10 Apple TV features you’ll use

Apple made the new Apple TV available for sale this morning, with delivery starting Oct. 30

Apple, iTunes, iOS, Apple TV

What follows are a few pointers to help you get the most out of your new Apple TV  when it eventually arrives.

In case you missed it

Controlled by voice and touch, Apple TV is an Apple-created set-top box (like a better Chromecast) that turns your television into an iOS apps-based entertainment center, providing TV, movies, music, images, games and lots of apps. As it’s an iOS device, it should also bring you new features in future OS upgrades, too – like a new television every year – just don’t forget the product doesn’t ship with an HDMI cable.

(If you use an older model, then do read: 8 Apple TV secrets every user should know).


TV and movie content comes from iTunes, Netflix, HBO Now, Showtime, Hulu and a range of sports and music channels, including YouTube, Vimeo and Bloomberg TV.

I imagine Apple is meeting with dedicated TV channels to try to reach deals to carry their content as Apple TV apps. After all, Apple does say: “Stay tuned, because more great apps are added to the App Store all the time.” Or is this wishful thinking? BBC Worldwide could make a lot of money making itself available this way, assuming the once great state broadcaster isn’t holding back for privatization.


The remote understands movement in any direction and lets you click anywhere on its glass screen to make a selection. Swipe quickly with a sweeping motion to fast-forward and rewind in big chunks, while a slower swipe will move the action forward frame-by-frame.


Siri lets you search for content using your voice. It will search across multiple services. Siri will also show sports scores, weather data, stock and Settings information. If you miss a line in a movie you can ask Siri to skip back and temporarily show you speech captions so you can catch what you missed.


You can tell Siri you want to see science fiction films released in the ’70s and then narrow the search down by adding, “only the good ones." That’s because Siri is smart enough to let you layer new questions to help you drill down to good results.

Sample Siri questions

  • “Play from the beginning”
  • “Turn on closed captioning”
  • “What’s the temperature outside?”
  • “Fast-forward two minutes”
  • “How did Arsenal do last night?”
  • “What did he just say?”
  • “Who directed this film?”
  • “Find popular TV shows for kids.”


Despite the fact it doesn’t work for everyone, Apple seems to really like parallax and uses it on Apple TV to breathe a little life into on-screen film and TV show images to make them seem a little more alive.


Like an iPhone, you can double-click the Home button on the remote to see the apps you’ve used most recently.


You can move your most-used apps (such as Netflix) to the top row of the Home screen. Then when you choose that icon, you’ll see shortcuts to app-specific content appear above.

Screen savers

Apple TV will show aerial videos of scenic cities and landmarks in screensaver mode.

Third-party controllers

Apple TV is compatible with MiFi gaming controllers from third-party manufacturers, including the $69.95 SteelSeries Nimbus.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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