David Lewis Talking Tech & Audio
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HomePod mini – 2 is BETTER than 1!

HomePod Minis & Apple TV are a match made in heaven – here’s why!

HomePod mini
image courtesy of author

An offer too good to miss

I was given my first HomePod mini at Christmas, and for the longest time, I could no work out where it would best fit in to my home set-up. Then it came to me, just a few weeks back…HomePod mini & Apple TV! They are, unsurprisingly, a perfect match. And, what is better than one HomePod mini? Two!

This year, I made the switch. To what?

Well, to Apple TV. The defining moment came when I discovered that the Sky Go app was coming to the Apple TV app store.

I was super close to leaving Sky after more than 20 years as a fee paying customer. However, they made me a seriously good offer on a package – you know, the sort you just can’t turn down. So, still being a Sky customer, gave me access to Sky Go.

If you are outside the UK, Sky is a satellite broadcaster who are now owned by Comcast. Sky is by far the most convenient way, in the UK at least, to neatly have access to virtually all the channels you could ever wish for, and their mobile app, which is Sky Go.

Apple TV meets Sky Go

So, when I learned about the Sky Go app being launched as a beta (never sure how to pronounce that word), I was on to it in a flash.

Inevitably, there were a few teething issues, but nothing too major; not all the channels are yet available, the interface is still a little primitive & laggy, and there were some audio issues.

Last week, a new beta was seeded – Sky Go on Apple TV version 22.7, and the audio bugs have been both addressed and fixed.

Now, I can listen to everything through my 4K Apple TV and my HomePod mini…or now, to be more accurate, HomePod minis!

Yup, so happy was I with the audio coming out of this little beauty, last weekend I bought a second. I actually tagged it on to the same order as the one for my new M2 MacBook Air.

I know many say that the HomePod mini is no comparison to the OG HomePod; I am more than willing to believe that as well. It stands to reason – the HomePod had more individual drivers and was much bigger, physically, too. Sadly, I have never owned one, but there are rumours that a new HomePod is on the way later this year.

But, back to the HomePod mini – I think I have an above-average audio ear. I am not trying to say I am pitch perfect or an out-and-out audiophile, but I can pick out decent audio when I hear it. And for the money, only £89, the HomePod mini is a good’un!

Clearly defined mids, un-muddied base, and present high’s. If you are looking for a stylish, easy to use and set up, home audio solution in any room, then, give the HomePod mini a crack. Honestly – it sounds really cool.

When one became two

The sheer quality of 4K Apple TV has blown my mind.

I have Sky Ultra HD as part of my package, but the 4K pictures delivered by Apple TV are simply superior in every way. Colour, clarity, the blacks & shadows and on screen resolution need to be seen to be believed. Again, this box is not too expensive, and if you can run to it, I think you’ll love the quality it brings to your visual experiences.

Setting up of Apple TV is thorough. Apple shines through with their audiovisual heritage, offering you solutions for colour calibration, syncing and white balance. Your phone is central to setting it up, but, all those stages, I am convinced, are what makes the results so stunning.

After I had finally decided to pair up the HomePod mini with Apple TV, I wanted more. I kept reading and hearing about the ability to set up HomePod mini as stereo pairs.

Over the weekend, I had a chance to set the newest speaker up. As you’d expect from Apple, the stereo pairing process is super quick and simple. Your HomePod mini becomes a HomeHub, so you’ll find your speakers in your Home app.

Crucial to the set-up is first assigning them to the same room. Once that is done, you simply tap the cog icon, and follow on-screen instructions. And, to ensure you have the stereo assignation correctly made, you can even swap-out left and right channels if needed.

It was all done in a matter of moments, and currently, it is the toy I can’t stop using!

Added benefits

Until this past weekend, I had been using a Sony stereo bar and woofer along with my Samsung 55-inch TV. The sound was ok, obviously better than the TVs native speakers, but a little ‘wooly’ for my liking. Also, being a single bar, the stereo separation was not all that noticeable either.

As soon as I paired up the HomePod minis, the stereo effect was noticeable. That is not the only benefit though; now I can play music direct from my phone to the HomePod minis from Apple Music, listen to podcasts, and also use Handoff, which must be one of my favourite features.

One thing I don’t really use the HomePod mini for, though, is as a home assistant. Siri is still ponderous, slow and hit or miss. I have tried using it a lot more of recent, but it still seems to be lagging Google in that department…although you will be listened to at all times for the privilege. Is that a price you’re willing to pay?

I’m in!

Now that I am getting the hang of these speakers, I am really in to them. I am pretty sure I will add one to the bedroom & kitchen too before long. Their ease of use really makes that a no-brainer.

Should the rumours prove true, and a new, full-fat HomePod is released later this year, I reckon I will be down for that as well.

One annoying, but understandable problem will be that you cannot pair a HomePod and a HomePod mini. But, if the audio really is that much better than the mini’s, then I will be having to trade up! I am actually already mentally making space on the shelf under my TV for it!

This could end up being an expensive audio year!

Geez, sometimes, I really do hate being so deep in to the Apple ecosystem! It costs me a fortune, but, on the other hand, inexplicably, happy in equal measures!

See how easily pleased I am?

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