Not only is Apple TV an excellent streaming device that offers a much better streaming experience than most standalone smart TVs, but it can also act as the brain of your smart home as an Apple HomeKit home hub. Yes, you can use a HomePod or even certain iPads as a gateway to your smart home. But if you have Apple TV 4K, this is also a great option. It's better in some ways, as you can plug in an Ethernet cable for added reliability. Soon we'll explain how to add Apple TV as a HomeKit home hub, but first a little explanation of what that actually means and why you'd want to do it.
When it comes to Google Home vs Amazon Alexa vs Apple HomeKit, they're all systems that let you control all your smart home technology in one place. Open the doors, turn on the lights, adjust the thermostat: it can all be done via Siri or a shortcut on your iPhone with Apple. But only if you're on the same network or within Bluetooth range of the HomeKit-enabled smart home tech you're trying to control. If not, nothing will happen. And that's where a HomeKit home hub comes into the picture.
It is a (usually) static device that will act as your permanent representative on your home network to relay instructions remotely. That means you can (for example), ask Siri to turn on the thermostat in your home when you leave the office, and the message will be passed on to your HomeKit home hub to take action. It's all done through your Apple ID, so it'll take a fraction longer than using your phone on the same network, but not long enough that you're likely to notice.
In addition to remote use, a HomeKit home hub is also required if you want to share access to your smart home controls with others, or if you want to automate some of your smart home functions - honestly one of the most useful features of smart home technology.
To use Apple TV as your HomeKit home hub, first make sure it's a compatible version. All versions of Apple TV 4K are supported, but if you're using a regular Apple TV, you'll need a third (2012) or fourth generation (2015) model. Keep in mind that the third-generation model has some limitations: you can't and won't share outside access to your HomeKit accessories with other users. supports video streams from cameras.
Assuming you have the compatible hardware, setting up Apple TV as a HomeKit home hub is a piece of cake and takes less than a minute. As Apple explains, your Apple TV "automatically becomes a home hub when you add it to HomeKit." Open the Settings menu on Apple TV. It's the big, black gear/gear on a silver background. Select 'Users and accounts'. Make sure your name appears under "Default User" and you're signed in to Apple iCloud with the same Apple ID you used in the Home app on your iPhone. Go back to Apple TV settings and select "AirPlay and HomeKit." Scroll down and select 'Room'. Then choose a room from the list or add a new one. And you're done! If it doesn't work as expected, Apple has a few suggestions. Make sure your Apple TV is up to date. Double check that you are signed in to iCloud as the primary Home app user. Enable iCloud Keychain and 2FA on your Apple ID. Make sure Apple TV is connected to your home WiFi network and turned on.
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