Fast Tips Friday: TV volume messed up? Use Echo as a Bluetooth speaker.

Post published 7/5/19 – Today I’m revisiting a tip I shared some time ago, about using Alexa devices as TV speakers. For about a week I’ve noticed my TV’s volume going up and down by itself and based on Google research, I’ve concluded it has a faulty sound card. I don’t want to be without my TV while it’s in for repairs and have no idea what such a repair would cost, but since all my TV programming comes through a Fire TV Cube I can bypass the TV’s sound card altogether by using an Echo as a Bluetooth speaker.

You may not need your TV’s speaker at all

If you use a Bluetooth-enabled streaming device or cable receiver box to watch TV, the audio coming into that device can be directed to an external Bluetooth speaker instead of being broadcast through your TV’s own speaker.

All second-generation and later Echo, Dot and Show devices can accept incoming Bluetooth connections, and so can the Echo Show 5, Echo Plus and Spot. You’re probably starting to see where I’m going with this.

Here’s the easy step-by-step I followed.

First, I dug out a second-gen Echo I have on hand but haven’t had a use for since moving, placed it on a table by the couch where I usually sit to watch TV, and set it up following the usual steps when adding an Alexa device.

If you’ve already got one of the Alexa devices previously listed in the same room as your TV, you can use it as a Bluetooth TV speaker. If not, the Dot will be about your least expensive purchase option but Echo, Dot and Echo Plus are all currently on sale on Amazon’s US site in the lead-up to Prime Day.

Next, I told Alexa to “pair” to put the Echo in Bluetooth pairing mode.

Finally, I went into Bluetooth settings in my Fire TV Cube’s menu and selected the Echo from the list of available Bluetooth connections. Every Bluetooth-enabled streaming device or cable box will have a Bluetooth menu, but the specific steps to access it and select devices from it will vary by manufacturer.

That’s all there is to it. Anytime your TV is on and broadcasting content from your streaming device or cable box, the audio will automatically be redirected to the paired Alexa device.

Be aware that any of the usual Alexa alerts, alarms, messages and notifications set on the device you’re using as a TV speaker will still come through as usual, and will temporarily mute the TV volume when they sound. Remember that your new TV speaker is still a full-featured Alexa device, and it can still do all the same things as if it weren’t being used as a TV speaker.

As an added benefit, having the speaker closer to where you’re sitting means you can turn the volume down—using Alexa commands, of course!—and continue enjoying your show without disturbing those in other rooms.