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Other Causes and Solutions to Apple TV 4 Audio Distortion
If you’ve tried everything in this article to no avail, there may be other problems and solutions. Perhaps your Apple TV is connected to Bluetooth or AirPlay speakers. While this article can’t address every type of Bluetooth or AirPlay audio system, coverage of essential settings may prove helpful.
AirPlay is Apple’s technology for beaming audio and video to different devices. It’s usually used to beam video to Apple TV, but it can also be used to beam audio from Apple TV to external speakers. If you are experiencing distorted audio with AirPlay speakers, try adjusting the AirPlay volume on Apple TV. Go to Settings > Audio and Video > Audio Output. From there, you can drill down into your AirPlay speaker settings and adjust the volume. Lowering the AirPlay volume on Apple TV should reduce distortion. You can increase the volume on the actual speakers in order to compensate.
Bluetooth is a completely different and open technology. Apple doesn’t own Bluetooth. It’s an open standard. Apple TV 4 does support Bluetooth audio systems, and with the tvOS 10 update, the number of supported devices has increased. Unfortunately, there are so many brands and models of Bluetooth audio systems, that I can’t cover every possible scenario. Beyond pairing the speakers, Apple TV doesn’t offer control over Bluetooth-transmitted audio levels. You may want to consult your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer’s customer support if audio is distorted.
Bluetooth transmissions degrade over distance. If your Bluetooth speakers sound distorted, it may be due to their placement. Try moving them closer to the Apple TV 4 base unit. Also, make sure your Apple TV is not enclosed in an AV cabinet. Given the limitations of Bluetooth, you may want to consider going with a hard-wired or AirPlay solution. AirPlay works over your WiFi network, so it has much greater range than Bluetooth.
I Still Like My Apple TV
Even though the distorted sound effects are annoying, I still enjoy using my Apple TV. I am well aware that Apple TV does not exhibit the quality usually present in most Apple products. Apple doesn’t put their best and brightest engineers to work on Apple TV. They’re working on the iPhone. Apple TV is just about as good as any other TV appliance. If you are vested in the Apple ecosystem, it’s a good option. If not, you can spend less money and get a TV appliance made by Roku, Amazon, Google, Nvidia or many other vendors.
The root cause of the audio distortion problem I experience is within the code. The sound effects level is too high, and they probably didn’t test this with multiple audio setups. Most likely, this was tested with internal TV speakers, which won’t sound distorted due to their dynamic range processing. When audio is transmitted through line out or optical audio out, it bypasses the TV’s digital signal processing. It’s just pure audio. We can only hope that Apple fixes this issue with tvOS generated audio levels.