Apple apes a major Amazon Prime Video feature in tvOS 18

The rear of Apple TV 4K.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

WWDC 2024 was all about improving platforms and software within the Apple ecosystem, and that continued into Apple TV, with the best streaming hardware you can buy getting a few minutes of face time. And the improvements are not only just targeted to Apple TV hardware (which includes Apple TV 4K) but also integrating with other Apple hardware and features.

“We design our Home products to elevate users’ everyday lives, and our latest updates reinforce that goal by delivering even more convenience and connection,” Stan Ng, Apple’s vice president of Apple Watch, Audio, Health, and Home Product Marketing, said in a press release announcing the new features. “This fall, tvOS 18 and our services take entertainment in the home to the next level by bringing timely information to fans about their favorite characters and scenes.”

We’ve long been fans of the screensavers in tvOS. And they’ll get even better in tvOS 18. How you choose screensavers has been revamped, growing beyond mere menu listings buried in the settings. And there will be entire new categories of screensavers, including Portraits, TV and Movies — and Snoopy from the Peanuts cartoon is getting some major love.

For those who have their Apple TV attached to a projector, the platform will support 21:9 aspect ratios, for extra-wide viewing without letterboxing.

The InSight feature on Apple TV.
The InSight feature on Apple TV+ looks a lot like Amazon’s X-Ray feature. Apple

The Apple TV app in tvOS 18 also is getting a major feature that until now has been one only found on Amazon Prime Video. InSight will show you information about actors, characters, and music for Apple TV+ movies and shows. It’ll be available on your TV screen, or on your iPhone if you’re using it as a remote control.

Dialogue and subtitles are getting improvements, too. The Enhance Dialog feature is getting smarter and will be “leveraging machine learning and computational audio to deliver greater vocal clarity over music, action, and background noise” — if you’re using an Apple TV 4K. And it will work on HomePod speakers as well as with your TV’s built-in speakers, or anything else connected via HDMI. And subtitles can now appear if you mute the audio, or when you skip back to watch something again — presumably because you missed a bit of dialogue in real time.

One of the cooler things to do with Apple TV 4K is a FaceTime call using your iPhone as a camera. And live captioning (in English) is coming to tvOS 18, making everyone a little easier to understand.

You’ll be able to get in on the public beta of tvOS in July, with the full release expected in the fall.