How to watch movies and TV shows on Apple TVSource: Joseph Keller/iMore

The Apple TV is a great way to watch your favorite content, whether you want to watch a show or movie you've purchased or something from one of the many available streaming apps for Apple TV. From playing something to the TV app to contorlling playback from the Siri Remote, where how to watch movies and TV shows on your Apple TV.

Products Used In This Guide

How to watch a show or movie in the TV app

The TV app brings allow of the movies and TV shows you watch into one place,

  1. Open the TV app, either from the Home screen or by pressing the Home button on the Apple TV.
  2. Select a show or movie from Up Next to continue watching it immediately.

    Watching a show or movie showing how to open the TV app and click on an item in Up NextSource: iMore

  3. Alternatively, click something in What to Watch or one of the other TV and movie sections.

  4. Click Play or First Episode, whichever appears on the button.

    Watching a show or movie showing you how to click something under What to Watch and click PlaySource: iMore

How to play a video from your library in the TV app

You'll no longer need to head to the separate Movies and TV Shows apps to watch your purchased content on the Apple TV.

  1. Open the TV app.
  2. Navigate to the Library section at the top of the screen.

    Play video from library on Apple TV showing you how to open the TV app and navigate to the Library sectionSource: iMore

  3. Choose a section like Recent Purchase, TV Shows, Movies, or a genre to find what you're looking for.
  4. Click on a title in your library that you want to play.

    Play video from library on Apple TV showing you how to select a category like Recent or TV Shows and how to click on a movie or showSource: iMore

  5. Click Play if you're watching a movie or click on the episode you want to play if you're going to watch a TV show.

    Play video from library on Apple TV showing you play your chosen titleSource: iMore

How to access chapter menus for movies and TV shows on Apple TV

  1. Begin playing a movie or TV show.
  2. Swipe down to open the Info menu.
  3. Swipe down to access the chapters.
  4. Swipe left or right and select a chapter.

    Selecting chapters on Apple TVSource: iMore

Your movie or TV show will jump forward or backward to the chapter you selected.

How to fast forward or rewind a movie or TV show on Apple TV

In an effort to avoid accidental fast forwarding or rewinding of content due to brushing up against the trackpad on the Siri Remote, Apple has changed the way you move ahead or back while watching movies and TV shows on Apple TV.

To skip forward or back in 10-second increments:

  1. While a movie or TV show is playing, firmly press on the left or right side of the trackpad of the Siri Remote until you see the 10-second icon next to the playback status bar.
  2. The content will skip forward or back 10 seconds.

    Skipping ahead 10 seconds on Apple TVSource: iMore

To fast forward or rewind:

  1. Press Pause while the movie or TV show is playing.
  2. Swipe left or right to fast forward or rewind to a specific time.
  3. Press Play.

    Scrubbing on Apple TVSource: iMore

How to identify movies with iTunes Extras on Apple TV

You'll have to do a little digging to find out which movies have iTunes Extras. It isn't easily identifiable from the browsing screen. When you find a movie with iTunes Extras, you can check out what special features it has before you decide to buy it.

  1. Open the TV app.
  2. Navigate to Movies.

    Finding iTunes Extras showing you how to open the TV app and navigate to the Movies sectionSource: iMore

  3. Click on a movie. If it has iTunes Extras, they'll be under the trailers and related movies sections.
  4. Click the image under Preview iTunes Extras if it appears to preview what you'll be able to view when you purchase the movie.

    Finding iTunes Extras showing you how to click on a movie, then click on the iTunes Extras previewSource: iMore

I should note that if you have iTunes Movies video playback set to Standard Definition, you will not be able to see iTunes Extras. You'll have to switch back to HD to see and play the content.

How to watch iTunes Extras on Apple TV

There are dozens, if not hundreds of iTunes movies that come with extras, just like they would if you purchased them on DVD or Blu-Ray. Once you own a movie with iTunes Extras, you can watch the additional content at any time. The easiest way to do that is through the Library tab in the TV app.

  1. Open the TV app.
  2. Navigate to the Library section at the top of the screen.

    Play iTunes Extras on Apple TV showing you how to open the TV app and navigate to the Library sectionSource: iMore

  3. Choose a section like Recent Purchase, TV Shows, Movies, or a genre to find what you're looking for.
  4. Click on a movie in your library that you want to play.

    Play iTunes Extras on Apple TV showing you how to select a category like Recent or TV Shows and how to click on a movie or showSource: iMore

  5. Click on Extras or, if available, one of the other extra options like Trailers, Features, and Scenes.

    Play iTunes Extras on Apple TV showing you to click Extra on the menu at the bottom when you open a movieSource: iMore

I should note that if you have iTunes Movies video playback set to Standard Definition, you will not be able to see iTunes Extras. You'll have to switch back to HD to see and play the content.

Tune in with Apple TV

Apple makes two versions of its streaming box: the Apple TV HD, also known as the fourth-generation Apple TV, and the Apple TV 4K.

Top of the line

Apple TV 4K

A full 4K HDR experience.

The Apple TV 4K is the most recent iteration of Apple's streaming box, supporting 4K resolution, as well as high-dynamic range in the form of both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. It also supports Dolby Atmos for immersive surround sound.

The Apple TV 4K is a great addition to any 4K media setup, especially if you've invested in a Dolby Atmos surround sound system. It supports 4K HDR content from third-party apps, and you get the 4K versions of movies you buy on iTunes (when available) as part of standard HD purchases.

Full HD

Apple TV HD

All of your entertainment in one box.

The Apple TV HD supports, as you might guess, full 1080p HD content from iTunes and third-party apps. Comes with 32GB of storage for larger apps, including games, which look great on your massive TV.

Compared to the Apple TV 4K, the Apple TV HD is a fairly basic streaming box. They both play the same content, but the Apple TV HD plays it at a lower resolution. It still supports surround sound, just not Dolby Atmos. If you need a streaming box for your iTunes content, Netflix, and other apps, and you don't have a 4K setup, the Apple TV HD is a solid choice.

Additional Equipment

With the Apple TV, especially the 4K model, you'll want things like a high-speed HDMI cable to get the most out of the 4K signal the Apple TV can put out. You might also want a better remote, as well as a set of AirPods to avoid disturbing others.

AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable ($7 at Amazon)

A great cheap HDMI cable that supports 4K, HDR10, and Dolby Vision.

Logitech Harmony 950 ($200 at B&H)

If you want a more universal controller than the Siri Remote, this universal remote from Logitech features a touchscreen and multi-device control.

Apple AirPods (From $160 at Apple)

Keep the noise of your entertainment to yourself with AirPods, which easily pair and connect with all of your Apple devices, including your Apple TV.

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