With tvOS 11 Apple is bringing its ‘TV’ apps to more regions. The new operating system will also introduce a list of other features but we will have to wait a little longer for Airplay 2 to be fully implemented.
Updated 19.9.2017: This article was published on September 13, but has been updated to reflect that tvOS 11 is now available to download.
tvOS 11 for Apple TV
tvOS has reached the third major version but it follows the iOS version number, which is why it is called tvOS 11. The latest version will be available for the Apple TV4 (2015) and Apple TV 4K (2017).
The ’TV’ app (see below) is expanding to Australia and Canada this month, and France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and the UK later this year. Live sports and news, in other words live broadcast, is coming to the TV app later this year. With tvOS, Siri has also learned some new tricks that will help you find 4K HDR content.
New tvOS 11 features: Airplay 2 HEVC Airpods auto-pairing Home Screen Sync Dark/light auto switch New ’Computers’ app Metal 2 New screensavers More GB for games Notifications
Airplay 2 is one of the major new features in tvOS 11. The updated protocol for wireless audio in the home will support multiroom sound and integration with HomeKit but you will have to wait a little longer for the full potential to be unlocked. Apple appears to have major plans for its wireless audio platform that will be fully rolled out with the HomePod speaker this December.
In addition, tvOS 11 includes some minor features such as Airpods auto-pairing, Home Screen sync, automatic switching between dark and light themes, a refreshed 'Computer' app, new screensavers in 4K HDR quality, notifications, and more.
It is also worth pointing out that the 2015 Apple TV will gain the ability to decode content in HEVC format. HEVC is a more effective video compression technology that can reduce the file size of a video without compromising picture quality. All iPhones running iOS 11 will record video in HEVC.
References to a third HDR format, HLG or Hybrid Log Gamma, have been discovered in the tvOS 11 software. HLG is used to enable HDR on live broadcast or streaming content. However, HLG requires HDMI 2.0b. Apple TV 4K will launch with HDMI 2.0a but it should be possible to firmware update the HDMI controller at a later date.
Gamers can look forward to more advanced games when Apple increases the install package limit from 200MB to 4GB. After initial install, games can download up to 24GB of data in the background while you are gaming. Last year, the company also reversed its decision to require that all games must work with the remote. Games can, in other words, require a game controller.
tvOS 11 can be downloaded for free starting from September 19 now. It is compatible with the Apple TV4 and Apple TV 4K.