Apple TV with remote control

Can You Use Apple TV Without a TV?

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The Apple TV has other applications besides being an outlet for movie nights. It also works with several other devices and can serve as a viable media outlet on platforms other than television and in this guide, I will be discussing a few of them.

Yes, you can use an Apple TV without an actual television. You can connect your speakers and even listen to music on Spotify, Resso, Pandora, and other music streaming platforms.

In this guide, I will be discussing how you can use the Apple TV without an actual television. I know friends who use the Apple TV, not for viewing content but solely to listen to music, and they have never connected it to a television in the past 4-5 years. So let’s take a peek at how they achieved this feat.

How to use Apple TV without TV

There are two ways to use an Apple TV without a TV. One is to use the Airport Express and the other way is to use an audio extractor to only listen to the audio.

According to some of my Apple aficionado friends, the only reason why someone would want to use Apple TV without a TV is to enjoy music on the various subscription services that are available on the platform. So I asked him how to enjoy music without an actual television. This is what he said.

I would need a soundbar with HDMI cable support and an audio extractor to re-route the audio. Most extractors have both HDMI and RCA cable outputs for audio and video but I will only use the audio output for the speakers. Here are the steps to do so:

1. First, the audio extractor. I usually prefer the ViewHD AudioExtractor because it’s quite cheap and has not caused any problems so far. You can use another extractor if you want. 

Just make sure to pick one with an HDMI, Optical/Coaxial, and RCA output should you want to use a television sometime in the future.

ViewHD HDMI Audio Extractor
ViewHD HDMI Audio Extractor

2. The HDMI output from the Apple TV goes into the Extractor.

3. The Output from the extractor goes into the speakers. You can use either an optical or an RCA cable to connect to the speaker. Check your speaker for connectivity options. 

4. You can listen to any kind of audio once the speakers are connected to the Apple TV

5. If you want a video as well, simply connect the extractor to a monitor or a TV via an HDMI cable.

There was a case where I lost the ability to control the volume of the speakers connected via HDMI to a 4th Generation Apple TV. However, I could use the Apple TV’s remote to control the volume if the speakers had an IR sensor. But this was not a universal problem so I suggest you borrow a pair of speakers to test it out first before buying one for yourself. 

How to use Apple TV with Airport Expresses

In case you want to listen only to audio, then Airport Express is a better option compared to audio extractors. It’s much easier to connect but requires the latest model in order to use this feature. Here are the steps on how you can use Apple TV with Airport Express.

1. Put the Airport Express into client mode

2. Plug the Airport Express into the speakers with a 3.5 mm jack.

3. Once connected, the speakers will show up in the list of AirPlay devices

4. Older generations of Airport Expresses do not support AirPlay, so make sure to buy the latest ones.

5. You should be able to use speakers with Apple TV once the setup is complete.

I have used both setups, and they worked with no issues whatsoever. There was a problem with the volume control, but it was resolved once I got a soundbar with an IR sensor. 


The Apple TV is a resourceful device with lots of original media content the company has added to the platform since 2019. They started out small, but now have one of the best collections of shows on the platform. You can only enjoy the music streaming platforms if you want, but having the option to upgrade later on is assuring. I hope you find this article useful and stay tuned for tech-related discussions

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