After a friend mentioned on Twitter yesterday that his HomePod could play back the audio of a movie without any lag, I decided to try it out. If you’ve tried this in the past – playing movie audio through an AirPlay speaker while watching a movie on an iPad, for example – you’ll be aware that there was always about a half-second delay between the video and audio. But now, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
(It’s worth noting that the HomePod handles this audio better than other AirPlay targets, so there must be something in its software or hardware that allows iOS devices to sync more closely. If I play video from my iPad to my AirPlay-capable receiver, the lag is noticeable, though not the half-second delay I recall seeing in the past.)
Start playing a video – a movie, TV show, or even YouTube – and tap the AirPlay icon, the one that looks like a TV screen with a triangle below it. You can then choose which audio device you want to use for playback.
Above, I could choose Bedroom, which is my HomePod. When I do, it takes a couple of seconds, then the sound comes from the HomePod, in sync. (There seems to be a teeny tiny delay, perhaps a couple of milliseconds, but nothing annoying.)
The problem is that it sounds terrible. The overly bassy sound of the HomePod, which can work with some music, but not all, is horrible with video content. Voices are far too deep, and the lack of a solid mid-range makes them sound artificial. Add to that the sort of faux surround sound reverb that the HomePod applies, and it makes the audio sound strange.
So in a pinch, you might want to do this, but the bottom-heavy sound of the HomePod is not adapted for movie or TV playback.