Creating custom slideshows for Apple TV

Q: I recently bought an Apple TV, and am loving the ability to display my photos from my Mac in my living room when friends and family come over. I was wondering, though, if there was a way to save my slideshow settings so that I can have specific music play on each slideshow like I can in iPhoto, rather than having to go back to my Apple TV settings each time. Somebody told me the Apple TV was supposed to take the settings from iPhoto (like which music is supposed to play), but mine doesn’t seem to be doing this. I’m using the latest version of iPhoto ‘08 and the Apple TV. Any suggestions?

– Shirley

Creating custom slideshows for Apple TV

A: Actually, this is possible, but only if you’re a Mac user with iPhoto. This is one of the features in iPhoto and on the Apple TV that is not well-documented, but the key is to create an actual slideshow in iPhoto and sync that to your Apple TV, rather than using a standard iPhoto album.

To do this, go into iPhoto and begin creating a new album as you normally would, by selecting File, New Album. However, when the New Album dialog box appears, select Slideshow from the buttons which appear at the top to create a slideshow instead of a normal iPhoto album.

Give the slideshow a name, and if you had already selected items to include in the slideshow before choosing the New Album option, be sure to check the box to include selected items in your new Slideshow.

Your new Slideshow will appear in a separate section in iPhoto below your albums.


Creating custom slideshows for Apple TV

Selecting your slideshow from the iPhoto source listing at the left-hand side will bring up an interface where you can customize your slideshow in terms of the transition effects, music, timing and so forth. Note that you can also specify individual transitions and whether the Ken Burns effect is used on a per-slide basis.


Creating custom slideshows for Apple TV

Once you’ve customized your slideshow to your liking, simply synchronize it to your Apple TV as you would for any other album—it will appear in the iTunes Photos tab for your Apple TV like any other album would.

Once synchronized, selecting your slideshow for playback on your Apple TV will immediately begin playing back the slideshow with your chosen settings from iPhoto, rather than presenting a photo browser like your standard albums do.

Note that if you have selected music for your slideshow, this music must be available when you are playing your slideshow. As long as iTunes is running on your computer when you view your slideshow, the Apple TV will be able to access the music directly from your iTunes library. Ideally, however, you should simply ensure that any music tracks or playlists you’ve selected are synchronized to the Apple TV. iTunes does not do this for you automatically, so you will need to confirm this yourself.