Apple TV, Photo Stream and your computer
Downloading movies and TV shows from the Internet isn’t exclusive to Apple TV, but access to your computer-based media is. You click the Computers icon to stream photos, home videos and even your music collection from your PC or Mac.
Apple TV lets you wirelessly access your content from iCloud too.
Apple TV’s photo functions are excellent. Click Photo Stream to see your iCloud Photo Stream on your widescreen TV, and you can use those photos as onscreen slideshow wallpaper or screen saver.
The iCloud-based Photo Stream is a great Apple TV feature, but remember you need to switch on this option on your iPhone or iPad .
You can show off all your iPhoto snaps via Apple TV, too. And there’s the usual lovely Apple slideshow options to choose from.
First you need to go into the Advanced options in iTunes to allow for Home Sharing of your photos.
To play music via Apple TV’s Music icon you need to be an iTunes Match subscriber (£25 a year), although you can stream direct from your computer.
Apple TV and AirPlay
Apple’s AirPlay lets you wirelessly stream what’s on your iPhone or iPad straight to your HDTV via the Apple TV. Or you can mirror exactly what’s on your mobile display to the big screen (a lot of fun with your iOS games). Both your iOS device and Apple TV need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network for the AirPlay icon to appear.
Giving family or friends control by passing the iPad around but displaying on a widescreen TV is a more natural way of showing stuff off to large groups than just viewing on the device itself. With Apple TV even the iPad looks a little cramped.
You can do something similar with Apple’s £35 Apple Digital AV Adapter, but this wired option isn’t as impressive as AirPlay’s wireless convenience.