The Apple TV Crash Course (2015)
Part Three: Making the Most of the Tiny Beast
Music, Podcasts, and Radio
So now you know how to use the device and buy content. Now let’s get the most out of it. The best part of this section is some (not all) the apps mentioned are free to use.
First things first…let’s talk about audio. I know you probably bought the Apple TV for movies and TV, but there’s a lot of great stuff you can listen to. If you’ve never heard the podcast Serial, for example, then you’ve been missing out. And it’s free! Serial is a murder mystery so good you’ll forget you are listening and not watching it.
Music for a long time was one of the few stores missing on Apple TV; you could listen to what you had already bought on iTunes, but you couldn’t actually buy it from the TV itself. This changed about a year ago.
If you want a lot of music, then I suggest checking out iTunes Match (see: http://www.apple.com/itunes/itunes-match/). You probably have a lot of MP3s on your computer—and if we’re being honest, some of them were probably shared with you by a friend or obtained in a way that’s a little…questionable. For $24.99 a year, Apple will go through your computer and everything that’s music will be added to a music cloud—even if you never actually bought it. Once it’s in the cloud, you can stream it from your Apple TV or any other Apple device.
Instead of spending pages on buying music, which is the exact same method for purchasing other content, I’m going to talk about what you might not know. First…Podcasts.
Podcasts can be anything from news programs to comedy shows, and everything in between. Because anyone can start a Podcast, there are literally thousands to choose from. Some good…some not. But what’s really cool about Podcasts is the sheer scope of topics covered—there’s really something for everyone here. Entire shows are devote to niches like Disney history or horrible movies.
Podcasts aren’t like regular radio shows. They don’t come on at a set time (though some do); some podcast are weekly, others are daily and still others come on for a few weeks then drop away without any explanation.
The best part about Podcast is they’re free.
If you’ve never delved into the world of podcasts, you’re in for a treat. ITunes practically invented the market for podcasts, and it shows. So let’s take a look at how to get them to work on Apple TV.
To get started with podcasts, head to the Podcast app on your home screen and press select to open the Podcast Store. There’s a lot to choose from.
Feel free to browse the store in the same way you have previously for TV shows and movies. It functions in the same way. You can also search for anything you want by using the search bar—so if you know a comedian has a podcast, search for his name.
I know I said this section is on audio, and that’s mostly true, but it’s worth nothing that some Podcast are actually video. Churches are probably the most common video podcast you’ll see, but there are plenty of others. If the podcast has video their will be a little TV icon next to it.
Let’s open a podcast and see what it looks like. I’ll do one call The Nerdist.
As you can see, it’s set up a lot like an album page in the Music app. Highlight and select any episode to be brought to that episode’s page.
Highlight ‘Play’ and press select to play the item. Once you’ve done that, the podcast will begin playing, and the controls are exactly the same as they are for items in the Music app.
Something else that’s free is “Radio”; like podcasts, this is not radio as you may know it. It’s Internet radio, and that operates a little differently.
If you are familiar with apps like Pandora, then it should be anything new to you; basically it works by selecting a band or style of music that you like; and then it streams music that fits what you have selected.
To get started with Radio, head to the Radio app icon and press Select on your remote.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll be greeted with something resembling this:
Press Select on any category to expand it. For our example, we expanded the ‘70s Retro category. We were immediately given dozens of options for various retro radio stations around the world:
Highlight any station you like and press Select. Once you’ve done that, the station will immediately begin playing, displaying something like this on the screen:
Unlike the Music and Podcast apps, you can’t fast-forward or rewind the radio stream. You can pause it by pressing play/pause, but only for a brief period of time. To exit, press Menu on your remote.