CBS tvOS app gets Apple TV universal search integration

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CBS this week became the latest streaming provider to tap into Apple TV's universal search APIs, adding to a growing list of apps that let surface first-party content via text and Siri voice search.

With its content indexed on Apple's platform, CBS' official tvOS title will be presented as a viewing option when fourth-generation Apple TV owners search for popular shows like "NCIS" and "The Big Bang Theory," even if the app is not currently installed on a user's device. Previously, searches for the network's content would display results from iTunes, Netflix and Hulu.

Apple markets universal search as a tentpole feature tied to the set-top box's Siri feature. The tool lets users find shows and other media from anywhere in the tvOS interface through text, dictation or Siri voice request. For example, a search for "NCIS" returns a dedicated content page with viewing options from iTunes, Hulu and, as of the recent addition, CBS.

When the latest Apple TV hardware hit store shelves last November, universal search was initially limited to iTunes, Netflix, HBO, Hulu and Showtime. A month before launch, Apple promised to open the API up to third-party developers, though content owners have been slow to build in support. PBS was one of the first providers to take advantage of the APIs and integrated its library into universal search in January.

Most recently, ABC, Disney Channel, Disney Jr. and Disney XD integrated their respective video libraries with tvOS universal search in February, while Fox Now, FX Now and Nat Geo TV built in support earlier that month.