How to set up and use HomeKit and AirPlay 2 on Sony Smart TVs

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2020
Just in time for the end of the year, Sony has delivered its long-promised HomeKit and AirPlay 2 update to some of its popular smart TVs. Let's go hands-on to see how to perform the update, set it up, and what you can do with the newfound features.

HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support comes to select Sony Smart TVs
HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support comes to select Sony Smart TVs


We will dig much further into what these features can do, but on a high level, AirPlay 2 support allows you to cast audio and video the display without an Apple TV and HomeKit allows control of the TV through the Home app and Siri. It's easy to see why this feature is so requested.

Setup

Updating your Sony TV to support HomeKit and AirPlay is easy. First, you need to ensure your TV is compatible. Sony originally announced support for the 2019 A9G, Z9G, X950G, and X850G but they've since added the 2019 A9F and Z9F models to the list. The update will be available for all those models, regardless of size.

To update the TV, users can head to Settings > Device Preferences > About > then System Software Update. The TV will search for the available update, and when found, let you install it. The update screen will also inlcude the release notes specifiying HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support.

The update will download, then when you turn the TV off, it will perform the necessary process to finalize the update. Be sure you don't need to use the TV for a bit as the update can take up to 10 minutes.

Sony X950G Settings
Sony X950G settings


Post-update, the TV when next turned on will let you know your TV now supports HomeKit and AirPlay 2. You still have to head to Settings to enable the features, however. For this, venture to Settings > Device Preferences > Apple AirPlay & HomeKit.

AirPlay and HomeKit Settings on the Sony X950G smart TV
AirPlay and HomeKit Settings on the Sony X950G smart TV


This will bring up the AirPlay settings such as turning it on/off, requiring a code, and enabling/disabling subtitles and captions. Familiar options for anyone who has used AirPlay on an Apple TV.

There is also the option to enable HomeKit. A QR code will be displayed on the screen where it can be scanned when adding an accessory from the Home app. Once scanned, it will connect and allow you to configure your TV's HomeKit preferences. That includes its name, the room, and all of the possible inputs. Home will then suggest various scenes that may be applicable.

You must allow mobile control for HomeKit to function
You must allow mobile control for HomeKit to function


As an important last step, you must confirm you want to allow mobile devices to control the TV on the television itself. Otherwise, HomeKit won't function.

What can you do?

Once you have your television set up with AirPlay 2 and HomeKit there are several new features available to you.

AirPlay 2 is Apple's method of casting audio and video to speakers, Apple TVs, and TVs. With this update, you can send a photo, video, or song from your iPhone right to your TV. Similarly from your Mac or iPad. You can even mirror those devices to the TV.

AirPlay 2 also enables multi-room audio, so you could send music from your iPhone to your HomePod, your AirPlay 2 speaker, and your Sony TV at the same time.

HomeKit is all about remote control and home automation. You can use Siri on your iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch, or HomePod to turn the TV on or off, change the volume, or switch inputs. You can do the same things from the Home app. Apple's Remote in Control Center can also control your TV.

If you want to take things to the next level, that is where clever scenes and automation rules come into play. Maybe when you say "goodnight" to Siri, your door locks, the thermostat adjusts, the blinds close, lights turn off, and your TV powers down.

Your "movie time" scene may dim the lights to five percent, lower the blinds 75 percent, turn on the TV, and set the input to your Bluray player. You could also set the TV to turn on to the cable box with your good morning scene so you can get started with the local news, or set the TV to turn off when you leave so that the TV isn't left on.

HomeKit setup and controls for the Sony smart TVs
HomeKit setup and controls for the Sony smart TVs including using the Home app, Siri, and the Control Center Remote


Whatever your preference, there is much you can do with Siri, AirPlay 2, and HomeKit.

To explore more what you can and can't do with HomeKit on TVs, check out our in-depth guide.

HomeKit and AirPlay on more than just Sony

Sony, alongside LG, Vizio, and Samsung all pledged to support AirPlay 2 natively on their TVs with all but Samsung also promising full HomeKit support. Samsung owns SmartThings and therefore doesn't want to support a competing smart home platform.

The joint announcement with Apple came earlier in 2019 at the Consumer Electronics Show. Thus far, Samsung, LG, and Vizio have all already added support to their TVs. Sony was the last of the bunch to finalize support.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    Still waiting for update to arrive . Iโ€™m in California.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 22
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,796member
    I'm actually IMPRESSED by how great that UI looks! Good job, Sony! Looks like you've taken a page from Apple's Interface Guidelines book. I just hope that Apple remembers to check their own work against that book once in a while. I've noticed a decline in adherence lately. Buttons like "Yes/No" instead of "Allow/Deny" are just wrong.
  • Reply 3 of 22
    The HomeKit features sound great, it puts Sony TVs well ahead of Samsung but how about changing the channel can HomeKit do that?
    edited December 2019 watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 22
    ...as a bit of a caution, and perhaps surprisingly... surround sound (dolby, etc) cannot (yet?) seemingly be sent by AppleTV to various speakers or airport express(es) using AirPlay2, even though it does seem to support pass through to a receiver, TV or sound bar, leaving wifi>wired stereo front & rear (2+2) as the closest apparent dedicated Apple option:

    "Audio that you stream from Apple TV with AirPlay doesn't support Dolby Atmos or surround sound."

    support.apple.com/en-us/HT204069

    edited December 2019
  • Reply 5 of 22
    neilmneilm Posts: 874member
    So only for TV sets that are less than 1 year old.
    Gee, thanks Sony!
    /s
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 22
    entropysentropys Posts: 2,887member
    Do Sonys have an ATV+ app?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 22
    mobirdmobird Posts: 545member
    I just recently purchased the 2019 Sony Bravia XBR-55A8G, so far it hasn't been blessed with the HomeKit feature. Hope Sony considers adding HomeKit to this Smart TV (if it is possible).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 22
    AlinAlin Posts: 13member
    Vizio tv are the best with the HomeKit support they updated to airplay 2 TVs from 2017. Which no other tv maker did. ๐Ÿ˜‰ great job vizio . 
    watto_cobraPavStebl
  • Reply 9 of 22
    Slightly OT, but can the TV be used without having a connection to the Internet? I am not talking about Apple TV or Netflix, but about whether I can simply connect a HDMI cable to the TV and watch stuff without having to connect the TV to the Internet.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 22
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,269member
    This sounds really nice...
    But I think I would prefer the AppleTV instead simply because, for Homekit to be fully effective and stable it needs a hub and there are only three things that can do that:  AppleTV, HomePod or an iPad.   The trouble with using an iPad is that it can both leave the Home (or its WiFi signal) or the battery can go dead and your HomeKit with it.   That leaves Apple TV and HomePod.   Since I have no intention of spending $400 for a HomePod, for me,  that leaves AppleTV.

    I think Apple needs to pay more attention to this issue.

    I would love to see Apple issue a mesh WiFi router -- but with UPS and HomeKit hub ability.  For me that would solve: the hub issue, coverage issues and multiple security issues.
    entropys
  • Reply 11 of 22
    neilmneilm Posts: 874member
    Slightly OT, but can the TV be used without having a connection to the Internet? I am not talking about Apple TV or Netflix, but about whether I can simply connect a HDMI cable to the TV and watch stuff without having to connect the TV to the Internet.
    And the answer to that is yes.

    Connect your TV to a suitable signal source โ€” cable box, DVR, DVD or Blu-Ray player, or even an antenna for OTA broadcasts โ€” and you can use it normally without any internet connection. My Sony 4K TV is used exclusively in that mode, since I see no need to have any more of my personal data harvested than necessary โ€” and I've got a Mac for those all-important cat videos ;-)

    Every year or two, or when I think of it, I'll temporarily connect an ethernet cable and check for system updates, but that's it.
    edited December 2019 bestkeptsecret
  • Reply 12 of 22
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,828member
    The HomeKit features sound great, it puts Sony TVs well ahead of Samsung but how about changing the channel can HomeKit do that?
    LG, Vizio and now Sony....
    I'm more than surprised Samsung is lagging on this front. Airplay yes. HomeKit no. 

    BTW, Samsung Q80R now my main TV. Highly (!) recommended. 
  • Reply 13 of 22
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 439member, editor
    The HomeKit features sound great, it puts Sony TVs well ahead of Samsung but how about changing the channel can HomeKit do that?
    HomeKit can, but from what it looks like the Sony ones do not have that ability. At least not yet.
  • Reply 14 of 22
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 439member, editor

    gatorguy said:
    The HomeKit features sound great, it puts Sony TVs well ahead of Samsung but how about changing the channel can HomeKit do that?
    LG, Vizio and now Sony....
    I'm more than surprised Samsung is lagging on this front. Airplay yes. HomeKit no. 

    BTW, Samsung Q80R now my main TV. Highly (!) recommended. 
    They won't do HomeKit. They said so at the beginning. They don't want to compete with their own SmartThings platform. Which is too bad. I like their TVs
  • Reply 15 of 22
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 439member, editor

    Alin said:
    Vizio tv are the best with the HomeKit support they updated to airplay 2 TVs from 2017. Which no other tv maker did. ๐Ÿ˜‰ great job vizio . 
    I did like how quickly they added support, and the range of TVs supported, but their TVs are not reliable. I just replaced my Vizio and it constant reboots. We'd be watching a movie then all a sudden the TV would go quiet, then a moment later it would completely crash and reboot itself. The UI was also funky. It is a distant fourth in terms of reliability behind LG, Sony, and Samsung. I also never had it working with HomeKit. It would always lose connection and never respond when I asked Siri to turn the TV off.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    Do any of the smart TV's with Airplay allow you to play audio from the television to the HomePod, without using AppleTV?   I'd occasionally like to throw the sound to my HomePod while watching standard TV.  Right now, it appears you can only do this while using AppleTV, as far as I can tell.  Any thoughts or knowledge would be appreciated.
       -  Thanks in advance.  Scott D
  • Reply 17 of 22
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 22,828member

    gatorguy said:
    The HomeKit features sound great, it puts Sony TVs well ahead of Samsung but how about changing the channel can HomeKit do that?
    LG, Vizio and now Sony....
    I'm more than surprised Samsung is lagging on this front. Airplay yes. HomeKit no. 

    BTW, Samsung Q80R now my main TV. Highly (!) recommended. 
    They won't do HomeKit. They said so at the beginning. They don't want to compete with their own SmartThings platform. Which is too bad. I like their TVs
    Oh, well THAT I didn't know. Makes sense now. 
  • Reply 18 of 22
    Within the last few days the FBI warned that smart tv's were spying on their users. I have been looking at LG's and Sony and Samsung but seeing how I cannot find a brand that doesn't gather voice, face and viewing habits to sell I guess I had better buy a dumb tv while I can. Yes I own an ATV, but I think that's a short term solution. I don't think Apple is going to release a new version, or if they do not more than one last upgrade, and then It will die slowly like the Airport routers are doing right now.

    Ultimately its not the companies that are really at fault, it's the indifference of consumers. We've been told that companies are spying on us, and that some of that information gathered can be damaging to our credit and privacy but  HEY! I CAN JUST SAY ALEXA TURN ON THE TV AND WATCH AMERICA'S GOT TALENT AND IT DOES!!!!!!!! I wonder why I'm getting all these emails and messages about music and notices about what's coming up on NBC?
    edited December 2019
  • Reply 19 of 22
    neilm said:
    Slightly OT, but can the TV be used without having a connection to the Internet? I am not talking about Apple TV or Netflix, but about whether I can simply connect a HDMI cable to the TV and watch stuff without having to connect the TV to the Internet.
    And the answer to that is yes.

    Connect your TV to a suitable signal source โ€” cable box, DVR, DVD or Blu-Ray player, or even an antenna for OTA broadcasts โ€” and you can use it normally without any internet connection. My Sony 4K TV is used exclusively in that mode, since I see no need to have any more of my personal data harvested than necessary โ€” and I've got a Mac for those all-important cat videos ;-)

    Every year or two, or when I think of it, I'll temporarily connect an ethernet cable and check for system updates, but that's it.

    Thanks for the clarification, Neil.
    edited December 2019
  • Reply 20 of 22
    The actual best way to set up AirPlay on all "smart" TVs: 1) disable all networking on the TV 2) squirt superglue into any network ports just to make sure 3) buy an Apple TV and plug it into the TV
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