How to Use Siri with Apple TV for the Best Results

I'm sharing some of the coolest ways we've learned to use Siri with Apple TV and one hilarious easter egg buried inside one request. | Apple TV | Siri | Technology | Entertainment

My wife and I cut cable almost a year ago. Honestly, I’m surprised it took us as long as it did because we rarely watched it anyway. It was usually nothing but background noise while we were working or blogging. When we did watch something it was usually a Netflix binge or one of the hundreds of movies we had on our WDTV. We have no regrets about cutting the cord and Ashley shared a little insight into how it affected our marriage as well. If you’re thinking about dumping the cable box, do it. I doubt you’ll regret it.

A couple of weeks ago, after much debate, we decided to go all in on a new version of Apple TV. We had gone back and forth from “Do we really need another TV app or device?”and “Seriously? Another tech/storage gadget?” to “Everything is in iTunes already so that would make it easier.” and eventually the convenience of syncing our iTunes books, pictures, movies, shows, and music to the Apple TV sold us on the purchase.

It took about 15 minutes to set up and sync with iTunes and our iPhones. The very next question Ashley asked was, “How do you use Siri with Apple TV?”

We had a bit of fun figuring it out because apparently with Apple TV, Siri does not speak back to you. Her responses are written on the screen instead so her speaking doesn’t interrupt what you’re watching. That took us a minute, Ashley thought it was broken, lol. It wasn’t and we did figure out how to work it properly.

How to use Siri with Apple TV

There are a ton of ways you can use Siri with Apple TV (including one funny easter egg I’ll share in a minute) but here are a few of the ways we use it most frequently (and they only get cooler the farther you scroll down)…

Open Apps + Navigate the Menu

The Apple TV is connected to a lot of apps so you don’t have to constantly switch back and forth between Apple TV and Netflix, Hulu, etc. You can tell Siri to open the app for you and continue to use Siri to navigate. If you are planning a Netflix binge tell Siri, “Open Netflix” and your queue appears on the screen. You can tell her to open Apple Music, browse the App Store, or access any other app installed on the device.

Search + Find

Have you ever wondered who that one guy was in that movie about the thing? Yeah, Siri can’t find that for you but she can find just about everything else. You can search by actor, genre, decade/year, director, etc. Try asking her

  • Find Denzel Washington movies
  • Find horror movies
  • Find romance movies from the 1970’s
  • Find top movies of 1999
  • Find movies directed by Ben Affleck

and she immediately shows the results on bottom of the screen. If you want to narrow it down even farther you can by just asking her to filter the results or by expanding what you’re asking her to find. Ashley asked, “Find movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.” I told Siri to play The Revenant because I was not going to watch Titanic yet again.

Play something specific

If you know exactly what you want to watch (like I did with The Revenant), tell Siri to play it and she will. You don’t have to browse for the episode, try to remember what season it was in, or look up episode titles. No, just tell her what to do. 

  • Play Season 1, Episode 4 of The Blacklist
  • Play the episode of Law & Order: SVU guest starring Norman Reedus

This works even when you’re in an app like Netflix or Hulu as long as you’re connecting to the app through the Apple TV.

Get recommendations

Siri has opinions and she’s happy to let you have them if you ask. Ashley and I tend to fight over the remote a lot (neither of us usually wants it) so this function gets a lot of use. You can be broad or specific in your request and she’ll come back with something to entertain you. You could ask for:

  • Show me award-winning movies from the early 2000’s
  • Recommend a PG-13 movie
  • What are good shows for kids?
  • Find a good comedy

Or you can be even lazier and just say, “What should I watch tonight?” and she’ll give you popular recommendations.

Control + Rewind

While a movie or show is in process, you can use Siri with Apple TV to control it or get information. Siri can pause, rewind, turn on closed captioning or subtitles, and exit. If you need to rewind just say, “Rewind 10 seconds” or “Go back 2 minutes”. You can even say, “Replay from the beginning” and Siri will start over from the top.

If someone was talking, the phone rang, someone knocked on the door, or something else caused you to miss what someone said you can ask, “What did he say?” and Siri will rewind, turn on closed captioning, replay the scene, then turn closed captioning back off. 

Answer questions

One of my favorite things about using Siri with Apple TV is that she answers questions on the fly. During a movie ask things like:

  • Who directed this?
  • What year was this released?

You can also ask things like:

  • What else did this Director make?
  • Is there a sequel to this movie?

You can also use Siri with Apple TV to find out information not related to a show or movie. Try asking about what the weather is supposed to be like the next day or when your favorite team plays their next game. She knows that too.

When you’re using Siri with Apple TV, it’s pretty hard to stump her although we did do it once. I asked Siri to “Find good Star Wars movies.” She returned everything except The Phantom Menace. Ashley was  bit annoyed but I think Siri was spot-on with leaving that one out.

Brandon LaMar
Brandon lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and two dogs. When he’s not working he’s often watching the NBA, checking out new music, or at the gym.

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