Here’s What Next for tvOS 14 and HomeKit

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Apple’s upcoming tvOS 14 and additions to the company’s HomeKit home automation framework won’t rock your world, but they offer some nice improvements.

It seems that almost all of Apple’s new HomeKit video features other than PiP require the use of HomeKit Secure Video. That is region motion tracking and face recognition.

I don’t have a problem with that, what I have a problem with is that HomeKit Secure Video is crippled by being limited to an absolute maximum of five cameras no matter how rich you are.

HomeKit was designed from the beginning to support multiple homes and even for a single home it would not be exceptional to need to exceed five cameras when one takes in to consideration outdoor cameras, smart doorbells and indoor cameras. If one can only use some of the compatible cameras you own then you have little incentive to signup for HomeKit Secure video.

It should be noted that competing solutions whilst likely inferior from a security and privacy view do not have such artificial quantity limitations. (Cough, Ring, cough.)

What is the brand of HomeKit video doorbell that Apple is using in the screenshots in this article?

Also, about HomeKit secure video - it has limitations around how many cameras it supports if you’re on anything less than the most expensive icloud storage plan. I wish it would support 2 cameras on the $2.99/mo plan, but it doesn’t.

The Robin ProLine Doorbell seems to be the only currently shipping doorbell with HomeKit Secure Video support. There are some others announced but either awaiting firmware upgrades or not yet shipping.

Yes the limitation on how many cameras HomeKit Secure Video supports is my peeve. Even the biggest most expensive storage plan has an absolute limit of just five cameras which is useless for me and I am sure many others.

I personally feel that as Apple have three iCloud storage plans a better approach would have been -

  • 50GB plan = one camera
  • 200GB plan = five cameras
  • 1TB plan = unlimited cameras

The above would have been consistent with Apple’s long used model plan of ‘good’, ‘better’ and ‘best’.

Even adding a new higher plan with again unlimited cameras would be an improvement although likely at an excessive cost. You can’t do anything like buying two plans to add them together.

I am looking forward to the Home app on ATV. I have tried 3rd party apps that purport to work with Homekit but found them lacking.
It would be even more useful if the ATV was treated as an accessory in Automations so that waking it, say after sunset, turned down certain lights etc. Even better would be if starting/stopping certain tvOS apps (like Apple TV) triggerd an automation.

Yes I agree it seems absurd that 3rd party TVs like LG, Sony, etc. can be treated as HomeKit devices and are controllable via the Home app but Apple’s own ATV cannot.

I even emailed Tim some time ago pointing this out.

So, no FaceTime on Apple TV? How come?

Apple foolishly removed the USB-C port from the Apple TV 4K model, as such it is not possible to connect a camera to the Apple TV 4K and hence FaceTime becomes impractical.

FaceTime used to be significantly ahead of competitors but Apple first removed group chats, then neglected it for years, failed to market it and only recently finally restored group chats. Technically it has always delivered superior quality conversations compared to say Skype.

During the long neglect of FaceTime, Skype became the de-facto solution for news channels and of course during the current Covid-19 era Zoom has now become the market leader despite its own flaws.

Whilst Apple did everything possible to handicap FaceTime, Google and Amazon and even FaceBook have all launched dedicated hardware to do video chats in a way that would have been obvious and easy to have achieved years ago with the Apple TV. I am particularly impressed with the way the FaceBook Portal follows a person as they move. Clearly Apple have the capability to release comparable solutions they just currently lack the gumption to do so. :anguished:

This sadly is yet another example of Apple originally releasing a superb product and then letting it wither on the vine. Other examples include Gym Kit for Apple Watch, Game Center and many, many others. Ironically there are faint indications of life present in Game Centre as it got a lick of paint from Apple at WWDC.

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Just ridiculous. I could mirror FaceTime to our TV, except that it winds up picking up the other caller’s voice and we both wind up with echos. This doesn’t happen when I use the FaceTime app on our iPad, so there ought to be some way to keep it happening when I mirror. Seems to me that Apple TV is way behind not only Zoom etc but the rest of the Apple lineup.

I’m really happy about the AirPod audio sharing. I had requested that one via Apple’s feedback form and they did it!

Finally my wife and I will he able to watch movies in stereo without waking the kids.