Ever since the release of the virtual assistant AI technology- Alexa- in late 2013, controlling household items with your voice has never been easier. All you have to do is give a command to an Alexa device, such as “Alexa, set the thermostat to 71° F” or “Alexa, play me a song,” and Alexa will handle everything for you. The virtual assistant can control a lot of household items, such as your thermostat, TV, door lock, even interior lighting, but most importantly, using just your voice, Alexa can help control your soundbar.
Can Alexa Control My Soundbar ? Like other household devices at home, Alexa can control your soundbar!
There’s a small catch though- your soundbar must have Bluetooth.
How Do I Get Alexa on My Soundbar?
If your soundbar is Bluetooth-enabled, connecting your Alexa device is simple:
- Power on the soundbar and put it in pairing mode.
- Get the Alexa app on your tablet or phone: App here
- Under the left menu, click on Settings.
- In Devices, click on the Alexa device that you want to connect with your soundbar
- Click on Bluetooth.
- Select Pair a New Device.
- Once you see your soundbar pop up, click on it to pair, and you’re done!
Being compatible with a lot of Amazon and Google devices helped boost the sales of the Amazon Echo series and some compatible speakers/soundbars, from the mid-2010s to now, but many are wondering about the household devices that aren’t compatible with Alexa.
What if You Don’t Have Bluetooth Capabilities with Your Soundbar?
Well, in this case, there are a few options. The cheaper option would be to buy at the Amazon website is a Bluetooth receiver for about $15-$30. After buying, just follow the steps listed above and you’ll be good to go in no time.
The more expensive route would be to buy a soundbar with built-in Alexa capabilities. There are some good quality soundbars that are out there if you’re looking to replace your Amazon Echo.
Alternatives to Amazon Echo
Currently, The Amazon Echo Series is perhaps the best virtual assistant out there in the market. With its unbeatable functionalities and its cost-efficient price, Echo Series has managed to stay on top of its game for several years now, and they’re only getting better.
But what if you don’t want a tiny speaker but rather, a larger, multi-functioning soundbar? There are many alternatives out there right now.
01) – The Yamaha YAS-209 is the soundbar that has both exceeding sound quality and portability. With the addition of deep audio and bass due to the wireless subwoofer, this replacement for the Echo is beneficial to you and your friends. Even if your music is turned up all the way, you don’t have to scream and shout- this Yamaha soundbar is perfectly capable of understanding your voice commands in high-volume environments and is conveniently available on Amazon. You can see their current prices by clicking here.
02) – Another option for an Alexa-compatible soundbar would be the Sony Z9F Dolby Atmos Soundbar. This soundbar and subwoofer combination provides immense sound quality with 7.1.2 surround sound capability in the system.
Available also on Amazon. You can see their current prices by clicking here.
With the right TV, there’s no need for extra wires since this soundbar connects directly wirelessly. It also comes with voice enhancement which boosts audio frequencies to isolate sound and amplify music over background noises- with this being mentioned, it can pick up voice easily, making it the perfect candidate for an Amazon Echo replacement:
A final option that I’ll discuss is the Sonos Beam. With a small length of nearly 26 inches, the Sonos soundbar packs all of the essentials to a home theater system into a compact bar.
With a microphone and a built-in wifi adapter, it can run Alexa and many other virtual AI assistants. This pack doesn’t include a subwoofer, but it makes a great addition to a home theater system due to its extensive audio-outputting capabilities. Slightly cheaper than most soundbars as you can see on the Amazon website. You can see their current prices by clicking here.
Occasionally, with so many upsides to owning a soundbar with Alexa-capabilities, unfortunately, there are also downsides.
Because the soundbar is going to have more functionality than a regular soundbar, the cost is going to be unusually higher than buying a regular soundbar. With newer technology, upgraded wifi, and better HiFi functions that are constantly being added to soundbars today, the cost for a soundbar may add up quickly.
Before, the norm was for your soundbar to play music and audio to your ears- you could spend a little more money to get a soundbar with better quality. Nowadays, you have the ability to speak to your soundbar and tell it to turn off the lights in your living room- some people think of it as technological advancements, others call it laziness.
Also to mention, just like Google assistant that many have on their phones, any devices with Alexa assistance have standby power. These devices are using electricity by constantly listening for their activation phrase, “Hey Alexa,” which sometimes causes a surge in electric bills when the device is left on for too long. Some might turn it off when not in use- at night, for example- but it would still need to be turned on during the day which still might show a bump in the bills.
The soundbar has to be connected via bluetooth which could lead to a possible quick drainage in the phone battery. All of the unnecessary time spent connected might add up, but that might be more beneficial than setting up and connecting your phone to your soundbar every time you need to use Alexa- that defeats the purpose for having an assistant.
Something to keep in mind is that all of the voices that the Alexa device is hearing goes to collection to improve data and can get breached at any moment. The third-party server that the information goes to is entirely secured and backed up by all sorts of unbreakable firewalls.
There is a possibility that someone with a wrecking ball comes along to break the firewalls, but that hasn’t happened yet, and Amazon doesn’t plan on letting it happen anytime soon.
Enough about the downsides, there are plenty of reasons to own an Alexa assistant nowadays- their functionality is unmatched with anything we’ve seen today.
The most obvious reason for being control. You have the voice- literally- and Amazon wants you to take advantage of it. Got something in your hands? Alexa will tell you the time, weather, mail, text messages, and more- it’s great for a morning person, like me, who has both of his hands full while getting ready for the day.
A good soundbar has the potential to turn a simple TV set up into a professionally-built home theater system. A cheaper soundbar with good quality, some LED lights, cheap decor, and an average-sized TV on the wall can make a $500 investment seem like a $2,000 professional set up- the soundbar I have hung at home under my TV is perfect for guests who enjoy music and movies just as much as I do.
If you have, or someone you know has a disability that disarranges their ability to read, or even a handicap that restricts their ability to use their hands, with a simple question or command, Alexa will read out loud to you- this includes books, instructions, emails, text messages, and much more. For some, these devices are revolutionary and, sometimes, even necessary for daily living.
Last, but definitely not the least, Alexa does much more than just playing music when asked. After all, nobody wants to pay nearly $70 for a round speaker that tells you the weather whenever you want. Alexa, including the compatible soundbars, have the capability of controlling items around your house, as mentioned above.
If you’re at work and need to check up on your house, you can just ask Alexa to show you your house. If you have cameras in your house, it’ll immediately pull up a live feed of your front door, your living room, where your dogs are, etc. (assuming that you have cameras in those locations. Cameras will cost extra and do not come with the Amazon Echo or soundbars).
There’s a lot that goes into buying an Alexa-related item, such as a soundbar, but personally, I think the pros outweigh the cons in this situation since I’m mostly concerned about convenience and what that means to me- others might be more concerned about security breaches, and some may be concerned about the cost.
The Alexa/soundbar combination will be unbeatable for a while since Amazon is working closely with Microsoft to dominate the virtual assistant market. The only other trillion-dollar-club company, Apple, isn’t doing anything as of right now to show their “hand in the door” besides functions within Siri, but until then, it’s safe to say that Alexa will lead in assistance for a while. Set up your soundbar today!
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