The next version of the Apple TV automatically adds AirPods to the available speakers. According to reports, Apple is making the process as easy as possible. Clearly someone on the Apple TV team shares Doug’s late night Wheel of Fortune viewing habit.
This function makes sense. Sometimes you want to watch Veep but your partner cannot stand Jonah. Pop on the show, select your AirPods and privately enjoy the show on the biggest screen in the house. Roku devices have long supported a similar feature: Most Roku remotes have a 3.5mm headphone jack, but remember, Apple is living in the post-3.5mm era.
During the setup of tvOS 11 developer beta, AirPods connected to the user’s iCloud account are automatically added as speakers for the AppleTV. This is the same process Apple employs to distribute the AirPods among a user’s devices.
Previously users could connect AirPods to Apple TVs through the same manual process required to connect AirPods to non-Apple products.
Right now this process is limited to the latest developer beta of the Apple tvOS 11 operating system but expect it to eventually roll out to everyone in a general upgrade.