Apple TV 4K to get AI-enhanced subtitles, Amazon X-Ray-style info while watching, and clearer dialogue in tvOS 18

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple announced a suite of enhancements coming to tvOS 18, the next version of its Apple TV 4K operating system, at WWDC 2024 (you can see all the info as we learn it at our WWDC 2024 live blog). The new features are available to Apple developers in a tvOS 18 beta version today, and will be launched in an official version later this fall.

The announcements led off with InSight for the Apple TV app. Similar to Amazon Prime Video’s X-Ray feature, this shows onscreen information about characters, actors and even background music tracks for Apple TV Plus movies and shows. The data can be accessed in real-time and is also available when using an iPhone as a remote to control the Apple TV 4K.

The Apple TV 4K Enhance Dialogue feature is getting an AI-driven boost in tvOS 18 to improve the clarity of voices over background noise and music when watching movies and TV shows. According to Apple, Enhance Dialogue can now be used with a TV’s built-in speakers, HomePod or HDMI-connected speakers, AirPods, and other Bluetooth devices.

Subtitles are also being overhauled in tvOS 18, with onscreen text now automatically popping up when you mute the volume or scan back when watching programs. Subtitles will also be generated when the language doesn’t match the selected language for the device, so viewers will never have to worry about missing a line of dialogue.

The best 4K projectors can be used to display images in the ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio and new updates coming to tvOS 18 will bring 21:9 format support to the Apple TV 4K. This will allow pictures to be shown on 21:9 aspect ratio screens with no horizontal black bars at the top or bottom – just like in a movie theater.

The Enhance Dialogue feature in tvOS 18 (Image credit: Apple)

Other enhancements coming in tvOS 18 will make the Apple TV 4K more fun to watch when in screen saver mode, and make FaceTime calls more accessible.

Screen saver options now include a Portraits mode that uses photos from your library that can be customized with text, color, and graphics. This will be accompanied by a TV and Movies option with select scenes from content on Apple TV Plus, as well as a Snoopy and Woodstock animation for Peanuts fans.

FaceTime calls in tvOS 18 can be made on the big screen with live captions automatically generated in English when making FaceTime calls. The feature, which is only available in the US and Canada, will improve the Apple TV 4K’s accessibility by letting users read as well as listen to conversations.

Lastly, the Apple Fitness Plus app gets a redesign in tvOS 18, with new features being added that provide a personalized For You space, enhanced awards, and extended search features.

Apple has not yet specified which Apple TV devices will get these upgrades, though it’s safe to assume the latest Apple TV 4K (2022) will benefit.

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