Apple tvOS Gets Single Sign-On and a Siri Remote App for iPhone

Updated

At Apple’s WWDC 2016 keynote, the company announced several new updates to tvOS that will further streamline your TV-watching experience. It's bringing the Siri-controlled remote to the iPhone and expanding the number of streaming services that connect to it. Plus, you'll only have to authenticate your cable provider once, instead of each time you sign onto a new service.

iPhone owners will no longer need to invest in a physical Siri Remote for $79. All the functionality will now be available via an iOS app. That includes voice search, touch controls and motion controls for playing games. But you'll have to wait till the fall for the update to be released.

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Perhaps the most exciting, new service coming to Apple TV is Sling. Sling offers live streaming of TV shows as they broadcast for $20 a month. That includes live sports, which is great for cord cutters. Apple TV features some channels that offer live TV as well, including ABC, CBS, FX, ESPN and Disney, but you have to sign on through your cable provider.

Signing on to each app and then verifying you have cable is a pain, and one that Apple is eliminating in this update. Now with single sign-on you'll sign into Time Warner or Cox or whatever your provider is, one time and it will give you access to all those channels that are available through Apple TV.

That will now also include FoxSports Go, NBA 2K and Minecraft story mode. Plus, there's a new game called Sketch that uses your iPad as a pictionary-like board that streams to the TV for a full-family guessing game. All told, Apple TV will now support 1,300 video channels. 

With the new app and the updated remote, you can now search through 650,000 TV shows and movies, as well as search YouTube for videos using the voice-controlled search feature. The update also allows you to search by genre or category, using phrases such as “search for high school comedies from the 80s,” along with follow-up questions to pare down your search, like “just the ones with Molly Ringwald.”

Siri for tvOS will also let you tune into live TV channels with a simple voice command, such as “watch ESPN 2.” Hopefully the new-and-improved Siri will be just as smart, accurate and keen to respond as Apple promises.