Do you have a smart assistant in your home but are unsure if you’re making the most of its functionality? If so, today I’m going to help you to better utilize your smart assistant’s features (with respect to your home theatre setup) by telling you about some of the many things you can control with the various smart assistants. The assistants I’ll cover include Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit. Read on if you own or intend to acquire one of these smart assistants and want to use it to enhance your home theatre experience.
But before we jump in, it’s important to distinguish between products that are compatible with smart assistants versus those that have smart assistants built in. Some of the products you’ll see in this realm have smart assistants built right into them. This means that you won’t need to purchase a smart speaker or smart display separately to enjoy access to an assistant such as Alexa or the Google Assistant. Thus, you’ll have features like voice based control already integrated into the TV (or other product).
However, many other devices (such as smart lights from Nanoleaf) don’t have a smart assistant built in, yet they are still fully compatible with one or more of the major smart assistants. This means that they can be linked to and controlled by a smart assistant, but you’ll have to provide that smart assistant yourself through some other device (typically a smart speaker like the one shown). Whenever purchasing a new device for your smart home theatre, always consult its features and specs list to see which of these scenarios is the case.
Now, let’s begin our discussion of what’s compatible with smart assistants starting with the Google Assistant.
Compatible with Google Assistant
Many different smart devices are compatible with the Google Assistant, including a number of smart TVs. What this means is that you can use your Google Assistant enabled devices to control your smart TV. This works in various ways, including voice control and app-based control. Imagine just telling your TV to turn on. With a smart TV and a smart assistant in your home, this is now possible.
You can also combine your smart TV with a sound bar for a more authentic theatre experience. Sound bars are known for their ability to deliver an immersive, theatre-like experience through crisp, clear, and powerful audio, and many of today’s top models are fully compatible with the Google Assistant. Some sound bars even have built-in Bluetooth so you can listen to your favourite music by pairing them with a compatible smart device (i.e., a phone or tablet).
While some sound bars come with streaming services built right in, you can always get a Google compatible media streaming device if you need to. These devices plug into your TV’s HDMI port and allow you to stream 4K Ultra HD content in the form of over 700,000 movies and TV show episodes—not to mention countless musical favourites. Alternatively, you can cast a wealth of media from an app on your Android or iOS device, or even view a slideshow of your own photographs directly on your TV screen. There’s virtually no limit to the ways you can enjoy a device such as the Google Chromecast.
Another way to enhance your home theatre is by incorporating smart lights into your setup and controlling them with the Google Assistant. Some smart lights today can even be set up to provide just the right mood for whatever movie you’re watching, with colours that match the events taking place on screen. And if you don’t yet have smart lights in your home, you can make ordinary lights smart by using smart plugs and switches to control them.
Also, if you don’t want to access the Google Assistant through a smart speaker, you can always do it with a smart display instead, and you can finish off your home theatre with some appropriate smart furniture and/or appliances, such as a smart coffee table with amazing features built in like a cooling drawer, smart LED lights, plenty of USB and other charging ports, and even its own speakers. Everything that’s linked above is compatible with the mighty Google Assistant!
Compatible with Amazon Alexa
Similarly to Google, Amazon’s Alexa is compatible with countless other devices that can enhance your smart home and your home theatre. For instance, there are many different smart TVs that are Alexa compatible, as well as a number of great home audio options like sound bars and wireless speakers.
If you’d like to stream content using Alexa as your primary smart assistant, you can do so with Fire TV streaming devices. With Fire TV, you’ll enjoy entertainment like movies, music, TV shows, and games. You’ll also have the ability to access a ton of premium services if you happen to subscribe to them. These include options such as Netflix, Amazon Video, Pandora, and HBO NOW. Just think of all the fun you’ll have watching practically every movie or TV show you ever wanted to see!
Further, with your Amazon Alexa assistant you can control a variety of different smart light brands, bulbs, and fixtures. One such option is Nanoleaf light panels, which come in kits featuring panels of different shapes and sizes that allow you to create all kinds of unique patterns on your walls and light them up in any one of more than 16 million different colour options. See the photo immediately below for an example of what this can look like with Nanoleaf’s hexagon shaped light panels.
These lights offer control via touch, voice commands, and the special Nanoleaf app. Imagine being able to set your lights to dance to the beat of your favourite tunes or set the lighting mood for a particular movie you’d like to watch. These kinds of features are possible with smart lights like those from the good folks at Nanoleaf, Philips Hue, and numerous other brands.
Amazon Alexa is also the featured smart voice assistant for a number of smart displays. Through one of these devices, you can control everything from smart plugs and switches to smart furniture and appliances—and pretty much everything in between. If you do not yet have a smart display in your home, it’s probably one of the first things you should look into getting. The possibilities with these devices are truly amazing.
Compatible with Apple HomeKit
Finally, your smart assistant of choice might be the Apple HomeKit, which itself shares compatibility with a variety of smart home products. For instance, there’s no shortage of smart TVs that work with Apple HomeKit. Not only do such TVs give you access to services like the Apple TV app, but they also allow you to control virtually everything having to do with your TV—from it’s volume to what channel it’s on to whether or not it’s on or off at all. Additionally, many HomeKit compatible TVs now come pre-loaded with services like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney +. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Other benefits of Apple HomeKit include compatibility with numerous different home audio products (such as the Denon 7.2 Channel 4K Ultra HD Network AV Receiver, shown above), compatibility with Apple TV streaming devices (shown below), and compatibility with other products such as smart lights, smart displays, and Smart Furniture & Décor. To see an example of a smart coffee table with built-in cooler and several other smart features, check the image at the bottom of this report.
Note that the Apple TV device also works with streaming services like Disney+, Hulu, YouTubeTV, and others. And, the Siri Remote provides you with a touch-enabled clickpad that allows users to easily swipe through and select their favourite titles and playlists. You can even use it to navigate to a specific scene in a TV show or movie that you wish to watch. When paired with a capable smart TV, your Apple TV device provides 4K high frame rate HDR for the most vivid colours and stunning image detail imaginable. It delivers truly spectacular picture quality to enhance your home theatre experience.
If Apple HomeKit is your smart assistant of choice, you’ll benefit from countless other features that go well beyond simply your home theatre setup. However, if your home theatre is your main point of interest with respect to getting a smart assistant, the Apple HomeKit is a full-featured and exceptional ecosystem with countless capabilities.
Whichever smart assistant you like best, you can find yours at Best Buy Canada today!