The full text of Josh Centers’s book on the Apple TV, released chapter by chapter for TidBITS members. If you’re a member, log in using your TidBITS account (click My Account on the left) to be able to read everything beyond the first chapter. The final book is available in PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket (Kindle) versions; TidBITS members can save 30% on this and all other Take Control titles (start at your Member Benefits page to get the discount).
If you have an Apple TV attached to your television, our in-progress book from Josh Centers, “Take Control of Apple TV,” has the advice you need to get more great content and use it more fluidly than ever before. Tune in regularly to read each chapter as it’s published!
The Apple TV has gone from being just a “hobby” for Apple to one of the most useful devices that you can connect to your television. With one tiny box, the Apple TV brings you movies and TV shows from iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, ESPN and more. But you can also use it to listen to music and podcasts, run slideshows of your photos, play games, and display anything you can bring up on a Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch via AirPlay. And Apple TV isn’t just for entertainment — it makes a remarkably useful presentation device for the business and education worlds as well. In this first chapter of “Take Control of Apple TV,” Josh Centers lays out his roadmap for the rest of the book.
In all likelihood, you’ve already set up your Apple TV, but if you’re just getting started, this chapter of “Take Control of Apple TV” walks you through, step-by-step, starting with explanations of all the ports and cables you’ll need. Author Josh Centers then moves on to explain the several different setup approaches and makes sure you get other key aspects of the Apple TV configured right away.
With only four buttons, the Apple Remote included with your Apple TV is quite possibly the most elegant remote control ever made. However, that simplicity hides some useful features. This chapter will teach you how to master the Apple Remote’s basic features and shortcuts. But you’re not limited to the Apple Remote; the Apple TV can be commanded by a third-party remote, an iOS device with Apple’s Remote app, or a Bluetooth keyboard. Each option offers considerably more power than the Apple Remote, and each has its own particular strengths (and weaknesses).
Although iTunes content is front and center in the Apple TV’s interface, Apple offers lots to watch from numerous other sources as well, some of which may be a better deal than renting or buying from the iTunes Store. In this chapter, Josh Centers gives capsule descriptions of each of the Apple TV’s current “apps,” which provide movies, TV shows, sporting events, concerts, music videos, news, weather, and even your home movies. It’s not all video, though, since you can listen to your music from iTunes via the Apple TV, plus enjoy iTunes Radio and podcasts. And if you want something showing on screen while you’re rocking out, or just want to share your vacation pictures with friends, the Apple TV can access your photos from iCloud and Flickr.
With AirPlay, you can play audio and video content from your Mac or iOS device on your Apple TV. You can also mirror your entire screen to the Apple TV, so whatever you see and hear on your device, you also see and hear through the Apple TV. And, in 10.9 Mavericks you can turn the TV attached to your Apple TV into another display for your Mac, just like any other external display. Read on to learn more, including how to prevent your prankster neighbors from playing video on your Apple TV without your permission.
In this chapter, you’ll find tips for controlling video playback, buying and watching videos from the iTunes Store, and playing local video. Author Josh Centers also provides instructions for ripping your DVDs with HandBrake, adding metadata with iFlicks, and importing into iTunes. Bonus topics include merging multi-disc movies, ripping Blu-ray discs, and managing all this data on an external hard disk.
In this chapter of “Take Control of Apple TV,” Josh Centers shows how the Apple TV can go beyond video to become the hub of your stereo system as well, thanks to AirPlay and a number of built-in apps. You’ll learn how to use each of them plus get tips on ripping audio CDs, using AirPlay for audio, and extending AirPlay’s reach with Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil.
In this chapter of “Take Control of Apple TV,” Josh Centers teaches you everything you need to know to turn your large-screen TV into a digital picture frame that can’t be beat, complete with access to photos stored in iPhoto or Aperture on your Mac, or in iCloud or Flickr online.
Thanks to its capability to connect to a variety of display devices, including projectors and SMART Boards, and its support for AirPlay, the Apple TV makes an excellent helper when it comes to giving presentations. In this chapter of “Take Control of Apple TV,” Josh Centers explains what hardware and software you’ll need to turn your Apple TV into a presentation machine for Keynote from an iPad, when demoing an iPhone app, or even bringing in a remote guest.
The Apple TV may not have been intended as a gaming device, but thanks to AirPlay Mirroring, the combination of an iOS device and an Apple TV can make for a surprisingly compelling gaming experience. In this chapter of the in-progress "Take Control of Apple TV," Josh Centers describes some iOS games that are optimized for the Apple TV and offers some tips on how to reduce AirPlay latency.
Feeling mischievous? Just a little geeky? In this final chapter of “Take Control of Apple TV,” Josh Centers shows you how to take your Apple TV beyond what Apple intended, in three ways: playing video from otherwise unavailable sources via the Plex media management system, recording live TV to your Mac with an Elgato EyeTV HD and then showing it on the Apple TV, and getting around DNS-based region restrictions.