Update: December 24th 2018: As a Christmas present for 2018 Channel 4 have just released their brilliant All4 App on the Apple TV. I’ve watched a few programmes on it so far. I’m really impressed with the picture and sound quality, ease of use and can’t fault it. So well worth the wait and thanks C4. I’ve now got loads of programmes to catch-up on.
The previous version of this post:
If you are looking for the Channel 4 app for the new Apple TV then this blog post is for you. We explain how to use your Apple device to watch Channel 4, 4 On Demand, 4E, More 4, Film 4 etc using the All 4 App.
Currently Channel 4 don’t have a native iOS App for Apple TV but the good news is that they do have a really good iOS App for the iPhone, iPad and iPod. It’s easy to port these apps to the Apple TV so it should only be a matter of time before they get around to supporting the Apple TV as well. Luckily in the meantime the iPhone, iPad and iPod App works really well with the Apple TV 3rd and 4th generation.
You’ll need to install the 4OD App on your iPhone/iPad. You can find this in the App Store on your device by just searching for 4OD.
You will then need to start the app and register if you don’t already have a user id and password with C4.
You can then search for and play the programme you want to watch.
When the programme starts to play you just need to swipe up from the bottom of the screen. You will then see the control panel shown below. Press the AirPlay icon.
Now pick your Apple TV from this list of AirPlay devices. Your programme will now start to play on your Apple TV.
Update: Jan 2019: Just revisiting some of my old blog posts to update them. In 2018 ITV finally released a native app for the Apple TV. This works really well. So now to watch programmes from ITV on Apple TV you just need to go to the App Store, search for ITV and then install the app/
Update: Jan 2nd 2017: In a recent update ITV has blocked you from mirroring the output to the Apple TV. We can only imagine that they have some rights issues with various content owners that prevent them from allowing us to do this. We suggest you email ITV and let them know how hard they are making it for us to watch their programmes. It would also be worth complaining to Apple as they should be doing more with the UK based channels to get their content onto their platform.
At the time of writing ITV have launched their new ITV Hub App on the iTunes store. This is the ITV equivalent of the BBC iPlayer. Currently, the ITV Hub App only works on iPhone and iPad and they haven’t released a version for the Apple TV. This shouldn’t be more than a few days development works for them so we hope they will get on and do it soon. In the meantime, you can use the ITV Hub App on your iPhone and mirror it onto your Apple TV.
Update: December 2015 – The blog post below refers to the second and third generation Apple TV. The 4th generation Apple TV launched in September 2015 has it’s own App Store. In early December 2015 the BBC launched their own native Apple TV 4 BBC iPlayer App. You can simply download and use this from the Apple TV App Store. At this time there is no mention of this being ported back to the earlier Apple TV devices and this doesn’t seem likely. If you are still using one of the earlier Apple TV units then the blog post below will still work very well.
It’s really easy to use BBC iPlayer with the second generation Apple TV but to do it you’ll need an iPhone or iPod Touch. Just download the BBC iPlayer App free of charge from the Apple App Store. It’s a really great App. I really like the favourites function so you can mark the programmes you are interested in so that you can quickly get to them through the favourites menu. Check you’ve got the latest version of the BBC iPlayer application installed. To do this just find the App Store icon on your iPhone and make sure there are no pending updates.
When you start to play a programme you should then see the Apple Air Play icon on the bottom right of the display as shown above. Just press this and then select your Apple TV device from the list. If you don’t see your Apple TV device in the list then do a quick restart on the Apple TV. For some reason mine seems to drop off the network when it goes into power save mode. To do a restart go to the General menu on the Apple TV, scroll down to the bottom of that menu and select restart. If you then try the Air Play icon again you should see your Apple TV device and a few moments later the programme will start to play through your TV. At this point you can press the off switch on your iPhone to save the battery and you can control iPlayer using the Apple TV remote control.
For me this works brilliantly and we use it all the time now to watch iPlayer in our sitting room. It would still be great if one day the BBC and Apple could cooperate to bring iPlayer directly onto the Apple TV but for now this is nearly as good.
It January 2012 and Apple TV (second generation, also know as iTV) has taken three major leaps forward I the UK and really has become the heart of the AV setup in my sitting room.
First came iCloud support in the UK. I’d always been. Put off downloading films and TV shows in iTunes because I knew I’d soon run out of disk space. Now with iCloud you can delete the content when you’ve finished with it and download again from Apple if you ever want to watch it again. The Apple TV is actually even better than that. Instead of streaming the content from you Mac or PC it now streams the content from iCloud so you no longer need you Mac switched on. Indeed the average consumer no longer needs a Mac or PC in their home. It’s still annoying that photos can’t be stored in iCloud forever, as this is as far as I can see the only reason an average consumer still needs a PC or Mac. So for me the ability to buy content, not have to worry about storing it and backing it up whilst still having access on demand is really amazing.
The next great improvement came when the BBC updated their iPlayer App to support AirPlay. To watch BBC programmes I used to connect up my MacBook Air to the HDMI port on the TV which works but is a bit of an annoyance. Now I can just sit down with my iPad or iPhone, find the programme I want to watch on iPlayer and the press the AirPlay button to transfer it to the big screen and audio in the sitting room. This works really well and is amazing. I just hope that ITV and Channel 4 now catch up and allow this in their player apps.
Finally this week NetFlix have arrived in the UK. Netflix has been integrated into the Apple TV in the US since it launched. I immediately signed up for Netflix and enjoyed cancelling by LoveFilm subscription. Films and TV program’s stream smoothly from Netflix and are integrated really well into the Apple TV. I was really impressed that they have fully embraced the Apple TV menu system and maintained the whole Apple look and feel. Netflix isn’t perfect at the moment. They have a lot of content but equally lots of notable TV shows and films are missing. That said I’m sure that now they have launched in the UK they will quickly start putting the deals in place to make more content available in the UK. Either way it’s great for consumers that LoveFilm finally have a serious competitor in the UK. I’ll also happily live with Netflix because it’s integrated into the Apple TV so neatly.
For me, it’s as if very little changed during 2011 and then in the first few weeks of 2012 everything I’ve been waiting for arrived at once.