Your Apple TV can now make FaceTime calls and play karaoke – if you update to tvOS 17

Apple tvOS 17
(Image credit: Apple)

Your Apple TV is getting more personal. The promised tvOS 17 update is finally dropping on Apple TVs and brings with it changes that include FaceTime integration and karaoke.

Apple unveiled the update in June at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), and tvOS 17 is a significant update that brings a host of new features and functionalities to your Apple TV 4K (and Apple TV HD). 

This latest iteration is packed with improvements, such as the aforementioned FaceTime on Apple TV, new screen saver Memories, an updated Control Room, and useful audio updates. These additions have the potential to transform how we use our Apple TV.

FaceTime on the Big Screen

One of the most eagerly anticipated features of tvOS 17 is the addition of FaceTime. Now, you can enjoy video calls on your TV screen, making family conversations, video meetings, and group chats more immersive than ever. 

You'll still need your best iPhone to enjoy this feature, though. FaceTime on AppleTV uses your iPhone as a Webcam but instead of viewing your friends and family on that handset's relatively small screen, you'll be looking at the largest screen in your house, the 4K (or HDTV) connected to your Apple TV.

When it comes to group calls, Apple's Center Stage technology ensures that everyone stays in the frame, even if they move around.

But that's not all; you can also multitask while on a FaceTime call. The addition of SharePlay allows you to watch shows, movies, or sports events while chatting with friends and family. Plus, the future looks promising, with Webex and Cisco planning to launch their own versions of video calling on the platform later this year.

Audio updates

If you're a fan of high-quality audio, you'll be happy to hear that tvOS 17 now allows you to use your second-generation HomePod to help separate dialogue on your best streaming shows and movies. This enhancement promises to provide a more immersive and dynamic audio experience.

The new update also brings Dolby 8.1 compatibility to your Apple TV. This feature may be a game-changer for anyone who values superior sound quality while watching their favorite shows or movies.

Convenience and Personalization

Apple didn't just focus on audio and video features. You can now locate your Siri remote using your phone, ensuring that you never have to play a game of hide and seek with your remote again. The new Apple TV Control Center offers more personalized content based on user profiles, allowing every family member to have a unique Apple TV experience.

Entertainment center

For those who love to belt out their favorite tunes, Apple has introduced "Apple Music Sing" as part of tvOS 17. This feature turns your living room into a karaoke stage, allowing you to sing along with your favorite songs and, if you use Continuity Camera (which uses your iPhone as a webcam), even record your performances.

The iOS17 update started rolling out to Apple TV streaming boxes this week. If you don't see it, navigate to your Apple TV settings and check for updates.

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Cody Hmelar
Freelance contributor

Cody Hmelar is a radio and photojournalist working in broadcast engineering. Hailing from the heart of Silicon Valley, he explores the intersection of technology with human interest.