How to Use Apple TV With Your Sonos Playbar

Everything you need to know to use an Apple TV with a Sonos Playbar

Sonos was one of the first firms to create high-quality solutions for streaming audio around the home. The Sonos Playbar and the newer Sonos Arc soundbar are part of many home entertainment systems.

If you want to use your Apple TV with your Sonos Playbar or Sonos Arc, you'll need to hook up the systems via your TV because the fourth-generation Apple TV and the Apple TV 4K don't have optical audio-out connections. Here's how it works.

Information in this article refers to the fourth-generation Apple TV and the Apple TV 4K used with a Sonos Playbar or a Sonos Arc soundbar.

How to use Sonos with Apple TV
Sonos

About the Sonos and Apple TV Setup

You need to use your television to set up the two systems because the fourth-generation Apple TV and Apple TV 4K have a high-definition HDMI output and no optical audio-out connection.

HDMI carries high-quality audio and visual signals, but it introduces a little complexity in connecting the two systems. You'll connect the Apple TV to your television over HDMI and output to your Sonos Playbar using its optical cable and the optical out on the television.

The newer Sonos Arc technology also supports HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support.

Before You Begin

To get started, you'll need the following:

  • Apple TV fourth generation or Apple TV 4K
  • HDMI cable
  • Wi-Fi network
  • Television
  • Sonos Playbar or Sonos Arc
  • Optical audio cable supplied with Sonos Playbar or Sonos Arc
  • Sonos Controller app
  • Set up the Apple TV Remote on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

Set up Your Sonos and Apple TV

Once you have everything you need, set up your Sonos Playbar or Arc soundbar and your Apple TV.

  1. Plug the Apple TV into an HDTV using an HDMI cable.

    You may need to tap Settings > Audio and Video and check that your Apple TV is using the correct audio output.

  2. Download and launch the Sonos Controller app on your iPhone and open Settings.

  3. Tap Select your product.

  4. Tap Allow.

    Sonos App will control Sonos soundbar and Apple TV
  5. Tap Allow Location access.

  6. Confirm location access permission by tapping Allow While Using App or Allow Once.

  7. The app searches for nearby products. When you see your Sonos Playbar or Arc, tap to select it and then follow the setup instructions.

    Setting your Sonos up with the Sonos controller app
  8. Connect the Sonos Playbar's optical audio cable to the TV.

Set up Your TV

You may need to manually adjust the audio settings on your TV to reroute audio through the optical cable. Most newer televisions handle this task for you automatically. Still, you may need to refer to the manufacturer's manual for configuration instructions to send audio from the TV through the cable. This is usually nested in the television's audio settings.

You don't need to use two remote controls with your new audio system. Take control of both devices using an Apple TV Remote or a universal remote control. It's easy to set up a universal remote control with an Apple TV.

Now, What Can You Do?

Once your Sonos and Apple TV systems are working together, you can use any iOS device to stream audio through your Sonos system. Play music, movies, or other video audio from your Apple TV directly through your Sonos system. Or beam audio from an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or iPod touch using AirPlay.

The Sonos system also plays any audio generated by your Apple TV. So, if you use Apple Music on your Apple TV, you'll hear your tunes via your Sonos system.

With Apple TV audio set to play through a Sonos system connected to your television, stream audio from your TV to another room in your home that's equipped with Sonos speakers.

Use AirPlay to stream audio content from your Mac, iPhone, or iPad to your Sonos.

If You Don't Have a Sonos Playbar or Arc

If you don't have a Sonos soundbar product, use a Sonos speaker to act as a gate for Apple TV audio. Results may not be as good as using a higher-level soundbar. This is because the audio is carried from the television to the Sonos system over a standard 3.5mm jack (assuming your television has this output).

You may find that audio falls out of sequence with video when watching through Apple TV. However, you can listen to music from Apple TV using Sonos speakers around your home.

Sonos and Smart Speakers

When Amazon Alexa-powered devices, Google Hey Google smart home products, and the Apple HomePod were introduced, Sonos was known for its excellent wireless speakers and soundbars. Still, its products didn't have any smart assistant support.

In its latest speakers, including the Sonos One, Sonos includes support for Alexa and the Google system, marking Sonos's emergence in the smart home arena.

The Sonos Play:5 speaker doesn't have built-in voice assistant support. If you use it in conjunction with an Echo Dot or Nest mini, you can use voice commands to control it.