With the release of tvOS 14.2 beta 3, Apple is making it possible for beta users to use the original HomePod speaker as a pair as home theater speakers with a TV and the Apple TV 4K. In addition, the wireless speaker now also appears to be used to play game audio.
With the arrival of iOS 14.2 and tvOS 14.2 beta 3, users can set their original HomePod speaker as the default speaker in the Home app as the audio output from the Apple TV 4K for the living room near the television. In a sense, this was already possible via AirPlay 2, but that did not always work flawlessly, whereby the connection did not always remain intact. That should be over with the new software versions.
Apple has confirmed to The Verge that Dolby Atmos is possible and also 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. The latter probably involves the simulation of surround sound, because it still involves one or a maximum of two HomePods working together as a home theater speaker. On Apple’s website, the company mentions the function ‘home cinema with Apple TV 4K’ only in combination with the original HomePod, and not for the recently announced HomePod mini. According to The Loop, it is not possible to make a stereo pair of the HomePod and the HomePod mini, although they do work together if users have copies of both speakers in their home.
The website FlatpanelsHD reports that it has determined that the arrival of tvOS 14.2 means that there is now also support for wireless game audio through a HomePod speaker connected to an Apple TV 4K. This does not only concern sound from Apple Arcade games played on the 4k set-top box, but also sound from games from the App Store. Previously, the wireless audio via Airplay 2 only worked with video images and not with games. According to the website, Dolby Atmos is not yet supported if two Homepods are connected to the Apple TV 4K.