How Does Apple TV Work?

A new Apple TV is rumored to launch at some point this year after Apple hasn’t touched the set-top box since 2012, but the third-gen model is still a hot item many users (me included) keep going. It’s an Apple TV and still takes advantage of all the great features.

Apple has announced its new Apple TV, with an all-new remote, an App Store, and game support.

If you’re in the market for an Apple TV and want to learn more about it, you’ve come to the right place. The Apple TV is a simple device about the size of a square hockey puck, but it’s packed with a bunch of cool features on the inside that can be a little daunting at first.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to set up an Apple TV, what you need to set it up, and how it works in the first place. We’ll also talk about some cool things you can do with Apple TV if you have an iOS device or a Mac.

What do you need

When you get your Apple TV, it comes with the streaming box, remote, and power cord. However, you still need another cable to transmit video to your television, so be sure to get an HDMI cable when purchasing an Apple TV. You can buy them almost anywhere, although we do not recommend buying them. Amazon’s own HDMI cablesbecause they are cheap but effective.

If you want to set up your Apple TV the easy way, you’ll also want an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch running iOS 7. Otherwise, simply go through the menus on your Apple TV step-by-step and adjust.

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If you want to connect your Apple TV to your home network via ethernet, you’ll also want to get an ethernet cable, but the device also has built-in WiFi, so don’t sweat it if you can’t manage a wired connection.

Physically, the Apple TV is easy to set up and mostly self-explanatory. All you have to do is plug in the power cord and HDMI cable and start the races. Then just press any button on the Apple TV remote to turn it on. Also, make sure your TV is set to the correct input, as most TVs have more than one HDMI input.

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Using Apple TV

If you use iTunes a lot, you’ll get more out of your Apple TV. So, if you have a lot of music, movies, and TV shows purchased from the iTunes Store, Apple TV will allow you to play these files on your television. However, the device also comes preloaded with a handful of streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, and YouTube.

Apple TV copy

It’s important to note that you’ll need separate subscriptions to services like Netflix and Hulu Plus to use them on your Apple TV. You can watch TV shows for free on Hulu’s website, but the service requires you to pay for Hulu Plus to watch content on devices other than your computer.

You can also buy or rent video content directly from your Apple TV, making it easy to browse the selection of movies and TV shows available. At the top of the home screen on your Apple TV will be a list of the most popular movies at the time. You can also select or to browse for more options.

Using AirPlay

One of the biggest features of Apple TV is AirPlay, which allows you to stream content from your iPhone, iPad or Mac to your television over your home WiFi network.

There are two ways to use AirPlay. The main way is to tap the AirPlay icon (seen below) in any app that supports it to beam this content to Apple TV. Your iOS device or Mac can then act as a second screen. For example, I can beam a live game from the MLB.TV app to my TV using the Apple TV, and then my iPad can act as a screen to show me player stats.


The second way to use AirPlay is to mirror your screen to Apple TV so you see the same thing on your iOS device or Mac and television. This is ideal for apps that don’t support AirPlay and is just a workaround for it.

Using Your iPhone as a Remote Control

It’s pretty easy to lose that little silver remote that came with your Apple TV, and your iPhone or iPad can serve as a valuable backup when it finally gets lost among your sofa cushions. Also, a big advantage of using your iOS device is that you can easily type words when searching for a movie or TV show, instead of using the slow hunt-and-peck method with the stock remote.

We have a handy guide on how to set up your Apple TV and iPhone or iPad so you can use your iOS device as a remote control for your Apple TV. It’s easy to do and takes just a few minutes to set up.

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