Big year for Apple TV and tvOS

Big year for Apple TV and tvOS

Apple TV’s tvOS 17: The Unsung Hero of Apple’s Betas

Apple TV

Apple recently released a multitude of public betas for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS. While these updates gained significant attention, it’s important not to overlook the new beta release for tvOS 17. At first glance, tvOS 17 may not seem groundbreaking with no major interface changes or redesigns. However, upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that this update is one of the most significant the Apple TV streaming box has received in years. It introduces FaceTime on the big screen, enhances the Control Center, and showcases the seamless cohesion of Apple’s ecosystem across platforms.

If you’re hesitant to test early betas on your primary devices, fear not. The Apple TV streaming box is a low-stakes option for exploring what’s new. Installing tvOS 17 on your Apple TV 4K is a safe choice, as previous tvOS betas have been relatively stable. If anything goes wrong, Apple customer support is there to assist you. Plus, with the introduction of exciting features, it’s worth taking the risk.

It’s got very little to do with streaming apps

Apple seems content with the current state of the Apple TV software for general entertainment purposes. The familiar grid of apps remains on the homescreen, and Apple has no plans to depart from this simplistic interface. While the content-forward experience is available through the Apple TV app, Apple has shifted its focus away from becoming an all-encompassing entertainment hub for streaming services. The fragmentation of streaming services’ content has hindered Apple from creating a universal watchlist. Despite this setback, Apple is dedicated to enhancing areas it can control.

FaceTime on Apple TV

Karaoke

One of the standout features of tvOS 17 is the integration of FaceTime on Apple TV. While it may have been more useful during the pandemic lockdown, Apple’s execution of this feature is impressive. FaceTime on Apple TV allows you to use your iPhone as a Continuity Camera. With your iPhone placed on your TV stand, the camera captures your image alongside the person you’re chatting with. FaceTime on Apple TV includes features like Center Stage and on-screen effects triggered by gestures. Additionally, the Continuity Camera feature can be used for karaoke sessions with Apple Music’s Sing feature, creating a unique and integrated ecosystem experience.

Control Center now lives up to its name

Control Center

Control Center on the Apple TV has undergone significant improvements in tvOS 17. Previously, it could be easily ignored if you preferred to navigate tvOS using the Siri Remote. However, the latest update transforms Control Center into an indispensable tool. The layout is denser and provides more information, prioritizing features like AirPods and audio settings. Additionally, it includes buttons and switches for smart home devices and conveniences like a sleep timer. With these enhancements, Control Center has become an essential part of the Apple TV experience.

I’ll never lose you again, Siri Remote

Siri Remote

Searching for the Apple TV remote amidst couch cushions has been a common experience for many users. Fortunately, tvOS 17 introduces a remote finder feature. By using your iPhone, you can track down the elusive remote more efficiently. Although the feature lacks the precision of Apple’s AirTags, the animated “warmer, warmer” notifications guide you to the remote’s location. This helpful addition alleviates the frustration of losing the Siri Remote.

Fixing hard-to-hear dialogue at the software level

For Apple enthusiasts who use second-generation HomePods as their Apple TV 4K speakers, tvOS 17 includes an optional “Enhance Dialogue” setting. This setting improves the clarity of speech by separating it from the surrounding audio mix. While voice enhancement modes are not new to soundbars or home theater systems, software tricks to enhance dialogue have become increasingly common. Apple’s offering follows Amazon’s Dialogue Boost feature for select content on Prime Video. These enhancements ensure that dialogue is clear and easily understandable, enhancing the viewing experience.

Plus a bunch of small stuff — and more dazzling screensavers

Screensavers

The mesmerizing 4K screensavers of the Apple TV receive an update in tvOS 17. The final release will feature stunning new locations like Monument Valley and California’s coastal redwoods. Moreover, tvOS 17 includes the option to display Memories from your personal photo library as screensavers, adding a personal touch to your viewing experience. Additionally, smaller quality-of-life improvements are included, such as support for third-party VPN apps and upgrading Dolby Vision to version 8.1.

You can start using the tvOS 17 beta today, with the final public version set to release this fall alongside other major Apple software updates. While there are still improvements to be made, such as integrating live TV services like YouTube TV or Sling TV, Apple TV is evolving beyond being a mere Netflix box. With features like FaceTime, an enhanced Control Center, and improved Siri Remote functionality, Apple TV is becoming a more robust streaming box option. So, if you’re looking for a streaming player that can do more, tvOS 17 takes Apple TV to the next level.