The lack of attention on Apple's part is probably not so surprising given that it is a product that Apple used to refer to as a hobby, but it's unfortunate because at £79 it's one of the best Apple products you can get for your money.
Apple's lack of attention to the Apple TV means that there is little guidance about the product and little in the way of instructions for using the device - and troubleshooting problems with the Apple TV. Apple does have an Apple TV support section on its website, but it only seems to touch on the basics.
In this article we will look at some Apple TV tips, as well as giving guidance on setting up the Apple TV and troubleshooting problems with it.
If you are thinking of buying an Apple TV it might be worth holding off for a month or two - Apple is expected to launch a new set top box at some point this year, read about it in our new Apple TV release date story. However, we are sure that any new features that come to the Apple TV will work with the existing box, so if you are very keen to buy one, you are unlikely to have too many regrets.
What is an Apple TV?
The Apple TV is a 10cm squared box that's less than an inch high and plugs into your HDTV so that you can watch movies and TV shows from the iTunes Store. You can also play content from Netflix (for a £5.99 a month subscription); view videos on YouTube and Vimeo, and stream music and photos from iCloud. You can also view whatever is on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch screen, and push content from your Mac to your TV screen.
Apple continues to add more features to the Apple TV via software updates, these updates have included Sky's Now TV service that allows people who aren't Sky subscribers to sign up for 24 hour access to sports events for £9.99 a p
op, or Sky's Entertainment and Movies packages for £6.99 a month and £9.99 respectively. Sky claims to have 800 films available on the Movies channel.
While it is possible to watch iPlayer programmes on the Apple TV this is only when streaming from the iPhone, iPad or Mac. There are hopes that BBC iPlayer might get its own Apple TV app soon.
How to set up an Apple TV - the basics
First things first, if you have just bought an Apple TV here’s how to set it up.
1) Get an HDMI cable for your Apple TV
You need an HDMI cable to connect Apple TV to your TV and you won't get very far without one. Unfortunately Apple doesn't include an HDMI cable in the box, so you'll need to buy one separately. Apple sells a 1.8m HDMI to HDMI cable for £15, but you can get HDMI cables for less, and you could even pick one up for less in your local Tesco. Once you have the cable, connect your Apple TV to your television, power it on and wait until your Apple TV displays the setup screen.
When you first plug in and turn on your Apple TV (you'll likely need to wake it up by pressing the button in the middle of the remote) you will see this screen. It allows you to chose your language, tells you how to get Voice Over functionality, and also indicates that if you have an iPhone 4s or later, a third generation iPad, an iPad mini or a fifth generation iPod touch running iOS 7 or iOS 8 you will be able to use your iOS device to set up your Apple TV wirelessly (as long as that Apple TV is running Apple TV software 6.0 or later).
Unlock your iOS device and turn on Bluetooth on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and you'll be able to transfer the following from your iPhone or iPad to your Apple TV:
- Wi-Fi network and password
- iTunes Store account details
- Language and region format preferences
All you need to do is touch your iOS device to your Apple TV and wait for the prompts before enter your Apple ID and password on your iOS device (you will have to type the whole thing, TouchID doesn't work here). You can then choose whether the Apple TV should remember your Apple ID password, and if you want Apple TV to send data to Apple.