Apple’s tvOS 17 brings FaceTime to Apple TV 4K for the first time

Jun 6, 2023, 5:31 AM UTC
5 mins read
Apple's tvOS 17 brings FaceTime to Apple TV 4K for the first time
(Image credit: Apple)

In an exciting announcement today, Apple revealed the highly anticipated tvOS 17 update, packed with innovative features that promise to revolutionize the home entertainment experience. The update introduces FaceTime to the Apple TV 4K, boasts a new and improved Control Center, and offers a convenient way to locate a misplaced Siri Remote using an iPhone. This comprehensive upgrade showcases Apple’s commitment to enhancing user interaction and elevating the television viewing experience to new heights.

One of the standout features of tvOS 17 is the addition of FaceTime to the Apple TV 4K. Users can now initiate video calls directly from their television sets, leveraging the power of Apple’s Continuity Camera support. FaceTime on Apple TV enables seamless wireless connectivity with an iPhone or iPad, utilizing the devices’ camera and microphone to bring participants together on the big screen. Center Stage, a popular feature introduced earlier, ensures that all participants remain perfectly framed on the screen, even as they move around the room. Furthermore, users can now generate onscreen effects, such as hearts or fireworks, using simple hand gestures during FaceTime calls, adding a touch of interactivity to their conversations.

The new Control Center in tvOS 17 provides users with quick access to essential system information, including the time and active profile. Based on a user’s personal activity, the Control Center expands to display additional helpful details, enhancing the overall user experience. One notable feature allows users to launch the Apple TV remote directly from Control Center on their iPhones. This functionality proves especially useful when trying to locate a misplaced Siri Remote. As users move closer to the remote, an onscreen circle grows in size, guiding them in the right direction.

Apple recognizes the importance of collaboration and aims to transform the Apple TV into a powerful video conferencing hub. In addition to FaceTime, popular video conferencing apps like Webex by Cisco and Zoom are set to launch on tvOS later this year. This integration will allow users to leverage the communication capabilities of these platforms directly from their Apple TV 4K. With the introduction of Split View, users can now enjoy watching shows or movies together during a SharePlay session while simultaneously engaging in a FaceTime call.

Entertainment enthusiasts will be thrilled to know that tvOS 17 brings a host of other enhancements. Screen savers now offer curated Memories, displaying content from personal or shared libraries. In addition, the collection of aerial screen savers has expanded to include stunning new locations such as Arizona’s Monument Valley and California’s coastal redwoods. Furthermore, the Enhance Dialogue feature ensures that users can clearly hear dialogues over background effects, action, or music, guaranteeing an immersive viewing experience. Dolby Vision 8.1 support takes visual quality to new heights, offering Apple TV 4K users a truly cinematic experience with dynamic metadata.

Apple’s commitment to fitness and well-being shines through with notable enhancements to Apple Fitness+. Custom Plans provide users with personalized workout and meditation schedules based on their preferences. Stacks enable users to seamlessly queue multiple workouts or meditations, maximizing their fitness routines. Additionally, Audio Focus empowers users to prioritize either the trainers’ voices or the background music, tailoring their fitness experience to their preferences.

Recognizing the importance of privacy and security, Apple has introduced third-party VPN support, allowing developers to create VPN apps specifically designed for Apple TV. This new functionality further enhances the security of users’ connections while expanding their browsing options on the platform.

Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, expressed his enthusiasm for the tvOS 17 update, stating, “tvOS 17 transforms the biggest screen in the home with FaceTime and new video conferencing capabilities, giving Apple TV 4K users the ability to easily connect with anyone right from their living room. New features and enhancements make Apple TV simpler to use and even more enjoyable, reinforcing it as the absolute best option in the living room for Apple customers.”

The tvOS 17 developer beta is now available for Apple Developer Program members, while a public beta program is set to launch next month, granting Apple TV users the opportunity to experience the latest features firsthand. With its groundbreaking advancements and commitment to user satisfaction, tvOS 17 firmly establishes Apple TV as the ultimate home entertainment solution, merging cutting-edge technology with seamless connectivity and exceptional user experience.

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