Can I use an Apple TV without a TV?

tvOS & Apple TV Apps

Hi. I am thinking of getting an apple tv, but have a bunch of questions. I do not own and do not plan on getting a TV. First, can I use the Apple TV without a TV? I want to airplay music from my iPod to an Apple TV, then hook my Apple TV up to my FM Transmitter to have music play on radioes throughout my house. The input on the transmitter is a 3.5 mm audio jack so does the Apple TV have a 3.5 mm output audio jack?



Submitted by Joe on Thursday, December 18, 2014

Club AppleVis Member

Without a tv the appletv can not play netflix and youtube, but I believe can play itunes radio. It sounds like Sonos or an airplay speaker would be better for you. For example for what your wanting to do you could buy a play5 witha line in jack. Sonos allows the line in jack to stream to any other sonos product in the house. The airplay speakers I've seen do not allow you to plug a cd player in to line in and stream it across your house.

Submitted by Usman on Thursday, December 18, 2014

As far as I know, an apple TV will only be operable once its connected visa an HDMI to a regular television.

Submitted by DPinWI on Thursday, December 18, 2014

An Apple Airport Express has standard RCA phono audio outputs, and can receive audio via Airplay. You could get a standard and widely available RCA to mini 3.5mm stereo cable to them plug into your FM transmitter.

Submitted by Doug on Saturday, December 27, 2014

I've been using an apple tv for 3 years and its never been plugged in to a tv. Get yourself a SoundBar with HDMI or optical inputs and it'll work just fine, with netflicks, hulu, and all of the other cable subscription services. I've personally tested Apple TV on LG and Sony sound bars, and I personally know people who have used Visio, and Samsung ones as well. So, my advice to you, if you have a wallmart, or don't mind returning something to amazon, grab a SoundBar and give it a try. If you need a lower cost option, some HDMI switches will work as well, but some don't, and you really need to know brands. If you need a cheaper option, than a SoundBar, I found this a few weeks ago on amazon, and people are doing similar things with the ChromeCast, and I see no reason this won't work with the apple tv as well.…

Submitted by Matthew Bullis on Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Thanks Doug for the recommendation. I bought one of these with the link you provided above, and it does work fine. When you get it, there's a switch on the box, and if you're going to use the RCA outputs, set the switch to the middle position. To get oriented, remember that outs are all on one side, and the inputs are on the other side. I got a cord with the two RCA plugs on each end and ran that into my stereo. I do have a tv/dvd combo, but changing from source to source is a pain, so only if someone comes over will I connect the Apple TV to the actual other dvd combo. I will use this little box for normal Apple TV use.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Actually I know of someone who used an apple tv wiht out a tv, they just hooked it up to their sound bar and away they went. It sounded grate.

Submitted by Megan on Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A friend of mine uses <a href="…; this HDMI extractor from Amazon. </a> He likes it because it gives you another HDMI on the other side so you could conceivably hook it up to a monitor for viewing if you had someone sighted come over, plus you've also got optical audio and regular 3.5 MM line out. The only drawback with this system that I can see is if you've got the 4th generation AppleTV and hook up a speaker via the extractor, you're going to lose the ability to control its volume via HDMI. Unless, of course, the speaker has an IR remote of its own and you can get it to work with the ATV's remote. Either way, it's definitely a worthy contender.

Submitted by Megan on Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Jessica, I just reread your original post more carefully. As someone above said, I think for your specific use case you might be better off grabbing a bunch of older generation Airport Expresses. All you have to do is put them in client mode, plug them into your speakers via the on-board 3.5 MM jack, and they'll show up in your list of airPlay devices. Plus, the older ones aren't great for Internet, but they are absolutely fine for AirPlay, so they're going for a song on sites like eBay. You need to <a href="…; MAKE SURE TO GET THIS MODEL OR NEWER, NOT THE OLDER ONES </a> as the older ones don't properly support AirPlay.
Especially if you're not planning on using an AppleTV to watch a lot of Netflix, Youtube, Disney, Sling, HBONow, etc, this is DEFINITELY the way to go. You can literally by 7 or 8 of these on eBay for the same price as an AppleTV and HDMI audio extractor. More if you purchase a soundbar.
If you end up getting these and want help setting them up, PM me. I'm kind of an Apple aficionado and play with networks for giggles in my spare time, and I'd be more than happy to talk you through getting them up and running.
Happy jamming!