5 min read

A Beginner's Guide to the Apple TV

Written by
Pavlo Fedykovych
Published on
January 18, 2023
May 29, 2024

What is an Apple TV, and How Does it Work?

Apple TV is a streaming device that allows users to play various kinds of media. It was introduced in 2006 (the First Generation) at Apple special event. Since then, the media player has seen several updates and modifications by the company. The latest model is the Apple TV 4K, it’s the third generation of the 4K specification of the device. The operating system of the device is called tvOS. 

what is Apple TV

How does Apple TV work? 

Like the other streaming devices on the market such as Android TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, Apple TV serves as a multimedia player and enables access to a variety of streaming services. 

Other features of Apple TV include music and podcast streaming, photos display, tvOS App Store access, Siri, Homekit Automation, and AirPlay casting and mirroring. The latest 4K device fully supports the 4K picture format and is HDR10+ compatible. As for the audio, Dolby Atmos, 5.1, and 7.1 are supported.

In order to start using the Apple TV box you would only need to plug it into the TV. It’s really straightforward and intuitive. All the features can be immediately accessed upon turning on the TV. The device comes with the Siri Remote which features a touch-enabled clickpad, a dedicated Siri button, and a slick minimalist design. 

You can also use your iPhone as a remote control. The Audio Sharing feature allows you to connect up to two sets of AirPods for a smooth shared viewing experience.

Apple TV Comparison Chart

There were several generations of Apple TV. In order for you to better understand what’s different and how the device changed since its first launch in 2006, here’s the Apple TV generation comparison. 

This comparison chart will give you an idea not only about the features that have been changed by the company but also will provide you a larger picture of how the streaming gadgets have been transformed and ameliorated over the years.

Apple TV History

Apple TV has seen a total of 7 reincarnations in its rich history. The latest is 4K 3rd gen which is arguably the most advanced and versatile streaming media device on the market at the moment. 

Let’s have a closer look at all of them to compare the main features. 

Apple TV 1st generation

Year of release: 2007

Storage size: 40GB / 160GB

Size (in inches): 7.7 x 7.7 x 1.1

Maximum Video Resolution: 720p

Our verdict

You gotta respect the pioneering version. Apple really poured its soul into this one gifting it with generous 40GB and 160GB storage as well as packaging it up with HDMI, Component A/V, Optical Audio, Analog Audio, Ethernet, and IR Receiver. 

Overall, it was an amazing device for 2007. However, the main drawback was the 720p resolution maximum which, to be honest, didn’t quite live up to the expectations. In any case, the Cupertino company made a powerful statement by launching the 1st generation of Apple TV, and it became a basis for the later versions. Hint: it only got better. 

2nd Generation Apple TV

Year of release: 2010

Storage size: 8GB

Size (in inches): 3.9 x 3.9 x 0.9

Maximum Video Resolution: 720p

Our verdict

3 years passed since the launch of first-generation and Apple decided to make an upgrade. The size was reduced almost two times. The internal hard drive was replaced with a modest 8GB flash. But the resolution stayed the same, 720p, and no support for standard definition televisions. 

The idea of 2nd generation Apple TV was to give ordinary users a chance to have a solid streaming device that supported AirPlay integration and gave a great performance.

3rd Generation Apple TV

Year of release: 2013

Storage size: 8GB

Size (in inches): 3.9 x 3.9 x 0.9

Maximum Video Resolution: 1080p

Our verdict

Again choosing to hold the horses of further development for three years, in 2013 Apple comes with a meatier device that was more adapted to modernity. With a new resolution support of 1080p and a better processor, it was a rehearsal of the next chapter HD devices.  Remote access to HomeKit devices was among the new perks included with Apple TV 3rd gen. 

4th Generation Apple TV

Year of release: 2015

Storage size:  32GB / 64GB

Size (in inches): 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.3

Maximum Video Resolution: 1080p

Our verdict

It becomes closer to how we know it today in 2015. The 64-bit Apple A8 chip ensured smooth performance, and the resolution stayed 1080p, but the storage returned to a more convenient 32GB and 64GB. 

Discontinued by Apple only in 2022, this version proved successful, allowing users to have a fantastic entry-level streaming device with all the necessary features for home and small business use. It was controlled by the newly introduced tvOS, supported Dolby Digital Plus audio, and came with a brand new, slick Siri remote. 

Apple TV 4K

Year of release: 2017

Storage size:  32GB / 64GB

Size (in inches): 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.4

Maximum Video Resolution: 2160p

Our verdict

Now with Apple TV 4K the company was able to create an ideal multi-purpose digital streaming device. And that also was when Kitcast saw potential in Apple TV to be a fantastic digital signage device. All the stars aligned. 

The combination of support for 4K resolution, HDR10, and Dolby Vision proved to be a successful mix of features. Apple A10X Fusion chip made things fly. Siri Remote ensured a user-friendly remote control, quite unmatched on the market. HEVC hardware decoding was also a great perk. But most importantly the tvOS 12 was a versatile operating system that opened the doors to the Apple ecosystem for third-party apps.

2nd Generation Apple TV 4K

Year of release: 2021

Storage size:  32GB / 64GB

Size (in inches): 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.4

Maximum Video Resolution: 2160p

Our verdict

It only gets better with 2nd Generation Apple TV 4K. The device got a more powerful Apple A12 Bionic chip as well as featured Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.0. The AirPlay supported high frame rate HDR playback and HomePod speakers integration. 

Overall, it was quite a cosmetic upgrade dictated by the change in technology and the desire to provide a more up-to-date integrational experience. The bar of 4K was already high and adequate for what the users wanted 2nd Generation 4K device had only added several features without changing the device drastically. 

3rd Generation Apple TV 4K

Year of release: 2022

Storage size:  64GB / 128GB

Size (in inches): 3.66 x 3.66 x 1.2

Maximum Video Resolution: 2160p

Our verdict

The latest version and the most advanced streaming device ever produced by Apple, the 3rd Generation Apple TV 4K is unmatched in the smoothness of performance it delivers. This is the model you should opt for when you think of using Apple TV for digital signage.

The 64GB model is good enough, but it’s the 128GB model with Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and a Thread radio that takes the cake. A15 Bionic chip with a 4-core CPU, support for HDR10+, HDMI 2.1, and Ethernet, you’re looking at a digital streaming beast and the market leader. 

Apple TV Uses (except digital signage)

Other uses for Apple TV (not digital signage) are plenty and they provide users with a wide array of possibilities. It’s the flagman device and can fulfill almost any digital steaming task that the market presents. 

Apple TV uses

Apple TV uses include: 

1) Watching shows and movies on the Apple TV app

It’s the best device for Apple’s Originals and all the Apple TV+ programming.

2) Watching Live TV 

The device allows you to have smooth access to hundreds of live channels. 

3) Custom-tailored workouts on Apple Fitness+

Fitness training comes alive with a special app that features a catalog of workouts that you can share with friends and family.

4) Apple Music 

Listen to everything the extensive Apple Music catalog has to offer. 

5) Have a full Photos app experience

6) Play Apple Arcade games 

7) Profit from third-party applications on the App Store

App Store integration means access to the whole universe of various apps that are extending the possibilities of your TV and provide you with all kinds of entertainment and streaming options.

Where to Buy Apple TV

So, you’ve made a decision in favor of purchasing the device, now it’s time to discover places where to buy Apple TV for the best price. Now, it gets a bit tricky and the answer is: it depends. Your location is a major factor in price fluctuations. 

If you’re in the US, it’s super simple. Just go to Apple’s website, click on Apple TV 4K, choose the model you’d like to buy, and voila. The shipping will be free and it’s very straightforward. 

If you’re outside the US, the rule of thumb would be to check out if Apple Store sells devices in your region, the price, and the delivery options. Sometimes it would be cheaper to order the device from online stores like Amazon. Also, you can find the devices in electronics stores. 

The price may also differ for different countries. For example, in the US, you’ve got this pricing at the time of the writing: 

Apple TV 4K with Wi-Fi US prices

Now, let’s go to the UK store and we’ll see this: 

Apple TV 4K with Wi-Fi UK prices

Quite a difference, innit? 

Considering all the aforementioned, try to think broader and include both Apple Store and the other online and offline stores selling electronics to find the best option. When you’re establishing a digital signage network and need, for example, 100+ Apple TVs to make it work, such a price difference as we see in the US and UK stores is quite a substantial one so you’d want to make sure to get the best bargain possible when researching your options.

How to Setup Apple TV

In this chapter we’d like to guide you through the device setup process. Long story short: it’s really simple. Apple is famous for its user-friendly approach and intuitive setup process, so the company didn’t disappoint with its streaming device.

Still, there are a few things to remember when setting up Apple TV that will save you time and nerves. To make it as smooth as possible you would require these things: 

- Internet connection

It may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes forgetting about the fact that you need WiFi to do certain things can be quite frustrating.

- A TV with an HDMI port

In order to get access to all the awesome features, your TV needs HDMI. So keep that in mind. 

- An HDMI cable

It is suggested to use the HDMI 2.0 cable or later to get the most of the streaming using Apple TV. For digital signage, it’s advised to use HDMI 2.1 for the smoothest performance.

You can also use the iPhone to set up your Apple TV. In that case, it should be updated to the latest version of iOS, you should be signed in to iCloud and have Bluetooth along with WiFi.

There are 6 steps to do to configure Apple TV. 

1) Connect your Apple TV to the TV using the HDMI cable and turn the TV on

2) Use the Siri Remote to choose the language and enable Siri

3) Use your Apple ID to sign in

4) Sign in with your TV provider (in some countries)

5) Turn on One Home Screen for instant access to all the features of the device

6) You’re ready to go, now it’s to stream

As you can see, the process is very simple and takes less than 5 minutes to complete. 

How to Instal Kitcast App on Your Apple TV Device?

When we designed Kitcast we strived to make the best digital signage application for Apple TV.

But what is Kitcast exactly? 

Kitcast app is a cloud-based digital signage software that allows you to use Apple TV for any kind of content broadcasting. You can find our app in the App Store, it’s fully integrated with the tvOS ecosystem and is made with hassle-free usage on Apple in mind. 

Here’s how to install the Kitcast Apple TV app:

1) Open the App Store on your Apple TV

2) Go to the search section and type “Kitcast”

Once you’ve found the Kitcast app:

  1. Highlight it and click the touchpad to view the detail screen for the app
  1. On that screen, you will find the “Get” button.
    Highlight the button and click the touchpad to begin the installation. You may be asked to enter your Apple ID password. If so, use the remote and the onscreen keyboard to type in. An icon appears on the button showing the progress of the installation.
  1. When the app is downloaded and installed, the button’s label changes to Open.

Another option to start using the app is to go to the Apple TV’s home screen.

You’ll find the app installed there, ready to use.

The other way to download the Kitcast App is to use a direct link to Apple Appstore – here it is: “Link

Pressing “Get” in your iTunes will install it to your AppleTV directly. You’ll find the app installed there, ready to use.

Now you can start using the Kitcast app.


As a digital signage software with vast expertise in providing our clients with the best Apple TV experience, we’ve received many questions about its use. Here are the frequently asked ones. 

How to Reset Apple TV?

1. On your device, go to Settings > System > Reset.
2. Choose a reset option:
- Reset: This option is the fastest way to return your Apple TV to factory settings. This option doesn't require an Internet connection.
- Reset and Update: This option returns your Apple TV to its factory settings and installs software updates. This option requires an Internet connection.
Keep your device plugged into power until the Reset process finishes. Then you can set up your Apple TV again.

What is Apple TV Plus?

Apple TV+ is a streaming service featuring Apple Originals — award-winning series, compelling dramas, groundbreaking documentaries, kids’ entertainment, comedies, and more — with new Apple Originals added every month.
The company’s choice to name its streaming service exactly like its streaming device is a bold move indeed. But it’s simple to remember the difference: if there’s a + it’s about the streaming service (a Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max competitor).

How to Share Apple TV with Family?

Family Sharing lets you share viewing privileges with up to six family members. One adult in your household - the family organizer - invites family members to join the family group and agrees to pay for any purchases made by family members.
You can’t activate Family Sharing directly in the Apple TV app. You must set up Family Sharing on a Mac, iOS, or iPadOS device.
You can add multiple Apple ID accounts to the Apple TV app. After you do so, you can switch quickly between accounts.
1. Open the Apple TV app on your smart TV or another device.
2. Navigate to Settings.
3. Select Accounts, then select Add New Account.
4. Follow the onscreen instructions to do either of the following:
- Sign in using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch (with iOS 11 or later), or an Android device that supports QR scanning: Use your camera to scan the QR code that appears onscreen, then follow the instructions on your device to sign in.
- Sign in manually: Select “Sign in manually,” then follow the onscreen instructions to enter your Apple ID.

How to Add Apps to Apple TV?

You can download apps and games from the App Store on your Apple TV. If you have a device (3rd generation), you can only update the built-in apps.
Here’s the instruction:
- Open the App Store app.
- Browse or search for the app that you want to download.
- Select the price or Get button. If you see the Open button instead of a price or the Get button, the app is already downloaded.
In the App Store, if an app has a Get button instead of a price, the app is free. Some free apps offer in-app purchases and subscriptions that give you access to extra features, content, and more.

How to Delete Apps on Apple TV?

1. Select the app you want to delete, then press and hold the click pad center (Siri Remote 2nd generation or later) or touch surface (Siri Remote 1st generation) until the app starts to jiggle.
2. Press the Play/Pause button for more options, then choose Delete.
Deleting an app also deletes its data. You can download any app again that you’ve purchased on the App Store, free of charge, but the data may not be restored.

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