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Apple TV Q&A - Updated December 7, 2015

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How do you connect the black Apple TV models to a television?

Before attempting to connect a black Apple TV 2nd Gen, Apple TV 3rd Gen, or Apple TV 4th Gen to a television, note that these devices only are compatible with an HDTV with HDMI support. Neither supports component video or audio. At the time of its introduction, Apple formally states that the black Apple TV 2nd Gen models were compatible with:

High-definition TVs with HDMI and capable of 720p 60/50 Hz including popular models from these manufacturers: Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sony, Sharp, Toshiba, Vizio, and Westinghouse.

For subsequent models, Apple simply states that the devices are compatible with "high-definition TVs with HDMI." It also is worth noting that some have reported video distortion on older HDTVs when attempting to use theses Apple TV models, so it would be wise to confirm that your particular television is fully compatible prior to purchasing the device.

Apple explains how to connect the black Apple TV models to a television in the applicable User's Guide, specifically from pages 10-13. In addition to a compatible HDTV, you will need to purchase an HDMI cable and an optical digital audio cable (optional, depending on your audio setup). You also will need to have an 802.11b or faster wireless network for use via wi-fi, a broadband Internet connection, and any needed usernames and passwords.

For the benefit of those who have asked, Apple's official instructions additionally are provided below:

Step 1: Connecting the cables

  1. Connect one end of an HDMI cable to the back of your TV.
  2. Connect the other end of the cable to the HDMI port on the back of Apple TV.
  3. If you're using an optical digital audio cable for audio, connect one end of the cable to the audio input port on your receiver or TV, and the other end to the optical digital audio port on the back of Apple TV. This only applies to the Apple TV 2nd Gen and Apple TV 3rd Gen models as the Apple TV 4th Gen does not have an optical audio port at all.

Note: The built-in Wi-Fi connects Apple TV to your wireless network. If your network is Ethernet-based, connect Apple TV to your network using an Ethernet cable.

Step 2: Connect the power cord

Connect one end of the power cord to the power port on the back of Apple TV and the other end to a power outlet.

Important: Don't place anything on top of Apple TV. Objects placed on top may interfere with the wireless signal. Don’t place Apple TV on other electronic equipment in a media cabinet.

Step 3: Turn on your TV and select the input

If you see just a black screen the first time you use Apple TV, make sure the input setting you've selected on your TV matches the input you connected the cables to on your TV or home theater receiver.

Also see: How do you connect the original Apple TV to a television? How do you connect the original Apple TV to a Mac or PC?

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