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Take Control of Apple TV
Dec 15, 2016

Take Control of Apple TV, Second Edition

Everything you need to know about the Apple TV!

Whether you’re considering an Apple TV or you already have one, you can more fully enjoy Apple’s entertainment device with this ultimate guide by TidBITS managing editor Josh Centers. You’ll learn how to set it up and use it to watch movies and TV shows, play music, display your photos, give presentations, and run all manner of apps on the big screen.

Josh walks you through cables, ports, and setup, and explains how to use gestures and spoken commands with the Siri Remote—yes, you can talk to your TV! He helps you navigate and customize the Home screen, plus describes getting-started settings such as inputting your Apple ID, enabling parental controls, and turning on Single Sign-on.

You’ll learn how to use the built-in TV app, and how you can best view home movies and any DVDs or Blu-ray discs you own.

The book also looks at using an Apple TV to listen to your music or Apple Music, download and play podcasts from iTunes, and browse your photos. You’ll also find recommendations for apps that bring fitness, food, mapping, shopping, art, gaming, and more to your big screen.

Bonus! A special cheat sheet summarizes key Siri Remote tips and spoken commands so that you can easily try them from the couch.

More Info

In Take Control of Apple TV you’ll read about:

  • The easy Siri Remote shortcut for sleeping your Apple TV
  • Checking the battery level and charging your Siri Remote
  • Three ways to rewind on the Siri Remote
  • Alternatives to the Siri Remote
  • Connecting your Apple TV to iCloud Photo Library, iCloud Photo Stream, iCloud Photo Sharing, or to photos stored on your local computer
  • Beaming the display of your Mac or iPhone screen to your TV
  • Making Mac or iOS audio play through your TV’s speakers
  • Ripping DVDs and Blu-ray discs
  • Running iTunes Home Sharing to play media from a local computer
  • Using Plex Media Server to take your media library beyond iTunes
  • Essential items to pack if you’ll be giving a presentation via an Apple TV
  • What you can do with Conference Room Display mode
  • How to tell if an iOS app includes a free copy of its Apple TV version
  • How to reset or restore an Apple TV—useful for troubleshooting or for handing your device to a new owner

Compatibility? This book covers the fourth-generation Apple TV, but after you buy it, you can visit the Ebook Extras topic to download the first edition, which focuses on the second- and third-generation Apple TV models.

What's New

What’s New in Version 2.1

This new version is updated for tvOS 10, which Apple released in September 2016. It’s also generally updated to reflect the state of the Apple TV in late 2016:

  • To find out what’s new in tvOS 10, plus get clickable links to areas of this book where the content has changed significantly, see What’s New in tvOS 10.

  • Apple has released the Apple TV Remote app, which runs on an iOS device and emulates the Siri Remote. The previous Remote app is still available as iTunes Remote. See Run the Apple TV Remote App.

  • I’ve added capsule summaries of a few new apps that are worth a look. These include BitTorrent Live, History Vault, Lynda, and NFL Sunday Ticket.

  • I also added a short sidebar about Cable TV Replacements that run on the Apple TV.

What Was New in the Second Edition

This edition has been revised for the fourth-generation Apple TV, released in late 2015. Here’s an overview of the major changes:

  • Because this edition is being released nearly immediately after tvOS 9.2, I’ve added What’s New in tvOS 9.2 to help you quickly come up to speed on the new features in this important update, including support for Bluetooth keyboards, Dictation, and the capability to display your iCloud Photo Library.

  • Set Up Your Apple TV has been overhauled to reflect the process on the fourth-generation model, as well as the lack of an optical audio output on the fourth-generation Apple TV.

  • Control Your Apple TV has been reworked to include the new Siri Remote and its capabilities.

  • The chapter “Discover What’s on Offer” has been replaced with a new chapter: Meet the Apple TV, where you can organize your Home Screen, learn about the Apple TV App Store, and discover Searching with Siri.

  • Apple TV at the Movies has been revised to describe the video controls used in the fourth-generation Apple TV.

  • Information about Bluetooth speakers and an overview of the new Music and Podcast apps have been added to Rock Out with the Apple TV.

  • Information on working around Netflix’s regional restrictions has been removed, out of respect for Netflix’s efforts to stop such practices, as described in this Netflix blog post.

  • Since the fourth-generation Apple TV features an App Store, the chapters “Play Games on Apple TV” and “Do More with Apple TV” have been replaced with a new chapter: A Look at Apple TV Apps.

  • The printable Cheat Sheet is updated with tips for using the Siri Remote.


What Apple TV models does this book cover?

This book covers the fourth-generation Apple TV, but after you buy it, you can visit the Ebook Extras topic to download the first edition, which focuses on the second- and third-generation Apple TV models.

Update Plans

December 15, 2016 – Now that we’ve published a new version of the book with coverage of tvOS 10, including the TV app and Single Sign-on, we have no immediate plans to update it.

Posted by Tonya Engst

  1. Updated Presets in HandBrake 1.0

    Video-ripping app HandBrake has finally reached version 1.0 — actually 1.0.2 as of this writing. With that comes a few minor changes, but the most significant for readers of “Take Control of Apple TV” are the new presets. The now-legacy AppleTV 3 preset I recommended in the book is still there, but you should instead choose the Apple1080p60 Surround preset, which is now the best-quality Apple-compatible HandBrake preset.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  2. Josh Explains What’s New with Apple TV and tvOS

    Apple TV, slowly but surely, continues to gain features and capabilities, this time with its new TV app and Single Sign-on capability. Josh and Chuck Joiner of MacVoices discuss the state of streaming TV, Apple TV’s place in this dynamic and highly contested market, and what’s new in the latest edition of his book. Adjust your rabbit ears, sit back, and enjoy.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  3. Changes to Plex Authentication on Apple TV

    When we published “Take Control of Apple TV, Second Edition,” the Plex app still required you to enter your username and password to sign in to your Plex account. Thankfully, Plex has now been updated to use browser authentication instead, so you don’t have to type or dictate your credentials with the Siri Remote. When prompted, visit and enter the code on your TV screen.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  4. Now Playing on MacVoices: The Josh and Chuck Show, Season 2

    Apple has new gear for the biggest screen in your home, and that means a new edition of Josh’s Apple TV book and a MacVoices interview. So pop some popcorn, put your feet up, and tune in to watch Josh and Chuck Joiner chat about all the new features found in the fourth-generation Apple TV, including apps and Siri. And, if you have an Apple TV you can watch the interview right on that system (the “Master AirPlay” chapter in the book tells you how)!

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

The Author

Josh Centers is the managing editor of TidBITS and a freelance writer who has written for Macworld, the Magazine, Boing Boing, and the Sweethome. He has been featured on Daring Fireball, the Loop, TUAW, and Scientific American, and is a frequent guest on MacVoices and the Tech Night Owl. He lives in Tennessee with his wife, Hannah, and their son, Harris.