Sling TV boosts UI, adds Siri dictation along with Apple TV availability

Linear OTT streaming service Sling TV unveiled 12 new Viacom channels on Monday, bringing its total available channels (for those willing to pay for every programming bundle) to more than 365. But perhaps more importantly, the Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH)-owned service took the stage at Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) WWDC 2016 to announce that the app is available on the fourth-generation Apple TV -- along with Siri voice integration and an updated user interface debuting on the streaming device.

"To streamline the discovery experience, we decided to give our user interface (UI) a much-needed makeover," the company said in a media release. "We focused on personalization, ease of use and simplicity to quickly display the content you want to see."

The first new user feature for the Apple TV app is a more personalized menu experience called My TV, which gives easier access to favorited channels and allows them to pick up a program where they left off with a "Continue Watching" option. Later phases will see the rollout of a new, faster Mini Guide that takes up less of the screen; a selection along the top ribbon called "On Now" that shows what is currently airing; and a "Series" tab for on-demand watching that enables users to find specific episodes of a series.

The updated user interface for Apple TV users includes a new My TV feature that lists favorite channels, among other things. Source: Sling TV

Additionally, the new Apple TV version of Sling TV incorporates Siri dictation, meaning users who access the service via the streaming device can use voice commands to sign into the app, find a program or channel, or search for a specific term like an actor just by using their voice.

Granted, other streaming devices -- in particular, Amazon Fire TV and the latest Roku devices -- have voice search enabled through their remote controls. But the Sling TV-Siri integration is interesting because of other, seemingly unrelated announcements at Apple's vaunted developer conference. Specifically, with the launch of its iOS 10 platform Apple is opening up Siri to third-party application developers.

While Sling TV's Siri integration is not related to the developer announcement, it does offer a glimpse of capabilities developers could build into their own iOS 10 apps in the future.

"Siri search is a different type of integration that is native to Apple TV, and we are in the process of integrating with that as well," a spokesperson for Sling TV told FierceOnlineVideo. "We intend to utilize many Siri search features currently available as well as some of those announced at WWDC."

Apple's addition of Sling TV to its streaming device may also be a signal that the technology giant is delaying or even giving up on its own linear streaming service.

Similar to Sling TV's launch on other devices like the Roku, viewers who pay for three months of Sling TV in advance can buy the 32GB version of its Apple TV streaming device for $89, a $60 discount from the retail price.

For more:
- see the release
- see The Next Web's list of WWDC announcements

Related articles:
Sling TV adds Viacom channels, launches Apple TV app
Apple's iOS 10 to enable developers to integrate Siri
Apple's WWDC 2016 an iOS watershed for developers