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Apple TV updates rolled out at developers conference

AppleTV-4GApple has announced a number of updates for Apple TV, including enhanced Siri voice control capabilities and single sign-on for pay TV apps.

The updates were detailed at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco and came as Apple said that there are now over 6,000 apps for Apple TV including more than 1,300 video channels.

The new Siri capabilities include search that will cut across more apps, YouTube search, topic search and the ability to tune right into a greater number of live channels.

The simple sign-on feature lets customers in the US sign-in once to authenticate all their video channels from pay TV providers

“The future of TV is apps, and Siri on Apple TV has changed the way we interact with our television and these expanded features will continue to deliver viewers what they want to watch even faster,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services.

Topic search for movies will let Apple TV users ask Siri for a movie by topic or theme, while live tune-in lets viewers ask Siri to go directly to a live channel inside a supported app, for example “watch CBS News” or “watch ESPN.” From later this month YouTube search will also allow Apple TV users to navigate the Google-owned video site using Siri.

Apple TV is also now letting users control HomeKit-enabled accessories – such as smart light fittings or thermostats – using Siri. “Apple TV also allows users to control HomeKit accessories when they are away from home or use it for home automation with the Home app on their iOS device,” said the company.

The single sign-on feature for Apple TV means that once a user is signed into one network app, any other app on Apple TV from participating pay TV providers will automatically log the user into all other supported apps requiring authentication.

Separately, US pay TV operator DISH announced that it is launching its standalone over-the-top service, Sling TV, on the latest version of Apple TV device.

Delivering the best TV experience for our viewers means being on the devices people want to use — Apple TV is our most requested platform, and we’re excited to finally bring Sling TV to Apple TV today,” said Roger Lynch, CEO of Sling TV.