Apple TV — What Siri Can and Can't Do

Siri is one of the most important features of the new Apple TV. Apple was late to the game adding voice recognition to its set-top box, but early reviews are saying that Siri does the best job. You can use Siri to search, control a variety of facets of playback, and access information such as weather and sports scores. The Apple TV web page lists some of the requests that Siri can understand. Let's take a look in more detail.


Initially searching is limited to Netflix, iTunes, HBO, Hulu, and Showtime, but more apps will soon be added as developers incorporate this feature into their third-party apps. Here are some of the ways you can search.

iPhone Life
Discover your iPhone's hidden features
Get one daily tip each day (with screenshots and clear instructions) so you can master your iPhone in just one minute a day.

• Ask for a particular movie: "I want to watch Gone Girl."
• Ask for a category of movies: "I want to watch an action movie." Or "Show me some James Bond movies."
• Filter your results with a followup question: "Only the ones with Sean Connery." Or "Only the good ones." The latter will use Rotten Tomatoes to present only the movies the critics liked.
• Ask multiple followup questions for additional filtering: ”Show me family movies ." "Animated only." "Just the new ones.” Or "Show me some good dramas." "Only the ones released this year."
• Ask for movies by actor:  "Show me movies with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.” That query will bring up the movie When Harry Met Sally.
• Ask for a particular episode: ”Show the Modern Family episode with Edward Norton.”
• Ask for a genre: "Show me some good documentaries to watch."
• Ask for genre and actor in a single query: ”Show me comedies with Jason Bateman.”
• Ask for shows from a particular app: "I want to watch a Hulu show."
• Ask for a particular year: "Find the worst movies of 1993."


• Control playback: "Pause." "Fast-forward two minutes." "Play from the beginning." "Rewind 45 seconds."

Ask for information about the movie

• Ask who the actors are in the movie you're watching: "Who's in this show?" Or "Who stars in this?"
• Ask who the director is: "Who directed this movie?"

Aids for following dialog

• Tell Siri when you missed something that was said: "What did he just say?" The movie will skip back 15 seconds and replay that segment while temporarily showing closed captions.
• Tell Siri to reduce background sounds: "Reduce loud sounds." This boosts dialog and softens music and sound effects."
• Tell Siri to turn on closed captioning: "Turn on closed captioning."

Launch apps

• Ask Siri to launch a particular app: "Launch Beats Sports."
• Settings: "Open settings."

Ask for general information

• Sports scores: "Who is winning the Cubs game?"
• Weather: "What's the temperature outside?"
• Stocks: "What is the current price of Apple stock?"

Siri's limitations

Siri on Apple TV is much more limited than on iOS devices. General queries are apparently limited to weather, stocks, and sports scores, but no doubt this will change. Also, Siri on Apple TV doesn't have the voice feedback that we're accustomed to on our iPhones and iPads. Also, you can't yet use Siri to search for apps or to enter in your login credentials.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.


Author Details

Jim Karpen's picture

Author Details

Jim Karpen

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.