Folks looking to take advantage of the onslaught of HomeKit products being introduced at CES this year will need to make sure they have an Apple TV. The Verge is reporting that many of the just-announced HomeKit accessories require the set-top box for select features.
More specifically, the outlet says that new smart home devices from iHome, GridConnect, Chamberlain, Elgato and others require users to have a third-gen Apple TV (running software 7.0 or later) on their network in order to take advantage of Siri remote control capabilities.
What does this mean? Well you’ll still be able to remotely control lights, fans and other HomeKit-enabled devices while you’re away from your home using their standalone apps. But, if you want to say “Siri, turn off the lights” away from your Wi-Fi network, you’ll need an Apple TV.
“We’ve been informed Apple is not positioning its little hobby device as a home automation hub,” writes The Verge’s Thomas Ricker. “It’s not something you need if you want a HomeKit automated home, but if you have one then you get the additional feature of remote Siri commands.”
Introduced at WWDC last year, HomeKit is Apple’s first major play into the growing “smart home” market. It was initially described as a platform for iOS-enabled smart accessories, but its purpose has since become a lot less clear. HomeKit partners say the idea just “isn’t fully baked yet.”