One of the advantages of our smartphones is the ability to use our voices for controlling services and apps, getting questions answered, and perhaps most commonly, getting our devices to play music.
Thanks to voice assistants like Google Assistant on Android, and Siri on iOS, you can simply ask the assistant to play a song directly from your phone, or using an app or streaming service. But did you know there’s actually a huge array of choices out there when it comes to the home theatre devices you can control with your voice?
Why use voice control?
Voice is ideal for hands-free situations; like if you’re busy in the kitchen or garage or have your hands full with kids or guests. You can skip tracks, pause and stop playback, change radio stations or music playlists and more using intuitive voice commands.
Voice control also comes in handy when driving, but you need to have specific infotainment systems set up like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to enable voice control. Since some of these refuse keyboard input while the vehicle is moving, voice is really the best option for control.
Smart Speakers & music streaming
Sure, you can play music from your smartphone’s tiny speakers, but that’s no fun. Ideally, you’ve got a quality speaker so you can share the music with family and friends.
It’s even easier to control your music when you’ve chosen a smart digital assistant speaker like Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, or Google Home, or Home Max, or Apple HomePod. Amazon, Apple and Google each have their own music streaming services but you can also easily access platforms like Spotify or TuneIn using them.
Plus, you don’t just need a dedicated smart home speaker; many other ‘traditional’ speakers have voice control available, including Bose, Denon and Sonos (it uses Amazon’s Alexa platform).
What should I know about smart speakers?
Google Home uses Google Assistant and is clever enough to discern between user voices. It summons specific playlists, songs and genres for multiple users based on their voice signature. Google Home can also play music from YouTube, which means it will play a YouTube video’s audio during times when a song can’t be found elsewhere.
Other services and speakers like Apple’s HomePod, are limited to one Apple ID or email address, this means that the whole family will can only enjoy (or endure) the principal user’s music playlists and choices.
Multi-room speaker setups
Smart speakers now come in all sizes and shapes. There’s the tiny entry-level smart speakers like the Amazon Echo Dot and the Google Home mini, the aforementioned mid-range tabletop models like Amazon Echo and Google Home and the high-fidelity devices like Google Home Max. Not only do these give you options for size and space, but it also allows for having speakers playing music in various locations around the house.
Once these speakers are set up and assigned to a room, you can simply ask your speaker to play disco in the office, or lullabyes in the nursery, for example.
Other high fidelity multi-room systems include Bose, Sonos, Denon and Klipsch. Check out more options available here.
Play music on your TV or Sound bar
Because most electronics gadgets these days are smart, it probably comes as no surprise that you don’t necessarily need just a speaker or a smart home gadget to take advantage of music playback.
Many new 4K TVs have music streaming services built in, or allow you to cast or Airplay directly to them, and employ the TV’s internal speakers to ‘broadcast’ your tunes.
The same goes for sound bars and even new audio receivers or amplifiers; most have built in streaming so you can say, ‘OK Google, play my Favourites from Spotify on the sound bar,’ and you’ll be rewarded with your music.
It pays, however, to check that your new device has the smart digital assistant you want, or the one that works best with the majority of your other devices, like your smartphone, or tablet.
Control your music easily with your voice
Voice functionality is a convenient feature for music playback and is perfect for accessing songs, artists, albums and playlists that you’ve favourited on your preferred streaming music service.
It’s also easy to access radio stations, podcasts and audiobooks by using a variety of apps which may require paid subscriptions.
As smart speakers come in all sizes and in a range of prices, there’s a wide array of options for setting up and controlling music and audio playback to suit your needs at home.