Apple Airplay for Your Conference Room Display

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If you work in an Apple-friendly office, for about $70, you can wirelessly display your presentations onto monitors, TVs, and projectors with Apple TV. But right out of the box, Apple TV isn't the perfect solution for your conference room. It's going to need a little tweaking. Below we've outlined how we've tweaked our Apple TV to make it more professional and also easier to use. 

What’s an Apple TV? What is AirPlay?

Unlike what its name suggests, Apple TV isn’t actually a TV. You can think of it being more like a cable box than anything else. Once it’s connected to your TV or projector, you can you can play movies, TV shows, or more importantly, you can show presentations from your computer. Apple TV works best with Apple products, but if you use a PC, you can wirelessly broadcast your presentation via Google Chromecast. If you prefer to wirelessly connect your computer to the AppleTV, AirPlay will stream your content for you. The Airplay mirroring feature is built into most Apple devices, including iPad, iPhone, and computers.

Setting up Apple TV in the Conference Room

Apple TV is intended to get consumers to, well, consume more TV shows, movies, and music. In the conference room, that’s not exactly what you’re going for. Here are some tips for cleaning up the view and making the Apple TV feel more professional.

Remove Movie Posters

If nothing is playing, you will see posters of movies and TV shows. Great for your home, but not really professional. To remove those posters, enable the Restrictions setting. To do this, go into Settings, select General, and then select Restrictions. Once you’re in, select the option for hiding the purchase and rental options.

Hide TV Channels

You can also do the same thing for hiding TV channels on Apple TV. To do this, go to the Settings app and select Main Menu, and then toggle each channel from Show to Hide. Or, if you’re familiar with how to delete apps on an iPhone, you can use the remote control to remove the channels. Select the channel, hold down the center button on the remote until the icons jiggle, and then press the Play button to bring up the menu where you will see the option for hiding the channel.

Set up Screen Saver

As a default screensaver, Apple TV plays a carousel of pictures. This makes a great opportunity to show off photos from your product launch events, team outings, or even those absurd “motivational” posters. To set this up, you’ll need to connect an iCloud account and then add images to a new album. Next, open Apple TV and select the Screensaver option. Select iCloud Photos and select the album you created. How to Geek has more detailed instructions if you need some help.

Automatically Load into Conference Room Mode

If you don’t want to customize your experience, you can also set up Apple TV to automatically boot up into conference room mode. Frasier Spiers wrote a really helpful blog post on how to set this up. Thanks Frasier!

Rename the Apple TV

If you want to set up more than one Apple TV, try renaming each one so that you can clearly identify where you’re projecting to. To rename your Apple TV, open Settings and select Airplay. Next, select Apple TV Name and click on Custom. Now you can type in a new name. We recommend typing in the name of the room that you’re in and appending it with Apple TV. For example, if the name of your room is “Nutella is Tasty”, then the name of the apple TV would be “Nutella is Tasty - Apple TV”.

Security Concerns

Apple TV is easy to connect to, which creates a small security concern. Left unsecured, anyone could display via the Apple TV. To secure your connection, select AirPlay and then click Security in the Settings. Next, set up a password. We recommend choosing something incredibly simple like the name of the room that the Apple TV is in. This creates an easy to remember standard that everyone can follow. Should you want to make the connection even more secure, select the Require Device Verification option, which will prompt the displayer to enter a one-time code. You can also select the Onscreen Code option. This will cause a 4 digit code to be displayed on the screen every time someone wants to connect. As a result, only people in the room will be able to see the code.

A Note About Networks

If your office uses multiple wireless network names, take note. Your Apple TV will only sync with devices on one network. So, if your Apple TV is on network A, and your laptop is using network B, you won’t be able to connect. Some companies choose to reserve wireless channels just for presentations and guests, which helps to ensure everything flows smoothly. If connecting with an ethernet wire is possible, we highly recommend it. This reduces the strain on your wireless system and makes for a smoother mirroring process.

Connecting your Apple TV to a Projector or Monitor

Apple TV uses an HDMI connection. If your monitor or projector only has a VGA port, you’ll need to get an HDMI to VGA adapter. Unfortunately this may cause the quality of the picture to degrade and you may also run into issues with powered versus non-powered HDMI ports. If your projector or monitor cannot support an HDMI cable, we suggest holding onto all of your boxes and packaging

Have you already installed Apple TV in your conference room? How did it go? Have questions? Post them below!