The Apple iTunes Store has a huge library of movies, TV shows and music that can be purchased online and downloaded. With an Apple TV media player device you can purchase or rent movies through your TV or watch media you’ve already purchased on other Apple devices.
The user interface is very simple to use if you’re familiar with other Apple iOS devices. It uses a very simple compact remote control that has just three buttons and a directional pad. There’s a button to take you to the main menu, another to pause or resume playback and an enter button. Simply use the direction pad to move the selection, and press the enter button to select.
Setting up the Apple TV is pretty simple. You only need to connect the power cable and a HDMI cable from the back of the Apple TV to an empty HDMI socket on your TV. Then just turn it on and follow the on screen instructions. It can connect to a wifi network, or if you want you can use a cabled LAN connection.
The Apple TV also lets you use your TV as a screen for your iPhone, iPad or Macbook. This is incredibly handy if you want to display photos or videos from your devices on the TV for a group of people. It can also be used as a wireless way to display Powerpoint presentations on your TV or projector.
Apple TV has a small number of “apps” on it as well, but nothing at all like an iOS device like an iPhone or an iPad. You can watch YouTube videos, and video content from a few major media providers, but that’s about all. That is a bit disappointing really to me.
Overall the Apple TV device does a really good job at displaying iTunes content and making it easy to display iPhone, iPad or Macbook content on your TV. You can buy one brand new from the Apple Store online for $109, or do what we did and buy a refurbished one if they’re in stock. We paid $79 for ours. If Apple isn’t offering any Certified Refurbished Apple TVs you can find plenty of them on eBay.