I wanted to share the latest piece of gear that I have picked up for our church. Last week, I bought an AppleTV. This is a tiny little box that hooks directly to a TV or projector via a HDMI cable. It allows you to stream media from an iPod, iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer, and it is simple to setup and use. Here are a few things we plan on using it for.
- DIgital Signage – This is a great device to run digital signage. I needed something to run a TV that we can place in the front window of our church. You can either stream photos from a flickr account or send a movie file to the device. I made a presentation using Apple Keynote using both slides, animations, and videos, and then exported the presentation as a quicktime movie file. I added the movie file to an iTunes playlist, and then just set the Apple TV to loop the playlist. It’s a simple, quick, and inexpensive way to run digital signage without an additional computer.
- Movies – AppleTV supports iTunes movie rentals, Hulu, and Netflix, all straight from the device for your next youth or children’s movie night.
- Music - If you have iTunes Match, your entire music library is available from the cloud. If you have computers on the same network, you can access all of their music using Home Sharing. You could also stream music from your iOS device using Pandora or Spotify.
- Small Group Videos – We have a subscription to Rightnow Media, and with the AppleTV, we can play all of our small group videos directly from an iPod, iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer and use Airplay to wirelessly send video to the TV or Projector.
- Games and Live Video – The AppleTV gives you the ability to mirror the display on your iPod, iPhone, or iPad. So imagine an Angry Birds tournament shown on the big screen, or even switch to the camera app and show live video on the screen from your iPhone. You could show your YouVersion or Glo app on the screen and let students or adults follow along as you read the Bible. And you now have a digital whiteboard that can be shown straight from an iPad screen.
All of this is for under $100. You can even pick up a refurbished model from Apple for under $90. For that amount of money, this is a good investment for any church. After using it for a few days, I plan on getting one for home as well. It really works great. Click the picture below for more info on how the AppleTV works.