How do I set up my 2nd Generation Apple TV without its remote?
September 27, 2020 1:57 PM   Subscribe

I have a 2nd Gen Apple TV. I have the Apple TV remote app on my iPhone. It replaces the Apple TV remote if the Apple TV is on the same WiFi as the Apple TV. However, without the remote, I have no way to connect the Apple TV to the WiFi in the first place. If I connect the Apple TV directly to the modem, I can see its menu on the TV. But I have no way to control it. I gather that if I reset the Apple TV it will try to connect via Bluetooth. But resetting the Apple TV, again, requires the remote. Catch-22. Is there no way to configure an Apple TV directly from a laptop over Ethernet?
posted by musofire to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Some of the smarter TV's will pass control signals down the HDMI from the TV remote. The feature is called HDMI-CEC, and sometimes it requires connection to a specific HDMI port.

Barring that, a new remote is $19, and you may be able to find a used replacement on Craigslist or eBay or similar for less.
posted by tomierna at 3:19 PM on September 27, 2020

Best answer: No, the AppleTV 2 and AppleTV 3 do not support HDMI-CEC.

Unfortunately, you are hosed.

In their infinite wisdom, Apple requires you to turn on and sign into Home Sharing before the remote app on iOS will work, otherwise you could just hook up an ethernet cable from the AppleTV to your home network.

In addition, the Bluetooth on the AppleTV does not automatically pair with devices, you need the remote to set it up.

You can probably send it a provisioning profile over USB, but I've never tried that, so that's sort of theoretical and really only available to hardware hacker types.

The wireless codes for the Apple remote are available in some newer universal remote controls. But the Apple remotes are usually cheap anyways, so the best course of action is probably just to buy or borrow one.
posted by jgreco at 5:33 PM on September 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

jgreco, was it the gen 4 that grew CEC support and bluetooth pairing?
posted by tomierna at 5:53 PM on September 28, 2020

I've long ago given away the AppleTV 2's here and only have one AppleTV 3 to toy around with.

My fuzzy recollection is that the big adds to the AppleTV 3 were bluetooth and 1080p resolution.

The AppleTV 3 requires manual interaction with an existing remote in order to pair bluetooth with other devices. I can't imagine that Apple made it any easier on the AppleTV 2, so the basic problem of pairing a device would still require an existing remote. This assumes that the AppleTV 2 even has bluetooth.

The AppleTV 4 and 4K also require manual interaction with an existing remote, and have the additional penalty that the remotes are not IR, and are paired on a 1:1 basis, so you cannot easily borrow a different remote to control your AppleTV 4, and you cannot pair the AppleTV 4 with more than one AppleTV Siri Remote. On the other hand, you can add a game controller like the Nimbus and once added you can use it as a secondary remote.

The AppleTV 4 introduced CEC. The first round was fairly amateurish, and failed to correctly configure anything more complicated than the most basic direct-to-TV setup. It wouldn't turn on both a Yamaha amp and Samsung TV correctly no matter what you did. This waffled several times as firmware updates were released. Last I checked, the ATV4 still needed to be connected directly to the Samsung TV but will also start the Yamaha amp and get TV audio routed to the amp when in this setup. Other CEC devices are agnostic about where they plug in and work correctly, so I'm going to say Apple's CEC support is more like CEC ""support"".
posted by jgreco at 5:47 AM on September 29, 2020

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