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Sunset Vette

04 Jun

It’s Alive! Apple TV, iPad, and Bose Lifestyle

I bought my first mp3 player over a decade ago. (Would you believe that it’s still being used? I have it plugged in out in my garage and use it to play tunes while I’m working on various projects.) I bought my first iPod seven or eight years ago, and I currently own an iPod Classic / 160GB. And when we moved into our current house we bought a Bose Lifestyle system which is now approaching ten years old. The Bose system offers surround sound in our family room but also has connections for speakers outside in the back yard, in the kitchen, and upstairs in our bedroom. It has been an excellent system but is starting to show its age… for example, there are no HDMI ports, and only one digital audio input port which is currently hooked to the Blu-ray player.

Over the years I have made many trips to discount or resale shops like Half Price Books and acquired quite a few discs. My iTunes library currently shows that I own nearly 3,500 different albums. 😯 Now some of those are from the free iTunes singles that they provide each week at the Apple store, and others are albums that I’ve ripped to digital format, but the majority of them are physical compact discs. That means storage is a bit of a challenge. 🙂 Historically I have wanted to keep all of the discs out where I can easily get to them because the only way I can play my music through the Bose system is to physically put the compact disc in the CD player. My main computer is in the office, and the Bose base unit is in the family room, so the two have never been connected. Over the past ten years I have investigated quite a few ways to try to be able to play my music, and even purchased a few. But none of them worked.

This weekend I am pleased to say that I have finally managed to get the plumbing working! I purchased an Apple TVwhich uses wireless networking to connect to my shared iTunes library. The Apple TV is connected to the main TV in the living room, but I only anticipate using that for the setup. I don’t anticipate watching videos via the Apple TV; that’s not why I bought it. I got it because of the very tight integration with iTunes, and it’s working very well. I downloaded the free Remote app for my iPad, and now I can browse my music library from anywhere in the house. I still need the Bose remote to specify which speakers are used for which music source, but after that first step I can then use my iPad to pick which playlist, album, or artist that I want to hear.

I did have to take one extra step to get the Apple TV to talk to the Bose base unit… as mentioned above, there is only one digital input port on the Bose unit and it was already being used by the blu-ray player. I didn’t want to change that. So I had to purchase a converter box and cable that allow the Apple TV to talk to the Bose base unit using normal red/white analog cables. I ordered the FiiO D3 Digital to Analog Audio Converter With Micca 6ft Optical Toslink Cable from Amazon, primarily because the unit got good reviews and it already included the cable required to connect the Apple TV to the converter box. The one drawback is that the converter box has to be plugged in and my plug strip is out of outlets…

The Apple TV was about $100. The digital / analog box was about $25, and the HDMI cable used to connect the Apple TV to my regular TV was $6. The iPad “Remote” application was free. So for less than $150 invested, I can now browse my entire library of over 40K songs and play whatever I want, in whatever room I want. It’s something that I have been looking forward to for a very long time, and I’m finally there.

Now I can start to think about how to best package and store my compact disc collection and get them out of the family room. 😎

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