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Apple’s new TV appliance brings Siri to your living room. This article covers essential Siri commands for Apple TV 4.
The new fourth generation Apple TV is a big step forward. In addition to the new tvOS operating system and an App Store, Apple’s new streaming device offers a Siri Remote. The Siri Remote can be used to control Apple TV, find content, and look up information. Although Siri for tvOS lacks many of the features found in iOS, Apple’s digital assistant will still make your life easier.
How to Use Siri with Apple TV 4
The new Siri Remote for Apple TV 4 makes it easy to use Apple’s personal digital assistant. Two microphones are located at the top of the remote — one on the front and one on the back. This helps with noise cancellation, although Siri functions better in a quiet room. Initiating a Siri request temporarily reduces the volume on your TV. This helps Siri interpret your request. Even with these features, Siri will often misinterpret what you say. Make sure to speak slowly and enunciate. This will improve Siri’s voice recognition capabilities, but expect a fair number of requests to be misinterpreted.
The Siri button is located just below the Menu button on the remote. There’s an image of a microphone on the button. Simply hold down the button until you see a multicolored line on the bottom of your TV screen and the text “What can I help you with?”. Continue holding down the button while slowly and clearly voicing your request. You will see your spoken words appear on the screen as text. Siri will either immediately handle your request without feedback or display a message and execute the command.
Certain Siri requests will display a panel at the bottom of the screen. This panel can be dismissed by swiping one finger down on the trackpad or pressing the Menu button. You can also swipe up on certain panels, such as current weather, to obtain more detailed information. You’ll see a “^” symbol at the top of the panel if it can be expanded. This will display a full screen of information that can only be closed by pressing the Menu button.
Siri for Apple TV 4 is completely silent by default. I asked Siri why it doesn’t make sound, and it replied that “silence is golden”. It’s a snarky reply and Siri is well-known for its “wit”. The real reason is that most people don’t want to hear Siri when they are watching a video or listening to music. You can actually make Siri speak by turning on the VoiceOver feature (Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver : On). Unfortunately, this turns on VoiceOver for everything. The feature is intended to describe user interface elements for visually impaired users. Perhaps a future update will allow Siri to speak without VoiceOver.
If you are holding down the Siri button but do not see anything, the feature may be turned off. It’s possible to do this accidentally during initial setup. Maybe you turned it off because it interfered with a game, and forgot to turn it back on. You can turn Siri on by going to Settings > General > Siri : On.
Getting the Most out of Siri Dictation
Siri Dictation can be a frustrating feature. Trying to dictate an uncommon word often produces unexpected results. Sometimes you just need to spell it out, but that doesn’t always work either. For example, if I dictate “CNN”, I see “see and and” on the screen. It doesn’t matter how clearly I speak. Siri Dictation has difficulties when users attempt to spell something out.
There’s a simple workaround for this problem. Simply insert the word “capital” before each letter. Instead of saying “CNN”, say “capital C capital N capital N”. Unfortunately, if you say “lowercase” Siri will literally interpret that as the word “lowercase”. If you’re just searching for a movie or YouTube video, the “capital” workaround is adequate. (continue…)