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Apple's tvOS is adding live channels, single sign-on, and YouTube search

Apple's tvOS is adding live channels, single sign-on, and YouTube search


No more signing in over and over again

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Apple is bringing some new features to its Apple TV set-top box, and the company outlined those updates today during its annual WWDC keynote event. First up, Eddy Cue showed off a reworked iPhone remote app that includes all the same features as the bundled Siri Remote. When you're searching for stuff to watch, Siri can now look up categories like "high school comedies from the '80s." Siri's universal search is also adding YouTube to its content sources in the upcoming tvOS update.

Apple is also fixing a major pain point with a new feature called Single Sign-on, which lets you enter login credentials just once — not over and over again like you do now — and gain access to a number of apps from the big networks (HBO, NBC, ABC, ESPN, etc.). That's always been a huge annoyance with TV apps, and it sounds like Apple might finally be rectifying the problem. Single Sign-on is coming to iOS as well, according to Cue. tvOS is also gaining a new feature called Live Tune-in, which lets you open live programming streams from certain networks (including ESPN and Disney) by just commanding Siri to put them on.

Other new tvOS features include a dark mode for those who don't like the bright app grid background, and automatic download of apps between iOS and tvOS. Download a video app or game on your iPhone, and if there's a TV version, it'll automatically be installed on the box.

Last September, Apple unveiled an all-new Apple TV, which for the first time brought the App Store to the television screen. In March, CEO Tim Cook put the tally of third-party apps at over 5,000. Roku, by comparison, says over 3,000 "channels" are available for download on its own boxes and streaming sticks. Cue said even if you just focus on video channels, the Apple TV App Store offers 1,300 options.

The most recent tvOS software update added a few nice features like folders, voice dictation (useful for entering logins and searching for apps), and support for iCloud Photo Library and Live Photos.

Developing. Check out our WWDC 2016 live blog for the latest updates and our Apple hub page for all the news!