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Tidal streams for free for 12 days, comes to Apple TV

  • Tidal may or may not be doing it tough on cashflow – we can’t possibly know for sure – but it’s certainly doing the hard yards in the mainstream press where many publications are riffing on a report by Norway’s Dagens Næringsliv that the Jay-Z-owned streaming service has six months left to live.

    We only have to look back to July to remind ourselves of how Soundcloud only had 50 days left on the clock but was saved by an overnight 40% cut to its staff numbers and an emergency round of funding (which also saw its CEO and co-founder Alex Jung step aside).

    As long as music streaming remains a precarious business it will continue to provide editors with alarmist headlines about ongoing financial losses and imminent platform closures.

    How about some Christmas cheer?

    Perhaps in an attempt to net new subscribers, Tidal is opening up their streaming service to anyone and everyone for freefrom Christmas Day for twelve days. No credit card is required so there’s nothing to cancel afterwards. And yes, this includes the audiophile-friendly Hifi tier that otherwise goes for US$19.99/month.

    Furthermore, Tidal has at long last arrived to the Apple TV platform (and Android TV). UK- and USA-based Apple TV owners can now find the Tidal app in the tvOS app store. Other territories are set to follow suit at as yet unspecified points in the future.

    Tidal’s native Apple TV app has been optimised for the big/ger screen making it more suitable than a smartphone or laptop for diving into Tidal’s130,000 ad-free hi-definition (music) videos and concerts where the sound and picture quality are almost certain to best those found on YouTube.

    Audio-centric listeners preferring a good two-channel amplifier to a home theatre receiver but bemoaning the lack of TOSLINK output on the latest generation of Apple TVs should consider the following signal path: take the Apple TV’s HDMI output into the TV and extract digital audio data from the TV via its own TOSLINK output. With the TV acting as a DDC, D/A conversion can come from any TOSLINK capable DAC.

    As we saw in its recent review, AudioQuest’s TOSLINK-equipped Beetle DAC can be tucked away out of sight on the back of the TV panel. Otherwise, a pair of digitally active loudspeakers could prove equally as effective in getting the best from Tidal’s Hifi tier. It’s in cabling scenarios like this that I’m thankful that KEF optioned TOSLINK over coaxial for their LS50 Wireless loudspeakers.

    Whatever the DAC/amplifier/speaker configuration, lossless audio streaming arriving on the Apple TV is a big deal.

    Further information: Tidal

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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