With the right speaker, you can easily make Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant part of your home theater setup, a great choice for streaming high-quality music! Here’s everything you need to get started and how to properly pair Alexa.
Step 1: Find an Alexa compatible speaker
Your first step is to find a speaker that will connect you to Alexa. If you already have a Bluetooth speaker setup that you like, make sure it’s compatible with Alexa. Fortunately, this is becoming an increasingly common feature to add to the latest TV sound bars and similar home theater speakers, so finding the right device for your entertainment system shouldn’t be difficult. If in doubt, visit Amazon’s list of speakers compatible with Echo devices to get started.
Note: If you have a larger home theater with multiple speakers, it may be a better idea to use a receiver which is instead compatible with Alexa or Echos. These Alexa receivers also exist, although they are not as well known as speakers, and they are an ideal solution for surround sound setups. Most of our other steps remain the same with a compatible receiver.
Step 2: Choose a device with Alexa built-in
While many speakers have Alexa compatibility for connecting to Amazon’s voice assistant, you also need a device that Alexa can listen to through, and not many home theater speakers offer this capability. That means you need a device with Alexa built in for simple commands, and Amazon’s own Echo devices are the best place to start.
Which Echo device works best for you depends on your plans, but the latest Echo 4th generation is a great model and the Echo Show comes with a touchscreen for more bonus features. Again, if you already have an Echo or a device with Alexa, don’t worry about this step. You can also choose to talk to Alexa directly from your mobile device, although this can be a bit trickier when controlling your home theater.
Step 3: Download the Alexa app and create an account
If this is your first time using an Alexa device, take the time to download the Alexa app, available on both iOS and Android, and sign in to set up your account. You can log in with your Amazon ID if you already have one. Once Alexa is ready to connect to other smart devices in your home, you are done.
We also recommend that you use Alexa’s services at this point to connect to your favorite music streaming services. Alexa is compatible with Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM and more. Since playing music through your entertainment system is one of the best ways to use Alexa when you’re done, it’s a good idea to have already completed this step when you’re ready. You’ll need your streaming service logins for this step – check out our other Alexa setup tips too!
Note: Some devices may require you to use a third-party app to set up the speaker and connect to Alexa (some Sony speakers may require you to use the Music Center app). In general, do what your speaker manual recommends.
Step 4: Pair the new speaker with Alexa
Check if your speaker is on and ready. Open your Alexa app and select More in the menu at the bottom right. Then select Add a device to start. Probably choose the category of the device Speaker or Bluetooth Speaker, then base the make and model on the speaker you have. At this point, Alexa will recommend that you use a specific app to pair your smart speaker or help you connect directly. Follow the instructions until you have a name for your speaker and Alexa is ready to recognize it.
If your speaker supports Bluetooth but Alexa doesn’t seem to recognize the device, you can still pair with it by selecting Appliances on the Alexa home screen, select the Plus icon and then choose Set audio system. Make sure both your Echo and your speaker are in pairing mode. After pairing a Bluetooth speaker for the first time, you can simply say, “Alexa, disconnect / connect to [speaker name]Again whenever you want, making this a viable option for many different speakers.
Step 5: Give Alexa voice commands for the speaker
Now you can give Alexa commands to play music through your speaker. Commands like ‘Alexa, play hip-hop on the home speaker’ (sub in the name of your choice) or ‘Alexa, play Taylor Swift on the home speaker’ work as long as you have your favorite streaming service connected to Alexa and set as the default music player. You can also tell Alexa to ‘Stop on home speaker’, ‘Next on home speaker’, ‘Pause on home speaker’ and similar commands to control playback.
Alternative: put together an Echo speaker system
If you’re already heavily invested in Alexa or the Echo ecosystem, an alternative approach would be to set up a thorough home theater system using only Echo devices, which can naturally communicate with each other. Newer Echo models support Dolby Audio, and devices such as the Echo Sub and the Echo Studio (with 3D audio) are made specifically for home theaters.
The big downside to this approach (besides the added cost) is that you really need an Amazon Fire TV device for the Echos to work together organically. You can find more casual Echo partner options by selecting Appliances in the Alexa app, choose it Plus icon, and choose Set up multi-room music.