Here’s how to use AppleTV in your Windows network to consolidate your audio, video, television, pictures and other files.
[Updated for version 3.0]
An AppleTV, iTunes, and the Internet can provide a single easy source for your audio and video. By default you can buy or rent music or DVD’s via iTunes or view YouTube, Flickr or your own photos. Add an easy hack and you can also consolidate your DVD collection and more!
Works with Windows
Although the AppleTV was built for the Mac environment it will work just as well in your Microsoft Windows network.
Here are the requirements and caveats to using your AppleTV in a Windows network.
Also read: How to add your DVD’s to AppleTV
The Next version of AppleTV
Apple just announced their new AppleTV version, dubbed 2G, which includes an HDMI connection to your TV and both wired and wireless connections. There’s no hard drive and all movies are now streamed, not stored locally. Now might be a good time to pick up the previous version
which, in my mind, has more possibilities and will become and open platform for hacking, although we’re already beginning to see hacks for AppleTV 2G.
See information and pricing of the new AppleTV version 2:
See AppleTV Full Specifications page. AppleTV is a multimedia device that lets you:
- Update Apples iOS, get the newest version
- Listen to your music (AAC; protected AAC; MP3; MP3 VBR; Apple Lossless; AIFF; WAV)
- Browse your photos (JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, PNG)
- Watch your videos and TV shows (H.264, CAVLC, MPEG4)
- Watch Podcasts
- Watch YouTube™ videos
- Watch Flickr photos
- Watch Movie Previews
- Rent or purchase Movies in widescreen and HD format
- Includes a 160Mb hard disk for storing content locally (take content to a summer or second home, or other location)
AppleTV Windows Requirements
The AppleTV needs something that is running iTunes in order to use all the features (see below).
- Windows XP Home or Professional (SP2), Windows Vista or Windows 7
- To stream Wirelessly: Wi-Fi 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n wireless network (wireless video streaming requires 802.11g or 802.11n), AirPort Extreme, or 10/100Mb network connection
- iTunes 7.6 or later, 8.0.1 recommended. You can get iTunes here
AppleTV easy setup
AppleTV basic setup can be as easy as plugging an HDMI cable from the AppleTV to your Television, plug in the AppleTV, turn the Television on and change the input to the AppleTV connection. HDMI handles both the audio and the video signals.
Alternately you can use RGB (red, green, blue) Component cables, connect the AppleTV outputs to your TV inputs and the red/white Audio outputs to your TV inputs. (Component cables are much cheaper and the video performance is the same using HDMI) Plug it in and change your TV input to the AppleTV connection.
AppleTV setup for full surround sound
Using RGB Component or HDMI cables, connect the AppleTV outputs to your Television inputs. If using Component, plug the red/white Audio outputs to one of the inputs on your stereo. Power up and select the Television input and the stereo inputs to the AppleTV.
Tip: Plug the power for the AppleTV into the power plugs on the back of your stereo receiver if it has them. Now when you turn the stereo off you also turn off the AppleTV – otherwise it will be on all the time.
Turning on your AppleTV the first time
Turn on the Television, Stereo, and AppleTV and wait until it is booted. You may be prompted for an update right away. If so, do so, you always want the newest software.
If you have an open wireless network it may automatically be detected and you can confirm this connection under Settings, General Settings, Network. If not, from that same spot select your wired or wireless connection and password. After doing this once it will remember the settings. A physical network cable to your AppleTV will get the best results, but for most of us this is just not possible as our computers and TVs are not close and a cable along the floor of the living room doesn’t go over so well.
You’ll also want to position the AppleTV in the general area as your other components so that your remote works with all your devices – this is especially true when using a universal remote. I use a Logitech Harmony One Universal Remote all-in-one programmable remote for a one-button selection that turns on and sets the right inputs for TV, Stereo, and AppleTV at the same time.
Setting up iTunes for Windows
The AppleTV needs to talk to a computer running iTunes. Download iTunes and install it on the computer that can remain on and available while the AppleTV is running. A desktop would be better than a laptop. You can accept all the defaults if your music is on the same computer.
iTunes will automatically detect the AppleTV and want you to authorize it. Add the code to create the connection and synchronization.
I designated a Windows 7 desktop computer to manage the iTunes to AppleTV synchronization. Two external hard drives are attached which feed music and movies. To make this work I configured iTunes to save inserted CD’s to that external disk instead of the C: drive, and set that as the iTunes folder.
You make this change in iTunes under Edit, Preferences, the Advanced Tab
I also like to keep a full sound and use the MP3 format for music so I make other changes such as increasing playback quality. You don’t have to do these additional steps, however if your music sounds tinny or you want your music stored in a format that other music players can read then it is worth changing.
- AppleTV Setup Guide
- Info about the AppleTV 3.0 update and the changes made
- AppleTV discussion forums
- Apple’s Official AppleTV support
- AppleTV forum
Other articles in our Apple_Windows series:
- How to use Time Capsule with a Windows PC
- Easter to Hack Apple than Windows
- How to setup Activesync on your iPhone or iPod Touch
- How to use AppleTV with Windows