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Apple TV to hit India

With apologies to Silk for stealing her line, media today are meant only for three things — entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. Apple TV is unalloyed entertainment. And it will be in India soon.

If you thought Apple TV was a television set, don’t feel embarrassed. You are not the only one. Apple TV is a small device the size of your hand that connects to your television. This device then streams photos, movies and music from your iOS device or computer onto your television. All this is done wirelessly.

With the launch of iTunes in India earlier last week, people in the know in the company told me that Apple TV would be “shipping to India very soon” to complete the missing link in the Apple ecosystem. In this walled garden all of its devices talk to each other, making content stored in one viewable in another with the minimum of fuss.

The arrival of iTunes store took everyone by surprise. Most had got used to that pink icon on their iPhones and iPads offering nothing but podcasts and university lectures. Though the content is limited in India now, it will balloon to include TV shows and more English movies and music hitherto available only illegally. Also, more Indian language movies and genres of music will be covered. This will take a few months because Apple has to ensure that older movies are properly digitally re-mastered to take advantage of the brilliant display of its tablets and phones. The Apple insider pointed out that the store had just 50 movies when it launched in the US.

You might ask what is the use of launching iTunes in India when movies and songs are already available from hosts of other sites for free. The answer is simple. Here you are guaranteed exceptional quality and can always rest assured that you will not be infected by some incurable virus. Just remember, the iTunes store was also launched in Russia, the hotbed of piracy, the same day it opened in India. Apple is working with small music labels too so that they can upload their songs to iTunes. This will be a boon to smaller artistes who will now have a proper platform to spread their music for money, said the insider.

Apple has no plans yet, but it may in the future recreate in India the iTunes Festival that has been a huge hit in UK. In this annual music concert by top artistes, tickets are given away free to iTunes users and fans through competitions.

Once you have an Apple TV — which incidentally is really affordable at around Rs 7,000 — how do you get it up and working? You need some basic hardware for it. It works best on a widescreen HDTV. If you have an ordinary set, make sure it has a HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) slot. And of course, you need WiFi. Your iOS device and Apple TV should be on the same WiFi network.

Apple TV requires an 802.11g/WiFi network or Ethernet network, a broadband Internet connection and a HD TV capable of 1080p or 720p and an HDMI cable that is sold separately. iTunes movie and TV show availability varies by country. Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes, version 11, on your computer.

Once you are set, you can stream your iTunes library to your TV and can watch movies, videos or even view digital photos from your PC or Mac as well as listen to podcasts. You can stream content from the Internet directly on your TV. You can even watch YouTube. I would prefer to rent movies from iTunes and watch it on my television set.

If you want to stream your entire music library (including CDs and DVDs) from iCloud to Apple TV, subscribe to iTunes Match for Rs 1,200 a year. You can then also access your entire library on any of your Apple devices, no matter where you are.

iPhones running iOS 4.2 and later can connect to Apple TV through a WiFi network using AirPlay. AirPlay is a built in feature in the iPhone and iPad as well as the Apple TV. Once your iPhone or iPad is connected to the same wireless network you will see a new rectangular icon on the video of your mobile device. Just tap on it, select Apple TV and watch your videos come alive on your television set.

Windows users need not worry. If you have iTunes 11 on your desktop or laptop, just connect your WiFi and you will be able to stream all the available stuff on your computer with the help of Apple TV. Just import all your videos and movies to iTunes.

iTunes Store hiccup: Some of you have complained that you are not getting any movies in the Indian iTunes Store. Only Hindi songs are being displayed with the old interface. To fix this, just log out from the store. You will find this option in Settings - iTunes and App Stores. Tap your Apple ID and then sign out. Sync your device with the computer and log back in. Make sure that your phone or tablet has an updated operating system.

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