It was always a matter of time, but now Alexa has the ability to turn Echo devices into multi-room speakers that many owners have long been clamoring for. Starting today, the feature is available for Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Pandora, while support for Spotify and SiriusXM is said to be "coming soon." This so far only applies to users in the US, UK, and Germany.
Any combination of Echos, Echo Dots, and Echo Shows can be used in a multi-room setup. You'll need to use the Alexa app to create groups, which you then name to allow Alexa to recognize them. For example, you could have a 'downstairs' group and an 'upstairs' group. Then you can simply ask Alexa to "play John Mayer downstairs." Unfortunately, it seems as though the same device can't be part of more than one group at the same time, which will be a disappointment for many (Thanks to Tiuri Elvander for pointing that out).
At the same time, Amazon has announced two new sets of tools for developers. The first is the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) Multi-Room Music SDK which will allow any AVS enabled speaker to be linked to Echo devices as part of a multi-room speaker system. This won't be available until next year, however.
A Connected Speaker API developer preview was also introduced, so that connected audio systems can also be controlled via Alexa. Amazon is working with brands such as Sonos, Bose, and Samsung to get their devices up and running with AVS. You can find out more information about both sets of new tools on the Amazon Developer site.
“Alexa, Play My Music Everywhere”
New multi-room music feature lets you group multiple Amazon Echo devices for synchronized music streaming in every room
New Alexa developer tools extend multi-room audio to other connected speakers and audio systems
SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 29, 2017-- (NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon today announced an all-new Alexa feature that lets you control and synchronize music across multiple Amazon Echo devices in your home. Starting today, you can target music to a specific Echo device or a group of devices—just ask. Soon, this ability will be extended to control multi-room music on other connected speakers using simply your voice.
“In just the last few months, we’ve added dozens of new features to Alexa that enhance your entertainment experience—control of Amazon Fire TV and your home entertainment systems via Echo; music lyrics, Amazon Video, and movie trailers on Echo Show; and activity-based music searches—and we’re just getting started,” said Toni Reid, Vice President, Amazon Alexa. “Today, we’re making Alexa even smarter with an all-new feature that lets you play music synchronized on multiple Echo devices to provide room-filling music throughout your home.”
Multi-Room Music on Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show
You can now synchronize your music playback across Echo devices to play songs from Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Pandora, with support for Spotify and SiriusXM coming soon. Simply use the Alexa App to create groups with two or more Echo devices by naming the group, such as “downstairs.” Once you’ve created the group, simply say “Alexa, play John Mayer downstairs.”
Customers in the US, UK, and Germany can start using multi-room music today on their Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show devices.
New Tools Let Device Makers Create Additional Voice-Controlled Music Experiences with Alexa
Amazon also announced two new sets of tools for developers to bring multi-room music control to their speakers.
Alexa Voice Service (AVS) Multi-Room Music SDK
Amazon is introducing new tools that enable AVS device makers to integrate with Amazon Alexa Multi-Room Music. Doing so will allow customers to play their music across supported Echo and AVS devices—for example, a customer with three Echo devices and two standalone AVS speakers can play synchronized music across all five devices. These tools will be available early next year.
Connected Speaker APIs
These new tools enable device makers with connected audio systems to control music playback using Alexa. A customer can then use any Alexa-enabled device – for example an Echo Dot – to play music throughout their home on their connected audio systems. Amazon is excited to be working with leading brands on this offering, including Sonos, Bose, Sound United, and Samsung.
“Alexa set the standard for voice in smart homes, so working with Amazon to bring voice control to Sonos for the first time was an obvious choice,” said Antoine Leblond, VP of Software, Sonos. “This has been a close collaboration from the beginning as we’ve worked together to combine the magic of Alexa with the seamless multi-room audio capabilities that Sonos pioneered. We’re proud of the work we’ve done together as Amazon’s first multi-room partner – all you’ll need is an Alexa-enabled device and playing music out loud on Sonos will be as easy as saying ‘Alexa, play music in the living room.’”
“Sound United is constantly striving to provide consumers with the best possible user experience. With AI voice services simplifying how we control our home environments and products, we’re excited Denon, Marantz, and HEOS customers will be some of the first to experience Alexa multi-room audio compatibility and the power of voice control,” said Kevin Duffy, CEO and president, Sound United. “Soon, users will be able to play their favorite song, alter the volume, or change an input in any room where our connected products are placed, simply by asking Alexa to do so.”
“We’re thrilled to integrate Alexa multi-room audio with Samsung speakers,” said Jun Young Kim, Vice President of AV Business Team, Samsung. “With Alexa multi-room audio and Samsung, customers will simply be able to ask Alexa to play their favorite music in any room of the house – using only their voice. Listening to great music on Samsung speakers has never been easier.”
The Connected Speaker APIs are available in developer preview starting today.
Device makers can learn more about the new AVS developer tools here.
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Source: Amazon.com, Inc.