It looks like Apple has developed a way to allow any AirPlay 2 speaker to act as your default Apple TV 4K sound solution – at least that’s what the code found in the first beta of iOS 16.1 suggests which was released to developers last week.
At the moment, both of Apple’s HomePods (the original and the newer HomePod Mini) can be set as the default Apple TV 4K speakers, which means that all You play through them automatically from your Apple TV (although only the discontinued original HomePod can deliver Dolby Atmos audio).
Wouldn’t it be great if your KEF LSX II, Sonos One or indeed any of the best AirPlay speakers could work the same way – ie. Apple TV wireless sound not disconnecting when your Apple TV 4K (2021) goes to sleep? Well, according to iOS 16.1 beta code spotted by 9to5Mac (opens in new tab), Your wish may soon come true.
Currently, using an original HomePod as a standard Apple TV 4K speaker works really well — thanks to this model’s HDMI eARC support, it can even record and deliver Dolby Atmos sound from your PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, or other HDMI-connected device .
Analysis: Apple wouldn’t do this if it didn’t have big plans
How is all this supposed to happen? Well, according to 9to5Mac’s report, it’s all about the Home app: In the iOS 16.1 beta, you can pair AirPlay 2 speakers in a fixed speaker group. This speaker group could then be set as the default audio output for an Apple TV 4K.
Apple rolled out this currently HomePod-specific feature in early 2021, weeks before the HomePod (aka the only device capable of delivering it in Dolby Atmos) was discontinued. So it makes sense for Apple to broaden its horizons now – and the news also adds weight to the much-rumored upcoming launch of the HomePod 2 to take the mantle.
Although Apple hasn’t confirmed any of this, the Cupertino giant has Has stated that it will launch its new home architecture later this year with the support of Matter. So it makes sense that these improved AirPlay 2 speaker features could be part of the rollout.
Oh, and aside from a new HomePod, Apple is also said to be working on a new Apple TV 4K (2022), an improved Apple TV streaming set-top box with a more powerful A14 chip and more memory.
For the Apple and Sirien advocates, the wider adoption of iOS 16.1 can’t come soon enough.
https://www.techradar.com/news/forget-homepod-2-all-airplay-speakers-could-soon-get-full-apple-tv-4k-support Forget HomePod 2, all AirPlay speakers could soon get full Apple TV 4K support