If you haven’t already heard, Apple’s latest HomePod — which was brought back from the dead and now dazzles in its second generation — sounds pretty darn good. On its own it offers beautiful, rich, Spatial Audio sound that can fill a room, thanks to its large woofer, five beam-forming tweeters that shoot sound off walls and into different parts of the room, and its room-sensing capabilities that help it do this just right for the room it’s in.
But as we learned in our review of the 2nd-gen HomePod, creating a stereo pair with another HomePod is on a whole other level. Not only does it create a much wider soundstage and bigger, bolder bass for listening to music, but Spatial Audio tracks on Apple Music sound immersive and dynamic, if you’re into an experience beyond that of regular stereo (which the HomePod is great at, too).
But where things get even more impressive is when setting up a pair of stereo-paired HomePods with an Apple TV 4K for some Dolby Atmos surround sound that rivals that of soundbars or multi-speaker surround sound systems, making them a reasonable option. You can, of course, connect just one HomePod to the Apple TV 4K, and it will sound pretty good too, but a stereo pair will for sure sound better.
If you’ve already set your sights on a set of HomePods (or already have a pair of HomePod Minis), here’s how to set up a stereo pair of either speaker with an Apple TV 4K. It is worth noting, though, that a stereo pair of HomePod Minis do not support Dolby Atmos 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. Here we go.
Create a Stereo pair of HomePods
Before you can enjoy all the benefits of this immersive spatial audio, Dolby Atmos sound for your movies, TV shows, and music through your Apple TV 4K, you should create a stereo pair with your HomePods. To do this, first, you need to make sure that both HomePods are the exact same model (first-gen HomePod, HomePod Mini, or second-gen HomePod) — you cannot mix and match models. Also, all your devices need to be on the same Wi-Fi network.
If you’re setting up your HomePods for the first time, after you set up the first speaker, when you begin the setup process for the second speaker, your iOS device will automatically ask you if you want to add it to a stereo pair. All you have to do here is select whether the second speaker is to be the left or right speaker, and that’s it. Easy peasy.
If you already have a HomePod set up and you want to add a second for a stereo pair, here’s how.
Step 1: On your iOS device, open the Home app and select on of your HomePods.
Step 2: Tap the Settings icon — the one that looks like a gear.
Step 3: Scroll down and tap Create Stereo Pair and follow the onscreen instructions.
Step 4: It will ask you to choose the second HomePod in the stereo pair. Tap to confirm the other HomePod and choose whether it will be the left or right. You can tap the switch icon if you want to change it.
How to set up your stereo pair of HomePods with your Apple TV 4K
To use your stereo-paired HomePods with your Apple TV to get an immersive sound with support for Dolby Atmos, and Dolby Digital 7.1 and 5.1 formats, here’s how. HomePod Mini, however, does not support these formats, but will automatically play them in mono or stereo.
Step 1: First, make sure your Apple TV 4K and iPhone or iPad are updated to at least iOS 16.3.
Step 2: Make sure that your HomePod stereo pair is assigned to the same room as your Apple TV 4K in the Apple Home app.
Step 3: If you’re setting this ups using an iPhone or iPad, open the Home app and tap Apple TV.
Step 4: Scroll down and tap the Settings icon.
Step 5: Select Default Audio Output and then select the room you’ve assigned to your stereo pair of HomePods. This will route all sound from your Apple TV through your stereo pair.
Step 6: If you’re setting this up using the Apple TV 4K instead, the process is similar. Using the Apple TV remote, go to Settings, Video and Audio, and then Audio Output to select the HomePod as your speaker.
Position your HomePods for best results
As we mentioned above, a pair of stereo HomePods can be an excellent alternative to a soundbar for your TV’s sound, not to mention great sounding for music as well. But unlike a soundbar that sits dead-center under the front of your TV, it’s recommended by Apple that you position your HomePods at the left and right of your TV screen, at at least four feet apart.
Additionally, and with any set of speakers, really, try to make sure the speakers are sitting at around head level from your usual viewing location. Apple’s computational sound will automatically scan the room and adjust the sound accordingly.