Considerations for deploying the AppleTV in your school or enterprise.

AppleTV is awesome! I’ve had one in my home for years and I am really excited about what you can do with these devices and particularly AirPlay.

We are beginning to look at using the AppleTV in our school as part of our iPad deployment but much like the iPads themselves we are in the position of trying to figure out how to deploy and manage a consumer device in the enterprise (schools to all of you).

The reason for considering the use of the AppleTV in the classroom has everything to do (for us) with AirPlay. The ability to give any student the opportunity to share what they are doing on their device with the class and demonstrate their learning is amazing – – can you say bye-bye Smartboards!

But as I play with this idea and discuss it with my colleagues there are some management issues and questions that I have.

1. How do you manage multiple AppleTVs on your network?

As it stands, in order to set the name or password to the device you need to be in the room with that device.  While this may seem like a one time thing you may have annual procedures that require you to have to rename the device or reset the password.

Passwords will also play a role in how you determine who can connect to the device.  I am able to walk around our building with my iPad and connect to an AppleTVs from anywhere via AirPlay.  Controlling access to the device(s) could become a real issue and the ease of doing so could be a pro or a con depending on you needs, culture and community.

I’d hate to see someone project something somewhere they shouldn’t…

UPDATEOnscreen Passcode and Configurator support for AppleTV Deployments. – 10/14/2012

2. The same network your AppleTVs are on needs to be the same network the devices are on.

Depending on how you have your network configured you may or may not have multiple VLAN or SSIDs employed to help manage traffic and control access.  If you’ve segmented your wireless network into student, faulty and guest networks what network do you put you AppleTVs on?  If you plan to allow laptops to connect what networks are they on?

NOTE: You can use an app called AirParrot to do this already or if you will have the ability to do this with AirPlay for Mountain Lion.

3. The need for clear, understandable naming of the devices.

Depending on how many AppleTVs you have on the network the list of available devices could be extensive.  Making sure you have a clear naming standard will be key in any deployment.  Simply using the room number will more than likely be sufficient, but in our school room numbers are not how many rooms are known, they are named after the teacher in that room for that year.  Room 121 might actual be know as 2J – Second Grade, Jones classroom – hence the (our) need for remote management of the devices (above).

4. Remotes and an AppleID

The AppleTV remote is clean, easy to use, elegant and something that can easily get lost in a classroom.  One thought would be to install the Apple Remote App on the iPad(s) and allow people, however in order to set this up you need to set an AppleID for the AppleTV.  Does this then mean that I need an AppleID for every AppleTV that I have… sounds that way.  Maybe there’s another “app for that”?!

So… these questions and concerns are not going to stop us from going forward, but they are things that we are going to need to consider and we begin to deploy these device throughout the school.  I’m happy we’ll be able to test these things out and tweak our deployment at one campus before potentially moving this to our other two campuses.

I am curious as to what you are doing or plan on doing.  Please share your thoughts, ideas and concerns as I will be sure to post an update once we get further down this road.


4/13/2012 –  In order to use the new AppleTV and AirPlay your projector (or other device) needs to have an HDMI port.

Some more great thoughts from my friend Steve Zalot (@stevezalot) from Apple –


About William Stites

Currently the Director of Technology for Montclair Kimberley Academy, "Blogger in Chief" for, husband and father to two crazy kids who make me smile everyday.
This entry was posted in 1to1, AppleTV, iPad and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • One of our clients deployed some Apple TV’s and we found that the constant traffic they generated on the network caused some problems. We had to work with the district ISP at a pretty high level to resolve those. So that might be something to be aware of as well.

    I don’t know how they’re managing them, since I don’t work at that client site any longer, but from what I can see there isn’t an equivalent to Apple Configurator.

    • A tool like Configurator would be as awesome as the AppleTV itself! Bandwidth concerns will be something we’ll have to monitor as well, both on the wired and wireless networks.

    • had the exact same problem.  The use of bonjour is essentially a broadcast on our wireless network.

      • Need to look into segmenting the network (where possible) to contain the traffic.  Another option is to manage the bandwidth used.  We are going to keep an eye on this and possibly create a separate SSID for the iPad(s) & AppleTV.

        The bigger issue will be once you can use your laptop and AirPlay… management will become a HUGE issue at that point on the network and user end.

  • Nate Green

    Interesting read. Thanks a lot Bill.I’m trying to use my iPad in the classroom more in more, but few of my students have them. I also feel like it would be much easier if I taught math or science.

    Have you tried Reflection?

    • That’s an interesting issue too.. .if you allow students to bring in their own iPads to the school, have AppleTVs can they hijack them.  I’m sure that isn’t what you meant, but something to consider.  

      I think the use of the device is dependent on the subject area and the app.  We are focused right now on our primary school so there is more to the “show and tells” aspect of things.

      The Reflection app is cool, I’ll need to spend some more time playing with it.

      • Breicher

        You can set a password on each Apple TV

        • Yup… just looking for a way to be able to set those passwords with remotely.  Don’t want to have to go into each room to do that. 

          • Tom

            hey any luck with that?

          • Not yet… however, I have heard from a friend that Apple is aware of the extended use of these device in schools and business.  While their standard answer is that they are a consumer oriented company there was some indication that they are looking at the management piece.

  • Aykroid+isedchat

    We have five Apple TV’s that are active, with two additional that are used for temporary setups. Initially I was have stored the remotes in my office as they are not necessary for screen mirroring, however if Apple pushes an update, it is necessary to use the remotes to respond to the prompt. Regarding network issues, sometimes the Apple TV’s will “vanish” from teacher’s airplay list – we found by resetting the iPad or the network connection on the iPad (by toggling airplane mode on/off) this rectifies the issue, and the latter step only takes a few seconds. Anyone else having a similar issue?

  • Richard Kassissieh

    We have only dipped a toe in this water, but here are a couple of ideas that might add to the conversation.

    Most of our teachers are on a wireless subnet, so we configured the building switches to put the ethernet port used for the AppleTV on the same subnet. We were concerned about wireless AppleTV’s being less consistently accessible.

    I have heard rumors of projector companies including AirPlay support in future models — might be worth waiting for. Printer companies have begun to do this with AirPrint.

  • Pingback: Considerations for deploying the AppleTV in your school or enterprise [Stites; Zalot]()

  • Robert

    WE use HDMI to VGA converters to project ftom the Apple TV to our non HDMI units.  It work well but does not give high def images.  We will update projectors as budget permits.  All of out freshmen use iPads; next year it will be freshmen and sophmores…

  • Our issue is that our wireless is 802.1x, and there is no way to connect an ATV.  We can connect the ATV to wired, but then our wireless clients can’t see it.  So close to useful…

    • Can you authenticate via MAC address? It’s how we are doing things. AAA authentication.

    • Aykroid+isedchat

      Our wireless uses 802.1x as well, we wired the Apple TV’s and resolved the issue by designating the hardwired port on the same VLAN as the WiFi clients – authentication for the wireless is done at the wifi controller which the wired lan bypasses. This worked for us! 

    • Randall King

      I think Apple TV supports 802.1x now.

  • fcoe_tech

    This is great. We’re looking at deploying these in conference rooms throughout our enterprise and the “anyone can break into a presentation using airplay on their device” issue is a bit of a turn off. I would appreciate a way of assigning priority to a mirroring presenter. In general some sort of centralized control of multiple ATV would be nice. Also, we are employing 820.1x, and chose to have a public WLAN SSID and a private SSID, where the Apple TV is on the private SSID, authenticated by mac filtering.

    • Schaufde

      We are playing with a small deployment of these on a college campus with cisco networking equipment and the 1st issue is the hardest to get around if you want to get a class involved with their own devices.

      • The need for a “enterprise” type control for these device would be incredible. Something like the Configurator for the iPad. 

        While I don’t hold out much hope for that to happen soon, I think that you can look at something like the Configurator as an indication that Apple may recognize that device they originally envisioned as consumer level devices (iPad & AppleTV) have real use in the schools, business and other institutions.  

        My hope is for more management in this area and my fingers are crossed!

        • Duncan Wilcock

          Looks like you just got your wish RE: Configurator:  
 Apple TV update today – Sep 24th, 2012)

          • It’s a start, but not there yet.  One thing that I saw that is very interesting in avoiding an AppleTV to be inadvertently hijacked is the OnScreen Passcode –

  • Anne Dotson

    You have raised some great questions.  I have been trying to work my way through all of these concerns and would welcome a discussion with others on the best ways to manage these.

  • Tryggvi

    You could always just use AirServer instead of an AppleTV.
    It would save you loads of money and at the same time you could use your Mac or PC as a Mirroring screen with Password protection.

  • Tedturner

    How come no review of what potential an appleTV will have on the overall wireless infastructure ( No concerns there?) Seems like most IT people at schools look at Layer 7 and forget about Layer 1 and 2

    • Its a concern for sure, however there are so many variable to each persons infrastructure both wired and wireless along with internal bandwidth.  It is something you will want to keep an eye on for certain as you deploy more and more devices.

  • Jake

    Thanks for the article and, as someone who is rolling these devices out on a global scale, we went through the same checklist.

    In regards to item 2, Cisco now honors Bounjor across L3 domains. Info here:

    We ended up rolling out a common SSID across all of our offices with the sole purpose of Multi-media (i.e Apple TV’s and some others) devices.

    Hope it helps
    – Jake

    • William Stites

      Thanks! This will be helpful to people. We actually programmed switch ports that the AppleTV are on to be members of the various subnets.

  • Kim Bowman

    We are a small school district in West Texas, starting to implement a few Apple TV’s. Right now we have 2, on the same wireless network, and they work with DHCP. However, after a few minutes, one of them tries to grab the IP of the other (located in different buildings across campus). I have even tried to reserve their IP and assign it statically. But they keep causing an IP conflict on the network. Any ideas?