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tvOS 18 brings 21:9 support, on-device Siri, Enhance Dialogue for TVs & AirPods - updated

10 Jun 2024 | Rasmus Larsen |

The next version of tvOS for Apple TV has been announced with new features such as on-device Siri on Apple TV, InSight for Apple TV+, 21:9 support, new screensavers, and more.
Updated June 12, 2024: The article has been updated with more details and pictures of the new features in tvOS 18. Apple has also announced that SharePlay in Apple Music is coming to Apple TV and HomePod with tvOS 18.
The new features were announced today at Apple's annual developer conference, WWDC 24. The company focused on a few key features but expect more new features once tvOS 18 shows up this fall. One of the new features is 'InSight' to let you get information on actors and music from a movie or show on Apple TV+ to begin with – much like Amazon's X-Ray. - "This fall, tvOS 18 and our services take entertainment in the home to the next level by bringing timely information to fans about their favorite characters and scenes," said Stan Ng, Apple’s vice president of Apple Watch, Audio, Health, and Home Product Marketing

Apple TV InSight

The new InSight feature for Apple TV+ content. Photo. Apple

Improved audio, offline Siri

Apple said that tvOS 18 will add on-device Siri support for Apple TV, meaning that some voice requests will be handled on the device rather than in the cloud. The Enhance Dialogue feature, which does exactly what it says, will expand from HomePod and HomePod mini to TVs, HDMI-connected speakers, receivers, AirPods and Bluetooth speakers. It is now powered by machine learning for even better voice isolation, Apple said. There is also a new Boost mode.

Apple TV InSight

Enhanced Dialogue will expand to TVs, HDMI speakers, AirPods and more. Photo. Apple

Furthermore, Apple is introducing personalized Spatial Audio for gaming, but it does not appear to work with Apple TV 4K at launch. Today, personalized Spatial Audio uses your iPhone's camera to scan your ears to create an HRTF (Head-related transfer function) for an improved spatial audio experience with headphones. It currently requires AirPods Pro, AirPods Max or AirPods 3rd Gen. There are improvements to subtitles too: - "For even more convenience, subtitles now automatically appear at just the right moments with tvOS 18, including when the language in a show or film does not match the device language, when users mute, or when they skip back while watching something."

Apple TV automatic subtitles

Here are the new 'Automatic Subtitles' options in tvOS 18. Photo: FlatpanelsHD

Support for 21:9 projectors

Apple TV will also gain native support for the 21:9 aspect ratio for use with projectors. 21:9 is even wider than 16:9 widescreen. In cinema terms it is also known as 2.37:1 or CinemaScope In theory, 21:9 format support should also benefit ultrawide monitors, although there was no specific mention of those. It is unclear exactly how it works at this time. - "tvOS 18 also brings 21:9 support for playing movies and shows on projectors, and introduces stunning new screen savers like Portraits, TV and Movies, and even Snoopy, who takes over the screen with Woodstock in a delightful animation before coming to a rest in various locations, including his doghouse," the company said. Here are some of the new screensavers:

tvOS 18

There are new screensavers in tvOS 18

tvOS 18

There are new screensavers in tvOS 18

SharePlay in Apple Music, redesigned Fitness+

Update: Apple has confirmed that SharePlay in Apple Music, after several delays, will finally find its way to Apple TV and HomePod with tvOS 18. It will also work when the music is played over Bluetooth speakers. SharePlay in Apple Music allows multiple users to control the music and collaborate on a shared playlist. Only the main user is required to have a subscription to Apple Music. Others can get started by holding their iPhone close to the main user's iPhone or by scanning a QR code with their device's camera. A small tweak in the Apple TV app is that tvOS 18 finally lets you 'Go to Movie' page from the library section. Just long-press the movie poster.

tvOS 18

You can finally 'Go to Movie' in the Apple TV app's library section. Photo: FlatpanelsHD

In addition, tvOS 18 will include many more small features and updates to existing features, including Fitness+ and FaceTime. Apple explained that FaceTime will introduce Live Captions for English in the US and Canada, so users can read what others are saying on a FaceTime call on the TV screen. Also read: AirPlay to gain Dolby Atmos support for third-party speakers Apple Fitness+ has been redesigned in tvOS 18. Updates include a personalized For You space, Explore and Library spaces, search features, and enhanced awards. updating... tvOS 18 will be available this fall for Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD.

Fitness+ Apple TV

The redesigned Fitness+ app in tvOS 18. Photo: Apple

Previous tvOS updates have added features such as a multi-user function, Dolby Atmos, HomePod integration, Spatial Audio, AirPlay 2, Apple Arcade, support for Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo controllers, picture-in-picture, VPN support, FaceTime, and Find Siri Remote. There is still no news about upgraded Apple TV hardware. The latest Apple TV 4K (3rd gen) was launched in 2022. Also read: Review: Apple TV 4K (2022)

tvOS 18

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