Exploring what you can, and can't do with HomeKit for TVs

Cupertino, September 15, 2019
HomeKit and AirPlay 2 will unlock a host of new features through the integration into TVs of many manufacturers including Samsung, Vizio and LG. AppleInsider examines what it will look like and what you can do when features are available.

The most important news of the CES 2019 has undoubtedly been Apple's surprise at the television sector: four major manufacturers have announced the integration of key features of Apple into their devices. LG, Vizio, Sony and Samsung have all announced support for AirPlay 2 and Siri on some recent TVs, while the all-new introduced HomeKit support.

Immediately after the announcement of the news, social media raged among potential customers who were evaluating the purchase of a new model - even before reliable information is available on what HomeKit can or can not do. While waiting for the software updates and the release of the promised new models, let's talk about it.

A new category is introduced

TVs are now an entirely new category in HomeKit, which means that they are not displayed only as a speaker or Apple TV. They have their own properties and features exposed to HomeKit.

The speakers, for example, you can simply go up / down as well as play / pause. Alternatively, TVs have many more options in HomeKit.

For starters, you can turn your TV on or off or adjust the volume, allowing you to interact with HomeKit, including Siri. Input switching, brightness control, and image mode or media status adjustment are also possible with HomeKit. This opens up a lot more, especially if can be integrated into scenes.

To go even further, the normal remote functions can be realized via HomeKit with a key simulation. Therefore, if there is something that the TV must do in a unique way, it is possible to expose these keys for use, eliminating the need to always enter the manufacturer's remote control.

This is possible with the Apple TV now, to a certain extent. Transmission of HDMI-CEC information to a compatible TV via an HDMI cable is limited, but implementation is uneven.

Integration in the scenes

As mentioned earlier, only speakers can have their volume and condition controlled media via HomeKit. They can not be embedded in scenes like other props. This is very limiting for users and at the top of our wish list for June.

TVs, on the other hand, have many more properties that might make more sense in the scenes - but, for the moment, specific information about what can be done is limited, and even CES providers do not. did not speak.

But for now, your bedtime scene only turns off the lights, locks the doors, close the garage, close the blinds and lower the temperature. It should be able to do all this in addition to turning off your TV without having to use a HomeKit plug.

Maybe a "filmed" scene will dim the lights and turn on the TV. A scene in "night mode" can turn on the TV and adjust the volume on a decibel less agitated out of respect for others. "Game time" can turn on the TV, set a cold color backlight with Hue Play, increase the volume and switch the input on your PS4.

Unavoidable limitations

Of course, there will be limits to what you can do. The most important thing is that it will not replace Apple TV. The implementation of Samsung does not get the HomeKit, but the movies and the iTunes TV store. In addition, the Vizio and LG versions do not have iTunes and are limited to AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. The full experience of tvOS and all that that entails remain exclusive to Apple TV.

The new TVs will not act as Home Hub either. For that, you always need an Apple TV, a connected iPad or a HomePod. Having a home hub gives secure external access to all HomeKit accessories such as lights or locks.

Start playing

These new TVs and updates will be available soon in a variety of sizes and prices. If you are in the market, it would be good to take them into account, whether you already have an Apple TV or not. And, it's worth seeing what can be found after Vizio's renovation, as the company will deploy support for some support models starting in 2016.

Apple has compiled a list on its website to see which models can get the update and which new ones are about to arrive.

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