Hands-On With tvOS 14: Picture in Picture, 4K YouTube, HomeKit and More

Apple at WWDC introduced a new version of tvOS, the software that's designed to run on the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models. tvOS updates are often more minor in scale than iOS, watchOS, and macOS updates, but tvOS 14 has some useful new features.



Apple in tvOS 13 introduced a Picture in Picture option for the ‌Apple TV‌ app that allowed TV and movie content from the app to be watched while doing other things on the ‌Apple TV‌, and in tvOS 14, that functionality is expanding.

Picture in Picture now works across tvOS, but it's worth noting that third-party apps need to implement support so apps like YouTube don't work with the feature at the current time.

AirPlay works with Picture in Picture so you can ‌AirPlay‌ video content from iOS apps like YouTube, Disney+, and more to the ‌Apple TV‌ and then watch them in windowed mode while you play a game or use a workout app.

Speaking of YouTube, the YouTube app in tvOS 14 will support 4K video streaming for the first time, allowing for higher-resolution content to be viewed. YouTube presumably needs to implement support, so the feature isn't functional as of yet. The ‌Apple TV‌ also supports sharing and viewing 4K videos taken with the iPhone.

With Audio Sharing for the AirPods, two people can connect their ‌AirPods‌ to the ‌Apple TV‌ to watch a TV show or movie without bothering the other people in the room.

tvOS 14 introduces support for multi-user gaming for Apple Arcade, so when you swap profiles, the TV will keep track of each person's levels, leaderboards, and more. Apple also added support for the Xbox Elite 2 Wireless Controller and the Xbox Adaptive Controller.

In tvOS 14, you can choose a specific screensaver group like ocean, space, or cities rather than having tvOS choose randomly, and there's a whole new HomeKit feature for the Control Center.

If you use the remote to navigate to the Control Center and tap on the Home app icon you can see your ‌HomeKit‌ accessories and access scenes. This view also includes camera feeds from ‌HomeKit‌ connected cameras, so you can watch your home security video in full screen on the TV or in Picture in Picture mode.

The ‌Apple TV‌ can even let you know when someone is at the door if you have a HomeKit-connected video doorbell, popping up the video when someone rings the bell.

tvOS 14 is available for developers and, as of today, public beta testers. It will see a few months of testing before Apple releases it to the public in the fall.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

canhaz Avatar
16 months ago

I bought an Apple TV 4th generation, and found that Siri Remote and the User Interface such a bloomin' mess, than I activated my free one-year Apple TV Plus subscription , then promptly went back to my Apple TV 3 (where the Plus subscription works without any problem) and the aluminum remote. Sorry, folks. That remote and that interface needs to be totally renovated -- I don't care how much TVos releases there are; until Apple fixes those 2 mess-takes, I'll stick with Apple TV 3.

You know what? Watching a TV show shouldn't be a complicated run-around fiasco that ends up with you throwing the remote across the room.
I much prefer the new touch remote. After a small learning curve it feels great to use. Swiping is a pleasure. Slap a silicone case on it and the ergonomics are almost perfect.

My only wish Is that it had a way to mute. Lol.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tmanto02 Avatar
16 months ago
4K YouTube. About bloody time. This went on long enough. So deceiving buying a Apple TV 4K, watching content tagged as 4K on YouTube and getting served 1080p content
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dammit Cubs Avatar
16 months ago
youtube in 4K ...finally arriving in 2020....what a time to be alive (sarcasm)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Gator5000e Avatar
16 months ago
No sign of the spattial sound for the Air Pod Pros? That is the feature I am looking forward to the most.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KooL BeAnZ Avatar
16 months ago

Some YouTube videos are starting to have AV1 option for <=1080p but for >=1440p they automatically switch to VP9. Best way to find out is turn on 'stats for nerds' in YouTube to show video and audio codecs but my guess is VP9 hardware decoding was always present on recent devices but gimped by software as is also the case with recent Intel and AMD GPU based products.
Here’s hoping iPhones & iPads get 1440p HDR 120Hz support.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gleepskip Avatar
16 months ago

Yeah i‘be looked there and checked the account (and even logged out and back in again). Nest cam shows on Home on iPadOS but not showing on tvOS despite being on the beta
Maybe there's a bug and it'll be fixed in next week's patch.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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