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Your Apple TV Gives You Remote Access to HomeKit Devices

Your Apple TV can do more than just stream movies or mirror what's on your laptop. It will also let you control connected devices inside your house when you're far from home.

That's the word from Apple, which published a support document for accessories that work with Apple's HomeKit connected device protocol. The support page largely walks you through the process of setting up HomeKit devices, but tidbits like the fact that the Apple TV can serve as a hub for smart devices helps fill out the details of how Apple's vision of a connected home will work.

MORE: Smart Home Guide

You'll need a third-generation or later Apple TV to tap into HomeKit's remote hub feature. And you'll control your devices remotely using an iOS device signed in with the same ID you're using on your Apple TV. From there, you can use the iOS device's Siri personal assistant to issue remote commands -- turning on the lights before you reach your house, say.

The Apple TV is only required for remote access. To use HomeKit from within your house, you'll just need an iOS device and a HomeKit-ready accessory.

Each accessory will have its own app, available for download from Apple's App Store, which you'll use to pair the accessory with your iPhone or iPad. Once paired, you'll be able to use Siri to control many accessories, in some cases without even unlocking your iOS device. However, Apple says that you won't be able to unlock doors using Siri -- probably a wise security decision.

One other interesting item from Apple's support document is that you'll have the ability to group some accessories together on your mobile device. Doing so lets you use a single Siri command to control multiple devices. Not every HomeKit-enabled device will have this option, though.

Companies have started to announce availability of HomeKit-ready devices this week. Another Apple support page lists accessories that work with HomeKit.

Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.