Understanding the Functionality of Apple HomeKit TVs

Cupertino, December 3, 2023

If you've been looking into purchasing a TV recently, you may have seen mentions of smart home capabilities. While the Alexa and Google Assistant integration is self-explanatory, Apple's HomeKit is different because it doesn't add Siri directly to your big screen. MUO VIDEO OF THE DAY SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT So what does HomeKit actually bring to the table for smart TVs? And how does HomeKit integration compare to an Apple TV set-top box? Our guide to HomeKit TVs answers these questions and more.

What are HomeKit TVs? Image credit: Roku Like HomeKit accessories, Apple doesn't produce HomeKit TVs. Instead, HomeKit TVs are available from a host of TV partners, including Sony, Vizio, Amazon, LG, TCL, Toshiba, Philips, Samsung, Onn, and Hisense, to name a few. Apple offers HomeKit as a software integration, so HomeKit TVs look and work like an average smart TV. HomeKit TVs depend on the vendor's operating system, so in most cases the only differences you'll see are additional options that enable HomeKit and AirPlay 2 functionality in a settings menu. It is important to note that a HomeKit TV acts as a smart home accessory and not as a controller device for other HomeKit devices. Likewise, HomeKit TVs don't function as an Apple Home Hub. However, connecting your TV to HomeKit gives you access to Home app integration, Siri voice commands, and iOS Remote app control.

What can a HomeKit TV do? With your TV in the Home app, you can access basic remote control functions in line with your HomeKit accessories. With just a few taps, you can turn your TV's power on and off and switch inputs right from your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch or Mac. Additional remotes for HomeKit TVs are also available in Control Center on iOS and iPadOS. Using the Remote app in Control Center, you can navigate your TV with an on-screen directional pad, control volume with the side buttons on your device, pause playback, and turn the power on and off. You can also create HomeKit scenes in the Apple Home app that come with your HomeKit TV. For example, with one tap you can create a scene where your blinds close, your lights dim, and your TV is set to the right input for movie night. Of course, you can also put your HomeKit TV to good use with automation. With the right settings, your TV can greet you when you come home or turn off at specific times each evening, so you never have to wonder if you left it on. Finally, even though you can't say "Hey Siri" directly to your TV, you can still control your big screen with Apple's voice assistant through other devices. If you have a HomePod, iPhone, or iPad in the room, you can tell Siri to turn on the TV, pause a show, or mute a loud scene in a movie.

How does a HomeKit TV compare to an Apple TV? Image credit: Apple While Apple's iPhone, iPad, and Mac product lines are relatively simple, things can get confusing when it comes to the living room. In addition to offering HomeKit functionality to third-party vendors, Apple also sells its own media streaming box: the Apple TV. As you'd expect, Apple's set-top box benefits from deeper integration with other Apple products and software. These benefits include Apple Home Hub functionality, the ability to control HomeKit accessories, and the ability to view your HomeKit cameras and doorbells on Apple TV. The Apple TV also offers limited Home app control and works with the Remote app in Control Center on iOS. However, unlike HomeKit TVs, the Apple TV doesn't work with HomeKit scenes and automation, and controlling TV functions like volume isn't always available through the Remote app.

How do I add a TV to HomeKit? Adding a TV to HomeKit is quick and easy, as it follows the same pairing process as described in our guide, 'Add a smart home product to Apple HomeKit'. If you have a Roku TV, you can also check out our guide on adding a Roku smart TV to Apple HomeKit. If you don't have a Roku TV, look for an Apple HomeKit and AirPlay setting on your TV and follow the prompts to get your HomeKit pairing code. Now open the Home app on your iPhone or iPad and scan the code to begin the installation. After scanning your HomeKit code with the Home app, assign your TV to a room, name it, and label your inputs. Once complete, your TV will be available in the Home app for remotes, scenes and automation. During the setup process, your TV is also automatically added to the Remote app in iOS Control Center. HomeKit makes it easy to control your Smart TV HomeKit-enabled TVs let you quickly and easily add your big screen to your Apple Smart Home. HomeKit TVs also offer plenty of automation options, convenient remote controls, and Siri voice commands, so you can start your next binge session without having to navigate through your TV's built-in menus.

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