The Apple TV...no not an actual Television but the little hockey puck size device that plugs into your existing TV is the killer accessory for any iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac owner. It allows you to watch all of your TV shows, movies or music that you've purchased from iTunes, rent movies, access Netflix, Hulu+, Youtube, Vimeo, as well as a number of subscription sports packages from the NBA, MLB, and NHL (sorry no NFL). But the real magic is something Apple calls Airplay. Airplay allows you to watch almost any video or audio you can pull up on your iPhone or iPad on your TV with a touch of a button.
On top of that, if you own an iMac, Macbook Air or Macbook Pro made in the past 12-18 months that is running Apple's latest OS (Mountain Lion 10.8) you can Airplay your entire computer screen on to your TV. Pretty awesome right? Here's how it works:
1. Plug up your Apple TV to your TV using an HDMI cable. (This is the standard HD cable that most TV's use now that have been made in the past 7 years or so)
2. Run through the easy setup and make sure it connected to your home network, either via the ethernet cable or wirelessly.
3. In the settings on your Apple TV make sure Airplay is enabled.
4. You're all set, now pull up a video on your iOS device (iPhone, iPad) and you will notice the little Airplay symbol (it looks like a box with an arrow inside it) now available to you.
5. Press the Airplay symbol and you will see the name of your Apple TV if you've renamed it, or it will simply be called Apple TV.
6. Press the Apple TV button and BOOM, your video will now be beamed to your television.
The process to Airplay your computer screen to your TV is similar. The Airplay symbol will be on the top-right of your computer screen near the volume indicator . Press it and select Apple TV. Simple as that.
The Apple TV is a must have accessory for any iOS/Mac owner. It's $99 and totally worth it if you or your family watch a lot of video on your phone. There are also a ton of apps that allow you watch video or play games on your TV such as "Real Racing 2 HD" that allow you to airplay the game to your TV screen while using your iPhone or iPad to control your car.
It also makes for a great alternative to an extra cable box if you already have cable or satellite. There are apps for CNN, TNT, TBS, NBC, ABC and others that will allow you to airplay their shows to your TV. (HBO, Showtime and a few other premium channels only allow audio) For those TV apps that wont allow you airplay via iOS you can use your Mac to play them as a work around.