If you own Apple’s HomePod and are looking for ways to get more out of the smart speaker, in addition to using its integrated integrations of services, consider using it with other Apple devices. AppleInsider shows how to use HomePod to play audio from a Mac and an Apple TV.
Using an Apple TV or Mac as an audio source for HomePod is a practical way to improve the sound quality for media if the audio from the devices is usually channeled through low-quality speakers or headphones. For example, the HomePod is much louder and produces a richer sound compared to the built-in speaker of the Mac mini.
Transmission from Mac
First, make sure your HomePod and Mac are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Click on the speaker icon in the Mac menu bar and select HomePod from the list of connected devices.
Once selected, all music and other audio on the Mac should start broadcasting to your HomePod.
It is possible to transmit to two HomePods from a Mac at the same time, using the iTunes application. Click on the AirPlay icon and check the checkboxes next to each HomePod.
An alternative method is to use the AirFoil application, which performs a similar task but with more customization options. This also allows the use of the AirFoil application “Satellite,” which allows you to transmit to two HomePods from the iPhone.
Broadcast from Apple TV
Connecting the HomePod to an Apple TV works better using a fourth-generation Apple TV compatible with tv OS 11. While the third-generation Apple TV will work, it will have limited connectivity compared to the newer Apple TV models.
On the third generation Apple TV, go to Settings, go to Audio and choose HomePod as output.
For the fourth generation models, including the Apple TV 4K, slide down the Apple TV remote while playing the content to reveal the Information panel. Scroll to Audio and select your HomePod.
If you have installed TVOS 11, there is a new shortcut that facilitates the connection, directly from the Home screen. Press and hold the pause button on Siri Remote to open the AirPlay menu and enable HomePod through this menu.
There are some Siri voice controls that you can use with HomePod to manage playback of content on a verbally connected device, but they are limited to a few commands. So far, this list of commands includes forward and backward jumps during playback, playback and pause, and volume adjustments.
There are also some problems with the implementation of AirPlay that prevents this configuration from being a good alternative to a traditional home entertainment system. For example, Apple TV will automatically pause the image to synchronize playback with HomePod, causing a delay each time you pause and play the content.
AirPlay also requires that you manually reconnect to HomePod each time the speaker plays from a different source, including its built-in Apple Music function.
These problems and others should be corrected once AirPlay 2 is released later this year.
The introduction of AirPlay 2 will also allow users to pair two HomePods in a stereo configuration that can be connected to an Apple TV. Considering the incredible sound reproduction of HomePod, a pair of HomePod used in this way can be more useful as a replacement for a home stereo system once AirPlay 2 is sent.
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