By Jason Snell
May 25, 2023 9:18 AM PT
Apple TV’s multiview feature is so good, I want it everywhere
Sometimes you want to watch more than one thing on your TV.
This impulse was initially satisfied by the introduction of TVs with picture-in-picture functionality, but as access to TV began to come from various decoder boxes, picture-in-picture became less practical.
In recent years, set-top-box software has become more sophisticated, home Internet bandwidth has gotten faster, and multi-view TV has returned as an option. Apple introduced picture-in-picture to tvOS, and some apps like ESPN and Fubo have built their own features to allow you to tile multiple live video streams at one time.
With tvOS 16.5, Apple has added multi-view functionality to the TV app for its live sports broadcasts. This past weekend I was able to try it out with both Friday Night Baseball and Saturday MLS games.
I use Fubo’s multi-view feature all the time; Apple’s is similar but with some uniquely Apple touches. (For example, every box has rounded corners.) To enter multi-view while watching a live event, bring up the player controls and choose the new multi-view option (it looks like a four-square grid; the classic picture-in-picture feature is also still available).
When you enter multi-view, a row of available live events will slide up from the bottom of the screen. The event you’re currently watching will be selected, and you can click on other events to add them to the stack. You can watch two, three, or four events at once and even select which layout you’d prefer. (For example, you can have four events displayed in four tiles taking up quadrants of your TV—at 4K resolution, it’s like you’ve got four 1080 HD TVs!—or you can opt to display one feed at a large size with three others as thumbnails stacked up to the right.)
You can switch audio between feeds by moving around using the Apple TV remote. Clicking on the selected feed will slide it forward into full-screen; tapping the back button will return the interface to multi-view. It’s all pretty straightforward and easy to figure out.
Unfortunately, this excellent implementation is currently limited to the TV app itself. That’s great for Apple’s sports ambitions, but Apple is also the owner of the entire tvOS platform—and this feature should really be a part of tvOS itself. I watch live sports on the Fubo, MLB, ESPN, Peacock, and Paramount+ apps, sometimes at the same time.
The TV app’s multi-view feature is good. So good that I want it everywhere, and I’ll be crossing my fingers that Apple might offer such support in the next version of tvOS.
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