The Apple TV Crash Course (2015)

Part Two: The Apple TV Crash Course

Movies and TV Shows

So we’ve looked at how to get your account set up. Now let’s learn how to spend money! This section will walk you through the Movies / TV shows portion of the device.

First, let’s discuss movies. A couple quick things to note:

·        The Apple TV thousands of movies and prices change regularly.

·        Most (but not all) of them are available for purchase, at a price anywhere from a few dollars up to about $19.99.

·        Each week, Apple offers great discounts. Newer movies are often $9.99. Older movies often also drop in price if they have a sequel coming out. Lately, Apple has been offering movies for $3.99 to $4.99 on the weekends—usually they feature one or two of these. But these discounts are always changing, so that $4.99 may not be forever. A website I like to regularly visit is www.Bluray.com; this website has a section for iTunes and it let’s you sort by lowest price.

·        Most movies are available for rental, but not all; frequently a movie is released a few weeks before the physical copy is available, and they can be purchased but not rented until the street date. Some movies are also available to rent when they are in movie theaters. These movies cost more—sometimes up to $12.99. You pay a premium for not going to the theater.

·        These rentals can be purchased at any time, and your viewing window (which is 24 hours in the US) only begins when you begin playing it. They can also only be watched on the device it’s purchased; so if you rent it on your phone, it won’t show on the Apple TV. Or if you rent it on the TV in the bedroom, you can’t watch it on the one in the living room.

·        After the 24 hours (if you’ve started it) or 30 days (if you haven’t), the movie will disappear from your library.

Now that we’ve got the basic details out of the way, let’s get started with movies by highlighting the Movies icon and pressing select. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be presented with the iTunes movie store, separated into three parts. The top, which is a horizontal menu:

And the rest of the application, which follows the home screen header-content pattern.

Moving around the screen using the directional buttons will highlight any of the content on display. Go ahead and highlight a movie from any of the rows below the header and press select. In our example, we’ve highlighted a movie called The Incredibles. Once you press select, you’ll be presented with that movie’s dedicated page, which will look something like this:

As you can see, there’s a lot of information here. Up top, you’ll find a synopsis, alongside information about the actors, directors, and producers of the film.

Sense this is a Disney movie, let’s take an aside to talk about Disney Anywhere. Disney Anywhere let’s you buy a movie on Apple TV and watch it Anywhere. That means buying this movie here, let’s you also watch it on an Android tablet. You can find out more about how all of this works by visiting DisneyAnywhere.com. It’s a great, free, program—check it out!

Below that, you’ll find all of the various options for this film:

·        Preview – pressing select here will bring up a trailer for the film.

·        Rent (HD) – pressing select here will rent the film (For $3.99 and in HD in this case).

·        Buy (HD) – pressing select here will purchase the film (For $17.99 and in HD in this case).

·        Wish List – pressing select here will add the film to your Wishlist, accessible from the Movie app’s home page.

·        More – pressing select here will bring up a more detailed page of information about the film.

The ‘More’ menu item might escape your notice. Don’t let it. It’s a fantastic compendium of reviews (both professional and user created), as well as a portal to other movies you might be interested in. For example, here’s the ‘More’ page for the Incredibles:

As you can see, there is a critics’ review section (courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes), followed by customer reviews, and then a detailed list of the people responsible for the film. Highlighting and selecting any of those names will bring up a list of other available titles featuring that person. For this example, we selected Samuel L. Jackson:

Navigating with your remote, you can now head to any of these other movies to bring up that movie’s page, which will function in exactly the same way as The Incredibles did in our example. This won’t be all the movies he’s did—just the ones on iTunes. It’s also worth noting that you should turn on parental settings—unless you don’t mind little ones seeing R-Rated Samuel Jackson movies after watching their Disney cartoon!

To get back to the movie’s page, press the menu button on your remote.

Once you’ve purchased something, you’ll be presented with a confirmation screen. Tap ‘OK’ to confirm. The download process will automatically begin, leaving you free to continue browsing. Once it’s finished downloading, a screen will pop up, notifying you that your item is ready to play. You can either begin playing it immediately, or decide to watch it later. Press play/pause to watch, or menu to save it for later.

Normally playing a movie is really quick. Every now and then it will say a ridiculously long amount of time (I’ve seen it as high as 16 hours until it can play); usually it’s a glitch or a bad Internet connection. You can try two things. One, check your Internet connection (I use SpeedTest.net from my computer to see the speed); if it’s slow, then either wait or restart your Internet; the second reason is it’s just a glitch (which is rare); restarting your Apple TV will usually fix it. The last thing you can try is to simply wait. Usually if it says a long wait like 16 hours, it will change pretty quickly. But, like I said, waiting more than a few seconds for a movie to load is pretty rare.

If you choose to watch something later, you’ll find it in the horizontal menu under ‘Purchased’:

If you have some idea of what you’d like to watch, the horizontal menu also includes an item labeled ‘Search.’ Pressing select here will bring up a search window, where you can search by title, actor, director, or even subject.

Now, television shows work the same way, with a couple of small exceptions. TV shows are generally available in two different ways:

·        As standalone episodes (usually for $1.99 to $2.99 each)

·        As entire seasons (called Season Pass, anywhere from $15.99 for broadcast shows to $59.99 and up for premium content like HBO)

To get started with TV shows, just navigate to the TV Shows app on the home screen and then press select. You’ll be greeted with a screen that looks the same as the Movies app does. Browse around for something that interests you, and then press select. You’ll be greeted with that television show’s page. For this book, I’ll select Breaking Bad:

As you can see, the page is similar to the movie pages we just discussed, with a couple of exceptions. For starters, everything is organized by season, so to access non-current episodes, you’ll have to navigate to ‘Other Seasons’. Also, instead of the wish list for movies, we’re presented with the ‘Add Show to Favorites’ menu item. While they’re named differently, they do the exact same thing.

Once you’ve purchased a television show (or a season pass), you’ll be presented with a confirmation screen:

Press ‘OK’ to confirm or "Cancel" to back out of the purchase.  Once you’ve confirmed, the item will automatically begin downloading, just like with movies. Once it’s finished, you’ll be presented with the same screen telling you that your item is ready to watch:

Just like with the Movies app, selecting ‘Search’ along the top will allow you to search for shows using any combination of keywords.

Now, once you’ve downloaded a movie or television show, selecting it either in the dialog box that comes up or from within the ‘purchased’ menu item will begin playing it. From there, the controls are straightforward.

Press up on the remote to bring up the playback bar:

This will give you an overview of the currently playing item. Over on the left, you’ll see how much time the item has been playing, while on the right you’ll see how much time is left. Press play/pause on your remote to stop playback. Press and hold the right or left buttons on your remote to fast-forward or rewind, respectively. To exit playback, just press the menu button.