Controlling Apple TV 4K with Computer?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by darkarn, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. darkarn macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Hi, is there any way of controlling an Apple TV 4K using a computer?

    I heard USB IR blasters may help but I am unsure where to even start reading up about it!
     
  2. Michelasso macrumors 6502

    Michelasso

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    #2
    You may give a try at Typeeto. I use it as a keyboard with my Bravia TV, and with the arrows I can browse through the screen. Also typing when needed. It support the ATV so I suppose it may work even better (I doubt as a mouse/trackpad would work, though).
     
  3. darkarn thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Thanks for the recommendation! Only challenge is that the only Mac computer I have is an early 2011 MBP 13" and I do not use it often as I work with my Windows computers much more often.
     
  4. waw74 macrumors 68030

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    #4
    can you tell us what you're trying to accomplish?

    automatic control of some function?
    or just to be able to be sitting at the computer, and not have to reach for the remote?
    or something else?

    might help us point you towards a solution.
     
  5. darkarn thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Thanks! "Sitting at the computer, and not have to reach for the remote" is the main focus; automatic control or even remote control like how you remotely access computers with Teamviewer are also desired too but one step at a time I guess
     
  6. waw74 macrumors 68030

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    #6
    it's not 100% what you're looking for but it will save you from being at the desk and the remotes at the couch or vice/versa

    the old IR apple remotes work, so if you have a plastic or metal apple remote around that came with an old Mac or aTV, you're good as long as the front of the aTV isn't too buried, the should be able to found used fairly cheep.

    most smart remotes also have these codes programed, so if you have an old one around, you can set that up

    or you can program the aTV to respond to any IR remote, like an old DVD player that's broken.

    that way the siri remote stays on the couch, and you can control from the desk if necessary.

    or in iOS 11, remote is pretty quick to access from the lock screen using control center.
     
  7. darkarn thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Unfortunately, this Apple TV 4K is my first Apple TV so I don't have the older IR remotes

    I am aware of the iOS 11 remote feature (and am using it!). I just want to see if there are options that let me control the ATV while I am not at home, whether directly or via a computer that I can remotely access via Teamviewer
     
  8. mpainesyd macrumors 6502

    mpainesyd

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    #8
    I use Airplay on a Mac running iTunes to play music and video (stored in iTunes) on an Apple TV. They have to be on the same network. I also have Homesharing turned on in iTunes which means that the Apple TV can access the music and videos using its menus and remote via the Computer app for TVOS.
    I don’t know of a Mac program to control the ATV in other ways but there is a reasonable iOS app to do this with an iPhone or iPad.
     
  9. darkarn thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Hmm I have not heard about this Computer app before, where can I know more about it?
     
  10. waw74 macrumors 68030

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    #10
    in the following .... PC = desktop or laptop computer (windows or mac)

    the Computers app comes pre-installed on the aTV, if you have iTunes open on your PC and share libraries enabled, then you can browse those iTunes libraries on the appleTV.
    if you've got apple music or purchased your music or video from apple and have a decent internet connection, this really isn't necessary as you can stream it all directly from apple.

    controlling away from home could be more difficult, as there's not really much feedback apart from what's happening on the TV screen, so you'd just be blindly pressing buttons.
    you could use something like a slingbox, but that's adding a lot of complexity to play movies to an empty house.

    you can send audio or video from iTunes to the aTV
    there's also airfoil for audio only, or beemer for video that will play the media on your PC and send to the aTV
    since it's actually playing on the PC, all controls will be there, and the aTV will just be passive output.
     
  11. mpainesyd macrumors 6502

    mpainesyd

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    #11
    Search the Apple support for Airplay and Home Sharing. Some quick tips:

    If your Mac and Apple TV are on the same network you can output iTunes video and audio to the Apple TV by clicking the output/Airplay button:
    airplay.JPG

    This takes over control of the ATV. As you can see, you can even change the output volume from iTunes.

    To use the Computer app on the ATV (a default app, as mentioned by waw74) you need to enable Home Sharing in iTunes on the Mac:
    home_sharing.JPG

    The Mac and ATV need to be signed in with the same AppleID for this to work. This gives the ATV access to all music and video that is available in your iTunes library. You can also access photos from the Photos library (see "Choose photos to share..." above) but I have had limited success with that one.

    Going back to the Mac, you can send non-iTunes output to an ATV via the Display icon in the menu bar:

    display_icon.JPG
     
  12. darkarn thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    I suppose using a HDMI capture device that I have will help in the feedback part (and also allow me to play the content of the aTV on the computer, which is what I prefer)

    Thanks, I see, unfortunately this is not exactly what I want.

    Hmm, I think I am not even making much sense here or that my usage is an edge case. Let me think this through again (and maybe try out Typeeto?)
     
  13. priitv8 macrumors 68040

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    Estonia
    #13
    This thing would let you control aTV via CEC from a computer: Pulse Eight USB - CEC Adapter
    The only thing I am not sure about the availability of, is the software.
    You may have to write it yourself...
     
  14. darkarn thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    This is the first time I heard about it. I cannot find any suitable software unfortunately.

    I have found this USB IR receiver and transmitter though, it looks like it may just do the trick:
    http://dangerousprototypes.com/docs/USB_Infrared_Toy
     
  15. Macalicious2011 macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Sometimes I wish Siri on the remote was always on. Too often I have to look for the tiny ATV remote in the lounge.

    I have ordered a sleeve which should make it easier to find.
     
  16. darkarn thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I have just placed an order on this, am surprised that they do ship to Singapore directly, let's see how it goes!

    Hmm I thought it is not that small unless your lounge is that big?
     
  17. Macalicious2011 macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Other remotes in the lounge are easier to keep track of as they don't slip down between the sitting cushions on the couch.
     
  18. darkarn thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Ah no wonder, this didn't occur to me as I do not use such sofa or cushions for my rooms
     
  19. priitv8, Dec 22, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017

    priitv8 macrumors 68040

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    #19
    If you have trouble with Siri remote only, why don't you switch to iPhone? :)

    PS I think the only apps you can find, are listed on their partner's page:
    http://libcec.pulse-eight.com/Adopters
     
  20. Michelasso macrumors 6502

    Michelasso

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    #20
    You don't need an Apple TV remote. Any IR remote should do. tvOS has an option to "pair" and configure any IR remote. I did it for my Yamaha AVR's remote and it works beautifully! I get conflicts only if I go into the AVR settings, but nothing major.

    Then, from what I understood, Typeeto would do exactly what you need. Now that I bought an ATV 4K myself, sometime I am using Typeeto with it and it is a pleasure! I must switch the ATV 4K language to English, though, because my MBP has the GB keyboard and it gets the wrong characters. Or I must use the Italian keyboard profile in my MBP (it's quite annoying, actually. It works fine on Android TV no matter the language!!).

    I don't know about a similar app for Windows, but here you can find a list of alternatives. Obviously I didn't test a single one being on macOS.
     
  21. darkarn thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    I don't have such problems, maybe this is more for @Macalicious2011?

    Thanks! I looked through the list and found the program Across. I can give this a try if that USB IR idea does not work (I hope not). I will go find that tvOS to pair other IR remotes too since I heard about universal remotes like the Logitech Harmony

    In fact, if the USB IR device works, it will be better since this allows me to also control other IR devices like the HDMI switch that I am currently using. I am using RS232 for it for now; having this USB IR idea working means being able to consolidate all control of such TV-related devices under one device so to speak.
     
  22. darkarn, Dec 27, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2017

    darkarn thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    The USB Infrared Toy is with me now, amazingly fast (and cheaper) shipping compared with ordering from Amazon (not surprised though since the shop is from China actually)

    While the Apple TV itself has an IR receiver, the Apple TV remote does not have an IR transmitter. Thus while the Toy lights up when using my other remotes (i.e. they are transmitting IR signals that the Toy can receive), this is not the case when the Apple TV remote is used

    Also, the Toy may appear to be working out of the box but is actually not working; WinLIRC kept crashing despite the Toy being able to receive IR signals for recording them. I had to upgrade to the latest firmware to get the Toy to work fully. This upgrading process is tricky to say the least, took a few tries to get the upgrade to work; I almost bricked the Toy at one point of time!

    Good news is that @Michelasso is right! I can pair any IR remote to the Apple TV! I must have missed out the options somehow. This means that theoretically I can try getting any old unused IR remote control, pair it with the Apple TV and then record its signal using the Toy to control the Apple TV using the Toy. So, I found an old TV remote control somehow in my house and first paired it with my Apple TV as per instructions mentioned earlier, and then recorded this remote's IR signals using the Toy and WinLIRC.

    Now I can use the Toy and WinLIRC to control my ATV, HDMI switch (which can be controlled via RS232 or its IR remote control) and other such TV devices using my Windows PC! Time to see if it can be made more user friendly and also to test with EventGhost
     
  23. priitv8 macrumors 68040

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  24. darkarn thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #24
  25. HDFan macrumors 6502a

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    #25

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