Apple TV Adding Picture-In-Picture Functionality This Fall, Netflix Testing Same Feature On Desktop

Since we're in the heart of Peak TV right now, there are far too many entertainment options at our disposal. It's hard to keep up with all the new movies and TV shows being added to Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, Epix and the inevitable McDonald's streaming service that will probably happen at some point. But Apple and Netflix have a solution that is coming this fall.

First, when the new tvOS software update comes to Apple TV this fall, the revamped Apple TV app will allow users to have picture-in-picture functionality, giving them the ability to stream two different programs at the same time. One will take up the entire television screen while another will sit in the corner and play something else. However, not everything will be available for the Apple TV picture-in-picture mode.

Meanwhile, Netflix is testing a picture-in-picture feature that customers could use on the desktop version of Netflix, which will be perfect for everyone trying to waste time at work but still look like they're getting something done. Find out more below.

It was Twitter user Nikolaj Hansen-Turton who noticed the new picture-in-picture capability of the Apple TV after installing the tvOS beta 2, which developers use to hone their apps for the latest software updates. Thankfully, he posted a demonstration video of how the new function worked:

Initially, some were skeptical that this was a true picture-in-picture experience since it could easily just be a new function that allows a minimized video window while using the Apple TV device. As you can see, that's just the regular Apple TV menu in the background, not another show being played at the same time. But TechCrunch has confirmed the Apple TV picture-in-picture mode will indeed allow playing two programs at the same time. And they found out what the limitations will be.

Apple TV picture-in-picture mode can only be used with content that is provided by Apple from within the revamped Apple TV app. That means movies, TV shows and music videos from iTunes, as well as the Apple TV+ subscription service launching later this year, be viewed in picture-in-picture mode.

On top of that, any videos streamed through the recent Apple TV Channels will also be available to watch in the new function. That means if you subscribe to HBO, Starz, Showtime, EPIX, Tastemade, Smithsonian Channel or other programming options from the Apple TV Channels section, you'll be able to watch those in picture-in-picture mode. But if you happen to subscribe to HBO through HBO Now, then you won't be able to use picture-in-picture mode for HBO.

However, were left wondering what purpose this serves outside of the realm of potential sports programming. Unless you're trying to keep an eye on baseball, basketball, hockey, football or underwater basket weaving, there doesn't seem to be any real reason to use picture-in-picture. That's exactly what sold the function to customers when it first became available in televisions, but we've yet to see it offered through any other streaming device or service. Is this something customers have a use for?

Netflix Testing Picture-in-Picture for Desktop

Over at Netflix, one of the many features the streaming service is testing is a pop-out player for the desktop version of Netflix on computers. It's basically picture-in-picture for anyone who wants to get work done but also have one of their shows playing at the same time.

As you can see in the image above (via Engadget), it has whatever movie or TV show the user is watching hover over the rest of the applications being used. It can be resized and positioned wherever you want on your screen. However, the only downside is that subtitles aren't available. Of course, if you're trying to work, you're likely not going to need subtitles anyway.

Engadget says the feature is only being tested right now with only some users having access. But we could see this becoming a real feature for everyone sometime down the road.