Appledystopia: Independent Technology News

Play Spotify on Apple TV 4

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Spotify also offers a feature to normalize audio. Normalization is slightly different from Apple’s Reduce Loud Sounds feature. It’s more like Sound Check. It keeps the level of music the same across different tracks. This is great if you have a playlist that draws from different albums. You won’t need to constantly fiddle with the volume. For the purist, dynamic range is important. Most audiophiles will want to turn this feature off. You can enable or disable Spotify’s normalization feature by going to settings (the gear wheel on the menu) and tapping Playback. Next, turn Enable Audio Normalization on or off.

Visualizer Options for Apple TV

If you play music using iTunes or other music players, you’ve probably enjoyed using a visualizer. Visualizers provide a graphical display synchronized to music. They are absolutely mesmerizing, yet absent from Apple TV 4. Given the processing power of the 64-bit, A8 processor, this seems almost inexcusable. Although there are tvOS apps that claim to work as visualizers, they do not work as expected. I wasted a small sum of money to discover this fact. Don’t fall for these apps!

The main problem is that, even though there are visualizer apps, the AirPlay implementation will display the Now Playing screen after a minute of idle time. This means as soon as you stop fiddling with the visualizer app, Now Playing will be displayed within a minute. I’ve tried disabling the screensaver and everything else. tvOS visualizer apps will not work with AirPlay! Don’t buy one! They also don’t work with Apple Music.

Screensavers are a good option for a visualizer, but they really aren’t the same thing. They’re not synchronized with music. I sometimes prefer the screensaver to the Now Playing view. The aerial screensavers are actually quite amazing.

You can have the screensaver turn on during Spotify AirPlay playback by going to Settings > General > Screensaver and set Show During Music to “Yes”. This will display the Now Playing view after one minute, but then display the screensaver after the set interval. The screensaver can also be launched manually. From the home screen, tap the Home button twice and the screensaver will appear. You will still see a small track information graphic (with album cover art) on the upper right corner of the screen. This is displayed momentarily when a new track begins.

If you are really addicted to visualizers, there is a workaround. Using one of the many AirPlay utilities, it’s possible to beam your entire desktop to Apple TV. Simply play music on Spotify and run a visualizer in full screen mode while beaming your desktop to Apple TV. Keep in mind, you will need a fairly powerful computer to render the visualizer, play Spotify music and beam it all to Apple TV. I have a quad-core Mac Pro, and it was just barely able to do this after changing to a lower resolution and performance tuning AirParrot.

Keep in mind that since Apple TV is 1080p, your desktop computer resolution should be set accordingly, with nothing greater than 1080 pixels in height. Specifically, 1080 resolution is 1920 x 1080. Some computers can set the resolution to 1080p, which is the ideal setting. Resolution options for computers depend on the attached monitor. The closest I can get on my Mac is 1600 x 1000. (continue…)

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