TVs – The Smart Speaker (Some of) You Didn’t Know You Had

Living room with TV and speakers
May 31, 2023 Xperi Dannie Lau
General Manager of DTS Play-Fi

The era of streaming has taken over the music industry. According to a CBS News poll conducted in 2021, a staggering 41% of Americans now rely on streaming services to satisfy their musical cravings, making it the most popular way to listen. This revolutionary shift not only changes how we access music but also impacts the way we design our home audio systems. 

Gone are the days of bulky black boxes in a stereo rack. Thanks to advancements in technology, people are now embracing simpler methods of constructing their home audio setups. Surprisingly (to some), the smart TV has emerged as the centerpiece in many households’ audio systems. 

This trend is especially prominent among younger generations. Recent research by Futuresource revealed that 69% of Gen Z and 80% of millennials already listen to music through their TVs at least once a month, with a significant number of Gen X and baby boomers doing the same. 

Why the TV, you may wonder? Well, most people already have a television in their living rooms, which remains a popular spot for enjoying music. Modern smart TVs come equipped with app-based operating systems, allowing seamless connections to a wide range of music services such as Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music and Apple Music. 

The smart TV has transformed from a passive display to an active information hub at the heart of home entertainment systems. With no need for additional computers, receivers or set-top boxes, today’s smart TVs act as the brains of the operation, fully connected devices with purpose-built operating systems capable of delivering diverse home entertainment experiences. To add to their appeal, many smart TVs now feature high-quality sound from renowned brands like Bowers & Wilkins and JBL. This means that a large receiver or other external audio components may no longer be necessary, even though a large display isn’t essential for music listening. 

Listening to music via a TV offers more flexibility than ever before. While some individuals may settle for the bundled Music Choice channels that come with their cable or satellite TV subscriptions, which function similarly to radio stations, others crave greater customization. Whether it’s creating playlists, enjoying songs or entire albums on repeat, or switching between genres frequently, a higher degree of personalization is required and can be delivered on a smart TV. 

Moreover, smart TVs aren’t limited to serving as exceptional music listening systems; they can also anchor whole-home listening experiences. In the past, multi-room audio setups involved extensive speaker wiring and amplifiers that had to be tucked away. With the advent of wireless speaker technology, smart speakers became an option, but they had their limitations like the inability to be grouped with TVs without playback “echo.” However, today’s most advanced smart TVs can solve these issues through automated calibration, eliminating delays and contributing to an enhanced listening experience throughout the entire home. 

This approach of using smart TVs as the central component of home audio systems offers newfound flexibility. People can effortlessly add speakers to different rooms without the hassle of running wires everywhere or use TVs in other rooms as part of the whole home listening experience. Combined with the expanding variety of wireless speaker options and the ubiquity of smart TVs, this approach makes whole-home audio systems more affordable than ever. 

While leveraging the advantages of using a smart TV for music listening, it’s crucial to acknowledge potential limitations. Firstly, certain TV operating systems and app stores may offer a limited selection of music services, potentially restricting your options. Moreover, not all smart TVs can seamlessly group and synchronize with other TVs or wireless speakers, depending on the supported streaming technology. Additionally, not all TVs, including those with built-in music services, support control via a mobile device. For example, if you’re cooking in the kitchen and want to change the volume or skip a song, this might necessitate physically heading to the room where the TV resides. However, if your TV supports DTS Play-Fi, none of these scenarios will pose any issue, ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted music experience. 

Embracing the smart TV as the heart of your home audio system isn’t just a practical choice—it’s a leap into a world of limitless possibilities. As this trend continues to gain momentum, more and more people are simplifying their entertainment setups, bidding farewell to cumbersome components, and unlocking the door to unparalleled flexibility in their music listening experiences. With a smart TV at the helm, you can navigate through a symphony of sounds, creating the perfect ambiance in every room, and all without compromising an ounce of audio quality. So join the movement, and let your smart TV orchestrate a harmonious fusion of convenience and remarkable audio bliss throughout your home. 

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