The Apple TV Crash Course (2015)

Part One: What Is Apple TV

What’s in the Box, What’s Missing

Apple has, as of this writing, released three versions of the Apple TV to the public. The first, released right around the same time as the original iPhone, was a somewhat clunky, large device. The 2nd and 3rd generations are identical to each other and about one quarter of the size of the original. Here’s a comparison:

The current-generation Apple TV is available at almost every retailer on the planet, with a suggested price of $69. If you’re considering purchasing a used device, please make sure it’s the current generation—there is a version that only streams 720p (not 1080p) and it looks exactly the same as the current version. I’d also recommend hunting for the best deals—chances are you won’t find it cheaper than $69, but many companies offer incentives like $10 iTunes gift cards.

So what’s inside the tiny box:

·        The Apple TV Device

·        A Remote (if you have an iPhone or iPad, you can use those as remotes as well—just download the free app from the iTunes app store)

·        A Power Cord

·        A Quick Start Guide

Notably absent is an HDMI cable. Some stores will try and highlight this fact, and tell you about the fanciest HDMI cable money will buy; they’ll try and sell you on the fact that it being gold will actually make everything superior. These so-called superior cables will cost anywhere from $20 to $50.

If you want the best deal on an HDMI cable, then Amazon.com sells one for $7.99; it doesn’t have the fancy packaging that shows how awesome it is, but I bet you won’t notice any difference once you plug it in.

The device is also missing an Ethernet cable and Optical cable. Both of these are optional. Because the Apple TV streams content (vs. downloads it) then you’ll obviously need Internet. Most people have Wi-Fi in their house, but some don’t. If you’re one of the houses that don’t, then a cheap Ethernet cable would plug into the back of the Apple TV, and go directly into one of the ports on back of your Internet Router; you should have an empty port, but on the rare chance that you don’t, you can buy an adaptor for a few bucks.

How do you know if you have Wi-Fi? Your phone company will tell you, but a good indicator would be how you use the Internet. Do you have a laptop? Does the laptop have to plug into anything for Internet? If not, then it’s probably connecting to a wireless connection. You’ll need to know the password to it when you setup the Apple TV.

The Optical cable is mostly for people with some sort of sound system. If you don’t have that, then the device will just use your TVs sound system.