Best Source For All Media Access - Apple TV

So Why Should I Upgrade to an Apple TV?

One Unified Watchlist→One Remote→Apple TV​​

3 Apple TV 2021 Choices

  • I don't watch 4K content: HD w/32GB

  • I watch 4K content:          4K w/32GB

  • I play a lot of games:       4K w/64GB

Best Overall
Best Premium
Best Budget

If I already have an Apple TV, make sure you have the Siri Remote - it makes a big difference in my user experience, including voice commands and a mute button!


Unified Watchlist - Easy To Figure Out What To Watch Next


Each streaming app I use has its own watchlist of the most recent TV Show episodes and Movies we have recently watched.  But we have to remember which show is on which streaming app.  And from time-to-time, TV Shows move from one app to another app :-( 

Unified Watchlist aggregates together in one list what we watch across the major streaming apps, such as Prime Video, Hulu, HBOmax, Peacock, et al.

For the Apple TV, the Apple TV App - yes, the Apple TV APP - provides this Unified Watchlist across all major services.


Apple TV Top Shelf - Quick Visual Access To My Top 5 Streaming Apps


the Top Shelf is the most powerful user interface element on tvOS. It turns the Apple TV’s grid of icons into an immensely practical display of content from within my favorite apps, that I can play straight from my home screen.

As it turns out, if I create a folder on my Apple TV and place it among the top row of apps, I can scroll through its contents from the Top Shelf.


Ad-Free Platform - No Distractions


Unlike all Roku, Fire TV & Google/Android TV devices, the Apple TV platform does NOT display any ads to distract me from my entertainment experience.

Of course - by far - the worst offenders are the Google/Android TV

devices.  That's how Google makes its billions of $s each year.  Thank me very much.

2nd are Fire TV devices.  But hey, I do get free shipping when I buy.

Roku isn't as bad.  It works to only display ads in one location that should have some relevance to me.  Yet its still a distraction....


Apple TV Screen Savers - Delightful To Watch Aerial Videos


Apple TV displays a screen saver after the screen is idle for a preset number of minutes.

The Aerial screen saver shows beautiful slow-motion videos of places around the world.

You can view information about the location shown, quickly switch to another location, and control how often Apple TV checks for and downloads new Aerial videos.


One Remote - With The Fewest Buttons That Truly Controls Everything!


$55 of the total cost of a new Apple TV goes towards its incredible Siri Remote Control.

Simplicity and ease-of-use is combined with the additional abilities of the touch-enabled 5-pad that support touch gestures.

Here are the buttons on the new Siri remote and what they do:

  • Power button: This button is at the top right corner of the remote, and it has the universal power icon on it. Pressing this button will turn your Apple TV on or off.

  • Navigation button: This circular or ring-shaped button sits near the top of the controller, and it’s primarily for navigating menus. Clicking the top, bottom, left, and right sides of the ring allow you to navigate up, down, left, and right in menus.

  • Touch-enabled clickpad: This clickpad is inside the circular navigation button. It supports touch for gesture inputs, and it’s also clickable, which is how you select things in the tvOS interface.

  • Back button: This button has a less than symbol, and it functions as a dedicated back button that allows you to return to the previous screen or menu item.

  • Home button: This button has a TV icon on it, and it allows you to return to the Apple TV home screen at any time.

  • Play/Pause button: This button has the play and pause symbols on it, and it allows you to pause and resume playback when you’re watching video content.

  • Volume button: This button features a + and -, and it allows you to adjust the volume. Pressing + raises the volume, and pressing - lowers it.

  • Mute button: This button has a crossed-out speaker icon, allowing you to mute and unmute the volume.

  • Siri button: This is an elongated button on the side of the remote that features a microphone icon. Press and hold this button to bring up Siri, then hold the button while issuing Siri voice commands.

Behind The Scenes Details

Setup My Apple TV As My ONE Media Source

So why upgrade to Apple TV?  There are 3 key reasons to upgrade:

  1. Unified Watchlist - I not only get a unified watchlist across all my streaming apps - such as Prime Video, Hulu, HBOmax, et al - I also get my 'Live TV' watchlist included in the Apple TV App !!!

  2. Wired Internet Access - by plugging my Apple TV into an ethernet cable and connecting directly to my Internet router in my home, I get the best bandwidth so I can watch 4K content without any buffering or image degrading

  3. One Remote - my Apple Siri remote can control my Apple TV, my TV and my surround sound system, including powering them all on/off

Add The Apple TV App - My Watchlist App - To The Home Row

This lets you immediate see what to watch next

  1. Find the Apple TV App

  2. Move it to the Home Row, ideally to the far far-left hand side


If I Want 'Live TV', Then I Setup The DirecTV Stream App

The DirecTV Stream app integrates with the Apple TV App!!

AND by signing in AT&T TV as your Apple TV "TV Provider" allows you to access TV Everywhere apps via your Apple TV TV Provider, so you don’t have to sign in to every channel’s app. 

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of tvOS.

  2. Go to the App Store, search for, download & install DirecTV Stream app

  3. Move it to the Home Row, ideally to the right of the Apple TV App

  4. On your Apple TV, go to Settings.

  5. Choose Users and Accounts, then choose TV Provider.

  6. Select your TV provider. You can also scroll down to choose a TV provider from a different country or region. Then select Sign In. 

  7. Select the email that you use for your TV provider account. If it isn't listed, select Enter New and enter your account information.*

  8. Enter your password, then select Sign In.


Enable Streaming Apps Apple TV App Can Access

The most popular streaming apps integrates with the Apple TV app!!

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of tvOS.

  2. Make sure you have installed the streaming apps you most often use

  3. On your Apple TV, go to Settings.

  4. Choose Apps, then choose TV & scroll down to Connect To TV.

  5. Enable all the TV streaming apps listed


Adjust Settings For The Apple TV App

  1. Open Settings  on Apple TV.  (I HAVEN"T REVIEWED THESE YET)

  2. Go to Apps > TV, then do any of the following:

    • Use your play history for personalized recommendations and Up Next: Turn on Use Play History.

    • See live sports scores in Up Next: Turn on Show Sports Scores.

    • Set what appears on the Home screen when the Apple TV app is highlighted in the top row: Select “Top Shelf,” then choose What to Watch to see previews of featured TV shows and movies, or Up Next to see what’s in your personal queue.

    • Get Game Start and Close Game notifications for games you’ve added to Up Next: Turn on Games in Up Next.

    • Get notifications about recommended sports and events: Turn on Exciting Games.

    • Turn the sound on or off for background videos that automatically play in the Apple TV app: Turn Autoplay Video Sound on or off.

    • Set which Apple TV channels and apps share content with the Apple TV app: Select an app from the list to turn it on or off.

    • Remove information about what you’ve watched (which is synced with the Apple TV app on other devices): Select Clear Play History. This also removes TV shows and movies from Up Next.

Checklist For Adding Streaming App To Apple TV App

Every once and awhile, I will add a new streaming app to the mix.  Here's my step-by-step checklist to quickly add the app:

  1. Open Settings  on Apple TV.  

  2. Blah, blah, blah

Bonus Home Cinema Setup Option:  One Source Device, One User Interface Including A Watchlist & One Remote


I have a Smart TV with its remote, a 5.1 Surround Sound system with its remote and 1 or more source devices, each with their own remotes.   These source devices can be Streaming Media Devices (SMDs) like Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Google TV and/or an Android TV device such a TiVo Stream 4K or NVidia Shield.  I may also have a cable STB/DVR as well as a gaming console such as Xbox or PlayStation.  And I may also have a CD, DVD or Blu-ray player.  

So How Do I Get Down To One Device For Accessing All Your TV-related Content???

Assuming you already are using your Smart TV or a Streaming Media Device for all your streaming media applications, then we just need to sort out two potential issues:

  1. If I don't have an Apple TV steaming device, then I buy a 4K Apple TV (see below) to replace my existing streaming source

  2. Follow these step-by-step instructions of setting up my Apple TV