Apple TV

I know a couple of people that have an Apple TV, and they love it. When I asked them what Apple TV is, they said, "It's really cool." Well, having a toilet the squirts warm water up my arse is cool, too, but why do I need it? I have a Mac, iPhone, and an iPad… why do I need another gadget? 

According to Apple, "Apple TV has been redesigned to be small in size but big on entertainment. Rent from the largest selection of HD movies—many available the same day they come out on DVD. Watch Netflix titles instantly. Rent commercial free TV shows in HD. And stream photos and music from your computer to your widescreen TV. Best of all, Apple TV is just $99."

What is it?

AppleTVApple TV is a small set-top box that hooks up to your TV with an HDMI cable (not included). If your TV is not HDMI capable, adapters are available, but they don't always work and a digital optical audio cable is also needed. The box also connects to your home network via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cord (like the big cord that goes into the back of your computer).

What does it do?

AppleTV HDTVOnce the Apple TV box is hooked up and your iTunes account information is entered, it lets you access the iTunes Store and anything stored in your iTunes library without any monthly subscription fees. Through the iTunes Store, you can rent or purchase more entertainment right from your TV screen. You have the ability to watch movies, TV shows, podcasts, or listen to music already in your iTunes account via Home Sharing right on your TV screen. 

Apple TV lets you rent or buy movies from iTunes and watch them on your HD TV.


In addition, you can…

  • Watch YouTube videos or access Flickr photos.

  • Access and watch thousands of movies and television series via Netflix (Netflix subscription required).

  • Enjoy games live and in HD with an MLB.TV or NBA.TV subscription.

  • View your photo albums in HD.

With a subscription to Netflix, you can watch the movies they have available for streaming. 


RemoteOnce Apple TV is connected, you can use the AirPlay feature of iOS to display the screen of your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad on your TV. Simply go to the screen you want to display, tap on the AirPlay icon, and select Apple TV. Viola! It's up there on the bigger screen. Video on apps like Hulu Plus, PBS, HBO Go, and ABC Player will play via AirPlay.

Apple TV includes an adequate remote controller. Fortunately, a more robust remote controller app is available from the App Store.

The remote

Apple TV RemoteThe remote that comes with the Apple TV is barely adequate. It takes forever to scroll through the menus and the onscreen keyboard with the arrow buttons. But not to worry, if you have an iPhone, iPad or iTouch just download Apple's Remote app (free, and use the slick controls and virtual keyboard without getting a cramp in your hand.

Definitely cool!

Apple TV is definitely cool—a very useful device if you're interested in viewing iTunes, YouTube, and other content on your television.

What is it and why do I need it?

September-October 2011
iOS Devices
TOC Weight: