Hot on the heels of updates for OS X and iOS, Apple has released tvOS 9.1.1 for the fourth-generation Apple TV. You can obtain the update by going to Settings > System > Software Updates > Update Software.
There are no release notes, but there is one obvious new feature: the return of the Podcasts app, which appears on your Home screen after updating. If you use Apple’s Podcasts app for iOS or listen to podcasts with iTunes, the Apple TV version can sync your subscriptions and episodes with those clients. Unsurprisingly, Podcasts for tvOS also supports video podcasts and provides a great experience for watching them.
The Podcasts app is split into six screens:
- Unplayed: If you subscribe to podcasts, the episodes you haven’t yet finished will appear here. Select an episode to play it.
My Podcasts: Your subscribed podcasts, if you have any, appear here. You can also create “stations,” which are like playlists for podcasts, that appear alongside subscribed podcasts in this screen.
Featured: This screen lists podcasts selected by Apple’s editors. You can open a podcast to watch or listen to individual episodes or to subscribe to see new episodes as they are published.
Top Charts: The Top Charts screen lists the most popular podcasts, and you can choose to view them by category. As with the podcasts listed in the Featured screen, you can play individual episodes or subscribe.
Search: You can search for podcasts here. The Search screen also displays a list of popular podcasts in case the contents of the two previous screens weren’t sufficient.
Now Playing: In this screen, you can see and control the currently playing episode and see what’s next in the queue. When you first enter the screen, it displays just the currently playing episode’s show art and title. Press the Siri Remote’s touchpad to see the episode timeline, which you can scrub through by swiping left or right on the touchpad. If you swipe up and click the … button, you can subscribe to the podcast and choose the output speaker. If you’re subscribed to the podcast, the … button lets you mark the episode as played, view the full episode description, and choose the output speaker.
The Podcasts app is a nice addition, but we’re looking forward to Bluetooth keyboard support and Home screen folders, both of which are slated for the upcoming tvOS 9.2 release. In the meantime, I’ll be on the lookout for more changes in tvOS 9.1.1 as I continue working on the next edition of “Take Control of Apple TV.”