How to set up your Apple TV the right way

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Ready. (tv) set,  go!
Ready. (tv) set, go!
Photo: Apple

The new Apple TV is out and it’s pretty fantastic.

Running through setup is fairly simple, but we all could use a little advice on how best to make our choices along the way.

With that in mind, then, let’s run through the Apple TV arrangements in order.

What do you speak? Might as well have menu items that match.
What do you speak? Might as well have menu items that match.
Photo: Apple

First up, use the new Apple TV Remote to choose your language from the list on the screen. I chose English, because I’m fairly awful at any other languages (thanks, American education system!)

Where do you live?
Where do you live?
Photo: Apple

Next, pick the country you live in. This will help Apple TV know what shows and music prices and currencies you’ll need to see when you hop into the App Store.

The magic of convergence.
The magic of convergence.
Photo: Apple

Here’s the coolest part of the whole thing. Use your iPhone or iPad to fill in all the details. That way, you won’t get stuck entering in a ton of information (including login information for iTunes, iCloud, Game Center, and Wi-Fi) with the Apple TV Remote, which is great, but can be tricky to type with. Sigh.

Trust but verify.
Trust but verify.
Photo: Apple

If you have two-step verification set up on your Apple ID (and you should), you’ll need to enter your password on your iOS device, then wait for the text message with a verification code, and then type that in.

Let Apple know where you are, even if it's just in your living room.
Let Apple know where you are, even if it’s just in your living room.
Photo: Apple

You’ll want to enable location services in this next step, so that Apple can figure out where in the country you provided in step one above you are (I guess — there’s not any documentation I could find on Apple.com). If you know why a stationary TV box needs to know your location, please feel free to drop a note in the comments.

Use Siri. Just do it.
Use Siri. Just do it.
Photo: Apple

Now, even though Siri isn’t able to let you dictate into text fields (a serious missing feature, in my opinion), you can search across all your video apps to find movies you want to watch. You can also check the weather, find out how your stocks are doing, and see how your favorite sportsball team is doing. You can turn on closed captions, move through your media fast-forward or rewind, and even get Siri to open the App Store or your Apple TV’s Photos app. Be sure and enable Siri now.

Beautiful new "screensavers" are like windows for your TV.
Beautiful new “screensavers” are like windows for your TV.
Photo: Apple

Next, you’ll want to download Apples amazing new flyby screen-savers, even though your TV probably doesn’t have any burn-in issues if it’s been made in the last, say, 10 years. These aerial videos are simply gorgeous, though, and let your TV become a moving window on the world. Grab them now.

It's not private if you're streaming, anyway. Calm down.
It’s not private if you’re streaming, anyway. Calm down.
Photo: Apple

Go ahead and drop Apple a bone and let them see your Diagnostics and Usage data. It really can only help you in the long run as Apple uses such info to improve its services, not to sell your private viewing habits to Google. Or the government. Or your mom. Seriously, just let them have it.

Developers need love, too.
Developers need love, too.
Photo: Apple

While you’re at it, go ahead and let app developers see your crash data and usage stats. It’ll only let them improve their apps on Apple TV, which is a big win for all concerned.

Just agree -  everyone's doing it.
Just agree – everyone’s doing it.
Photo: Apple

If you’re anything like most of us, you don’t read the Warranties and Terms & Agreements if they show up on your Mac or iOS device when you install software. Heck, I usually just click Agree and hope for the best. You can, of course, read through it all, but gosh don’t you have better things to do?

All done! Almost.
All done! Almost.
Photo: Apple

You’ve finished the basic setup, so now its time to explore the interface a bit. Check out the App store first, of course, because that’s where all the cool stuff is. Apple will prompt you to download all your current video streaming apps – go ahead and do that now, clicking on your favs, like Netflix, HBO Now, ABC, and CBS. Why not?

All ready and waiting for you.
All ready and waiting for you.
Photo: Apple

If you swipe over to the Purchased tab, you’ll be able to see all the apps you already own with the Apple ID you signed in with your iPhone above. There are quite a few, which is great because the Apple TV App Store is a little lacking in discoverability.

Gaming on Apple TV is gonna be huge.
Gaming on Apple TV is gonna be huge.
Photo: Apple

Setting up a Made for iPhone (MFi) gaming controller is chimp-simple as well. I’ve got an older Steel Series Stratus XL controller that my Apple TV found as soon as I turned it on. If you’ve got a MFi controller, turn it on, set to pairing mode (if you need to) and then hop into Settings > Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth to find and enable it.

You’re pretty much ready to rock at this point – enjoy your new Apple TV. Stay tuned all week for more tips on how to set up your Apple TV with your old TV remote to work with Apple TV, how to rearrange and organize your App icons, and more.