What is Apple TV
Apple TV is Apple Inc’s proprietary digital media player / micro console. Its third (current) generation version has a compact appearance – making it a small network operated entertainment device which can receive digital content from several sources and stream it to compatible television devices for ordinary viewing.
Its latest iteration was introduced on the 7th of March, 2012 and incorporated HD 1080p playback.
The device now has the ability to act as an HDMI source for HD or ED widescreen TVs by means of an HDMI cable connected to the television device’s HDMI port.
It has no integrated controls; the only way to manipulate it is externally – through an Apple Remote (ships with the device, uses infrared) or the ‘Remote’ app which can be installed on devices running iOS (uses WiFi).
This same WiFi capability is used to catch digital content from iTunes app running AirPlay or from the iTunes Store directly. This content is then streamed to the television device.
- 1 What is Apple TV
- 2 How does Apple TV Work?
- 3 How to Access Netflix in Australia
- 4 Get Netflix USA on iOS in Australia
- 5 Netflix for iPad iOS
Besides this, the Apple TV can be used to stream content from third party sources such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus and Vevo, alongside the TV Everywhere portals which are offered by a number of cable networks.
You can also play content from your PC / Mac on you television using this device as the conduit, given that you are running iTunes on your computer.
One of the biggest reasons to buy Apple TV Australia is to unblock US Netflix which isn’t officially available in the country, besides the plethora of high end features it offers.
The TV device you can purchase from Apple AU outlets today wasn’t always as sleek and streamlined. Here is a summary of the history of the device that highlights the changes it went through before it became the Apple TV you now purchase from Apple Australia outlets and vendors to access the service.
The original Apple TV was unveiled as a work in progress, designated ‘iTV’, in September of 2006. It used a custom Front Row interface – Front Row used to be Apple’s equivalent of Windows Media Center. The name ‘iTV’ was changed to Apple TV because of copyright claims and the first generation of this device started shipping in March of 2007, initially packing a 40GB hard drive which was later changed to 160GB.
In early 2008, a major, free software update was released for the Apple TV which turned it into a standalone device.
Previously, it had required a computer system running iTunes to stream / sync content to it. After the update, the device became able to rent / purchase content from the iTunes Store directly, besides downloading podcasts and streaming photos from Flicker and MobileMe.
July of 2008 saw the release of the iTunes Remote app for iOS devices and updates which added compatibility with iOS devices.
The second gen Apple TV was revealed in September of 2010. This iteration saw the size of the device reduced to a fourth of the original, in a small, completely black case. This model incorporated an 8GB flash storage instead of a hard drive, meaning that it streamed all media now instead of syncing it.
The second gen device could stream content rented from iTunes, iOS devices (through AirPlay) and other locally connected / online sources.
The Front Row interface, which had been used up until then in all Apple TV devices was discontinued in July 2011.
The current gen Apple TV device was announced in March of 2012 and was identical, in physical appearance, to the second generation device.
Inside, it boasted a one core A5 processor and 1080p streaming capability from both iTunes. A revision, dubbed ‘Rev A’, to this version of Apple TV was released in January of 2013 that included some component changes.
How does Apple TV Work?
At its simplest, Apple TV lets users play music, watch videos and view photos, that originate from their local network or from limited internet services, on HD television devices.
The first generation of Apple TVs allowed content from iTunes, Mobileme/.Mac, Flicker and YouTube to be viewed. Support was added in the second generation.
To address the question of how to use Apple TV, you will, before anything else, require an HDTV device to enjoy its capabilities to the fullest.
The device will come with a Digital Video Interface (DVI), High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) or a component video input port which will receive input from the Apple TV.
You can create an Ethernet network inside your home, and use it with your iTunes store account to manage and view photos, play high quality music and video on your home television.
In fact, you don’t even need to have a Macintosh computer – because iTunes and Apple TV work equally well with Windows. The media you can play on your HD television set via AppleTV isn’t restricted to what you have got stored in your iTunes library – there are specific Apple TV apps which let you enjoy movies and music from a diverse range of content providers including Vimeo and YouTube.
The Apple TV has been designed to be as easy to setup and use as possible. You do not need to be a tech guru to get it rolling out of the box. The device will automatically detect your home WiFi network.
Once connected, you can access various internet services and content stored on your local network at will.
It is an extremely simple affair to rent a newly released flick from the iTunes store – that too in HD, surround sound quality. You will be watching it in a matter of minutes, via internet streaming. Obviously the latest releases will cost more than older ones. Note that you have 30 days, after renting the movie, to begin watching it, and you have to finish it within 24 hours.
Music and TV shows can be purchased in a similar manner from the iTunes store.
Third Party content:
Here is a list of some of the third party content you can access through your Apple TV device:
2. Hulu Plus
3. WATCH ABC
4. FOX NOW
5. WATCH Disney XD
6. WATCH Disney Junior
11. MLB.TV PREMIUM
15. WWE Network
17. Bloomberg TV
19. WSJ Live
20. The Weather Channel
21. Yahoo! Screen
22. AOL ON
24. Qello Concerts
Note that you will still need to purchase individual subscriptions for most of the third party content you wish to view via your AppleTV device. Essentially, you will be able to watch blockbuster movies, binge watch your favorite TV shows and sports seasons and much more. Apple TV’s support for third party content keeps getting larger by each passing year so don’t expect the fun to stop here.
Streaming / syncing support:
The first generation of Apple TV devices, with their inbuilt hard drive, allowed you to ‘synchronize’ media with other sources – this means that you could download data from internet or local computers and view it later, without being connected to the network.
This functionality was removed in the second and subsequent versions of the device, which had only 8GB of volatile flash memory used for buffering and streaming, but not downloading, videos.
How to Access Netflix in Australia
Digital content providing services are location blocked in Australia. Normally, you would have to use a VPN to access their region-specific versions, which are provided outside of Australia. Setting up a VPN service account can be quite complex, and is a definite turnoff for most consumers. Thanks to Express VPN, however, you can easily bypass location based restrictions.
How Express VPN works
Express VPN works differently from its VPN counterparts which also allow you to bypass regional restrictions, albeit via a more complex process, and on potentially reduced speeds. Unblock-Us is a custom DNS provider that can be used instead of the default DNS servers used by your device.
Almost all internet connected devices allow for custom DNS values, so the service works with a diverse range of devices including computers, gaming consoles, smartphones and smart TVs. Because Unblock-US isn’t a proxy/VPN service, and it merely requires a DNS change, you will be able to access all websites at normal speed, without any speed limit.
Of course, when you go to Netflix, it will be as if you are in the US – meaning you can stream content in Australia without a hitch!
Express VPN and AppleTV
If US Netflix not working has got you worried, Unblock-US can provide the perfect solution, in combination with your Apple TV device. There is an app available for AppleTV but it won’t let you stream content from the service because of the geo-block.
This is where a geo-unblocker like Unblock-US comes in to take care of the American Netflix on Apple TV not working problem.
Here is how to get Netflix USA up and running on your Apple TV device in Australia:
1. Go to the Unblock-Us website and sign up for the service. You don’t even have to buy it at first, seeing as you can get a free trial (no payment details required) for one week in which you can test and avail the service. After you are satisfied with its functionality you can buy a monthly (recommended) or annual subscription. At $4.99 a month, this is a bargain compared to what you will be getting in return anyways!
2. Now that you have an Unblock-Us account, you need to setup Apple TV to work with it so you can access Netflix. Firstly, make sure that your device has the latest firmware update installed, otherwise Unblock-Us may not work with it.
3. To get Unblock-Us to work, you need to change your device’s DNS servers to the ones Unblock-Us provides. Navigate to settings, then to general settings and scroll down to network settings. Click on your connection type, scroll down to Configure DNS and modify it to manual settings. You will now see 4 numeric sets. Enter the following values in the DNS server fields:
Preferred DNS – 188.8.131.52
Alternate DNS – 184.108.40.206
Note: If your device already has values in the ‘manual settings’ fields, make sure that you write them down in case you need to revert back to those settings for any reason.
4. Click ‘done’, go back to general settings and choose restart (located at the bottom). Confirm the action to restart your Apple TV and wait as it reboots.
5. Once the basic configuration is done, you need to follow these additional steps to ensure a successful apple TV setup:
a. Reboot your device.
b. From your computer’s browser, navigate to http://www.unblock-us.com.
c. Sign into your account.
d. The website will not run a check to verify your account and your DNS setup.
e. If there has been an internet address change, you will be informed via a dialog box which will ask you to activate the new address by clicking on a link. The dialog box will also notify you in the event of an unpaid invoice or an account termination.
f. Note that these additional steps are crucial to getting your Apple TV set up to work, else you will not be able to use the Unblock-Us service, and hence, not be able to access the service from Australia.
6. Now that you have completed the procedure and everything has been setup in order, you can use the app on your Apple TV to stream and view its content in Australia.
7. To take full advantage of your new online freedom, you need to create iTunes account (if you haven’t already). After you make an
iTunes account, you need to set up iTunes account in the following way:
i) Navigate to settings.
ii) Scroll down to iTunes Store and set your location as United States.
iii) With your Unblock-Us service running in the background, you now have an effective US iTunes Store account.
The exercise described above lets you include US Channel apps such as HBO Australia, Hulu or Netflix America, which are normally available only on iTunes US store. In fact, you pretty much are in the US, as far as your device is concerned, thanks to the Unblock-Us service running in the background.
Global DNS change
If you are going to access geo-restricted services from multiple devices, it might be a good idea to have a global DNS change to Unblock-Us’s servers instead of having to change the settings for each device individually.
This can be done by changing the DNS settings on your router, through which all your devices access the internet.
i) Open the your router’s settings page through your browser (usually represented by ‘http://192.168.1.1’ on a home network.
ii) Navigate to Domain Name Server (DNS) address section (its location may vary depending on the make and model of your router).
iii) Change it from ‘automatic’ to manual and enter the Unblock-Us values mentioned above.
iv) Save the changes and you’re all set for geo-unrestricted internet access through all devices connected on your home network.
The downside will be that you are now bound to use Unblock-Us DNS on all your devices, meaning a problem (although rare) would affect connectivity on all devices until you change the DNS settings on your router back to automatic.
If you are doubtful about configuring the router device on your own, the Unblock-Us website offers guides for all major router manufacturers which you can refer to.
Unblock-Us has an extremely useful feature, geared specifically towards Netflix users, in its ability to change regions. Because Netflix lets you bring your viewing device with you as you go on foreign tips, you can change your region to view different versions of Netflix based on location.
From a static Apple TV device owner’s perspective, you can use the location change feature to view diverse content which may not be available on the US version.
In order to make them think that your location has changed, go to the Unblock-Us home page and change your region by using the region selector present there.
This was a guide to set up just your Apple TV device for viewing Netflix US via Unblock-Us. Setting up Unblock-Us on a different device is an equally simple process – all you need to do is go to the How To Setup section of their website and you will be presented with an intuitive guide which will let you select the device/platform for which you want to setup Unblock-Us.
They even provide a generic guide for devices that are not listed!
Get Netflix USA on iOS in Australia
The Service is available for other Apple devices too e.g. iPhone and iPad. Here is how you can get it to run on your iPhone in Australia, assuming that you have already signed up for an Unblock-Us account:
1. Make sure that your iPhone is updated to the latest OS in order to avoid any issues getting Unblock-Us to work.
2. You now need to configure your iPhone to the specified Unblock-Us settings, to make the Australia iPhone appear to be a US based iPhone.
3. There is no official app Australia so you will have to make a US, UK, Canadian or other country account whose iTunes store has the iPhone app available.
4. Ensure that you are connected to the internet by means of a WiFi link since this backdoor method of getting Netflix iPhone Australia to run does not work over a 3G connection.
5. With everything checked, navigate to settings>Wi-Fi on your iPhone and select the network you want to connect to.
6. In the screen that appears, keep on the DHCP tab and scroll down to DNS. Remove the existing value and enter the following comma separated DNS addresses as is:
7. Restart the device and login to your Unblock-Us account from your computer. After verification of your service status, and confirmation/activation of any internet address change, your device will be ready for using Unblock-Us DNS servers to bypass geo-blocks.
Changing the iTunes store’s location from Australia to US and back again is a matter of signing out of your Australian iTunes account, then signing into a US iTunes account, and then, after the app has been downloaded and a US Netflix account created, signing out of the US account and signing back into your original Australian account to change app store to Australia once more.
You may receive notifications that your current account is incompatible with Australia when you sign in with your US account and vice versa – simply press OK to this.
Netflix for iPad iOS
Here is how you can get it to run on your iPad in Australia, assuming that you have already signed up for an Unblock-Us account:
8. Make sure that your iPad is updated to the latest firmware in order to avoid any issues getting Unblock-Us to work.
9. You now need to configure your iPad to the specified Unblock-Us settings, to make the iPad Australia appear to be a US based iPad to Netflix.
10. There is no official Australian Netflix app so you will have to make a US, UK, Canadian or other country account whose iTunes store has the Netflix iPad app available.
11. Ensure that you are connected to the internet by means of a WiFi link since this backdoor method of running Netflix on the iPad does not work over a 3G connection.
12. With everything checked, navigate to settings>Wi-Fi on your iPhone and select the network you want to connect to.
13. In the screen that appears, keep on the DHCP tab and scroll down to DNS. Remove the existing value and enter the following comma separated DNS addresses as is:
14. Restart the device and login to your Unblock-Us account from your computer. After verification of your service status, and confirmation/activation of any internet address change, your device will be ready for using Unblock-Us DNS servers to bypass geo-blocks.
Changing the iTunes store’s location from Australia to US and back again is a matter of signing out of your Australian iTunes account on your iPad, then signing into a US iTunes account, and then, after the Netflix app has been downloaded and a US Netflix account created, signing out of the US account and signing back into your original Australian account to restore your app store Australia iPad.
You may receive notifications that your current account is incompatible with Australia when you sign in with your US account and vice versa – simply press OK to this.