Written by guest blogger, Christopher Grillo
As technology innovates, more and more companies are creating smart speakers like Alexa, Google Home, and Apple’s Home Pod. With this comes the opportunity for homeowners to almost completely integrate accessories like lights, garage doors, alarms, and perhaps most notably, entertainment systems.
But what is a smart speaker?
Well, the name pretty much says it all! Smart speakers are wireless speakers that are operated by voice commands, and in the case of Amazon, Google, and Apple, come complete with a virtual assistant. Think Jarvis from Iron Man, but a speaker.
Using the hub speaker and a corresponding application, the user is capable of customizing the types of “skills” he or she requires of the speaker. The virtual assistant will also answer general web search type questions, look up recipes, set timers, and more.
Personal DJ & Private Cinema
You’re going to want to use these devices to stream audio. After all, they are speakers by name. All you have to do is link streaming applications on your phone to the hub through the system application. It may be, however, that you are looking for a little more sound than what Alexa, Google, or Siri can offer.
Amazon’s Echo is the best suited to do so because it offers wired and wireless options for linking your hub to other, better, louder gear. The Echo comes with a 3.5 mm minijack output. With this, the possibilities are endless as far as connectivity goes, but certainty far less ideal.
Alexa is also Bluetooth enabled, which makes for pretty flawless functionality as you stream to different rooms on different systems. A direct link between your virtual assistant and a product like the HEOS Amp will allow for connectivity between your Echo and any passive Aperion speaker system like the Verus II Grand, a soundandvision.com top pick.
The linking is the far less cool part, though. For Echo, initiating voice commands is just a couple clicks away. In Alexa’s application, you would simply rename the connection however suits you best.
Here is a little anecdote to consider: You’ve have just finished dinner, throughout which, Alexa had been playing your “unwind” playlist. Because your Echo is connected to the Sonos Connect Amp in the living room, you ask Alexa to play in living room. You have not even reached the couch yet, but your favorite relaxing sounds are already being maximized over some Intimus Bookshelf speakers.
What About Cable
The pinnacle of home entertainment is simply asking your virtual assistant to play your favorite movie and listening to the title sequence over a full Aperion surround sound system. If you are a true Amazon traditionalist and have an Echo and a Firestick, this is super easy for you. Simply switch your TV’s input to Fire TV or Fire TV Stick and let Alexa know what’s up.
For regular, good ol’ fashioned cable, it is a bit trickier and depends a bit on your cable provider. Right now, Fios, Frontier, Optic Hub, Tivo, and Dish are compatible with smart speakers through their applications. Just log into the app, select the media you want to link (music, video, books), and follow the steps.
Ultimately, you are linking to the cable or satellite box you want to control and not the TV itself, so you may need to get up off the couch to double check the cable box. Sorry, about that! We promise that if you follow these steps, you will never again find yourself ripping cushions off the couch on the hunt for a wayward clicker.