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Dictation support is an excellent new feature on Apple TV

Dictation support is an excellent new feature on Apple TV

Connected Theater
February 9, 2016

It seems that Apple is continuing to listen to our loud complaints about the tvOS keyboard, as well as navigating the App Store. In the latest beta of tvOS 9.2, which is now on its third iteration, Cupertino has added dictation support to supplement your use of the keyboard in the media content stores and places that require you to enter your username or password. It’s worth noting that dictation depends on Siri, so it’s only available in countries where the virtual assistant is enabled.

Turning on dictation

When the new version comes out, assuming Apple keeps the dictation support, you should be prompted to enable the service. If you miss that, though, you can go to Settings > General, and find an option for dictation right beneath Siri’s toggle.

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Dictate your account information

Instead of navigating the on-screen keyboard, the tvOS beta offers you one more way to enter your login information. You can dictate your username and password, one character at a time, which makes logging in much easier. The service works well for me, but you do have to speak slowly and clearly to avoid mixing up like-sounding letters such as “f” and “s.”

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Search for app categories right from your Home screen

The next way Siri has improved is for finding apps from the Home screen. If you want to do a quick search for games or any other category from the tvOS App Store, you can just tell Siri and she will show you a selection of apps from that particular group.

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Searching gets easier

This is perhaps the most useful addition, since we still can’t search iTunes for Apple TV-specific titles. From any of the search menus on your set-top box, whether it’s for apps, movies, music, or television shows, you can now use dictation to find particular content. It isn’t perfect yet, as I found when I tried searching for AppAdvice’s latest app, TechTube, and Siri totally misunderstood what I was looking for. It’s definitely a step in the right direction, though.

Screenshot 2016-02-09 11.05.09

While it’s always possible dictation support could be removed from the final tvOS 9.2 release, I highly doubt it. This is an important new feature for the fourth-generation Apple TV, since it makes searching for new content even easier.

For more news on the new features Cupertino is adding into the upcoming version of tvOS, be sure to read Check out iCloud Photo Library support in the Apple TV beta and Next Apple TV update: stuff we should have had to begin with.

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