Your Amazon Echo can act as another speaker for your television, Fire TV, or Fire TV Stick.
Want to enhance your TV’s sound? You can connect an Amazon Echo to your television via Bluetooth and use the smart home device as a speaker. This works both with standalone TVs and receivers. You can also connect a compatible Fire TV device to a supported Echo for an even better sound experience.
To connect an Echo to your TV or receiver, you’ll need to meet a few requirements. Your Amazon Echo must be Bluetooth capable. Don’t worry, though. This includes any of the current or previous-generation Echo devices. Your TV or receiver must also support Bluetooth, either built-in or through a Bluetooth dongle. And both your TV/receiver and Echo should be close to each other, or at least in the same room.
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Though this type of setup sounds promising, there are certain limitations and drawbacks to enlisting your Echo device as a TV speaker. You may not be able to use your TV speakers (or receiver) and Echo at the same time, but this depends on your specific TV and receiver model.
I was able to play sound through both my Echo and the speakers connected to my Denon receiver at the same time, but your mileage will certainly vary in this regard. However, if you don’t like your TV’s built-speakers, you may be able to get better audio by listening solely through your Echo.
Connecting an Echo device to a TV through Bluetooth also can result in latency issues where the audio from your Echo is slightly behind the audio on your TV or other speakers. The connection between a Fire TV device and your Echo is made over Wi-Fi, meaning the audio should be free of any latency issues. So using a Fire TV or Fire TV stick is the better option, assuming your devices are compatible. With those caveats in mind, let’s look at how to use your Echo as a TV speaker.
The process for connecting an Echo device with your TV differs based on whether you use a standalone TV or a multi-speaker system with a receiver, such as a surround sound setup with two front speakers, two rear speakers, and a middle speaker. If you use a TV without a receiver, you will create the connection through your TV’s settings. If you use a receiver, you will go through the receiver’s settings instead.
Go to the Settings screen on your TV or receiver, search for Bluetooth settings, and turn it on. You may also need to direct the sound to your Echo. For my Denon receiver, I had to turn on a switch for Bluetooth Transmitter and then set the sound to pipe through both Bluetooth and the speakers connected to my receiver.
At the same time, say “Alexa, connect,” and the Echo will start searching for a Bluetooth connection while your TV is looking for a Bluetooth device. If all goes well, both devices should find each other. The Settings screen on the TV or receiver should point to your Echo device, and your Echo should tell you that it’s connected to a TV or receiver.
Alternatively, you can try to connect your Echo device and TV speakers or receiver using the Alexa app. In the app, tap the Devices icon at the bottom and then select Echo & Alexa. Choose the Echo device you wish to use and then tap Bluetooth Devices. At the Bluetooth settings screen on your TV or receiver, wait for your Echo device to appear and then select it to connect the devices.
Now, play a video on the TV to test the connection. You may want to bump up the sound on your Echo. If you hear the sound from the TV coming through your Echo, then you’re in business. If not, try the Bluetooth connection again.
When you turn off your TV or receiver, the connection with the Echo shuts down as well. When you turn your TV or receiver back on, the connection with the Echo should automatically establish itself again. In this case, your Echo will announce that it’s connected to your TV/receiver.
If you want to disconnect your Echo, simply say “Alexa, disconnect,” and Alexa will tell you that it’s now disconnected from your TV/receiver. You can also manage the Echo’s connection through the Alexa app.
Again, go to Devices > Echo & Alexa > [name of your Echo] > Bluetooth Connections and select the connected speakers or receiver. Tap Disconnect Device to stop the connection or tap Forget Device to remove the connection entirely.
Because of latency issues, Amazon does not officially support connecting your TV and Echo over Bluetooth. Instead, you can connect a Fire TV (3rd generation), Fire TV Cube (1st and 2nd generation), or Fire TV Stick (3rd generation, 4K, and Lite) through Wi-Fi for a more reliable audio performance.
To get started, make sure your Fire TV device is turned on, then open the Alexa app on your phone or tablet. Tap Devices, select the plus (+) icon at the top, and then choose Combine speakers > Home Theater.
Choose your Fire TV device from the list of selectable devices, then tap Next. If you don’t see it listed, tap the Rescan link at the bottom of the screen.
Now, select the Echo you want to use as a speaker for your Fire TV device. If you have more than one Echo in the same room, you can designate one for the left channel and the other for the right channel. Tap Next to continue. Again, tap Rescan if you don’t see your Echo displayed.
Select a name for your audio system, such as Home Theater or Sound System. Tap Next, select a group to which you want to add your home theater, and tap Save to finish. Your Fire TV should display a message telling you that your home theater was created.
With your Fire TV remote, click the Play Preview button to make sure you can hear audio coming out of your Echo. You can now play a movie or TV show from your Fire TV device, and the sound will come out of your Echo as well as the speakers for your TV or receiver.
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I’ve been working for PCMag since early 2016 writing tutorials, how-to pieces, and other articles on consumer technology. Beyond PCMag, I’ve written news stories and tutorials for a variety of other websites and publications, including CNET, ZDNet, TechRepublic, Macworld, Popular Science, Time, Fortune, US News & World Report, and AARP Magazine. I spent seven years writing breaking news for CNET as one of the site’s East Coast reporters. I’ve also written two books for Wiley & Sons—Windows 8: Five Minutes at a Time and Teach Yourself Visually LinkedIn.
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