New Apple TV Owner Without a Clue

tvOS & Apple TV Apps

I purchased an Apple TV for the main purposes of streaming content from one or the other of the three Macs in the house, and for mirroring a display in order to be able to show some PowerPoint (Keynote) presentations. For $179 US, I got something that will connect to my existing 43-inch television, bigger than any monitor I would or could own, with other abilities besides the aforementioned, so I'm not at all unhappy with my ppurchase. However, I now have the thing set up, and have more questions than I did before taking it out of the box.

Contrary to advice I was given before I opened the box, VoiceOver must be manually enabled after the device boots, similar to how it works on an iPhone, when the language choice screen is displayed. It had been suggested to me that a pre-recorded message would play, telling me how to continue setup with VoiceOver, similar to how it works on MacOS. That one threw me for a few minutes, until I finally pressed what turned out to be the HOME button three times. I got lucky.

2. Where do I go either online or on the device itself to learn what the buttons do? I figured out that the button on the upper left of the remote, the one that's concave flat, is HOME. But there is also a rocker, at least two almost-flat buttons, and a concave bowl button--that is, a button that feels like a bowl rather than one that feels like a circle with a rim. So, what do these buttons do?

3. Is the device always on, or is sending it to "Sleep Now" in Settings the accepted way of turning it (and my TV) offf?

4. Since it's Airplay capable, can I just stream any old content to it from the house Macs, and if I do, do I get audio as well, or do I have to mirror the display to get both audio and video?

I looked all over AppleVis but couldn't find a new-Apple-TV-owner's getting-started document, here's hoping someone can come to my rescue, with my profound thanks in advance.

P.S.: During setup, I was asked for my TV provider, and picked Verizon Fios from the list. What did that get me? Every bit of content I've found all seems to come from third-party sources like NBC, and everything from iTunes is a purchasable item. So what is Verizon Fios going to do for me with this device?



Submitted by Blinken223 on Friday, August 23, 2019

Hi Steve, I can understand, it can be a little tricky trying to figure out the Apple TV. I myself recently upgraded my old Apple TV to the 4K model.

You were right in thinking that triple clicking the Home button during setup does start VoiceOver.

As for the remote's buttons, starting from the top left, that is the Menu button, which can be used to go back a screen. The one immediately to the right, well you guessed it, it's your Home button. It can be used to bring you directly to the home screen and I think if you press and hold, you can quickly place the device to sleep. You can even double click it to open the app switcher.

Directly below the Menu button is the Siri button. You can use this to ask Siri some questions, like finding content by titles, actors and so forth. Directly below this button is the Play/Pause button. As you can guess, this plays and pauses your content. While inputting text with the onscreen keyboard, you can press the Play/Pause button to toggle between uppercase, lowercase and numbers.

To the right of this, the long rocker button, this is the volume rocker. I think you can configure it with your TV to control your TV's volume.

Directly above all of these buttons is the touch surface. You can swipe right or left, while streaming content, like you do on an iPhone, to fast forward or rewind. You can also do a rotor gesture to gain access to other settings. Little tip, make sure you keep the rotor to "Follow Focus" while navigating, this will make it easier.

As for AirPlay, when you send content from your Mac to the Apple TV, it should play the video and audio.

The Apple TV also never really shuts down, you just put it to sleep.

As for your provider, unfortunately, I'm in Canada, so we don't have that. But I think you can log into your provider, so when you install apps for channels, it can use your already saved credentials to log you into the app already. Like I said, we don't have this in Canada, so I don't have much experience with this.

Hope this helps!

Submitted by Steve Matzura on Thursday, August 22, 2019

Yes, thanks, I've now got a better idea of what I'm doing with this device. Unfortunately, my TV provider isn't very cooperative with content provision for it, or I just have not yet figured out how to get into it. Maybe I'll give Verizon a call and have them tell me what they have on offer that I can watch with the device.

And thanks to the AppleVis folks who moved my post to this forum.

Submitted by Justin on Thursday, August 22, 2019

Hi Steeve,
I'm guessing you can get some sort of verizon fios TV app on the apple tv and watch content thru that with your credentials for FIOS. We don't have FIOS in the midwest where I live, but I know that on my iPhone, I can log into Dish and there's a dish anywhere app that'll use your internet connection to stream all your dish channels. Just a quick plug to you, thanks for providing a quick podcast to ACB main menu last year on the fire TV! It really helped me set up my 50 inch toshiba set. I'm amazed at how good they sound, not as crappy as I expected for a modern somewhat cheap set.

Submitted by Steve Matzura on Friday, August 23, 2019

4k televisions have really dropped in price where anyone can have one nowadays.

Regarding the podcast, thank you. There's another on the way, for the Black & Decker Talking Toaster Oven, accessibility by ETS, the same people who brought us the Magic Chef talking microwave oven several years ago.