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.