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Use the power of your voice to watch TV. That’s not just something out of Star Trek, but the promise of Siri on Apple’s fourth-generation Apple TV.

Beyond the basic commands to find your favorite TV show, you might not know how much Siri can actually do for you, including reading onscreen labels, getting more in-depth info about whatever you’re watching, navigating the various screens, and even playing music on demand.

It’s bound to get better yet, as the new tvOS beta has allowed Siri dictation in search fields and the App Store.

Here’s how to get the most out of Siri on your Apple TV.

Getting the good stuff

Press and hold to speak.
Photo: Apple
While Siri won’t talk back to you on Apple TV, it sure is helpful. To see a list of helpful commands Siri will accept, simply press the Siri button on your Apple TV remote once and it’ll list them all for you. To start talking, simply press and hold the Siri button.

You can ask Siri to help you find something to watch with its universal search, which will find TV shows and movies from any service you have installed on your Apple TV, like Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and iTunes.

Ask Siri, “What should I watch?” to get some recommendations, or get more specific with commands like “Find The Boxtrolls” or “Play Episode 3 of Season 1 of Homeland.”

“Find me some popular comedies, Siri.”
Photo: Apple

If you’re looking for a specific genre or talent, try “Show me popular comedies” or “Find Benedict Cumberbatch movies.” Got kids? Try, “Find me some TV Shows that are good for kids,” or “Show me PG-13 movies.”

You can even mix and match with commands like “Find me some funny horror movies,” “Show me independent foreign films,” or “Search for crime documentaries.”

If you request something specific, Apple TV will go right to the detail page for that video. If your request is more general or there’s more than one result, you’ll see a row of search results to choose from. You can refine your search right there, telling Siri, “Just show me the ones from this year,” or “Only the dramas,” or “Just the best ones.”

See more details with a simple swipe down.See more details with a simple swipe down.
Photo: Apple

Once you find what you’re looking for, you can click through to see the detail page, and then swipe down to view more details about your chosen video, like ratings and reviews.

Talk during the movie

So much easier with Siri.So much easier with Siri.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Your friends and family might object to you talking in the middle of a tense moment during your favorite thriller, but you can totally get Siri to help you out when watching shows or movies. You can ask Siri to “Pause this,” even though pressing the play/pause button might be faster (and quieter).

More usefully, you can do cool stuff with Siri that would take some extra effort with swipes. Try “Play from the beginning,” “Skip forward 90 seconds,” or “Jump back 10 minutes” to move around the timeline. Turn on captions or subtitles with, “Turn on closed captioning,” or “Turn on French subtitles.”

My favorite, though, has to be “What did she say?” Apple TV will skip back a few seconds and temporarily turn on captions so you can finally figure out what that mush mouth detective is revealing.

Looking for information about whatever you’re watching? Siri makes it easy with commands like “Who stars in this?” or “Who directed this?” You can even find out “What’s this rated?” and “When was this released?” instead of arguing about it or pulling out your iPhone to prove your couch-mate wrong.

Other Siri powers

Aw, poor Royals.Aw, poor Royals.
Photo: Apple

While you can swipe and click your way through all of Apple TV’s menus, Siri can help you get to where you want to be even faster. Use your voice to open or switch to any app you have installed.

Simply say things like, “Open the App Store,” “Launch HBO Now,” or even “Go to Photos.” You’ll go right to where you want to be, avoiding the Home screen and several swipes and clicks.

You can totally play music with Siri, too, if you’ve got Apple Music signed in on your Apple TV. Just ask, “Play ‘Learning to Fly’ by the Foo Fighters,” or “Play the song from Frozen,” as if you haven’t heard that ear-worm enough, yet. You can even add songs or albums to Your Music with a quick “Add ‘The Waterfall’ by My Morning Jacket to my collection,” command. Digging the groove you’ve got on already? Try “Play more like this,” or “Play the live version of this song.” Siri’s got you covered.

Even if you have questions about non-media things, Siri can take care of it. Try “Who won the Super Bowl?” “How’s the weather?” “When is sunset in Abu Dabi?” or “How’s Apple’s stock price?” Just be careful on that last one.

Regardless of whether you want to find something to watch or listen to, or just want some stock information, Siri on the Apple TV is pretty darn useful. Which Siri command is your favorite?
Source: Cult of Mac

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