Episode 323: Collin Elliot on AppleTV Management

Many of our listeners will have set up AppleTVs at work. Some might use device management tools to configure one or more AppleTVs in ways that allow them to be used in corporate or education environments. We’ll talk through the nuance of AppleTV management in this episode, with Collin Elliot.


  • Marcus Ransom, Senior Sales Engineer, Jamf – @marcusransom
  • Charles Edge, CTO, Bootstrappers.mn – @cedge318


  • Collin Elliott, Senior Client Platform Engineer, Attentive – LinkedIn


Click here to read the transcript

Marcus Ransom (00:01:30):
Hello and welcome to the Mac Admins podcast. I’m your host today, Marcus Ransom, and I’m joined by Charles Edge. How are you, Charles?

Charles Edge (00:01:37):
I’m good. I’m better than Tom. I think he’s hurting Yaks. I think that’s what he said. He, he is, uh, scaling a mountain with Yaks, um, in tow. Well, it,

Marcus Ransom (00:01:49):
He, he’s known to do that from time to time. It’s a, it’s something he doesn’t talk about a lot. Mm-hmm. . Um, but it’s a very important part of who Tom is. Yep. Is, you know, tending to large wooly animals, um, and, and making sure they’re okay. Yeah.

Charles Edge (00:02:05):
Um, and how are you, Marcus? You’re starting holiday, right?

Marcus Ransom (00:02:09):
I’m starting holidays, so, um, hence, um, it taking me a little bit of time to get myself warmed up and adjusted today. Um, holidays are good. It’s been a very, very busy couple of months and, uh, I’m looking forward to doing as, as little as possible for, for the next week, um, as soon as I get off this podcast. Um, but there are a lot of people out there who, um, doing as little as possible is not really what they do. So many of our listeners have set up Apple TVs at work, and some might use device management tools to configure one or more Apple TVs in ways that allow them to be used in corporate or education environments. So we’re gonna talk through the nuances of Apple TV management in this episode with Colin Elliott. So welcome to the podcast, Colin.

Charles Edge (00:02:53):
Hey, thanks, Marcus.

Marcus Ransom (00:02:55):
So, you are a client platform engineer at Attentive. Um, but that’s where you are now. We, we really love to hear people’s origin stories and get a bit of an understanding about how they got into the Apple space. So do you wanna let us know how you got here?

Collin Elliott (00:03:09):
Yeah, I mean, it really has been throughout my career. I, I didn’t start in it, I wasn’t an IT guy. Um, I did a lot of operations, a lot of sales, things like that. But I always ended up wherever I was at being kind of pushed over into an IT role. ’cause I was really good at it. So I decided, all right, let’s make a career out of it. And so, um, I started doing it and be, that was my, started becoming my full-time gig more and more. Um, and it started with kind of managing all devices and then gradually specializing more and more. And now I spend about 95% of my time managing Apple devices.

Marcus Ransom (00:03:45):
Nice. So, so we’re gonna focus on managing Apple TVs today. So they’re, um, similar but different in, in lots of ways. So, you know, I, I remember the Apple TV when it first came out. It was sort of cosplaying as a MAC mini for a while

Charles Edge (00:04:01):
There. Oh, it looked just like it. Yeah. . Exactly. You could even hook a hard drive up I drive and all sorts of, and, and you can hook an external hard drive up. You can’t really do all those things anymore. Luckily.

Marcus Ransom (00:04:14):
How did, how did those first Apple TVs fall into what you managed? Um, and, you know, I guess from, from someone who had been involved in the wider IT perspective, um, what was it like having to deal with something that, um, seemed more like and ultimately is consumer technology

Collin Elliott (00:04:32):
Technology? Really, it’s, uh, early on, like, it was not something that I embraced or used at all in the, the enterprise. It was, I, I think I deployed my first ever Apple TV in a business environment with a third gen, which really wasn’t configurable at all. And, um, my largest project happened a couple roles ago when I deployed, deployed about 200 devices, uh, in various capacities. Um, I was using primarily the fourth gen Apple TV hds. Really big change from those early days of not being able to use M D M to being able to start configuring things remotely and be able to push out those changes remotely and, and, and get kind of a heartbeat back on those.

Charles Edge (00:05:18):
And I, I do think one of the really interesting things about the Apple TV specifically is there’s certain things, and I guess we’re seeing this more on other platforms, but there are certain things that you really just kind of have to use Configurator or M D M to manage. So what are some of the things that can’t really be done in the setup screens?

Collin Elliott (00:05:39):
You know, um, the, the biggest thing that I think that is not really able to be done through the, the setup screens is, um, getting some of the individual apps. There’s a lot of apps that don’t support that you’re, that you might wanna use in a commercial environment, uh, that don’t support like the, the app config, right? So on iPad, oss, iPhone, iOS, a lot of those apps that you’re using, a lot of them have been tailored for the corporate world and have the app config profile available or have the ability to build one. That’s not really the case with a lot of Apple TV apps. There’s a few out there that do it really well. But for me, getting those apps configured properly, um, is not something that can be done through the setups. It’s something you gotta do manually. Um, Apple’s made big strides on the setup screens, uh, being able to get an onboarded device using device enroll. Automated device enrollment really has streamlined in the last several years. Uh, it, the, some of the advances that they finally are starting to bring to, to the Mac and to the iPad, where we can even skip set up screens and use languages and stuff, that’s, that was available on Apple TV a few years ago if you connected with an ethernet cable. And that was honestly a game changer. I, we could take a brand new device, plug it in magic, I didn’t even have to touch it. It was fantastic.

Marcus Ransom (00:07:07):
O one of the things that, um, was always really challenging with Apple TVs compared to almost every other device in Apple’s ecosystem was the fact that it wasn’t just proximity. That was a pain when you were having to go and manually configure. So, on an iPad, yeah, it’s a touchscreen. You can go and do the things you want to do. Um, with a Mac, you’ve got a keyboard and a trackpad, um, with Apple tv, um, you’ve just got the wonderful Apple TV remote, which now is significantly better than it it used to be. So performing that configuration, um, is not, not something you want to be doing once, let alone 20, 30, a hundred times, is it?

Collin Elliott (00:07:54):
No, and and honestly, after I deployed those, you know, 200 or so Apple TVs, I had an entire drawer full of remotes. They were all labeled. ’cause they’re all tied to the Apple TV because again, it doesn’t have a any interface device other than that. And they’re paired by Bluetooth. So if something goes wrong with that device, you have to go find that specific remote. And it’s pretty brutal.

Charles Edge (00:08:15):
You know, one of the other things, so I’ve, I’ve always had to use configurator, or last time I did a big deployment to do like enterprise WPA two networking proxy configurations for, for environments that required those. So I guess in, in your example, you used the ethernet cable to get it into the M D M and then use the M D M to dump those settings, as opposed to getting it all into configurator and doing it there, right?

Collin Elliott (00:08:46):
Yeah. Yeah. It was a lot faster to, to do it that way, especially at the scale that we were, that we were pushing it out. Just if we’d had to do it manually, just like one device at a time, gosh, that would’ve taken us the better part of a year to, to get through every single device and get it out and installed.

Charles Edge (00:09:03):
Yeah. With that many, it would’ve taken days and days, even if you were using configurator with, you know, rolling 16 or 17 at once. Right.

Collin Elliott (00:09:14):
Yeah. Um, they don’t play nice with configurator though. So, um, there’s a, a lot of the Apple TVs, especially the, the more modern ones, they don’t have a U S B port to connect to, um, configurator and to get that. So you’re connecting through an ethernet port, um, that is, when you do that, you’re having to hunt it down manually to do the pairing rather than being able to just automatically pair. It really slows down that process. Um, it’s not an easy process. So I, I try to stay as far from using configurators, I could

Charles Edge (00:09:52):
Fair enough.

Marcus Ransom (00:09:52):
Ha. Having an isolated network to do that is often a trick as well, because, um,

Charles Edge (00:09:58):
Yeah, I was gonna say, I definitely

Marcus Ransom (00:09:59):
Had makes the old days of multicast imaging look like an exact science.

Charles Edge (00:10:03):
I, I was gonna say, if you have WPA two enterprise, in my experience, you also have some kind network filtration on the ethernet side. So at that point, you’d have to what, grab a lysis and route everything through that , do it that way, or, yeah,

Collin Elliott (00:10:19):
. Yeah. We were actually there, uh, I, I’ve shared this a couple times in, uh, the Apple TV channel and MAC admin Slack. But there is a, you can actually take an ethernet cable, connect it to, um, an ethernet to u s BBC adapter, uh, and connect the Apple TV directly to your Mac that way. Um, and your Mac will see it, uh, it’s a lot faster. It’s a lot easier. It’s a lot more exact than having to go through the network. Um, that was one of my best friends. Neat little tip, uh, uh, trick I, I figured out I was really desperate and, um, was last ditch effort. I was like, you know what? I know self-assigned IPS can work like this. Mm-hmm. , maybe the, the Apple TV will respect that and we’ll, we’ll play nice. And lo and behold, it did. I was very, very

Charles Edge (00:11:07):
Good. I think the, uh, PIPA configuration is built into the, the Broadcom ship, if I’m not mistaken. Um, yeah. That’s awesome. Um, good tip. Thank you. So I, I guess there, there are some things that you can only deliver with the profile and or the, um, whether it’s through M D M or through configurator. Um, what are the most common other things, maybe not just those, maybe including those that need to be kind of managed in your experience? Because they, they’re computers, right?

Collin Elliott (00:11:47):
Yeah. Um, you know, unless you want people, you know, jumping on Netflix or YouTube regularly, you’re gonna really need to, to lock down what apps are able to be deployed to it and, um, what they can access. So we were, we used, uh, we had three different configurations between the, uh, the devices we deployed. We had, uh, several that were in conference remote, um, for our conference rooms scattered up how our locations. We had, uh, a large majority of them were in digital signage mode. We used a third party app for digital signage, and then the rest of them were a digital media player. We used the third party app to manage their digital media library. So pre configuring all those and locking them into their, their specific state, um, not something that you can do really with the Apple TV interface. It’s definitely just something you don’t want to do at scale.

Marcus Ransom (00:12:41):

Charles Edge (00:12:42):

Marcus Ransom (00:12:43):
One, one of one of my favorite ones that came along was the ability to power cycle Apple TV’s remotely. Um, I remember at a school I was working at, um, we introduced Apple TVs for screen sharing in every room. ’cause it was an iPad and, and Mac school. And in the hall, the Apple TV was attached to the projector that was in the ceiling hanging down from the ceiling of the hall. Um, and so that involved getting up on a cherry picker to go and power cycle it. And in those days, I actually ended up getting a cheap remote controlled power switch to put in there so I could actually power cycle the Apple TV from up there. Um, whereas now being able to, you know, not even have to go and dig out the remote for that to be able to just, you know, perform the basic troubleshooting of rebooting it and seeing what happens. Yeah. Um, that’s a

Charles Edge (00:13:36):

Marcus Ransom (00:13:36):
What, what other sort of re remote commands have you found have been useful? Um, now that we’ve got access to a lot of them,

Collin Elliott (00:13:43):
Uh, I mean, I definitely use the, uh, the remote start com or restart commands. Uh, I really, they’re very reliable little devices, so I didn’t have to do a whole lot outside of that. Like, um, you know, we changed our server location for our digital signage. Uh, and so just using the app config, updating the IP address for the server in there, and instantly all my ser all my, uh, digital signage servers were updated. They’re all pointing to the new server, playing nice, happy as could be. Um, that was probably what I used it most for is any configuration changes to the devices without having to go pull ’em off the wall and, and all that. Just being able to push that out. Um, you know, we had what, five locations that we were pushing these out across. And so instead of having to drive to all the different locations and get up on ladders and stuff, I could push it out from my desk. And that made a world of difference.

Charles Edge (00:14:38):
And it’s super easy. I, I think that’s one of the things to me that’s really different between these and a lot of other platforms that I’ve used for, for this kind of management. And no dis on like a Crestron or a Control four, any of those types of platforms. But these things are just dead simple and there’s not a ton you can do with them. But that’s great because it keeps ’em easy to manage and use. I think, you

Collin Elliott (00:15:06):
Know, they do play very well with Crestron and qss and stuff. We had ours integrated with, uh, with those platforms, uh, at several of our locations, um, for a couple of different features, conference room, digital signage, and all that. Um, so they really do play well with those platforms as well. Um, but they also standalone, um, our digital signage at most of our locations completely stood alone. It didn’t get controlled by any of that stuff. And we have full control over changing the channels and everything just remotely through that, through that third party platform.

Charles Edge (00:15:35):
I’m looking forward to a day when maybe a protocol like matter kind of kicks in to, to full gear where I can control the Crestron from the Apple TV or the Apple TV from the Crestron or the, you know, all the, all the little things where I’m like, why do I need so many things? I I just want to do it. You know? Um, I, I know that some of the ones that I’ve used, like, um, hooking an Apple tea, uh, a new, you know, high-end Apple tv, high-end being air quotes here, um, up to a, an older H D M I connection to an older, not television, but switcher, um, whether it’s a soundbar or whatever, you’re like, why is it taking so long to wake up and to do all these things? Um, I know this wasn’t in the show notes, so feel free to be like, ah, I don’t know. Um, but have you, have you run into any times when you’re like, we just need to replace a couple of projectors because this is not working out or something like that?

Collin Elliott (00:16:41):
We did replace a few TVs, um, to get better control. Uh, so most of our TVs when, when we started this project were consumer grade TVs. Some of them had the ARC c e C capabilities. Mm-hmm. , some of them didn’t. Uh, any of the ones that didn’t, uh, we replaced because we wanted to be able to power them on and off with the Apple TVs. Right. Um, just so we didn’t have to use an extra remote. Um, but the bulk of them, we were trying to replace with commercial grade TVs, which had, you know, the RF connectors. So we could control those from a center central interface and those could actually control the Apple TVs as well, using that to shut up, turn ’em on and turn ’em off.

Charles Edge (00:17:21):

Marcus Ransom (00:17:22):
See I re I remember back in 2012 being handed a bunch of Apple TV gen two, um, and told to integrate them in to, for screen sharing for iPads at the school I was working at and standing there looking at a bunch of projectors with V G A and three four aspect ratio. And I, I think the adapter, there was one adapter you could get in those days that would do the H D M I to g A conversion that cost almost as much as the Apple TV

Charles Edge (00:17:52):
Probably. Yeah. There

Marcus Ransom (00:17:54):
Was a cheap one that worked intermittently and,

Charles Edge (00:17:58):
And back then

Marcus Ransom (00:17:58):
You had to not so cheap one that was reliable,

Charles Edge (00:18:00):
You would’ve had to also run two H D M I cables ’cause it was pre arc, so then you’re like, wasting so many resources. But yeah, I mean, I I would say, you know, in that era also swapping out like those old plasma flat screens with oles, you’re probably also saving as much as the TV maybe cost according to the size and power bills. I mean, I,

Marcus Ransom (00:18:26):
I remember my kids’ school, one of the things that moved them from these clunky cheap Lenovo laptops to being an iPad school was when the IT guy at their school worked out that he could replace every one of their digital whiteboards and projectors with a flat screen TV and a class set of iPads for every student and still be ahead. Uh, it was, you know, far more, far more interactive than what they were currently using and far more modular as well. Um, something goes wrong, you could then just swap something out or upgrade something rather than Yeah. We’ve spent $80,000 on this touch screen, uh, and projector. Um, we need this to work for 12 years so we can write it off properly.

Charles Edge (00:19:21):
Yeah. Some of those smart boards sucked. Um, no, no offense to any of the vendors. I think some were just a little ahead of their time, maybe

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Charles Edge (00:20:34):
You know, some of the things that we’ve been talking about, like enterprise WPA two or WPA two enterprise, whatever, um, it does seem like there are a few kind of nooks and crannies that just don’t make sense unless you understand the underlying frameworks. Maybe would you say that’s a correct way to put that?

Collin Elliott (00:20:59):
Yeah, it’s like networking is a big part of the Apple tv, especially with conference rooms, display mode. Um, you know, if you have a really complicated network setup, um, with a lot of VLANs and stuff, if you’re not routing it properly, you’re gonna see this, this Apple TV should be on there and should be able to be seen. But, you know, I can’t see it from the network I’m supposed to be on or I don’t have access to that specific network. Like we ran a specific network for our Apple TVs for wireless, um, just to make sure that they, that any of the ones that had to be wireless had their own dedicated lanes, bandwidth, all that. But we had to do a lot of work on the backend from the network side to make sure that the traffic is routed properly on those VLANs, uh, to be able to give that access.

And we wanted to have some of the access to some of these Apple TVs from a limited guest network that was only given to certain visitors. And we wanted all of our staff to be able to access it, but we didn’t want just general visitors on our great, on our main guest network to be able to have access to it. And so working with our network team and building out that kind of infrastructure and, and, and, you know, Bonjour is still a thing, like it’s not really used, but it’s used like the, the discovery does go through the network. It’s not a, an active protocol that we’re, that we use, but if I’m not broadcasting that, um, I can’t see it. I can’t see any of that stuff. Uh, even though, you know, we’ve kind of moved past that for the actual sharing these days, really, you still have to let some of those things through. And it, I think the biggest nuances in that networking side, and it’s, it’s a lot.

Charles Edge (00:22:42):
I mean, yeah, it’s the, there, there’s an interesting thing there. Like if you have 200 Apple TVs and you go to screen mirror, how’s that list look? like,

Collin Elliott (00:22:54):
Uh, it, it’s

Marcus Ransom (00:22:55):
Guarantee the one that you are looking for is never, never near the top if they’re at all. Right?

Collin Elliott (00:23:01):
Right. So we, we only had about 10 conference room display modes, uh, or conference room modes, uh, total. And so there was only two or three at each location. So you’re not gonna see a whole lot because of the VLANs that we segment, even though our staff VLAN was really the same and you could get to other locations, we weren’t broadcasting Bon Jore cross to the other, uh, VLAN at the other locations. So you only saw what specifically was to your location. So, you know, if we had like a, you know, a v a that was specific to, uh, one campus, it’s only going to, I, I can access any, some of the other servers on the other campuses, but I’m not passing the Apple TV traffic. Um, I’m not passing their portion of the elan across to the other locations. That helped a lot.

Marcus Ransom (00:23:52):
The other one that really helped me back in the day was when the, I think it’s Bluetooth LE broadcasting came in where, like for example, as I mentioned before, a large hall where the people wanting to be able to share maybe a fair way away from the Apple tv, you would need to make sure that bon jewel was broadcasting everything, but for smaller, um, smaller conference rooms or classrooms being able to rely on the Bluetooth broadcasting the, the name and the IP address of the Apple tv, and so then the devices can then just go looking for it without that needing to be broadcast. And the idea of only broadcasting what people need to be able to see rather than everything. And, you know, I discovered that from having seen what broadcasting everything look like and as well as from a technical standpoint where you are then trying to scroll through, um, an a constantly enumerating list of devices that keep moving.

Um, but also the idea in a school that, you know, and, and also in workplaces where somebody’s able to attempt to screen share to a device that they either have no business screen sharing to or is just complicating what they’re actually trying to do. And, and realizing from a user experience make it easy for people to be able to find the device that’s closest to them and that is in the room they’re in. Um, and don’t bother them with 50 or 60 devices that they have no need need to do. But that, that Bluetooth one was both a benefit when that came out, um, and a bit of a curse when you were just that little bit further away. But did you, did you ever experience any of the, uh, there were, early on there were all sorts of, um, VLAN reflectors for the multicast d n s that, um, everyone had,

Collin Elliott (00:25:48):
I I wasn’t really deploying them at scale, wasn’t, it wasn’t scale that point. Yeah, yeah. I wasn’t really deploying at scale at that point. We, we really, some of those later changes are what made it viable to go at scale. Like prior to that we had, um, like H D M I cables and every and adapters in every single conference room and, you know, we had really expensive digital signage, uh, uh, receivers and everything like that. And so really it was some of these later changes that made it actually viable to use this device. It really saved us a lot of costs in the long run. Some of our digital signage players were three times, three, four times the cost of a single Apple tv. Um, and so I could buy a bunch of those Apple TVs and outfit a lot of TVs and give us a lot more flexibility with our digital signage than one player that was then pushed to like four TVs.

Charles Edge (00:26:44):
Yeah. I I can say this is one of those interesting places where kind of the backend framework understanding is interesting. So multi peer connectivity as a framework, if an app provider builds based on it, so a digital signage app provider as an example, um, then they would be able to, to use our screen mirroring thing from earlier, reflect that, um, based on the proximity, uh, of Bluetooth and then fall back to wifi if Bluetooth isn’t available, because that’s what Multipayer connectivity does. Um, but yeah, I, I, I find trying to use the built-in stuff doesn’t always do that. I, I don’t know if the developers are specifically working on that, but it’s, it, it seems to me like it normally shows me the closest Apple TVs to me. So I’m guessing maybe they are , but I don’t know. Have, have you found that to be the case? Like when you try to screen share as an example, that the one that’s physically closest to you seems to be at the top of the list?

Collin Elliott (00:27:53):
It does generally seem to be at the top of the list. Yeah. Um, it, it’s definitely gotten a lot better as, as we’ve gone along through, through the days of using Apple tv. It has gone really from, like Apple described it as a hobby. It really has become a, a device that is very valuable in the enterprise.

Charles Edge (00:28:15):
Yeah. I, I have been in many conference rooms where it’s just so easy to do that as opposed to waiting for somebody to plug in an H D M I cable and find the five right adapters for their Dell or you know, whatever. It’s like there’s just a market difference. Um, in fact, I, I would say at my office, anytime we have our accountants come in, um, they come in and they’re like, can you get the IT before they even try to plug anything in or do anything? They’re like, can you get the IT guy to come in? I’m like, I am the IT guy , so you know, if you want to call me that. Um, and, and then we, you know, we, we monkey around with these all, all these connections and I, I’m always like, if you guys just had MacBooks, this would be so much easier ’cause we have Apple TVs, but, you know, it is what it is. I, I also, to your point about the ARC adapters, um, I also remember when we first rolled out Apple TVs at a previous company, we actually had to type up a instruction sheet for how to turn off the TVs because when they weren’t in use, they would just, it, it was like the ARC adapters changed everything. . So, Marcus, you were gonna say something. Sorry. I,

Marcus Ransom (00:29:43):
Well, it was interesting from the usability I remember at the university I worked at, there was a lot of money was spent on audio visual and rightly so. ’cause it was a really important part of all the teaching spaces about making sure that everybody could connect regardless of what they were trying to connect from. Um, and I remember, you know, we’d spoken about Apple TVs and it was like, they’re not enterprise, they’re not, um, cross platforms. So they didn’t meet the right criteria of what they needed in the teaching spaces, but seeing a bunch of academics have their own Apple TV that they would just bring in and plug in right to the H D M I port and they would use it. And this is in, in Labs full. I remember we had, you know, in the animation room, we had these labs full of Mac Pros and they just loved the fact that they’d stick this Apple TV on the network.

We may have helped them get a profile onto that with configurators so that they could use it on the network and everyone could just screen share from their desktop for all of the other students. We had to bounce around showing what they were doing on their screen. And it was, you know, very much that idea that because it was consumer simple, um, if you could get the networking and the discovery and everything right, bringing that consumer simple to the classroom or to the boardroom, um, and not have to go through all of that, um, and, you know, it just works.

Charles Edge (00:31:07):
Yeah. I, I’ve known lots of people from trainers to salespeople who just go present at big companies who bring Apple TVs with them and you’re like, wait, you take an Apple TV so that you don’t have to mess with the H D M I and yet don’t you have to plug that, it, it, it, to me that’s always been a, like, it’s just easier this way. And I’m, I’m like, cool, that sounds great, but it seems really weird to me what

Marcus Ransom (00:31:38):
Not having to get the H D M I lead to your computer for me, for me is something when, you know, I’m a, I’m a wanderer when I present, I like to walk and wave my arms around and to be able to, especially now my eyes are starting to go downhill in a big way, being able to have my screen with my notes or what slides I’m I’m using where it makes sense for where I wanna present. Not over there where the H D M I cable is, or to have an H D M I cable totally. Meeting O H N SS regulations running across, you know, and the H D M I cables are usually just that little bit too short, so they’re sort of ,

You know, causing your laptop to like hang up on one side because of the weight of it pulling down and, and just, you know, simple things like that to not have to worry about when you want to present to people or to be able to turn your computer around without 40,000 cables. Even, even now I’m finding I’m getting a lot more comfortable not having a MacBook Pro plugged into power when I’m presenting because the batteries are so good. I know that it’s, you know, as long as I’ve charged a some stage that day, it’s extremely unlikely to run out of power. So, you know, being able to present entirely wirelessly, um, is a, you know, a great thing to be able to do. Mm-hmm. and I haven’t seen many of the cross-platform solutions really be able to achieve that. Um, it’s like, alright, just connect to this and then you’ve gotta go, oh, go up to the TV and tap the bottom left-hand corner of it three times on one foot. And, oh, hang on. No, that’s connected to the phone system, not to the, well,

Charles Edge (00:33:23):
So your, your comment there is actually a really interesting segue. So you mentioned the first gen Apple TV where you could hook up discs and use it as all kinds of weird things. If I, if I’m not mistaken, that thing had like R C A S video and H D M I one, I think, or 1.1. Um,

Marcus Ransom (00:33:45):
Yeah, I can’t, I can’t re I, I, I think if it’d had H D M I, nothing I was trying to connect it to at H D M I, so, oh,

Charles Edge (00:33:52):
Maybe, maybe not H D M I, maybe optical, but it, it, it did have, yeah, I remember it definitely had R C A I am pretty sure it had, yeah, optical and, or, um, oh goodness, I’ve got one downstairs, I should just go look. Um, but I don’t wanna make you guys wait . Um, but, but it had like all these things that you could hook up to it. And I remember being like, well, why do I want to hook up this or that? And I, I guess how much do, do you guys find that, um, you needed to know about TVs, stereos, art cables and other aspects of AV these days? I mean, back then you needed to know a, a decent amount, although RCAs kind of like, just plug in the three cables and you’re good. But anyways, how, how much do you think that you need to know or how much does that help these days?

Collin Elliott (00:34:47):
For me, there wasn’t a whole lot to, to learn there. Um, the biggest gotcha that I encountered during this project was we had one where we had to, uh, we couldn’t get an Apple TV powered anywhere near where we wanted to actually, you know, connect it. So I had to run a 50 foot H D M I cable. Um, and once you start getting that long, uh, they’re one way and definitely learned and they get

Charles Edge (00:35:09):
Expensive a

Collin Elliott (00:35:10):
One way H D M I cable is a thing. Like if you plug it in the other way, it’s not gonna send any, either that video. And yeah, that was, that was probably the biggest thing I had to learn. Um, I learned a lot more about the commercial television technology because of the, uh, digital signage and scale of the project that we were doing, um, was trying to upgrade to TVs that were designed to be on 24 7 roughly. You know, a consumer TV is not designed for that, and it’s gonna, even if you rotate the images, it’s gonna wear out a lot faster. So, um, learning about dis display quality and what types of displays can handle different things where they can be located. Um, and even indoors, if you put it too close to the sun, sometimes these, these consumer displays really die fast. And these commercial displays, they last a little longer, but they make specific ones that are designed to be, you know, a full sunlight even if they’re indoors. And so learning a lot about it, that kind of stuff for the deployment was a big deal for us and making to, making sure it was a success. It wasn’t just a short term like, Hey look, we did it.

Charles Edge (00:36:19):
Um, so I’m gonna post the link for this in the show notes because Thank you. Marcus, Marcus was kind enough to drop, um, the Wikipedia page because none of us, I

Marcus Ransom (00:36:32):
Was gonna say thank you Wikipedia,

Charles Edge (00:36:34):
Right? I did nothing apart

Marcus Ransom (00:36:35):
From search for Apple Tea first generation outputs,

Charles Edge (00:36:38):
Right? But it had optical R G B or uh, R C A in the form of R G B and um, and audio. And it had H D M I knot S video. So luckily it was right after the S video. I think there was a, there was a device before, um, the Pippin maybe had s video, but that, that was way older. Um, anyways, the, I I do think that it’s all gotten so much simpler now that it’s all just standardized. ’cause back then we did have all these options and now it’s like, ah, you just use H D M I and you know, your 50 foot edge case is semi in edge case, you know. Um, but I, I think, uh, by and large, you know, as, as long as you’re going either directly or through some kind of soundbar or switcher that supports arc, it’s pretty much straightforward these days. I think, I don’t know,

Marcus Ransom (00:37:41):
The, the other thing I had to learn about really quickly is I’d never had to deal with over scan or anything like that. And, you know, from the idea about, you know, approaching it from a pure it Mac admin point of view, it’s like, I’ve just screen shared this Mac or this iPad to that screen over there. Why is it I can’t see my menu bar? Why is it, it’s a different aspect ratio. And then sort of going down that rabbit hole and discovering why things are done in a certain way and all of a sudden developing opinions and realizing and then having to not just try and understand that myself, but then try to articulate that to a person trying to use the room who’s, why is it that this is not working the way, the particular way they expected it to work when they plugged in and started screen sharing.

Um, and, you know, using using devices something they probably weren’t designed for, um, is interesting. Um, the, the screen sharing aspect of the Apple tv, what, what caused them to explode in education was quite interesting. I I, I’d always assume that was almost an afterthought when they were designing this, Hey, wouldn’t it be great if someone could be able to share their photo library from their device up onto a TV and show people their photos without, you know, everyone leaning over their phone or their iPad and then someone in education has gone, oh, hello, look at that. We can, we can use this to teach a class. And then all of a sudden this whole other channel of usage appears for something that was probably just someone trying to achieve something entirely different. Um, and then it became the engineers and Apple TV’s problem to then support that and deal with it and explain it and integrate in all sorts of ways.

Speaker 1 (00:39:33):
This week’s episode of the Mac Happens podcast is brought to you by Collide. If you work in security or it and your company has Okta, this message is for you. Have you noticed that for the past few years, the majority of data breaches and hacks you read about have something in common? Its employees hackers absolutely love exploiting vulnerable employee devices and credentials, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Imagine a world where only secure devices can access your cloud apps. In this world, phished credentials are useless to hackers, and you can manage every oss, even Linux from a single dashboard. Best of all, you can get employees to fix their own device security issues without creating more work for it. The good news is, you don’t have to imagine this world, you can just start using Collide. Collide is a device trust solution for companies with Okta, and it ensures that if a device isn’t trusted and secure, it can’t log into your cloud apps. Visit collide.com/mac admins to watch demo and see how it works. That’s kol id.com/mac admins. And thanks again to Collide for sponsoring this episode of the Mac Admins Podcast.

Charles Edge (00:40:52):
So, going way back, like I remember we used to have a, a lab with lcs and all the mouse, all the, all the mouses mice in the lab, the, the little balls would go missing. And I feel like the Apple TV is not that much bigger than a mouse, you know, or at least a mouse from that era. So I guess do they go missing and can they get locked down? ’cause sometimes things that are small disappear, unless they’re, you need a ladder to get to, and even then sometimes they disappear for posterity’s sake. , you know, especially in schools.

Collin Elliott (00:41:34):
Yeah, they, they definitely could get locked down. There’s a lot of, uh, third party mounts out there that, that can securely mount it to the wall. Um, really we didn’t have an issue with that. Um, a lot of ours were, our TVs were mounted in such a place that, um, getting behind them to get to the Apple TV was quite a bit of work. So we really just used Velcro command strips so that they’d be easy to take down at service. Um mm-hmm. just command strip it on there. We used 18 inch H D M I cables and actually went out and bought a bunch of, um, like 12 inch, uh, apple power cables for Apple TV or MAC Mini or whatever you wanted to use it for. Um, but that really cut down on the, the cable clutter on the backside made it real easy to just plug it in, service it, and then I kept a an H D M I cable and one of those power cables at my desk. So if I needed to service one, I just pull it out and just take it back to my desk,

Charles Edge (00:42:29):
You know, in lieu of a locking port. It never occurred to me. You can, you can just cut your zip ties at an angle that is dangerous and it’s like a minefield at that point. Yeah. Like if you know, you know, and if you don’t know, yeah, your zip ties just cut exactly at an angle where this is going to puncture something , and you don’t want the webbing between your fingers getting punctured that that’s, anyways, that is taking a, I,

Marcus Ransom (00:43:00):
I had, I had, I had an interesting approach to needing security on these, working at a school and schools. Schools are where you get the edge cases. Um, the reason we, we got to get budget to buy so many of these was the AV guy was having to spend a fortune on replacing the long V G A cables they were using in the classrooms before this, because the students had worked out that if they hadn’t done their homework, they could go and bend over the pins in the V g a cable rendering presentation, useless in that environment. And then while the teacher was, um, to quote Ben Tom’s faffing about trying to get a replacement , the class had ended. And so they were like, well, I actually had done my homework, you just weren’t able to prove it. Uh, so we replaced them with Apple TVs to eliminate that problem. And we thought an Apple TV had been stolen from a room, turns out a student had gone in, got in there before the classroom, taken the Apple tv, which was held on with Commander strips, and then placed it up in the ceiling tiles of the room and hidden it so no one could find it . And we’re like, I can see this thing on the network. Um, it’s on there, but where is it? It ended up being able to and just thought that was a lot of effort to go to, to not

Charles Edge (00:44:16):
Do homework that wouldn’t have taken less time than doing what you just did. I know, I know. That’s the crazy part about education management to me, ,

Marcus Ransom (00:44:27):
And I’m pretty sure it was one of the students that ended up being an intern on the help desk because, you know, , you know, you uh, you, you tag those kind of students and release them back into the wild and learn from

Charles Edge (00:44:38):
Them. If you can’t beat them, hire them

Marcus Ransom (00:44:39):
As to what they do. Yeah,

Charles Edge (00:44:41):

Marcus Ransom (00:44:41):
Absolutely. But yeah, the idea of with, with the, with the lower cost of them of just having a spare or a couple of spares and hot swaps. So if there’s a problem in one of the classrooms, as you was saying, just, you know, go and swap it out so they’re up and running, and then take it back to the desk and either work out what’s wrong with it or, you know, send it for a,

Charles Edge (00:45:01):
Just don’t forget to rename it properly. . Yeah. Um, I, I guess that brings up an interesting question. So, um, repro provisioning and troubleshooting. Like, I, I remember having to do this and D F U was a nightmare last time I had to do it. Is that still a thing?

Collin Elliott (00:45:23):
It’s pretty rough there. If you, there’s a little known trick if you plug and unplug an Apple TV six to eight times in rapid succession, your Apple TV will be like, oops, I’m in resc recovery mode, I’m not working right. And you’re really quickly in D F U mode. Um, the remote buttons, the, the official way Apple describes to get to D F U is very touchy. It’s, it’s kinda like getting into a D F U mode on a MacBook. It’s gotta be at the exact right time and the exact right way. You gotta hold your tongue right. Sometimes it’s not great, but really that, uh, that was something somebody on Mac admin shared with me and was a life changer. Like to be able to put these things D F U mode that quickly. Um, it’s a, it’s a little bit manual, but it’s a surefire way to get it there. And then you can really service the devices. So that helps a lot. You

Charles Edge (00:46:22):
Know, one aspect of standing on one foot with your arm in the air and point, like what Marcus was talking about earlier with the, um, TV antenna type of thing. Um, the Apple TV does have these LEDs on it. Any tidbits to share on what those might tell you about them or their state?

Collin Elliott (00:46:48):
I, I wish there was . There’s not a whole lot of information. It’s one little like white l e d and you know, blinking. We’re, we’re trying, we’re booting up, we’re trying to boot up. We may not successfully boot up. White is, we’re powered on. We may not, we may be frozen, but we’re powered on and, and off is that, you know, it’s in sleep mode or it doesn’t have power. And so there’s not a, there’s unfortunately not a whole lot there. Um, really an M D M was the, the key to knowing the health of these devices, seeing that they’re checking in regularly, seeing that they’re getting their commands, that, that are being pushed out. Without that, it was really, um, yeah, it was, it was really impossible to know what was going on. Plus where a lot of ’em are mounted, you can’t see the L E D anyway. Um, we, we would try to mount with the L E D where it was visible, but a lot of times, even if we did mount it where it was quote unquote visible, you’re having to crane your neck, stick your head behind the tv. It’s not, it’s not providing a whole lot of benefits.

Marcus Ransom (00:47:54):
GoPro on a stick or something like that to try and work out what was happening. .

Charles Edge (00:48:00):
Um, okay. So M D M is better than the LEDs. Uh, I dig that. Um, and I, I, I do feel like in the early days, automated device enrollment didn’t go that well, but it sounds like it went really well for you.

Collin Elliott (00:48:18):
It goes a lot better if you have an ethernet cable and you’re using one of the models that has ethernet. I strongly recommend not using the wifi only Apple TV for these deployments. , um, if you could hardwire it, you know, pretty much in enterprise you’re always wanting to hardwire anyway if you can. But hard wiring made it so much more efficient. Um, there was, there were hiccups if we tried to do it only over wifi, but, um, if we hit that network, um, it was hitting the, the a d e, it was hitting our M D m, it was getting that, um, that enrollment set up that it was the, what pains we wanted to skip, what pains we wanted to hit if we wanted to just completely bypass everything and just go ahead and install the apps. Um, it was getting that, so that was, that’s my, my biggest takeaway from it is you don’t want to do it over wifi, uh, doing with a, that hardwired ethernet connection, um, makes all the different in the world.

Charles Edge (00:49:16):
Yeah. Another aspect of M D M and you mentioned apps wait earlier, but didn’t seem to mention them in a very approving manner. How was app store management via M D M and I guess any gotchas or any expansion of things that made that better?

Collin Elliott (00:49:36):
It was, it really depends on the, the vendor and whether or not they really target the, um, enterprise space or the education space or not. Mm-hmm. , um, you know, we used, uh, we ended up not using the built-in conference room display mode, uh, probably ’cause we wanted to put a little bit of our brand on those, those screens. We wanted to give a little bit of life to the screens instead of just a, a black screen that says like what the room is. So we went with a, uh, an open source app, uh, created by the University of Nebraska called exhibit, um, fantastic little app. Um, and really just replicates conference room, display mode, but you can customize the look and feel of it. And it just gives some life to the conference room. It gives some life to, to that world. And that one was pretty easy to configure because it’s the, it was built with enterprise in mind.

Our digital signage app was really easy to configure, was built with enterprise in mind, but really the, one of the better solutions for the digital media player with a custom library where we were uploading our own content and wanted to Browsable was, uh, for us, was doing a Plex server. Um, and Plex, while it’s a great tool, isn’t really designed for enterprise or education. And so there was a lot of manual configuration. I had to touch every single one of those digital media player TVs and Apple TVs to get it logged into the right, uh, to the account, to the right room so that they had their specific content for their room. Um, and so that it’s really hit or miss and it depends on what that developer is, is looking for. And, you know, uh, Plex is more of a, um, community driven project and so they’ve got a lot of, there’s development behind it, but it, they’re not looking to do that enterprise space.

And so, um, we didn’t have the time or ability to work with them to try and do that. But a lot of developers out there are really great about if you have that time or if you have that ability, they’ll work with you to create some of those solutions. So some of that’s just understanding and, and having that time, which as, you know, one person show at the time, uh, doing a lot of different hats, uh, ’cause it was a nonprofit I didn’t have and that wasn’t something I could do. So, um, you know, that, that’s probably the biggest gotcha. Is that if you choose an app that is the best for your needs and it’s not intended for enterprise, there’s gonna be a lot of hands-on. Yeah. And,

Marcus Ransom (00:52:08):
And, and that’s something that sort of really carry, carries across all selections of tools. Mm-hmm. understanding what free means. Is it free us in a free puppy that, um, you know, may have some ongoing logistical cost or kitten. Yes. , we don’t, don’t forget kittens. Although from getting woken up this morning, I’m trying to forget kittens, so, you know, maybe not kittens, your cat’s not a kitten anymore, it’s

Collin Elliott (00:52:35):
A cat now.

Marcus Ransom (00:52:36):
She, she’s at that difficult teenage stage of things, which is sort of fun at times. But ha having, having seen the integration of applications evolve over time has been pretty amazing. Like seeing, seeing, um, volume purchasing come to the Apple tv. So you, you didn’t need to have to try and, you know, entering Apple IDs into devices at scale is not fun. Um, trying to do it with an Apple TV remote is significantly less fun and more prone to disaster, but then seeing app config come in or all of these sorts of things and, and then seeing the commercial vendors start to embrace that ecosystem as well. As you were saying that there’s some that are, that are, you know, it’s not their wheelhouse to be, to be doing this and maybe the engineering effort involved is, you know, too much of an investment for them on the return. But seeing organizations realize that this is a pretty, the power to weight of buying these consumer devices and being able to use them for digital signage, um, conference rooms, all sorts of things, um, it’s a very different world now, um, looking for what you can use and manage on these devices, isn’t it?

Collin Elliott (00:53:56):
Absolutely. And even some of these, these third party apps have, uh, been working to integrate with different M D M platforms, um, so that you can use the M D M and, uh, some of their, their commands to change what app might be single, uh, single app mode. So, um, uh, we use Carousel for our digital signage at this project. And so, um, they actually have a deep integration with, uh, Jamf, which was what the M D M I was using there. And the integration that they created was, I could go in and I had my conference room displays that were running exhibit, but if there was an urgent mess message I needed to put on all these displays, including the ones that are my Plex Media players, my conference room displays, my digital signage, I could actually push out a message in Carousel in their, in on their back end, and they would actually send a command to the M V M through the APIs that would then change all of the Apple TVs to push their app full screen and lock it in, and then broadcast that message to all the TVs.

So it was a great campus alert, um, that was really phenomenal to be able to just take over anything that’s going on and broadcast that alert without putting a big audible alert out. If we needed to do some sort of like lockdown, I can broadcast it to just my classrooms. I can broadcast it to my TVs. And, um, I know that several other of the plat, uh, digital signage platforms have this, and I, I know Carousel has been working on integrations with other MDMs as well, and so they’re also embracing the M D M side of it and, and how they can do both sides. Now. You start, you’re starting to see these developers work from their proprietary and through the M D M with the Apple TV and then back, and it’s, it’s been really cool to watch how it’s grown, how it’s developed with what they can do and, and leveraging these APIs from the MDMs as well.

Charles Edge (00:55:52):
Yeah, I feel like Carousel being based in Minneapolis and JJs a great dude. We should actually probably have him on, I, it never occurred to me, but it would make a lot of sense. Um, but they’ve, they’ve been able to work pretty closely with some of the champ developers and they, they seem to get like, you know, being a, a first rate player in the Apple ecosystem. I, I, I feel like, and you know, you used to buy like large, not farms, but they used to sell like for you servers. Um, and I don’t think they ever liked doing it. I, I don’t think it, it wasn’t part of their model. But, um, every now and then on Facebook marketplace, ’cause I live in Minneapolis, I see carousel servers from Tightrope Media come up on, on Facebook Marketplace, and I’m like, wow, that’s, that’s old.

Um, but yeah, I see. I, I think seeing them move into more of that Apple TV digital signage space, I mean, I can only imagine for a company like them to not have to be white labeling effectively servers because they weren’t building them, you know, from the ground up from scratch. Um, the, like that, that’s an interesting place where these Apple TVs kind of fit, fit a niche. And whether it’s a, a a, a gym that has got 2,600 locations, so, you know, 10 maybe of these things in each location or I, I mean, there are some pretty, pretty substantial deployments that I’ve seen out there where I’m like, wow, that’s, I didn’t realize that you could do that with these things. But, um, but, but there are tools like Carousel, for example, that are powering those and it’s kind of a, a real industry. Um, so you did mention apps built for enterprises, I guess. Um, you know, Netflix can be running an enterprise if, if you get new ips every day, you’re probably gonna get blocked, um, as a quote unquote enterprise. But, uh, any shout outs for apps and vendors, and we’ll throw a link for Carousel in the show notes, but any, any kinda shout outs for others that are awesome to work with?

Collin Elliott (00:58:20):
Yeah, I mean, uh, again, another shout out for exhibit, um, just that open source project is if you want to take your conference room display mode from to that next level and, and really put that corporate identity behind it, um, it’s a fantastic project. It’s open source, um, really, really great team that developed it and with a, a mind just to make the, make this product better for the enterprise. It wasn’t something massive. It wasn’t something, uh, over the top. It’s, it’s a little bit of app, but it, it’s a, it, it’s amazing what it does. Um, and, and then the, the three we primarily used were, were exhibit, um, carousel and then Plex. And, and Plex isn’t great for the enterprise, but honestly it’s a, it’s a fantastic media player for doing your own repositories and, and sharing that and being able to push it to individual rooms and everything. Um, there’s a little bit of manual configuration required, but it, it allowed us to, to really specialize each room, the content that was available to them that was created just for them. And so even though there were some headaches with it, it was absolutely invaluable part of our, uh, deployment there.

Marcus Ransom (00:59:36):
So we, we also mentioned things like Crestron’s, but there are other devices far cheaper than an Apple tv. Um, have, have you tried to manage Fire Sticks or any other sort of similar platforms in, in your travels?

Collin Elliott (00:59:51):
Yeah, we, we, we tried to manage Fire Sticks and we tried to, uh, manage, um, Roku TVs. Roku played a little bit nicer. Um, you know, we, we also had, uh, some of those Microsoft wireless displays and Google chromecasts in our environment. And there’s not really a way to manage some of those. Like Chromecast has maybe a little bit. Microsoft Wireless display has nothing. And, um, the fire sticks. Uh, Amazon’s got some cool stuff that they can manage it with, but it’s not available to everyday you and me, uh, enterprises, um, to be able to manage some of those things. So it’s unfortunately not a great, great tool for the enterprise. Um, Roku was probably the best, um, that we had, but again, it’s not great for central management. Um, it’s a lot of one-off one-offs, but if that’s what you had to budget for, then I guess it, it is doable. I will say it’s not, not a great experience though.

Marcus Ransom (01:00:57):
Yeah. So it’s, it’s sort of a, a bit like a lot of things we come across as a Mac admin when we get frustrated with some of the things we have to deal with, um, when you then step back and look at some of the other ways of doing these things, you realize that it’s actually not that bad. Um, it could be a lot worse. Yeah, it, it definitely one, one of the, one of the other real be, yeah, one, one of the other real benefits of being able to integrate consumer hardware using enterprise management tools is from an AV perspective, if, if something goes wrong, just being able to look up and see whether there’s, um, I suppose it’d be, um, best Buy or Kinko’s or Staples or something like that over there, here in Australia it’s JB High Fire Office works and going, Hey, they’re actually open until 9:00 PM tonight.

And being able to just get in a car, go out there, get a replacement before the event that’s starting at 8:30 PM and knowing that within 10 minutes you can have this thing through configurator, set up, deployed and back in place. And the, um, you know, the existing hardware with blinking lights that are not blinking can then just be relegated to the bin or whatever. But, um, you know, when, when hardware fails catastrophically with, of these, um, enterprise systems, um, and you know, it’s locked in a cupboard. Yeah, we do have a spare one, but it’s a locked in a cupboard and the only person with a key to that cupboard has gone on holidays. Um, , it’s a, it’s a lot easier to just be able to swap something out, going down to the store and, uh, so

Collin Elliott (01:02:37):
Much easier. I, I can’t confirm. I have actually done that. Probably go away. You know, we’ve had, yeah, we had a mobile, um, setup that got rolled out and uh, they told us, you know, with about an hour to go, Hey, we need this. Oh man. Luckily, you know, at the time I, I had an Apple store that was literally three minutes from the office. Um, I hit up my business rep, Hey, I’m coming in, I need this on the fly. And he had it ready for me when I walked in. Uh, we got it all processed, ran back, put it through configurator, got it in place. You know, we, we were able to do that and, and using that consumer technology, um, and Apple providing a way through Configurator to be able to get that in there at the last second, um, is phenomenal. It, it’s so, so nice.

Marcus Ransom (01:03:26):
Even during business hours when it’s something that’s available to ship same day as well, rather than, oh yeah, we’ve got a, we’ve got an order of those coming in from Singapore in six to eight weeks, and it’s okay, , it’s, you know, uh, it’s certainly something over the last couple of years seeing availability for a lot of this high-end hardware can be really challenging. Um, you know, and, and that’s just something we, we don’t have to deal with

Speaker 5 (01:03:54):
Here at the Mac Admins podcast. We wanna say a special thank you to all of our Patreon backers. The following people are to be recognized for their incredible generosity. S Stu Bacca. Thank you. Adam Selby. Thank you. Nate Walk. Thank you. Michael Sy. Thank you Rick Goody. Thank you. Mike Boylan. You know it. Thank you. Uh, Melvin Vives. Thank you. Bill Stites. Thank you. Anush Ville. Thank you. Jeffrey Compton, m Marsh, Stu McDonald, Hamlin Cruin, Adam Berg. Thank you. AJ Reka. Thank you. James St. Traci, Tim per of two canoes. Thank you. Nate Sonal, will O’Neill, Seb Nash, the folks at Command Control Power, Stephen Weinstein, Chet Swarthout, Daniel McLaughlin, Justin Holt, bill Smith and Weldon Dodd. Thank you all so much and remember that you can back us if you just head out out to patreon.com/mac eight podcast. Thanks everybody.

Marcus Ransom (01:04:49):
Um, well, bonus question time. We, we always love to have a, a little bonus question, um, something without some warnings. So do you, do you use an Apple TV at home? And if you do, what’s your favorite feature as a consumer?

Collin Elliott (01:05:03):
I do. I’ve got, what, five of them, I think. Um, so I, I’ve got, I’ve got ’em everywhere. It is, I I don’t use traditional cable. They managed or anything? No. Um, because my wife won’t let me, being honest, I would have ’em managed if I could, but, but she said no. Um, uh, I think my favorite feature is, uh, the ability to, um, be a home kit hub and put it in home kit. I’m a very heavy user of Home Kit, um, but I can, uh, at a glance see what my kids are watching on a tv. Um, because everything is run through the Apple tv, so I know what they’re watching. Um, if I need them to, you know, stop and listen, I can pause the Apple tv, um, and just pause whatever they’re watching. I, they still won’t listen. I can just tell Siri to turn it off and it, I, I love the connectedness, but also the, the ease of use, like, you know, um, my parents have a Roku tv and it’s okay, but, um, I, I bring my Apple TV when I come over to their house because I prefer to just use that interface.

It’s so much easier. It’s so, so simple, so smooth, it’s fast. Um, a lot of the other hardware out there, um, you know, Roku’s okay fast, uh, the fire stuff is not fast at all. Um, but the Apple tv, it’s just, it’s very responsive and it’s got pretty much every app out there. And so, uh, yeah, being able to just take it, I, I take it with me when I go traveling. I take it to the hotel, I take it in the car, so my kids same, same here, can watch stuff on, on the Apple TV in the car. Like it’s probably the device that is most valuable to me outside of my iPhone. Like it is the central hub of all of our tech, all of our media consumption.

Marcus Ransom (01:06:54):
I’ve, I’ve done the same traveling where even if the Airbnb has an Apple TV in there, it’s like, okay, that’s signed in with your app and your accounts, everything like that. And being able to just bring your own Apple tv, plug it in, get it on the wifi, and then not have to go sorting through the previous, however many guests viewing habits to try and find what we wanna watch. Um, and you realize how much h how intuitive it is and how, how great the SDKs that the app developers have to be able to integrate in and to, you know, good developers then can cur curate a really awesome experience for you.

Collin Elliott (01:07:33):

Marcus Ransom (01:07:34):
So what about you, Charles?

Charles Edge (01:07:36):
Uh, yeah, I, I do not take one on the road with me. Um, I don’t actually watch TV on the road. I prefer to go find some bar to, um, fill me up with ,

Marcus Ransom (01:07:52):
What people are far more interesting than TV ,

Charles Edge (01:07:54):
Right? . Um, but I, if there is one in a, in a hotel room or even, you know, at my house, um, my favorite thing to do with them is probably, other than the apps that stream the things that the kids wanna watch, um, it, it’s probably sharing my keynote presentations. Um, although it seems to always mess up my presenter mode settings when I start fiddling around to make ’em work with Apple tv. But, um, but rehearsing presentations is probably the number one thing outside of streaming apps that I use it for, you know. How about you Marcus?

Marcus Ransom (01:08:38):
For, for me, the, the setting, I dunno when this came out, but I only just recently noticed it and have been using it a lot, is, um, detecting AirPods. So, you know, we’ve got, we’ve got an open plan house one tv if I’m wanting to watch something that nobody else in the family is even the slightest bit interested in. So, you know, just about to start on series three of the Witcher. Um, I can sit down on the couch, open the, um, the AirPods a case, and they just show up on screen and go, Hey, it looks like you are wanting to use your AirPods with this Apple tv. And just simple things like that have been awesome. Where it’s working, you know, it, it’s able to work out because we’re, you know, of course 100% invested in the Apple ecosystem in this house, . Um, so we get to benefit from the things mostly playing nicely with each other. And that, that one, that one for me. The next one, I’m looking forward to the thing, you know, and I know, um, Dr. K was, was loving this, the, the ability to use continuity camera and video conferencing, um, coming soon. I can’t wait to be able to muck around with that and use Yeah, use

Charles Edge (01:09:49):
That. It’s

Marcus Ransom (01:09:50):
Gonna be

Charles Edge (01:09:50):
Awesome. I, I haven’t found one that works yet. Um, that, that for me is kind of big. Although I have to wait for my dad to upgrade. But, you know, with, with, uh, kids and parents and, uh, you know, screen time, that’s kind of a, especially if they live in other states that seem like other countries. ’cause living in Minnesota, Georgia doesn’t seem like it’s part of the same country I live in, but, you know, um, love Georgia, but, uh, also it doesn’t, nevermind. Anyways, that was a good bonus question. Solid. You wrote it. Well done. Marcus ,

Marcus Ransom (01:10:34):
You know, coming up with something interesting on the fly. It doesn’t always work. Hopefully this time it did. Um, well, Colin, thanks so much for, for joining us today. Um, really awesome to get your insight into the Apple, apple tv, um, and managing that at scale. So if people wanna find you on the internet, where can they go looking for you? If they’ve got any questions or comments about what we’ve, what we’ve spoken about today?

Collin Elliott (01:10:58):
Best place is gonna be on Mac Admins Slack. Um, I’m very active in the, uh, apple TV channel, but a lot of other channels too. Uh, I am, uh, I have to double check my name. I am calling E so I’m calling E on Mac admins. That’s gonna be the best place. Uh, two Ls or one to find me on LinkedIn. Two Ls, two Ls.

Marcus Ransom (01:11:21):
Awesome. So thank, thank you so much. Thanks very much to, um, our sponsors, uh, this week. That’s kanji collide and Simple. M d m, um, big thank you to our Patreon subscribers and thanks to everyone, uh, for listening to us. Um, and we’ll see you next time. See you next time. Now are you gonna do see you next time after I do it? ’cause you always wait for after. Yeah. So that’s what we do. So you did it before me and after, after. Can can, can I try and channel, uh, no. I’m not even gonna attempt to try and do a Tom Bridge voice that’s just go there. We should just wrap this up. I wouldn’t be able to get even close. We go. Yes. Let’s just wrap it up. See you later. Everyone see ya. And that’s a wrap. Alrighty. If you wanna hit,

Speaker 5 (01:12:05):
The M Mens Podcast is a production of Maced Admin’s podcast, L L c. Our producer is Tom Bridge. Our sound editor and mixing engineer is James Smith. Our theme music was produced by Adam Coga the first time he opened. GarageBand sponsorship for the MCAD Men’s podcast is provided by the MCAD mens.org slack, where you can join thousands of MCAD mens in a free Slack instance. Visit admins.org and also by techno missionary L l c. Technically we can help. For more information about this podcast and other broadcasts like it, please visit podcast dot mac admins.org. Since we’ve converted this podcast to a P f S, the funny metadata joke is at the end.

Marcus Ransom (01:12:51):
Hello and welcome to the Mac Admins podcast. I’m your host, Marcus Ransom tonight. And, uh, I’m joined by, I was just gonna call you, call you Charles Bridge, so I’m not really off to a good start. Seems to totally leave that. Yeah. Oh, all right. Okay. All right. Focus, focus. I’m, I’m on holidays a little too much. Um, all right. Take, take two of, I don’t know, maybe Elon should rate limit us. So this works. Not a good start.



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