Turning your Apple HomePod Mini into a TV speaker is easy. Chris Monroe/CNET© Provided by CNET Turning your Apple HomePod Mini into a TV speaker is easy. Chris Monroe/CNET
The bonus of using Apple’s smart speakers instead of regular external speakers is that you’ll also get all the perks of a Siri-powered smart home. You’ll be able to control your TV with voice commands like, “Hey, Siri, play Dexter season 4, episode 1,” and you won’t even need to bother with the remote control. Let’s walk through the steps of setting up HomePod Minis for TV sound.
It’s time for a major upgrade to your TV audio setup. If you have an Apple TV streaming device and two HomePod Minis, you can create a makeshift sound system to rival a good soundbar. It’ll be a huge improvement over your TV’s stock speakers, turning movie night into a true surround-sound cinematic experience.
1. Set up your HomePod Mini speakers
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to set up your HomePod Minis before you can connect them to your Apple TV. You can do this with your iPhone or iPad, but not your Apple TV.
You can read more about setting up a HomePod Mini and our overall impressions of these $99 Siri-enabled smart speakers in our HomePod Mini review.
2. Create a stereo pair
Now that your two HomePod Minis are up and running, you’ll need to create a stereo pair in order to get that full surround sound. Make sure both speakers are in the same room, physically and in your Home app.
In the Home app, tap and hold the name of one of the HomePod Minis, then swipe up and tap the settings cog in the bottom right corner of the screen.
Tap “Use as stereo pair” and follow the instructions to select whether that speaker will provide left- or right-channel audio. Repeat this process for your second speaker.
3. Connect HomePod Minis to your Apple TV
Now it’s time to connect your HomePod Minis to your Apple TV. Keep in mind, the HomePod Minis and the Apple TV need to be on the same 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network. To create a surround-sound system, you’ll use AirPlay to send the Apple TV’s sound to the HomePod Minis.
Press and hold the home button on the Siri remote to open the control center. Select the audio controls button and a list of available audio devices will appear. You should see your HomePod Mini stereo pair listed as you’ve named them in the Home app.
Downsides of using HomePod Minis as Apple TV speakers
If you already own two of these speakers and an Apple TV, this audio setup is a quick and simple way to improve your viewing experience, but it’s not without hangups.
Going this route means you’ll need to keep those two speakers in the same room as your TV and in their respective positions, left or right, for a surround-sound feel. We also found that you can’t set the default audio on the Apple TV to the HomePod Minis, which is inconvenient and tedious. You can, however, with the full-size HomePod, which boasts Dolby Atmos 7.1 or 5.1 surround sound, unlike its mini counterpart. If Apple updated the settings for the HomePod Mini, it’d be even better. But for now, it’s a decent way to get better sound for a lower price.
For more on using your HomePod Mini, here’s every tip and trick we’ve found, plus three cool HomePod features and how to use them and where to find Siri’s four new voices. We’ve also got cheap fixes for awful TV speakers and tips on buying a new soundbar in 2021.
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