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How to pair your HomePod Mini with Apple TV

CNET logo CNET 2/8/2021 Molly Price
a woman sitting in front of a window: Chris Monroe/CNET © Provided by CNET Chris Monroe/CNET

Chances are your TV's stock speakers don't deliver a cinematic audio experience -- but giving your entertainment a boost with an external speaker doesn't have to be expensive. A good sound bar can make a big difference. If you own a smart speaker, you might be halfway there already. A pair of Apple HomePod Mini smart speakers can create a nice right and left channel surround sound experience, and you'll get all the other perks of a Siri-powered smart home

Two HomePod Minis can be paired for stereo sound. © Chris Monroe/CNET

Two HomePod Minis can be paired for stereo sound.

If you have an Apple TV and two HomePod Minis, you can create a makeshift TV sound system that will still feel like a major upgrade. Here's how to do it:

Set up your HomePod Minis

If you haven't already, you'll need to set up your HomePod Minis before you can add them to your Apple TV. You can do this with your iPhone or iPad, but not your Apple TV.

You can read more about setting up HomePod Mini and our overall impressions of these $99 Siri-enabled smart speakers in our HomePod Mini review.

Create a stereo pair

Now that your two HomePod Minis are up and running, you'll need to create a stereo pair in order to get that full surround sound. Make sure both speakers are in the same room, physically and in your Home app. 

Tap and hold one of the HomePod Minis, then swipe up on the app and tap the settings cog in the bottom right corner of the screen. 

Tap "use as stereo pair" and follow the instructions to select whether that speaker will provide left- or right-channel audio. Repeat this process for your second speaker. 

Connect HomePod Minis to your Apple TV

Now it's time to connect your HomePod Minis to your Apple TV. Keep in mind, the HomePod Minis and the Apple TV need to be on the same 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network. To create a surround sound system, you'll use Airplay to send the Apple TV sound to the HomePod Minis.

Press and hold the home button on the Siri remote to open the control center.

Select the audio controls button and a list of available audio devices will appear. You should see your HomePod Mini stereo pair listed as you've named them in the Home app. 

Select the device you want to send the Apple TV audio to, in this case the HomePod Mini, and you're good to go. 

Replay Video

If you already own these speakers and an Apple TV, this audio setup is a quick and simple way to improve your viewing experience, but it's not without its hangups.

Going this route means you'll need to keep those two speakers in the same room as your TV and in their respective positions, left or right, for a surround sound feel. We also found that you can't set the default audio on the Apple TV to the HomePod Minis, which is inconvenient and tedious. You can, however, with the full-size HomePod, which also boasts Dolby Atmos, 7.1, or 5.1 surround sound unlike its mini counterpart. 

If Apple updated the settings for the HomePod Mini, it'd be even better. But for now, it's a decent solution to getting better sound for a lower price. 

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