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Connecting an Echo Dot to a A/V-Stereo System

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Connecting an Echo Dot to a A/V-Stereo System
« on: May 03, 2016, 12:31:12 pm »
I'm thinking of purchasing an Echo Dot to use with my home A/V-Stereo system. Its receiver is a Pioneer Elite VSX-60, which has conventional analog RCA input jacks for audio (e.g., from a CD player); it also can take a digital input from HDMI, coax, or optical cable. I've read that the Dot shuts down if it's connected via hard wire to another device, so I'm thinking of purchasing a Bluetooth receiver, like the AmazonBasics Bluetooth 4.0 Audio Adapter or Pioneer's own AS-BT200 Stereo Bluetooth Adapter. These devices list for $20 and $99 respectively. Any advice on this would be most appreciated.

I also have a few specific questions.
  • Since the Dot is designed to go directly to unamplified speakers, I assume it amplifies the signal. Is there any issue with connecting it to a receiver that also amplifies the signal?
  • We currently use a Logitech Harmony hub to control the system. Can the Dot interface with the Harmony so that Alexa can control the entire system? (E.g., "Alexa play Miles Davis" turns on the receiver and properly sets the source. "Alexa, watch TV" starts the Harmony's Watch TV activity.)
  • Most likely the Dot will be located with our other A/V equipment in an open, built-in equipment cabinet with wooden shelves in a wall connecting our living room and kitchen. The opening is in a small corridor connecting the two rooms and is perpendicular to the plane along which the TV and stereo speakers are located. The Echo will probably sit behind other equipment, like the receiver. Do you anticipate any problems with the sound from the Dot's internal speaker, bearing in mind that it will mainly be used for ordinary voice rather than Hi-Fi music?
  • We already have an Amazon Fire TV connected to our system. Do the two devices, the AFTV & the Dot, play nicely together in ways that are more than the sum of the parts?
  • Is there any need for an additional remote for the Dot? We already have a voice remote for the ATV

Thanks for your help.

Re: Connecting an Echo Dot to a A/V-Stereo System
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2016, 06:01:03 pm »
I'm thinking of purchasing an Echo Dot to use with my home A/V-Stereo system. Its receiver is a Pioneer Elite VSX-60, which has conventional analog RCA input jacks for audio (e.g., from a CD player); it also can take a digital input from HDMI, coax, or optical cable. I've read that the Dot shuts down if it's connected via hard wire to another device, so I'm thinking of purchasing a Bluetooth receiver, like the AmazonBasics Bluetooth 4.0 Audio Adapter or Pioneer's own AS-BT200 Stereo Bluetooth Adapter. These devices list for $20 and $99 respectively. Any advice on this would be most appreciated.

My advice would be that $20 sounds a lot better than $99.  ;)

I also have a few specific questions.

Since the Dot is designed to go directly to unamplified speakers, I assume it amplifies the signal. Is there any issue with connecting it to a receiver that also amplifies the signal?

The assertion in bold is not correct.  The line out from the Dot is designed to be connected to active, rather than passive speakers.  So hooking it to your stereo is A-OK.

We currently use a Logitech Harmony hub to control the system. Can the Dot interface with the Harmony so that Alexa can control the entire system? (E.g., "Alexa play Miles Davis" turns on the receiver and properly sets the source. "Alexa, watch TV" starts the Harmony's Watch TV activity.)

Not directly, though there are multiple ways of piecing together something that will give you some of that functionality, though none are going to be exactly what you want.  Search the site for "Harmony" for other existing discussions on the topic.

Most likely the Dot will be located with our other A/V equipment in an open, built-in equipment cabinet with wooden shelves in a wall connecting our living room and kitchen. The opening is in a small corridor connecting the two rooms and is perpendicular to the plane along which the TV and stereo speakers are located. The Echo will probably sit behind other equipment, like the receiver. Do you anticipate any problems with the sound from the Dot's internal speaker, bearing in mind that it will mainly be used for ordinary voice rather than Hi-Fi music?

You might be able to hear voice responses from the Dot, assuming that the other equipment isn't playing music. But you're likely to have problems getting the Dot to hear, or at least correctly understand you.  Hiding a microphone behind other equipment is not an optimal solution.

We already have an Amazon Fire TV connected to our system. Do the two devices, the AFTV & the Dot, play nicely together in ways that are more than the sum of the parts?

The answer to this is the same as for the Harmony Hub.  In fact there's already another multi-page thread going on that very topic: http://www.echotalk.org/index.php/topic,563.0.html

  • Is there any need for an additional remote for the Dot? We already have a voice remote for the ATV
If by that you mean, "Will my AFTV remote work with my Dot?" the answer is "No".  However, you can use your AFTV voice remote to access the Alexa Service that powers (mostly) the Echo: http://www.zdnet.com/article/smarthome-remote-amazon-fire-tv-works-with-echo-to-control-smart-devices/

Re: Connecting an Echo Dot to a A/V-Stereo System
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2016, 07:43:08 pm »
Accessing the audio out of Dot is no different than connecting any "audio out" to stereo.  It is just another ""aux" output to and aux in..  My Dot is actually in a "tape in" of the stereo;  all "aux" ins are basically the same.  The only input to a stereo that is different is "phono in"  It requires a low level input from a phono cartridge only.  Mic in may also be low level, too, so it usually is not same as "aux in".  Using "tape in" is same as using "aux" in, though.

My Dot is not tucked away.  It is right up front of cabinet top where Dot can hear us.  If we want to use a separate speaker for Dot, it is easy to tell Dot to use Bluetooth speaker and it shuts off the audio out to stereo and BT speaker plays.

If stereo is not set for listening to Dot output and we talk to Dot we cannot hear its reply.  So in that case we just talk to Echo 15 feet away and get the action/reply from Alexa from the Echo.  Convenient to have too many of these gadgets sometimes, but not everyone does.

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Re: Connecting an Echo Dot to a A/V-Stereo System
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2016, 10:16:51 am »
My Dot is connected to Logitech amplified G51 through  3.5mm to RCA stereo connector input to the amplifier. I have the surround sound system speakers completely hidden in and on top of 14 foot Entertainment/ Bookcase in the family room. The Dot also called Alexa and it mainly use to play Amazon Prime but it is a vital part of my smart home. (The Dot is located on the Sub Woofer to easily take commands) I really do not need a Dot/Echo at the present time in the Entertainment Room since I have the FireTV which handles all the smart appliances with the Amazon smart remote.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2016, 01:04:19 pm by Yoda_One »
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Re: Connecting an Echo Dot to a A/V-Stereo System
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2016, 06:22:23 pm »
We currently use a Logitech Harmony hub to control the system. Can the Dot interface with the Harmony so that Alexa can control the entire system? (E.g., "Alexa play Miles Davis" turns on the receiver and properly sets the source. "Alexa, watch TV" starts the Harmony's Watch TV activity.)

If you set it up in IFTTT, you can have the Dot trigger any of the activities that you set up for your Harmony Hub. So if you have an activity for playing Miles Davis, you can say "Echo, trigger Miles Davis" and the Harmony Hub will perform that activity. Likewise for the Watch TV activity. I have found that the triggering of activities with IFTTT usually works quite well as long as you aren't using IFTTT to trigger multiple actions in short order, but sometimes there is some lag with IFTTT - especially when you are issuing multiple IFTTT commands. Likewise, you can create IFTTT commands to turn off the devices that are used by that activity (eg, Echo, trigger turn off TV). What you cannot do is use Echo voice control to trigger simple remote button presses. So doing simple actions that don't involve turning on and off devices and setting inputs is just not there yet. So no voice activation to pause TV, play, FF, RW, change channels, change volume, etc.

We already have an Amazon Fire TV connected to our system. Do the two devices, the AFTV & the Dot, play nicely together in ways that are more than the sum of the parts?

No - they really do not integrate in any way other than having similar capabilities. The FireTV has some of the Echo/Alexa capabilities built in (everything except timers and alarms and the always listening feature), but it would have that with or without an Echo in your home. You extend Alexa's reach by having another way to talk to her and control your home automation, but it is not like the Echo/Dot will control the FireTV natively. For example, the FireTV has limited voice search capabilities, but you cannot use the Echo to trigger that functionality - you must use the voice remote.

Is there any need for an additional remote for the Dot? We already have a voice remote for the ATV[/li][/list]

If you want a remote to control the Dot, then yes. The FireTV remote will not work with the Dot. However, it will work to perform Alexa functionality via the FireTV, so if that is good enough, then no. I don't personally use a remote with any of my Alexa enabled devices except the FireTV. I would rather have a device in multiple rooms than carry around a remote - especially if I am not in the room to hear the response.