Amazon Quietly Unveils Alexa-Based Home Theater Solution

Posted on November 12, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Amazon, Music + Videos, Smart Home with 7 Comments

Amazon is allowing users of its FireTV and Echo products to combine them and create a home theater solution. It’s exactly what I wished that Google would do with Chromecast Ultra and its Google Home smart speakers.

“Home Theatre System allows you to create a home theatre system for your Fire TV device by using your Echo Devices as speakers,” an Amazon staff member writes in the firm’s UK-based forums.

As you might expect, this requires some of Amazon’s more modern devices. On the Fire TV front, it requires Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, Amazon Fire TV (3rd Generation), or Fire TV Cube (2nd Generation). And on the Echo side, you need an Echo Dot (3rd Generation), Echo (2nd or 3rd Generation), Echo Plus (1st or 2nd Generation), Echo Dot with clock, or Echo Studio. You can also pair an Echo Sub with any of the above Echo devices, Amazon notes.

You also need to know about the supported speaker configurations, which include:

– 1.0 (one Echo device working as an external speaker)

– 1.1 (one Echo device working as an external speaker with Echo Sub

– 2.0 (two Echo devices working as external speakers, one as left audio and one as right audio)

– 2.1 (two Echo devices working as external speakers, one as left audio and one as right audio, and on Echo Sub)

Configuration occurs in the Alexa app: Navigate to Devices > “+”  > Set Up Audio System > Home Cinema. After setting it up, you can then manage your Home Theatre settings directly from Fire TV.

This sounds like an excellent idea, pardon the pun. But seriously, Google. You need to do this, stat.

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Comments (7)

7 responses to “Amazon Quietly Unveils Alexa-Based Home Theater Solution”

  1. Chris_Kez

    This is likely an improvement over most TV’s internal speakers and will make many people happy. That said, I am dubious about this as a “home theater” solution. There are two critical functions that a home theater audio setup needs to provide at a minimum: 1) clear dialogue centered on the screen, and 2) surround (or at least “immersive”) sound. It’s not at all clear that any of the four configurations (1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 2.1) can satisfy both of those very basic requirements.

    • Skolvikings

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      This setup is also going to cost a lot more than a standard sound bar with a sub. I'm a big Echo user but I'd stick with a sound bar. On the other hand, if I had this gear lying around and was upgrading or something, it's a different story.

  2. remc86007

    How the heck is this supposed to work? Echo speakers are (to my knowledge) all omnidirectional. The listed setups would be significantly worse than even a crappy $100 soundbar.

    Why do people have such low standards when it comes to audio equipment?

  3. panjjj

    I had a sound bar in one system and a full receiver, 7.1.2 setup in another. I was using a Samsung sound bar with a 2nd generation Fire TV cube and just replaced the sound bar (which did not support Dolby Atmos) with two Echo Studios for left and right channels. The echo studios support Atmos as well as new 3d audio formats and the system works quite well (no need for the echo sub so far). I did, however, have to take the Fire TV Cube off a direct ethernet drop from the router and use WiFi in order to combine with the two studios. I have a question into Amazon to see if there is some way to configure keeping the ethernet option (no dropouts yet with WiFi but I have always had better luck with a direct hookup to the router). The sound is better than I expected, the system supports 4k, HDR, Dolby Atmos, etc., so working fine so far. I know there are some sound bars out there, comparable to this system's price, that do support Atmos but this fits my bill. Obviously, it does not match the larger system with its' more high end electronics and speakers but is quite good and, my God, the lack of wires and laborious setup was well worth it! Note, also, with this setup if you just use the TV, skipping input from the cube, you will be using your TV speakers. However, you can get around this by just running a cable (mini or optical mini depending on your options to one of the Echo Studios--in my case it is optical out from the Samsung TV) and still bypass the unimpressive TV speakers. While you won't be getting the benefit of the stereo paired Studios the wide sound spectrum capable from the single Studio is still impressive, for me much better than the Samsung TV speakers.

    Incidentally, I much prefer the sound from the Echo Studios to the Google Home Max, which I tried in another setting but returned.

  4. Jeffsters

    Let the data gathering begin!

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