Amazon Echo Gains Support for Multi-Room Music Playback

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Amazon today added a new Alexa feature that allows several Amazon Echo devices to be synchronized and controlled across multiple rooms in a home. Echo owners can now target music to a specific Echo device or play the same music on more than one Echo.

The feature works with a variety of music services, including Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRatio, and Pandora, with support for Spotify and SiriusXM coming soon. To use multi-room support, users will need to use the Alexa app to create groups with two or more Echo devices, giving the group a name like "downstairs." Once the group is enabled, commands like "Alexa, play John Mayer downstairs" will work.

"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."

Amazon's move to add support for multiple Echo devices comes as Apple prepares to launch both the HomePod and an AirPlay 2 protocol. Multiple HomePod devices can be used simultaneously, and with AirPlay 2, speakers that support the feature can be paired together for a whole-home music experience.

Multi-room music support is available for the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show in the United States, UK, and Germany starting today. Amazon says it plans to extend the ability allow users to control multi-room music on other connected speakers with just a voice command through a new Multi-Room Music SDK that device makers can build into their speakers. Amazon plans to work with brands like Sonos, Bose, Sound United, and Samsung, and some of these manufacturers are also working to support AirPlay 2 in future devices.

In other Echo-related news, the original Amazon Echo is out of stock on Amazon.com, fueling speculation that a new device launch is imminent. Rumors have suggested Amazon is working on a new version of the Echo that's designed to better compete with Apple's upcoming HomePod. The new Echo device is said to feature improved sound quality, better microphone technology, and a new design.

Top Rated Comments

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41 months ago

There are plenty of Echo devices prominently displayed at Whole Foods Market in San Rafael, CA. The original Echo's there are half price ($99), and the Dots are also discounted.

It's a little jarring, this marriage of WFM and Amazon. Electronics are not what I expect to see at Whole Foods.

Well get use to it or find a new market. I don't mean to sound crass but, unfortunately that's the way it will be from now on at Wholefoods. Hey, you BBQing this weekend? Can I get an Amazon burger?

Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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41 months ago
This is pretty nice, and it works with dot - so I can voice control my stereo when I get around to hooking it up. I wish it worked with Apple Music/iTunes.

Amazon has one-upped Apple in this. iTunes can only stream to one device on iOS, even though multi-destination has been in the iTunes Mac app forever. Even though I can use the remote app, using alexa really would be more convenient.

This shows that whomever architected Alexa/etc was pretty good. Their development model has been really successful, and even though they didn't hit it out of the park with the 1.0 release they've now leading the field.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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41 months ago

The execution will likely compare two a couple tin cups with a string connecting them. Those echos don’t have the best speakers to begin with.

It's good enough. Anyone that cares about hi-fi isn't going to be streaming low quality digital from the cloud.

Let's put it this way: you aren't going to put magneplaner's in your kitchen.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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41 months ago
Plans to work with them. The echo sonos partnership was organized by the Half-Life team.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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41 months ago

It's good enough. Anyone that cares about hi-fi isn't going to be streaming low quality digital from the cloud.

Let's put it this way: you aren't going to put magneplaner's in your kitchen.

True, but I suspect people will chain together dots as it’s cheaper with no forethought. It doesn’t have to be the extremes that are the only options.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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41 months ago
Great news. I just jumped aboard team Alexa/Echo a couple months ago. And I did so with the expectation that multiroom support was coming soon. I got 2 dots and an Echo for a combined $150 (I think), which sufficiently covers my entire home. I’m no audiophile, but it works great for me at less than half the cost of the HomePod
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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