As you might expect, Siri is a key Apple TV feature, and a great way of commanding your entertainment. As well as watching movies, TV shows and playing games, the Apple TV is a major part of Apple HomeKitâs smart home plans, and as such, Siri plays a leading role.
However, itâs a vastly different beast than the Siri you might be used to on your iPhone, or indeed the Apple HomePod. Letâs take a look at the Apple TV and see what it's capable of.
What is the Apple TV 4K and what can it do?
The Apple TV 4K is a fantastic piece of smart home kit. Not only is it a gateway to perhaps the biggest selection of 4K content going â with support for Ultra HD streams and downloads via Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video and more â itâs also an Apple HomeKit hub.
Read this: Best Apple TV apps
Because itâs âalways-onâ, it can be used as a way for Apple HomeKit compatible devices to connect within your home, and lets you access things like smart home cameras, plugs and thermostats remotely.
How do I use Siri on Apple TV 4K?
Siri gives the TV an extra edge. But unlike your iPhone, HomePod or Mac, you canât have Siri wake on they classic "Hey Siri" command. You need to use the built-in remote, which is your gateway to Siri.
To access Siri you have to press and hold the microphone button on the remote and start speaking. The upside is you donât have to say Hey Siri like a complete dork every time you want to adjust the volume, and you can bark your command straight away. You can use Siri at any time, but there are some nuances as to what kind of result you will get.
Essential reading: Apple TV 4K guide
Another difference is that Siri won't talk back to you on Apple TV, so this will limit the type of response you receive. This is because Apple doesn't want to disturb your peaceful TV watching by having Siri gabber away through your home audio system, and that might be a good call. If you ask for the weather, or a similar Alexa-style command, the data feedback will be a brief, on-screen alert. This means you donât always get the detail you might expect.
What can Siri do on Apple TV?
Siri on Apple TV is pretty capable, but the main thing youâll want to use it for is searching your library. And where Siri has improved hugely on the fourth generation Apple TV is that it can now extend its reach into third party services.
That means the App Store and iTunes are all Siri enabled, as well as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and more. We were actually impressed with how powerful Siri is on Apple TV â itâs just a question of knowing what to ask for.
Searching for straight content without any qualifiers means youâll take a bit of a gamble at where you might end up. Siri is pretty good at knowing that if you want to watch Mum, youâll want to do that on iPlayer because it's free. Likewise, if youâve watched Mum on iPlayer before, it will skip you straight there and start playing automatically.
Ambient guide: Apple TV tips and tricks
Things get a bit convoluted if you want to watch the first ever episode of Mum, because that means going to iTunes TV Shows store as that season isn't on-demand. Thatâs where you will want to start qualifying your voice searches with extra information.
We found Siri became much more powerful when you gave it a bit of extra data. Ask to "watch KEXP on YouTube" or "watch 4K TV on Netflix" and you generally end up in the right place. Be as specific as you can. Generally, we knew where we wanted to end up, so making our searches more specific meant we ended up happier TV watchers.
Essential Siri Apple TV commands to try out
Movies and TV (iTunes)
- "I want to watch [movie or TV show].â
- âFind [movie or TV show].â
- âShow me some [funny horror] movies.â
- âFind new movies in 4K.â
- âWhat are some popular new releases?â
Music and movie playback commands
- âFast forward two minutes.â
- âWhat did he say?â [scrubs back a few seconds]
- âTurn on subtitles.â
- âMay the Force be with youâ [try other movie quotes too]
- âWho stars in this?â
App Store commands
- âFind games.â
- âShow me most popular apps.â
- âFind apps for kids.â
- âShow me movies on Netflix.â
- âShow me TV shows on Netflix.â
- âI want to watch 4K movies on Netflix.â
- âSearch YouTube [video].â
- âFind [genre] videos on YouTube.â
- âPlay [YouTube channel] on YouTube.â
General Siri commands
- âWhatâs the weather like today?â
- âWhat time is it in New York?â
- âWhat is the meaning of life?â
Smart home commands
- âSet heating to 20 degrees.â
- âTurn living room lights on.â
- âTurn Christmas tree lights on.â