected to my iMac. In that case, there is no conversion to lossy formats.

Also, I can say that I tested many different optical cables, and found that while it wasn't a huge difference, there was definitely an increase in quality by using the Wireworld Supernova 6. It's quite good

Regarding the spinning hard disc sound on the older aTV's, mine is out in the open, and not terribly loud, but nonetheless annoying because I often listen late at night with three others sleeping in the house, so I must maintain low sound levels.

Again, if you don't have an Apple TV or Sooloos solution, then the $99 Apple TV is a must-have and will repay you with plenty of enjoyment, for music and for movie rentals. For existing AppleTV owners, the upgrade is less obvious.
How good is the clocking on the AppleTV?
The Airport Express is miserable and the DAC section of my CA840c simply doesn't like it and will periodically lose lock.
here there are samples in HD. You can download 24/96 WAW and check what happens. By the way Apple Lossles coded suport HD files at any rate.
If you have trouble, please drop me a mail, I will try to send you a sample for the test.

I do not think the stream to ATV is influenced by the midi config like standard audio output on the mac.
just got my new ATV today.... First impression is the sound is much better than the older version. More depth and detail. Navigation is very quick and menu system is very slick. Very impressive upgrade for $99.00
To the guys who've heard differences between streaming and stored music with the 160gb Apple TV, I've heard it too. I don't think it has to do with router distance, type, etc. My is the most current Linksys (N?) and in the same room as my Apple TV. Its not a huge night and day difference (everyone's opinion of quantity are different), but there's a definite difference.

Banyon100 -

Are you comparing music stored on the hard drive or streamed to the old one vs new one?
Not to stray from the original topic, but I think it relates...

Has anyone tried a Monarchy DIP between the Apple TV and DAC? Old or new Apple TV? Thoughts?
Are you using it with a DAC? If so, which one? I am thinking of using either PS Audio III or Cambridge DacMagic.
The Apple TV is now in the Walnut Creek Apple Store. They get a shipment every morning and so far have run out by about noon each day.

The good news: Netflix on this thing is awesome. Great integration, you can rate, get more info - everything you can do within the iTunes store, but of course the price is only the cost of your monthly membership. Very very nice.

The bad news: I primarily use my Apple TV for music, so that was the piece I most wanted to see in store. Unfortunately, the staff said their network was locked down, so the one set of the menus that they couldn't show was the music menus. Harumph. Nonetheless, I'm planning on getting one.
Mine was delivered yesterday. Using it with a v-dac for streaming of apple lossless via itunes. Sounds great (make sure sound check is not switched on). Very slick system and easy to set up. The video quality through netflix is much better than expected.
have you try playing HD contents on new ATV?
Isn't the top resolution only 720P ?
I have played HD content. It looks very good, but is clearly a downgrade from 1080. I have my blu-ray player and antenna for higher resolution content. If 1080 is key for you, definitely go with one of the upcoming google tV boxes. Streaming itunes content was a priority for me, so this works well.
I would HOPE the new ATV is better clocked than the AirportExpress. My DAC, a CA840c simply doesn't like the AE with its huge jitter.

Also, the ATV is only 720p, not full 1080, I or P.....which means that full pixel displays will have to do the conversion to a 1080 line display.

No memory in the new one, either? Can you hook up a HD for storage or system backup?

As near as I can tell, the new ATV is merely a video AirportExpress.
Question: is the ethernet port on the new atv used to connect to internet to stream video, or can video stream via wireless?

Also, if video content does indeed require use of ethernet, does that mean i can use that feature w/out my imac on?
Video can be streamed but the source of the AirPlay (be that iMac, iPhone, iPad,etc...) has to be on, as of the latest developers' release of iOS4.2
You can connect the ATV either wireless or wired.
I use an AE in wireless mode. I DO NOT have a wireless router. You should be able to run the ATV as a 'client'. This means your Imac must be ON. Normally I have my airport OFF. But when I want to use the wireless feature, I turn airport ON and then my Itunes is configured to find my AE and stream music to it.
Should work the same way with ATV,
The Apple website should be able to answer more questions. And the help guys at the stores DO know their stuff. Geeks all.
I pre-ordered and got mine a few days ago and I absolutely LOVE it! Sound quality as compared to my oppo se is better, only one problem-if your a 2channel person this is pretty much out for you. Im sure theres a way to get it done but Im getting 5.1 music as if all music is an sacd, which I LOVE! 720p to me looks better with apple tv than 1080i with my att uverse. I love this thing! im getting one for each tv in my house and thats 4!
Peleton, what do you mean,

"if your a 2channel person this is pretty much out for you" ??

can audio out not be down sampled to 2 channel? the apple site indicates 5.1 pass thru; is that what you mean?
UVerse and all the other 'HD' feeds are pretty lame. I've seen lots of HD movies which look no better than a good, upsampled DVD. I'll bet the data rates and compression are about equal, too.
Sports and News are exceptions and are usually very good HD feeds.

It's all a matter of bandwidth. 'Mo better.

If they turn it loose, the Verizon fiberoptic cable right to your door can potentially provide the best signal.

A full-on 720p, without compression and limiting, should be better than any of the so-called 1080 stuff which has been massively stepped on.
Banyon100, can you please clarify what you meant by "First impression is the sound is much better than the older version. More depth and detail.." Were you talking about the sound quality with music through a dedicated DAC in a high-end systems, or just sound quality in general through the built-in DAC when you watch movies?
Apple TV 2nd Gen. 5.1 audio output to a 2 ch DAC
I just acquired a new ATV, and it sounds wonderful w/ AirPlay music; quite a lot better than my Airport Express that it replaced; more stable lock & w/ discernably less jitter.

But I am reluctant to purchase content on iTunes such as a movie w/ 5.1 DD audio.

I am feeding the device's Toslink optical audio output to my PS Audio DL3 DAC and the HDMI cable to my projector.

Since the DAC cannot/will not decode DD 5.1, what can I expect to hear, if anything from a 5.1 stream?

Has anyone tried it?

The settings for Dolby Digital audio are: Auto, On, Off. No option to stream down sample to 2 channel PCM/LPCM.

Somewhere I read that the 5.1 stream is not true DD but actually a 6 channel AAC stream. But the specs on Apple TV are Dolby Digital Pass Through on the Toslink.

I do get audio when browsing and playing movie trailers and such, but don't know if that is 5.1 audio in most cases.

BTW, I already called Apple as well as submitted feedback on their website. Their technical support did not yet have an answer.

I figured I would buy an inexpensive 5.1 movie and try it, but curious to know if anyone here has already attempted.

Thank you in advance.
@Ericjcabrera: Make sure the Dolby Digital settings is turned "off" and this will allow a stereo PCM signal to be the output.

It works must like a DVD player. If the Dolby Digital bitstream is selected, it will output that when it's available, if not, it will send a stereo PCM signal.
Ballan, if memory serves, I tried that last night, and I heard no audio when DD was set to off. I will try tonight and let you know.
for anyone who actually owns both the old apple tv with hard drive and the new $99 apple tv, can you please compare the sound quality through an external dedicated DAC? thanks!
@Happybob: The new ATV sounds better than the AirPort Express and previous ATV. I've been using and installing them over the last week with great success. It's an impressive little piece of gear. If you are an iTunes user and want to stream iTunes content, I highly recommend it.

The interface is quick and easy. The Apple Remote app integrates wonderfully. It sounds great, and even though it only supports 720p HD video, it look surprisingly good. I compared it with some 1080 HD content from Dish Network and DirecTV, and the ATV looks better.
@Ballan: please again clarify, are you saying that the new apple tv sounds better than the previous one out of the box, or through a dedicated high-end DAC? Are you saying that the new apple TV through optical connection to a high-end DAC sounds better through streaming than the older apple tv through optical connection to a high-end DAC playing apple lossless files off its hard drive rather than through sreaming?
just to clarify, i'm mainly interested in using the apple tv as a music server, connected to a ps audio DLIII dac, in a 2 channel system playing only apple lossless files. not really interested in the video capabilities. i was leaning on getting the older apple tv with 160gb hard drive. but if you guys are saying that new streaming-only apple tv sounds better than the old apple tv in a music only system through a DAC, then i might need to consider getting the new apple tv instead.
@Happybob: Yes, I think the new ATV sounds better than the older model. It's subtle, but I can comfortably say it sounds better.

I'm using the optical output (VanDenHul OptiCoupler, Wireworld SuperNove 6 and Siltec Glass) into a Naim DAC, Proceed AVP/PDSD, Linn 5103 and a homemade DAC. The Proceed has lost "lock" a few times, but it's minor and doesn't last very long.

I'm eager to hear other people's experience and opinion. So far I've been very impressed with the sound, and (like I said in a previous post) the video quality. It's not Blu-Ray quality, but it's better than some 1080 content through satellite. Please post your feedback and experience. I'm just one guy looking to learn. Hope this helps.
@Ballan: thanks for the reply, that's very surprising to me, streaming actually sounds better than off the hard drive. can anyone else confirm this finding? my guess since the new apple tv has 256mb of memory and 16gb od SSD storage, the sound quality difference is perhaps due to the type of storage? SSD is better than hard drive in terms of noise level and jitters?
@Happybob: I believe the new ATV has 8GB of storage. The rumor is the storage for "apps". With Google TV and the new Roku units, this type of product is going to be a big market in the near future.
Altho' I have never had the previous ATV, I must concur that this new Apple TV sounds incredibly good. I am comparing its quality to my tube CD player that is admittedly better in the realm of 3 dimensionality, or is it holographic imaging? Anyway. for my music stored on my Mac, sound quality fed to my DL3 is exceptional!
well, i picked up the old apple tv with 160gb hard drive since i wanted to keep the music files on the apple tv hard drive so i don't have to leave the computer on with itunes open all the time to stream music. so far i have to say that it's not really as easy to use without a tv screen as i had expected! i know it's not really designed to be used without a TV, but i've read plenty of people using it solely as a music server and using iphone/ipod tough/ipad to remote conrol it. i'm using the free apple remote app, but still, without attaching it to a tv, it's hard to change settings on the apple tv. plus, there's no way to put the apple tv in standby with the apple remote app. i also notices that if the apple tv gets disconnected from the wireless network, i really don't have an easy way to check the wireless setting on the apple tv without a tv screen. i thought there's a third-party iphone app that shows the entire apple tv screen on your iphone, but i can't seem to find it. any suggestions?
You need a TV to do all the initial set up and maintanence stuff like checking if you have the latest updates.

The Touch/iPhone remote is great for selecting music. I haven't tried it, but I think you can add to an "on the go" playlist from it.

Haven't heard of another remote app.

One of my main complaints is the whole standby issue. Appearently,standby only turns off the video outputsand nothing else. For some reason unbeknownced to me, mine keeps coming out of standby mode. After I put it in standby, it'll be back into regular mode within a few hours.

I still like it way too much to care about the very minor hang ups.
Mine arrived today.
Sound impressive, far away better then expected.
A sample picture:
@Granosalis: Excellent! I'm glad you are liking the ATV. I also see that you are using the Silflex glass cable....nice.... ;)
@Ballan, Silflex is a great cable, but don't say it loud, otherwise the price will rise :-)
@Granosalis: Shhhh.... ;)
Is there a way to hook up the ATV so that video goes through HDMI and audio goes through an external DAC for 2-channel? How do you all handle this?

I am about to buy an Arcam AVR600 receiver - will the DACs in the AVR be good enough so that I don't need to worry about this and can just send it all over HDMI?

I love my 160 gb ATV. One thing that I have done is to run a long HDMI cable to a new hp computer monitor. The monitor doubles for the ATV and my PC. With the monitor's controls I just switch the source back and forth depending on which I'm using, PC or ATV. really cool.