Apple TV Review with Airplay Troubleshooting Tips

In this article we are going to do two things, one is explain AppleTV, and the other is list specific tips to help resolve many issues people experience

 with this device.If you find any part of this article or the embedded videos helpful please bookmark our website.

This little device is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand but it has a big heart and a big brain. Apple TV Review with Air Play helps you turn your HDTV into, essentially, a large mirror for your iPad or iPhone. You’ll find set-up to be pretty simple by simply connecting an HDMI cable to your HDTV and connecting to your WiFi or Router using the Ethernet port.

What is Air Play?

Air Play lets you mirror whatever you’re viewing on your latest iPhone or iPad… straight onto your High Definition Flat Panel TV; and, all this without wires. Movies, TV shows, home or You Tube videos, all controlled in the palm of your hand, and watched on your big screen HDTV.

What Content is viewable with Apple TV?

Online sporting events from NHL, NBA and Major League Baseball subscriptions are available. A movie you’ve been meaning to watch but haven’t in years might be on Netflix. Or, possibly you just want to view content like photos or music you stored in the iCloud. You can get finance and news updates from the Wall Street Journal. The possibilities are almost endless.

How to work Apple TV

Priced at only $99 the device comes with a small IR remote control. Other cool 3rd party remote control options are available such as Harmony Link for iPhone/iPad or a Harmony Remote. In order to use the remote control direct line of site between the Apple TV and IR Remote must be allowed. In other words, the remote will not work if the Apple TV device is hidden inside a wooden cabinet (behind glass doors is ok) or behind the TV. As well there is an app called REMOTE which allows control of Apple TV via the iPad or iPhone without the need for direct line of site. Regardless of whether you decide to use the remote you can always control Apple TV with your iPhone, iPod, and iPad.

How difficult is the Installation?

It’s pretty easy actually. First you need to connect an HDMI cable from Apple TV to an HDMI input on the back panel of your High Definition Flat screen TV. This will not work on TVs that do not have HDMI input and older TVs that don’t pass audio through their HDMI inputs. Once that’s connected you have to connect to your Home Computer Network. Apple TV is WiFi 802.11 compliant or we recommend the fast, more stable Ethernet port to connect to your router if you can. The Ethernet connection, once made, is automatically found and setup as soon as you power the Apple TV on. If you decide to use WiFi you’ll just want to input your network name and password into the settings page. 

Apple TV WiFi

Streaming content using a WiFi connection does work however you might experience buffering and a low resolution, poor quality picture. How well your Apple TV works using WiFi will be determined by several factors:


    • How Old is your Router: If you have an older wireless router, that which is rated lower then an N router, you might experience buffering issues because the router is slower in processing video signals and transmitting them to the Apple TV device. When this occurs the video might stop and you experience a spinning wheel while the AppleTV device loads the data and re-begins.  If this problem occurs the Apple TV might automatically reduce the image quality so that it can process the data more quickly. You can check the resolution setting within the Apple TV onscreen settings page.



    • Do you have DSL Internet Service: If you have DSL highspeed Internet in some cases this too might be the cause. DSL speeds can vary depending on whether your service is the slowest DSL speed versus an upgraded, faster DSL speed. One way you can check this is by connecting your PC or Macbook to your router via hardwire Ethernet and doing a Internet speed test. There are several free services available to perform this test via the Internet. 



    • Do you have Cable Highspeed Internet: If you have Cable highspeed Internet and are experiencing buffering and none of the above factors fixeds your issue then take into account the time of day you are experiencing the issue. For example, Cable Highspeed Internet is shared with your neighbors, the more people using the Internet in your immediate neighborhood the slower your service will be. Although Cable Internet is typically faster then DSL, DSL Internet subscribers don’t share their bandwidth with their neighbors. 



    • What about Fiber Optics?: One final point to note, Fiber Optics, although its advertised as being so fast, and assuming your neighborhood has it installed, and so capable it typically is NOT the wire run all the way up to a home or all the way up to your modem / router so at some point the copper wires takes over. Copper’s bandwidth capability is not anywhere as capable as fiber optics so your service is only as good as its weakest point. For more on Fiber Optic performance see this article on the new Google Fiber service.


    • Consider the following upgrades: 


    • Check the resolution settings within Apple TV and reset the power to the Apple TV device if and after you adjust the settings. 



    • Get an N rated ( or higher when they become available ) wireless router. 



    • Upgrade to faster DSL service if you’re already on DSL and if available and perform a speed test to make certain the speed you subscribe to is the actual speed you are getting.



    • Connect your Apple TV using an Ethernet Cable. Generally this one will always do the trick but double check to make sure you look at the resolution setting also noted in the 1st bullet point of this summary. If your situation doesn’t allow Ethernet then consider Ethernet Over Coax or Ethernet over Electrical wiring.



 AirPlay Wireless Speakers

Here are two different speakers both compatible with Apple Airplay. The Zeppelin Air is good to keep in one room of the house. The iW1 is good as a portable for around the home. EOS is a digital multi room wireless speaker system; although it doesn’t have AirPlay can connect several audio devices including iPod.

How to Mirror Apple TV

If you have the 2nd or 3rd generation Apple TV AND if you have the iPhone 4S or iPad 2 iOS 5 or later then you possess the correct Apple branded equipment to allow the mirror Apple TV feature. The following steps list how to enable the mirror feature for Apple TV.

  • Make certain your iPhone4S or iPad2 is actively connected to Wi-Fi. This means, it must be connected to the same wireless Wifi router/network which you’ve connected your Apple TV to. Your Apple TV mirroring will function when connected to your home computer network (ie: your Wi-Fi router) either by using the Wi-Fi (wireless) mode or via Ethernet (hardwired) connection cable (we recommend using Ethernet).
  • Double click the “home” button on your compatiable iPhone or iPad
  • Locate and tap this Icon  by swiping left to right and then select the Airplay device. 
  • Make sure you also ENABLE mirror apple tv (this link takes you to our YouTube channel) or the Airplay device you want to mirror to.

Questions & Answers – Answering questions we are asked:

1. Can Apple TV mirror Internet Explorer? Yes but….Apple TV mirrors the screen of your iphone or ipad so if you happen to have Internet Explorer on your screen it will mirror to the Apple TV.

2. Can Control4 work with most recent Apple TV? Yes. The Apple TV remote control system uses and IR signal and the Control 4 system produces an IR signal.

3. Can I mirror my iPhone 5 to an Apple TV and Airplay audio to speakers from Apple TV? Yes but…. whatever content you are mirroring to your AppleTV will output to speakers too. What you can’t do is simultaneously mirror something to your TV and Airplay music to speakers… it’s one or the other but not both at the same time.

4.  Can you connect Apple TV to a Surround Sound Amplifier? Yes. The Apple TV is simply considered a Source input to a Surround Sound amplifier. Check out this article to learn more.

5. Can you watch Live TV with a Hotspot and AppleTV? No because Apple TV doesn’t have a function or app that allows a user to watch “live” TV. AppleTV would however function using a hotspot, the question of how well it would function would remain to be seen. 3G and only a few bars of signal strength would cause a lot of buffering on the AppleTV (aka: spinning wheel)

6.  Does Apple TV need to be in direct line of sight of the Router? No. It needs to be in “range” of the Router’s wireless signal although a hardwired Ethernet connection is preferred because its more reliable.

7. How do you play Apple TV over Home Speaker system? Most multi room home speaker systems will only play an analog audio signal. Apple TVs which has only an HDMI and Digital Toslink output only output digital audio signals. You need to purchase a 3rd party digital to analog converter in order to play Apple TV through a multi-room home stereo system.

General Experience updates:

Erratic Wifi – We’ve used AppleTV frequently, mostly to rent movies and often to mirror photos & videos to the flat screen. Although it typically functions reliably we’ve experienced certain issues we want to write about here and what we did to get around the problem. Oddly one day both the 1 iPad and the AppleTV in the building showed clear signs of not working correctly with the WiFi Router, it seemed the iPad lost it’s wireless signal and the AppleTV wouldn’t stream online content via the Wifi connection. Keep in mind neither of these problems occurred prior, both devices have worked practically flawlessly via this WiFi router for around a year. We quickly checked other windows based wifi devices and they all worked flawless so it seemed obvious to us the iOS devices were having the issue. To get around the AppleTV streaming online content issue we plugged in a hardwired ethernet cable and the problem immediately went away and the online streaming content worked perfect for 2 straight hours. For the record we made no changes to the “N” rated common brand router in the building.

The Spinning Wheel – Another problem we run into often when renting online content is when the program begins we get the spinning wheel. We’ve found one of two simple things typically get the content streaming more quickly, press pause on your AppleTV remote, wait a couple seconds and then press play on your remote. Or, when the program won’t begin we sometimes press menu on the AppleTV remote and restart the program. Once the program begins we’ve typically never run into any problems.

Software Updates from Apple – Although we can’t confirm this with 100% certainty we have noticed what we believe has become a pattern, when we ignore available software updates, either on an iOS device like the iPad or on the AppleTV, soon the devices seem to not work properly. We’ve found that upon successful completion of the software update(s) the devices seemed to work immediately-normally again. Check your iOS devices and AppleTV for updates clearly identified by Apple and consider installing the update to maximize performance.

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