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The Novice’s Complete Guide to Setting Up and Using an Apple TV - Part 2

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In Part One of The Novice’s Complete Guide to Setting Up and Using an Apple TV, I showed you how install, set up, and familiarise yourself with the basics of the Apple TV. 

In this tutorial, I will show you how to:

  • Access each of the more unique channels 
  • Hide channels that you aren't using
  • Set up Home Sharing
  • Access and change the important settings

The Unique Channels

iCloud Photos

iCloud Photos is a new channel that allows you to see all of the photos taken and sent to iCloud from the various iOS devices you own. 

  • Go to Settings, then iCloud
  • Sign in if required
  • Navigate to iCloud Photo Settings and enable both My Photo Stream and Photo Sharing
  • Return to the Main Menu and choose the iCloud Photos channel
  • Choose the stream you wish to view and navigate through the photos

Podcasts

A podcast is an episodic series of audio-only, or audio and video, files that have had their feeds connected to iTunes. Nowadays, the line between podcasts and on-demand TV is pretty well blurred, but unlike TV shows, podcasts can vary dramatically in content, length, and release schedule. 

As an example, one podcast may run 10-15 minutes per episode and only have new content once per month.  While another podcast may be over an hour per episode and release a new episode daily.

Podcast Channel on Apple TV
Podcast Channel on Apple TV

Navigate to the Podcast channel and start exploring. You will see menus to explore by genre, provider, or the most popular until you have found some entertaining casts.  If all else fails, the Search menu in the top right will help you locate just about any podcast by name.

iTunes Radio

iTunes Radio is a free streaming internet radio service.  Once there, you can navigate through up 250 different channels or setup your own channel based off of a specific artist, song, or genre. Use the menu at the top of the screen to navigate between existing stations, adding a new station, editing the stations or the history.

iTunes Radio on AppleTV
iTunes Radio on Apple TV

Remove Unpopular Channels

The best part of the Apple TV is that is comes with so many different channels to chose from. The worst part of the Apple TV is that it comes with so many channels to chose from. Yet it is straight forward to remove the clutter.

To remove unwanted channels from the Apple TV, go to Settings > General > Main Menu. Scroll through the list of channels and set any unwanted channels to a Hide status.

Hide unwanted channels or icons on the AppleTV
Hide unwanted channels or icons on the AppleTV

Press Menu until you have returned to the home screen. You will notice that that apps you have set to Hide aren't there any more.

NOTE: An alternative method to removing channels from the home screen is available as well. From the main menu, highlight the channel you wish to remove. Hold down the middle Select button until the channel starts shaking. Press Play for more options, then choose Hide This Item.

Setting Up Home Sharing

Home Sharing allows you to stream music, television shows, or movies from the iTunes collections on your other Apple devices. To set up home sharing ensure the device is on and iTunes is open. In iTunes go to File. Choose Home Sharing and then Turn On Home Sharing.

Enable Home Sharing on iTunes
Enable Home Sharing on iTunes

Select the Computers channel. If this is the first time logging in, enter your AppleID and Password. Choose the iTunes library you wish to access.  Select a Movie, TV, or Audio file  to view or listen.

The Settings Menu

The Settings menu is packed with some great customization options. If you really want to make the most of the Apple TV, I strongly recommend spending some time here.

Rental Restrictions

Making sure the young ones can't rent any TV shows or movies is always a good idea. Even if you aren't worried about them, consider the number of people that come through your home for services, repairs, parties, etc.  

From Settings, go to General, then Restrictions. Turn Restrictions On.  Enter a PIN code that will be easy for you to remember. Confirm the PIN. Cycle through each of the options for restrictions making sure to set the Purchase & Rental restriction to Ask.

Setting any restriction to Ask means that the user will be prompted for the PIN before being allowed to view/rent selected content.

Screen Saver

Go to Settings then Screen Saver. The Photos section can be changed from the default (National Geographic) to a myriad of fun things. Give Animals, Flowers, Trailers, or your own Flickr or iCloud streams a try. Stick with whichever one you like best.

Once set, play with the different display methods of each show. Choose from dozens of different methods, then scroll to the top and choose Preview to see how they will look. Press any key to exit the preview.

Conclusion

You have mastered just about all there is to master when it comes to the Apple TV. With so many channels to chose from, many would be overwhelmed, but now you know how to hide the channels that you won't use.

You will also know how to manipulate the settings to stream content from a Mac or iOS devices right to the television screen using Home Sharing. You’ll also be able to play favorite Podcasts or listen to some iTunes Radio.

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