HomePod Can you AirPlay audio to a Stereo Homepod pair from Mac by putting an Apple TV in-between?

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by afir93, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. afir93 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2018
    #1
    Ok so since I don't have an Apple TV myself, I'd like to ask if someone with an Apple TV and two (or even just one) HomePod can confirm whether or not the following is possible.

    I know that you can stream audio to a Stereo HomePod pair from an Apple TV 4th and 5th generation via AirPlay 2, and I know that you can stream audio system-wide from a Mac to an Apple TV via AirPlay. So I'm wondering, can you chain these two actions together? Can the audio you're streaming from your Mac to an Apple TV be forwarded by the Apple TV to a HomePod pair (or just a single HomePod, for that matter)?

    Potential audio delays or the like wouldn't matter to me as I know how to compensate for them software-wise, I'd just like to know if this is possible or if the Apple TV won't do that for some reason. I couldn't find a conclusive answer on the web to this. It's bugging me a little that there is no way to stream audio from your Mac directly to a Stereo HomePod pair right now, so if this method would work then it would seem like a reasonable workaround and might justify an Apple TV purchase for me which I'm already on the edge of for other reasons.
     
  2. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #2
    Won't work. Connection to the AppleTV will become unavailable of the AppleTV is AirPlaying audio else where.

    Screen Shot 2018-07-07 at 7.54.51 AM.png
    (That is cut off but it says "Living Room AppleTV 4K: Connection Lost")

    What is your exact use case so maybe we can better help? Do you have an Apple Music subscription? Do you have music that isn't available on Apple Music? Do you mean music from iTunes? Other sources? Mirroring? etc...

    iTunes will display and control a HomePod pair as a single device under "Switch to:" however its not streaming from you collection.
     
  3. afir93 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2018
    #3
    Oh alright, thank you for trying it out, I appreciate it.

    Just to be sure, the Apple TV is also greyed out in the audio menu in the menubar, not just within iTunes?

    The use case I would have hoped for would be watching movies on my 5K iMac with my Stereo HomePods as speakers. The 5K iMac has a gorgeous display that movies are a joy to watch on, and the Stereo HomePods sound heavenly and are by far the best speakers I have in my home, so this would seem like the perfect combination to me. Right now I essentially have to choose between watching them on my iMac with built-in speakers (which aren't bad by any means, but nowhere near HomePod leagues) or watching them on my iPad which does work with the Stereo HomePod setup but obviously isn't as great as on the big screen.

    But it seems there is no way then to do that right now, until Apple decides to bring AirPlay 2 and/or support for Stereo HomePod pairs to Mac aswell? Unless there's some possibility that I'm missing? That's truly a shame.

    Regarding music playback (which is, to be fair, what I mostly bought my HomePods for), I'm pretty content with my Stereo HomePod setup so far – I have Apple Music and love how the native playback on the HomePods integrates with the iCloud Music library aswell. Now that you mention it, there's actually a ton of music in my iTunes library that's not in the Apple Music catalogue, but so far I didn't have any trouble playing it on the HomePods via my iCloud Music Library (with native playback, not AirPlay).
     
  4. cynics macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #4
    Only iTunes sees the HomePods as a stereo pair. Menu will display both HomePods separately.

    Pulled this from here.

    airplay-2.jpg
    (click)

    I'm sure its coming but they couldn't hold off releasing AirPlay 2 any longer than they currently did. People were raising hell as it was.
     
  5. afir93 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 5, 2018
    #5
    Alright. Yeah I'm aware that menus display them separately, which is why I was asking about the hypothetical Apple TV workaround ;)

    Yeah, most likely. What worries me though is that they haven't said a word about it at WWDC, so HomePod Stereo and AirPlay 2 support won't be coming with Mojave in fall either. Which makes a 10.14.x update the earliest it could come, but more likely next year with 10.15 or even later.

    In any case, thanks again.
     
  6. afir93, Jul 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018

    afir93 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 5, 2018
    #6
    Holy, I think I actually just found a workaround myself that doesn't even involve buying an Apple TV. It's not ideal but it should work for the time being.

    In case anyone else is interested in this, here is how it's possible:

    - Download and install the app AirFoil for Mac. It's not a free app but it does offer a free trial so anyone who's in the same situation can try this out for themselves first.

    - Install the (free) companion app AirFoil satellite for iPhone or iPad. (I suppose Apple TV would work aswell)

    - Launch AirFoil on the Mac and AirFoil Satellite on your iOS device. This will make your iOS device show up in the list of output devices from AirFoil on your Mac. Select it there, and select the audio source you want to stream (i.e. System Audio, or a particular app). This will stream the system audio from your Mac to your iOS device.

    - Select the HomePod Stereo pair as an audio output on your iOS device via Control Center.

    And... that's it. The system audio from your entire Mac will now be output via your HomePod Stereo pair, including full stereo functionality.

    The thing is... well first of all, you'll need to have both devices running, obviously (but it works fine if you lock your iOS device, you don't need to have it unlocked all the time). The other problem is that there's a relatively big delay between having the sound occur on your Mac and having your HomePods put it out. So if you're using this method to watch videos on your Mac and play their sound on a Stereo HomePod pair, you need to account for that software-wise.

    Fortunately, many common video players have an option to assign a positive or negative delay to the audio of a video you're playing. Both VLC and (my personal video player of choice) IINA have this. For me, the delay I need to set them to so that video and audio are synchronous is exactly -3.8 seconds (but that might vary, depending on your network and stuff like that).

    But yeah, this method can play all the sound from any video you're watching on any Mac to any HomePod Stereo pair right now. It's a little cumbersome, yes, but the ~30s setup each time honestly seems worth it if you're watching a lot of videos and movies from your Mac like I do.

    Edit: After trying it for a while, I so far regularly get playback issues where the sound would drop on the iOS device (but that doesn't seem to be related with the HomePods themselves, more with AirFoil streaming the audio to the iOS device). If it were not for these issues then it would be a great solution for me. Currently looking for ways to troubleshoot this.
     
  7. Hergesheimer macrumors newbie

    Hergesheimer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #7
    Dear all,

    Had this been fixed? Can‘t still not stream from Mac to HomePods. Can see the stereo pair but the music won‘t play.

    Many thanks.
     
  8. afir93, Jul 23, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018

    afir93 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2018
    #8
    Not fixed, you still cannot stream system-wide from a Mac to a Stereo HomePod pair, but there are two workarounds right now.

    One is the method via AirFoil and going over an iOS device as an intermediate, which I have described above. It got it to work relatively reliably (though there are occasionally still sound/connection issues that are probably caused by AirFoil). The good thing is it works system-wide, the bad thing is... well, it has some issues, it has a big delay (about 4 seconds for me that you need to compensate for when watching videos and the like) and it‘s not free.

    The other method to do it is via iTunes. Not long after I posted this thread, Apple released a new iTunes version that now supports streaming via AirPlay 2 directly to a HomePod Stereo pair which wasn‘t possible before (before, you could only control the native playback of a stereo pair via iTunes). So that means that all the media in iTunes (not just music but also movies, TV-shows, audiobooks and the like – the stuff that won't sync to your iCloud Music Library) can be played on your Mac with having the sound played on a HomePod Stereo pair. Which is great, and almost what I was originally looking for... but the issues still is that it only supports media you have in iTunes and doesn‘t work with any other apps right now.

    So if you frequently watch stuff via Netflix on your Mac for example, the iTunes method still won‘t work (and neither will the AirFoil-method because you cannot compensate for the audio delay in Netrflix, to my knowledge).
     
  9. BlankStar macrumors 6502

    BlankStar

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    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Belgium
    #9
    Is it bugged then? I thought the latest update of MacOS supports HomePod stereo? (not talking about Mojave)
     
  10. afir93 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 5, 2018
    #10
    Not bugged, that would imply the functionality is there and not working right. It's just not implemented yet in macOS on a system-wide basis. On the Mac, only iTunes currently supports AirPlay 2/streaming to Stereo HomePod pairs (since the latest update - maybe that's what you are confusing it with). macOS as a whole doesn't support either of those right now; it only supports AirPlay 1 and streaming to each HomePod individually.
     
  11. Hergesheimer macrumors newbie

    Hergesheimer

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    Dec 29, 2014
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #11
    Thanks so much for your helpful answer. When I try to stream my music from iTunes to the HomePods the music won‘t play. I can choose in the AirPlay menu the Pods, it‘s connecting, but then there is no music starting to play. Thanks a lot.
     
  12. afir93 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 5, 2018
    #12
    No problem. Hm that definitely sounds like a bug then as it should definitely be playing. Not really sure what you can do here, apart from making sure everything's up to date and maybe un- and repairing the HomePods as a stereo pair via the Home app (it seems this sometimes helps with issues about the stereo pairs, but of course it could also be a completely unrelated issue in your case).
     
  13. BlankStar macrumors 6502

    BlankStar

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    Aug 13, 2004
    Location:
    Belgium
    #13
    Ow ok, didn't know only iTunes can do it. Never really use it since I got Apple Music and just tell the HomePod what to play.
     
  14. Hergesheimer macrumors newbie

    Hergesheimer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2014
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #14
    Thanks again. Will try later to reset the HomePods to factory settings. Hope that will help.
     

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