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Apple TV Unveils tvOS 17, Featuring FaceTime Integration and Enhanced Functionality


Apple has released an update for its Apple TV operating system, known as tvOS 17, coinciding with the launch of iOS 17. The standout feature of this update is the introduction of FaceTime functionality for Apple TV, marking the first time this capability is available on the platform.

In the coming months, Apple TV will also support other video conferencing applications such as Zoom and Cisco's Webex through new tvOS apps.

This FaceTime feature was initially announced during Apple's developer conference in June. It harnesses the continuous camera found in iPads and iPhones, enabling these mobile devices to act as wireless webcams when paired with Apple TV 4K. This development opens doors for developers to integrate with the Continuous Camera's API, facilitating communication and entertainment apps on the big screen. For instance, Apple already utilizes the Continuous Camera for Apple Music Sing on Apple TV.

Aside from the FaceTime addition, tvOS 17 introduces several other enhancements to the TV experience. These include a redesigned Control Center, a feature for locating a misplaced remote, improved dialogue clarity, and more.

The new Control Center now offers users system status information on the home screen, such as the time and ongoing activities. It expands to provide additional details based on the user's current activity. This Control Center streamlines tasks like adjusting AirPods settings, managing home cameras, system controls, and user accounts, all accessible from the remote control. Additionally, users can activate the Apple TV Remote app within the Control Center on their iPhone to locate a lost second-generation or newer Siri Remote, with an on-screen indicator growing larger as they get closer to the remote.

Apple TV now supports the use of curated photos from personal or shared libraries as screensavers, a feature commonly found in other media players like Roku and Fire TV.

Apple has also implemented improvements in isolating dialogue from background noise and delivering it through the center channel. This enhancement enhances the listening experience when pairing Apple TV 4K with the second generation of HomePod, making it easier to discern dialogue amidst audio effects or music in movies or programs.

While many of the tvOS 17 upgrades primarily target the Apple TV 4K device, both Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD now offer extended capabilities for the virtual assistant Siri. Users can now ask general questions and receive answers, expanding the range of inquiries beyond just items visible on the TV screen.