How To Set Up Apple TV

2nd Generation Apple TV
2nd Generation Apple TV. image copyright Apple Inc.

Apple is famous for its user interfaces and creating products that are a snap to set up and use. This is certainly true for the Apple TV. Hooking up the Apple TV is a snap. In my first set up, it took less than 10 minutes from opening the box to streaming Netflix and playing music from my iTunes library through my home theater.

Here's how I had a quick, hassle-free set up of the my Apple TV.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 8-10 Minutes

Here's How:

  1. Unbox the Apple TV. Remember, there are no HDMI cables included in the box, so you'll need to buy one, too. Plug the cable into your HDTV or receiver and your Apple TV. Connect the device to a power outlet.
    1. The Apple TV will boot up, showing you the Apple logo onscreen.
  2. Choose the language you want to use for the menus using the remote (the volume up and down buttons move the highlight up and down; select using the center button).
  3. The Apple TV will then scan for available WiFi networks to connect to (assuming you're using WiFi, that is. The Apple TV can also connect via Ethernet). Find yours and choose it. Then enter your password (case sensitive, of course) and hit "done." The Apple TV will connect to your network assuming you've entered all your information correctly.
  4. Choose whether you want your Apple TV to report diagnostic information to Apple or not, and continue. If you say yes, this will share information about how the Apple TV is running (if it crashes, etc.) with Apple, but will not send personal information.
  1. Make sure Home Sharing is enabled on your main home computer. Home Sharing allows you to stream content from your iTunes library to the Apple TV to be displayed on your HDTV. You can use the Apple TV to connect to the Internet and get content from there without turning on Home Sharing, but you'll get more use from the Apple TV with it on.
    1. Sign into Home Sharing with the same iTunes account used for sharing on your main iTunes library.
  2. At this point, you should be all set. The Apple TV ought to be connected to your WiFi network and the Internet, as well as the iTunes library on your computer.
    1. You can now play music or video from your iTunes library via AirPlay, or access web-based content at the iTunes Store, Netflix, YouTube, or other locations.


  1. As soon as you've set up your Apple TV, check for software updates. (This is especially important if you're using the first-generation Apple TV and don't yet have the Apple TV Take 2 software update.)
  2. Much like the iPod, you don't truly turn the Apple TV on or off. Instead, to put it to sleep, chose the "standby" option.

What You Need:

  • Apple TV, HDTV, Computer running iTunes, Internet connection
  • HDMI cable