For quite while we have been installing APPLE TV units as part of a clients distributed music system and standalone installations. Combined with an IPod touch, iPhone, iPad, mac computer or even a PC running iTunes, it remains a handy and practical device.

What is an Apple TV? Well firstly it’s not a TV as the name may imply. It is a device that connects to you that allows content stored on apple devices, or in iTunes, to be able to be viewed on your TV. Connection to the TV is done by only HDMI. They have a digital audio out using optical fibre.

If you are used to iTunes you will be familiar with another great thing about apple TV, the ability to hire videos, TV shows etc online. Apple TV has no hard drive built in
(the first generation did ) and uses the had drive on one of the hard drives on your network via a process called home sharing. Part of this is accomplished via your iTunes ID on the Apple TV matching a device on your network that has iTunes installed and the same Apple ID. Home sharing must also be turned on.

Current Apple TV is full 1080p output so it’s only via HDMI this available. If you haven’t got a HDMI input, a down converter can be used but the quality of the image will vary between the quality of the converter. Same goes with audio only in that you need a fibre audio inpu on your device if you are trying to input just the audio stream. Down converters are also available from third parties if needed also. ( if you are after analogue audio only consider an apple express)

Apple TV has in built WiFi so an Ethernet point is not required. Personally I prefer a wired Ethernet connection as it has proved much more reliable, consistent and stable than wifi. It also comes with an IR remote control but an easier and quicker way to control and use it is via the App called simply remote. When you activate this App, it will look for apple TV’s that are on your network.

Another nice thing about them is that the price has been dropping on each release and improvements with any “bugs” also getting fixed in the process. Current price for an Apple TV is $109. I have found that the current third generation unit works much easier than the previous generation 2 model.

You can have more than one Apple TV on your network and they should all appear when you choose to stream to one of them. Just select the one you want to stream to.
One note here is that when you are connected, no one else can connect to it. You need to log out of it before someone else can log in with their device.

So should you get one? I have one and I use it often. For just over a $100 I think they are great value for
the money. Once you have one you will think of more uses for this handy and practical device.

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