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Use AirPlay Screen Mirroring to Watch Anything
Apple TV has a universe of content, just as a standalone device. If you add AirPlay for iOS, there’s even more content. You can watch just about anything on your Apple TV using AirPlay Screen Mirroring for OS X or an application such as AirParrot. If you have an older Mac or a Windows machine, AirParrot enables AirPlay Screen Mirroring.
Watch Live TV
Aereo enables anyone with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to watch live TV. The service uses arrays of miniature antennae to capture live TV broadcasts and store them in the cloud. Using their mobile app, subscribers can watch live TV and record programs. Live TV and recorded shows can be beamed to Apple TV using AirPlay.
Aereo maintains the antennae and DVRs — there’s no hardware for you to buy, store or operate. The service costs $8 to $12 a month (plus tax) for 20 to 60 hours of DVR space. Unfortunately, the service is only available in a few cities right now. The TV broadcast industry is trying to squash Aereo with litigation. So far, Aereo has managed to stay legal and grow their business. Aereo may actually be their ally. As more content moves to the data center, broadcast TV is becoming irrelevant. Aereo seems like it could sustain the existence of broadcast TV. That said, if broadcast TV were to disappear, it would open up broadcast frequencies that could be used for wireless Internet access.
Update: Aereo lost their legal battle and have been shut down. Apple is rumored to be working on a live TV channel lineup for Apple TV. It is expected to debut sometime in 2016.
Use Apple TV Music Instead of AirPlay
While AirPlay has come a long way and is very stable, you can play your music directly on Apple TV. Simply go to the Music menu option and all of your iTunes purchases are right there. If your iTunes collection has a lot of music imported from CDs, you can still listen to it directly on Apple TV. With an iTunes Match subscription, all of your iTunes music will be stored in the cloud — even imported (ripped) CDs and music downloaded from other sources.
Use Plex with Apple TV
The Plex Media Server turns your ordinary desktop computer into a powerful media center. If you have a lot of content on your computer and don’t like iTunes, Plex is a great alternative. (iTunes is somewhat limited in the formats it supports, but you can convert files and import virtually anything. That said, mp4 video is standard and supported by iTunes, as is mp3 and AAC audio.)
You can beam any Plex content onto Apple TV using their app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. You will need to have your computer turned on to do this. The iOS app acts as a bridge between the Plex server on your computer and your Apple TV.
Play Sirius/XM Radio on Apple TV
If you’re a Sirius/XM radio subscriber, it’s possible to listen to the service on Apple TV. All you need to do is download the iOS app from the App Store and use AirPlay. For those who aren’t subscribers, you can get a free trial version.
Listen to iTunes Radio
With over 27 million songs, iTunes Radio is by far the best online radio platform. Apple TV features built-in support for iTunes Radio. I have used the service extensively, and it has opened my ears to new music. With such a vast collection of music, you’re bound to discover something new. Listeners can skip up to 6 tracks an hour and select “play more like this” or “never play this song”. With user input, iTunes Radio quickly learns what you like and dislike, and adapts to your preferences. For more specific tips on iTunes Radio for Apple TV, check out this article.