Apple TV in South Africa

Using the Apple TV in South Africa

The Apple TV is a great little device. It has a number of features I use weekly and has definitely changed the way I consume media in my house. No longer do I have to watch movies or series on my Macbook’s small screen or use messy cables to get my Macbook hooked up to my 42″ LCD TV to get the full experience.

*Update!* You can now purchase an Apple TV from Wildtwig in South Africa!

The Apple TV connects wirelessly to my home network and hooks up to my TV using a single HDMi cable. Once it’s hooked up to my home network this is where I get the most benefit from it. Using Airplay, whatever photos, movies, Youtube videos or music I would usually consume on my iPhone, iPad or on my Mac, I now tap the Airplay icon and it automatically shows up on my TV! I then use my iPhone or iPad as the remote to browse through the images, stop, start the video or select another song to play.

Apple TV menu

All your content has to be kept within iTunes in order to stream it to your Apple TV. Check out HandBrake for converting movies and series to MP4 which you can then easily import into iTunes.

Another killer feature is the ability to rent movies and series from the iTunes stores. You will need an US iTunes account to be able to rent movies and series. Movies cost $3.99 to rent (series episodes are $0.99) and you can keep a movie for 30 days. Once you click play though, you have 24 hours to complete watching it. In terms of speed, I have a 4MB ADSL line at home and most of the time I click download and can start watching a movie literally within a minute. Apple TV does check your line speed and only allows you to start watching when it knows you’ll be able to finish watching the movie without any buffering.

iTunes also has a massive amount of online radio stations which you can listen to via your Apple TV. Much better than DStv’s audio bouquet.

The biggest problem though is purchasing an Apple TV in South Africa. They are not officially available here and I highly doubt they ever will be. There are a few online stores that do import them. Check stock availability with the online shop before purchasing though.

You can buy the 2nd generation or 3rd generation Apple TV from Wildtwig!

Other than these stores, hopefully you have a friend in the UK or US that can purchase an Apple TV and send it to you as a gift. They retail for $99 in the US or £101 in the UK.

Apple TV hacks

I haven’t tried or see the need to jailbreak my Apple TV, but here is a simple guide to jailbreaking your Apple TV. Once jailbroken, you will be able to install XMBC which then turns your Apple TV into a media player without the need to be chained to iTunes.

Everyone consumes media differently in their house and the Apple TV isn’t for everyone. I however love the fact I can easily rent movies from my couch, download pictures from my camera to my iPad and with one tap can share the photos on my TV for everyone to see and when people are talking about those funny Youtube videos they saw at work, I quickly find them on my iPhone and use Airplay to stream the videos to my TV for everyone to laugh at.

Lastly, one of my most favourite past times is watching movie trailers on the Apple TV. iTunes has a lists most of the movies that are currently in cinemas and although you can’t rent them just yet, you can watch the trailers!

34 thoughts on “Using the Apple TV in South Africa”

  1. Just bought apple tv but I am confused , we have 4mb line but still downloads slowly. What is airplay? Sally

    1. Hi Sally

      I also have an Apple TV and a 7mb line. Unfortunately for four weeks it will download extremely quickly and then one week later it takes four hours for a movie. Does anyone have a solution for this?


      1. You’ve probably been blacklisted as a high bandwidth user. I find if you use more than 3-4 gig a day for a while, this can happen. It’s a rolling average of 10 days so if you dont download anything for a couple of days you regain full speed quite quickly. Have looked into this in depth with my provider Axxess – but the restriction is placed by SAIX and applies to all service providers equally. Booya.

  2. Hey Sally, I have found from time to time downloads to take some time, but other times, its almost instant. It’s more your ADSL line than the Apple TV that is the problem.

    Airplay is available on Apple devices. So as I’m typing this, I’m listening to music on Mac via iTunes, but its playing through my Apple TV. Another example is if I’m browsing Youtube or photos on my iPad, I can just tap the Airplay icon and choose to display the video / photos through my Apple TV.

  3. Good day

    I am strugeling to connect my ipad2 to apple tv, I bought it in UK.

    first I don’t have an ADSL line. And I don’t need the internet for renting and stuff, I just want to stream music to my apple tv, so I can hear it trought my stereo…

    Can you please help me?

    Thank you

  4. So If I was to buy this on Amazon and use my American Apple ID, I will be able to rent movies using Afrihost :O ??

  5. What about teh power supply. If I buy it in the US, it is 110V. Does the APPLE TV work on SA 220V supply or do you neeed a transformer?

  6. The US Apple TV has an internal international 110V-220V power supply so it works perfectly (I have one that I purchased though Have2Have).
    The plug is a US square two-prong plug though, so you either need an adaptor or simply swap out the power cable as it is a standard two-prong female power adaptor. Have2Have includes an US/ZA adaptor with the product.

  7. Hello i recently purchased an apple tv in switzerland i am wandering if when i use airplay will it use bandwith because i am not uncapped. i would use my airplay for streaming videos from my iphone 4s would that use bandwith?

  8. @Rory: AirPlay uses your wifi network to stream content from your Mac/iPad/iPhone to the apple tv. You only use your Internet bandwidth when downloading content from iTunes or some other provider.

  9. Hi,
    First I want to say thanks for all the pointers I have learned from you. Mine is a simple question, I have a movie/tvseries all ready downloaded onto my Ipad how do I play it back on my TV? I do not have wirelss at home and do most of my downloads at work. Does one still use apple tv, or will some cable suffice. I have manged to get audio but not a picture. NB, I am not a young techi, so I need something simple.

  10. Colleen, you need to connect the Apple TV to some form of a network in order to stream movies and music to it. So wireless or cable network is the only way you can connect to an Apple TV.

  11. We have just installed our Apple TV and it automatically updated the software. Now our home screen only has the icons for computers and settings. Before the update it had all the icons: music,movies etc. How do I get the other icons back?

  12. Hi, I got my Apple TV this week and got it connected. Ive got my US iTunes account as well as Netflix. I can use Netflix on my iPad 2 and iPhone 4S but I cant get it connected via Apple TV to the TV. How can I do this? When I open the Netflix icon on the TV, it says that it does not support my region. So, would it be that the Apple TV is picking up my router which does not have the “hidemyass” VPN? How do I do this?
    Thanks for any help.

    1. Hi Juliet,
      I have done this. You will need another router that have specific software loaded onto it. I use strong vpn as my vpn provider – they are fantastic and offer 24/7 online help. Together with that I got a router from Sabai technologies (Lynksis) that was pre loaded with the software. You run apple tv through that and then Netflix works fine. At the moment your apple tv is picking up your normal modem’s ip address and then blocks it.
      Good luck!

      1. Hi Rudmanlindie

        I’ve been grappling with the same issue that you seem to have sold. How did you get the Linksys router? Is it available in SA? Also, can I buy it as it is – or do I need to specifically request one that has the software loaded? Sorry for all the questions. Excited that I’m close to getting the full benefit of the Apple TV.

  13. HI
    Is it possible to use airstream from ipad to ATV when you have a wifi network in the house , but not connected to the internet. I know it is a issue with the itunes homeshare , so I just want to know would you have to be connected to the internet the entire time when using your ATV and Ipad ?

  14. Hi Jason, Now that itunes have movies in South Africa, will the apple tv work if i want to buy a movie from the south africa stores?

  15. Just bought my ATV2 back with me from Germany where I did a jail break. Love the device so much that I have two of them. Once you’ve installed XBMC you’ll never rent a movie again. Problem here in SA is that the uncapped ADSL I have (1mb) is too slow to stream. Anyone got an idea as to who does the best uncapped ADSL deal for which price. I got a quote from Telkom for approx R1000 a month for 8mb which I find exortionate. Help!

  16. Hi,
    Moved to Afrihost uncapped at 4mb/s on Friday. Worked great for ONE night, but got very slow speeds thereafter (now Tuesday( and have been unable to stream/ watch any XBMC content. Rang Afrihost, they say that their system evaluates your data useage every day on the uncapped account, and randomly bumps up, or down your speed. They suggested that I move to a capped account as the speeds are consistent. Seems to be that it is pretty pointless having an 4mb/s account is you can’t use the speed. may as well stay on the 1mb/s and pay less. Guy I spoke to at their help desk says he has exactly the same problem – on an 10mb/s line he is getting 1mb/s speed. Any suggestions anyone?

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