With TV apps having gained mainstream traction, Apple’s marketing machine appropriately positions Apple TV 4 as “The Future of Television”. Its upcoming TV app gives you access to shows and movies from multiple video apps — via one unified portal. It shows you what to watch next and offers recommendations attuned to your viewing preferences. And, with Apple TV 4 Siri Remote, you can control everything with your voice, including your HomeKit-enabled home – even without the new TV app.
To enable remote access to your HomeKit-enabled accessories, you need an Apple TV 4 or older Apple TV 3. However, bear in mind that the latter only offers remote access, does not support automation, and won’t see any further development by Apple. Furthermore, from our experience, Apple TV 3 offers a much lower Bluetooth range compared to its fourth-generation counterpart.
To use Apple TV 4 as a home hub, it must be registered with iCloud using the same Apple ID as your other iOS devices, and it must be connected to your wireless router (via WiFi or Ethernet cable). Apple also requires two-factor authentication to be enabled, as well as iCloud Keychain. To check if your setup is working, choose Apple TV 4 Settings > Accounts > iCloud – your Apple TV 4 should display the HomeKit connection. Start the Home app on your iOS device, tap the arrow icon in the upper left corner – you should see your connected Apple TV 4 in Home Hubs. More information on how to setup an Apple TV 4 or iPad as a Home Hub here.
To effectively utilize automation using rules and timers, Apple TV 4 is the best solution. The older Apple TV 3 does not offer this functionality. The only alternative to using Apple TV 4 is a stationary iPad with iOS 10 as a home hub – more on that later.
Apple TV 4 is always powered and connected to your local network. When you set timers or rules on your iOS device, they are synchronized with Apple TV 4 and locally executed. So even if you’re on the road – with or without an active Internet connection – your automation rules and timers will remain active.
With Apple TV 4 you can set and manage permissions for guests in your home. This works via the Apple Home app on your iPhone or iPad. Open the Home app and tap the arrow icon at the top left. Then tap the person whose access rights you want to edit. With Allow Remote Access, you define whether your guest can see and control your devices locally or from any location (remote). With Allow Editing, you significantly extend guest rights by granting the ability to add or remove HomeKit-enabled accessories, create or delete scenes, and invite or delete other guests.
Using Siri On Your TV
With Siri Remote, all residents or visitors can easily control your home, or simply query accessory values, via your television equipped with Apple TV 4 and Siri. That means tasks like turning up the heater, checking the outdoor temperature, and dimming the lights can be done without leaving the couch or using an iOS device.
More Than One Apple TV 4
With more than one Apple TV 4 installed – all registered with the same Apple ID on iCloud – the benefits are amplified because they communicate with each other. For example, if you’ve installed an Apple TV 4 on the ground floor, and another on the first floor, they will communicate with Bluetooth LE-enabled Eve accessories on both floors, and sync all information accordingly. In other words, multiple Apple TVs automatically serve as range extenders.
Apple TV 4 vs. iPad Home Hub
Apple TV 4 is not exactly cheap if you intend to use it only for HomeKit. However, if you already own an iPad with iOS 10 (registered with the same Apple-ID on iCloud), you can employ it as a substitute to Apple TV 4 to establish remote access and automation. To do so on your iPad, go to Settings > Home and activate Use this iPad as a Home Hub. Just remember that your iPad must remain at home, always powered, and connected to your WLAN. If either of these requirements are not met, this setup will not work. By contrast, Apple TV 4 always remains on location and powered, plus it ensures superior Bluetooth LE range. That said, we recommend Apple TV 4 for remote access and automation.