Travel With Apple TV

by Randy Murray on May 26, 2014

My wife and I recently took a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. We rented a cabin and enjoyed a few quiet days hiking in this wonderful National Park and enjoying the views from the deck of the cabin. We took a bag of books, my ukulele, and pretty much anything else we thought we might need.

We also took one of our Apple TVs.

Regular, good old fashioned TV means that you watch what’s on, when it’s on. In a strange place, a hotel room, for example, you are stuck with whatever happens to be on where you are. The Apple TV changes that.

I had checked in advance to make sure that the cabin had WiFi and that the TV was a recent vintage flatscreen, which meant that it probably also had an HDMI port.* Both are required for the Apple TV.

The device itself is compact and light, smaller than a paperback book. Along with the power cord and an HDMI cable everything still packs easily. I plugged everything in, changed the TV’s input, and even knowing in advance that it would work I was struck by how magical it all was. There was a screen of things that I could watch and select from: iTunes movies and TV shows that I might already have purchased. And lots of apps that provide offerings from many other sources. These aren’t channels. They are menus of things that I can select.

We didn’t watch a lot of TV while we were away, but we did watch a documentary on Netflix (The Rape of Europa – excellent), and a few other things on HBO GO and WATCH ABC.

It was very easy, and except for some annoying built in crap from ABC, a pleasure to select what we wanted to watch, when we wanted to watch it.

Traveling with Apple TV is an under-promoted feature of this terrific little box. Everything you need can be packed into a little bag. It is solid state, which means it can tolerate being moved and bumped about. And once you get a taste of TV on your terms it’s hard to go back to simply flipping channels trying to find something worth watching while traveling.

Apple TV is now part of my default vacation travel kit. Don’t forget the remote! You’ll need it to set up the WiFi connection.

 

*HDMI stands for High Definition Media Interface. Here’s a tip: don’t buy expensive HDMI cables. Since it’s digital it either works or doesn’t. I usually get mine from monoprice.com.

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