Apple Releases tvOS 15.1 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K With SharePlay Support

Apple today released tvOS 15.1, the first major update to the tvOS operating system that launched in September 2021.

Apple TV tvOS 15
tvOS 15.1 can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌‌‌Apple TV‌‌‌‌ owners who have automatic software updates enabled will be upgraded to tvOS 15.1 automatically.

Apple's tvOS updates are typically minor in scale, focusing on under-the-hood bug fixes, performance updates, and small tweaks rather than major outward-facing changes, but today's update adds support for SharePlay.

With support for SharePlay, content from the ‌Apple TV‌ app can be watched over FaceTime with friends and family members. Content is synced across the devices of all participants so you can watch TV and movies right alongside others, discussing it as you go.

There are shared controls for playing content, pausing, rewinding, and fast forwarding, and there's a smart volume that automatically lowers the audio of a movie, TV show, or song when someone speaks.

Apple does not provide detailed release notes for its tvOS updates, but it does offer some tvOS details through its tvOS support document.

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Top Rated Comments

Ghost31 Avatar
36 months ago
One of these days….or years…we’ll get an update with an actual list of improvements for the Apple TV. With new features! Can you imagine?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Velin Avatar
36 months ago
Eh, I love Apple TV. Just picked up the 64GB 2021 Apple TV 4k. It's amazing, remote is fantastic, images are stellar. Makes it so easy to stream. Light years better than the crap installed on television sets.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sjsharksfan12 Avatar
36 months ago

One of these days….or years…we’ll get an update with an actual list of improvements for the Apple TV. With new features! Can you imagine?
I look forward to that day. Of all the products from apple I have, I feel like Apple TV always get the short shrift and it could be a whole lot better. Just basic stuff like:

1. Making the app icons smaller so more can fit on top
2. Having a lists of apps you can update in the app store so they do not update automatically (Like on IOS)
3. Forcing apps (Big companies) to be specific on their app updates (I'm looking at you MLB)
4. Improving the app switcher when you have video. I still force close each app out of habit
5. This is a pipe dream, but the NHL allowing people to purchase their network so I can watch NHL Network Hockey games.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nutmac Avatar
36 months ago

120Hz mode? EH'HEM. HELLO? APPLE? My last piece of gear holding out "F'n up" my otherwise blissful home theater setup.
According to iFixit tear down of Apple TV 4K 2021 ('') (step 7 comments):

Incidentally, this device and the previous Apple TV 4K both use the Megachips MCDP2920 (not the MCDP2900). I’m not aware of any publicly available datasheets for the MCDP2920, but it is almost certainly a similar DisplayPort 1.4 to HDMI 2.0b protocol converter with HDCP 2.2 repeater. The DisplayPort output of the A12 is routed to the MCDP2920 and the Sil9437 sits on HDMI pins 14 and 19 to perform ARC/eARC duties.

The LC89091JA digital audio interface receiver is almost certainly part of the ARC/eARC chain as well. And if I had to guess, the iCE5LP4K FPGA is on IR receive/CEC duties.

The only stated differences in video playback capabilities between the 1st and 2nd generation Apple TV 4K models are explicit support for HLG and 60 fps HDR playback at up to 3840 x 2160 resolution, which are likely enabled by the improved video codecs present in the newer A12 SoC. However, the continued use of the MCDP2920 means 4:2:2 chroma subsampling is still required for 4K HDR output at 60 fps.
In layman's terms, while Apple TV 4K 2021 has an HDMI 2.1 port, one of the chips driving it are not. Specifically, audio is processed by new LC89091JA digital audio interface receiver and SiL9437CNUC audio return channel receiver/transmitter. They are probably responsible for the eARC feature.

But the video is still processed by the same MCDP2920A4 DisplayPort 1.4 to HDMI 2.0 converter from Apple TV 4K 2017. A12 is likely doing the extra duty to make 4:2:2 chroma sampling and HFR HDR.

It would fantastic if A12 can also minimally enable VRR and QMS, eliminating the frame rate switching lag (match frame rate) and for improving the gaming experience. But I am not sure whether that is possible.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)