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tvOS 14: The new features coming in the update

At WWDC, Apple unveiled a number of announcements and features that will be coming to its Apple TV platform with tvOS 14.

We’ve listed all the new features, and TV shows, that you need be aware of. tvOS 14 is expected to arrive later in the year with a beta available ahead of final release.

tvOS 14: New features

Cindy Lin, Director of Program Management for Media Products Engineering, presented a few features that are coming to the Apple TV platform.

First is that users with a smart home set-up can access HomeKit-enabled video cameras and accessories through Siri or Control Centre. Doorbell notifications will appear on the main screen and show a live feed of whoever is at the door.

Multi-user capabilities have been expanded to include Apple Arcade and other supported games. Players can now switch between users via Control Centre, which will act as a hub where users can see game progress info, achievements, leaderboards and friends. Instant resumption means users can pick up their games right from where they left off. There’s also support for support for Xbox controllers in the Elite 2 and Adaptive controller.

YouTube will actually be able to show content in 4K (it had been 1080p before). Picture-in-Picture (PIP) support will be available across the Apple TV system. One example give during the presentation was a user watching example a fitness workout at full-size, but also having a news report PIP in the screen’s top corner. AirPlay also supports PIPis supported and videos can now be streamed at 4K.

There was also news of the Apple TV app hitting one billion devices, though in truth what it means is that the app itself is present on those devices. It does not mean there are a billion accounts. There was also confirmation that the app is (finally) coming to Sony and Vizio TVs in the summer. Presumably that means Sony TVs in the UK will get it at the same time.

There was also time for an Apple Original trailer with Isaac Asimov’s Foundation set to hit the streaming platform in 2021. Created by David Goyer, we expect it to be available in 4K HDR (Dolby Vision/Atmos), when it launches next year.

Related: New Apple TV (2020) – What we know about the Apple TV 6

tvOS 14: What we didn’t see

One of the features mooted for tvOS was Kids Mode. Perhaps the feature is still in the offing, but what we know about it is that owners can set up an account for their kids and control access to apps, much like Sky Q Kids Mode.

Also expected, but not mentioned, was Screen Time. It calculates the amount of time spent using the device and is thought to feature in the upcoming tvOS update.

We also didn’t get to see a new Apple TV. It’s believed that the Apple TV 6 will have an A12X chip, which would emphasise the hardware’s gaming ambitions. There are reports that the new Apple TV box will come in 64GB and 128GB configurations, and we imagine that if it is meant to launch in 2020, it’ll do so alongside tvOS 14 later in the year.

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