Add video camera notifications to your Apple TV

Cupertino, August 9, 2021

With the latest update from Apple to iOS15 or your iPhone, it's easy to forget the improvements made to other devices in the Apple ecosystem, such as tvOS for example, especially regarding HomeKit. An addition to Apple TV is the ability to not only get a picture-in-picture notification from your HomeKit-enabled video doorbell but now yours too HomeKit cameras at! This is especially useful for outdoor cameras, where you might be watching TV and not have your iPhone to hand, but still want to be notified if someone is lurking in your yard, for example. In my case, it's helpful to keep an eye on our 1-year-old dog Bubble...

It's easy enough to set up if you follow these steps, but if you have a lot of cameras like me, you might want to think about which cameras you want to get notifications on to avoid a flood of notifications when you're watching your favorite show. or trying to watch a movie.

The following instructions are based on the assumption that you have an Apple TV HD or 4K that can run tvOS15 and that you have updated to the latest firmware.

  • Go to the settings section of your Apple TV and select AirPlay and HomeKit
  • From there, scroll down to the HomeKit subsection and select Cameras & Doorbells
  • Choose the camera(s) to display on Apple TV, both for display and motion alerts
  • For each camera, select whether you want to receive notifications and what kind of detection is reported
  • If you select: When specific motion is detected, you have the choice to activate up to four different options - People, animals, Vehicles, or Packages (NEW ONES)
  • Once you're all set, you'll receive notifications on your Apple TV via a Photo in photo (PiP) pop-up screen
  • If you happen to have HomeKit-enabled cameras that don't have the capability for HomeKit Secure Video (HSV) functionality, then most likely you can only Activity Notifications on or off. You can see this in the Residence Iota cam and the D-Link Omna 180 camera in the screenshot above.
  • If you have an HSV compatible camera, but it is not set to the Allow streaming and recording option in HomeKit, you will see this warning. You can still see the live stream, but you won't get any notifications.
  • If you receive a lot of notifications at a certain time when you don't need them, from the full screen view of the specific camera you can Snooze activity icon
  • A screen will appear with three snooze options: snooze for 15 minutes, snooze for an hour, snooze until tomorrow.
  • When viewing a live stream from one of your cameras, whether it's recording or not, you'll see two separate icons, one for devices related to (but not limited to) the room the camera is in, and a others to view all your cameras in a grid format.
  • The device icon, once pressed, shows the devices relevant to the room the camera is in, as well as devices you deem relevant via the Home app.
  • From here you have basic controls - on/off for the most part, so you get no control over lights with dimming and color capabilities other than on or off.
  • In addition to cameras and doorbells, certain devices can also report their status, such as door locks. You can see in the corner of the screen that my Nuki Lock 2 is unlocked.

There's probably a little more to explore with tvOS15, but this is an addition that was most welcome - if only to keep an eye on a mischievous dog...

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