My experience with Alexa and Google Home
I know that these have been out for a while and there is no doubt there are people out there who know more about this than I. However I do have a balanced view of what is going on with speak to music with both Alexa and Google Home.
About 3 months ago I got my Amazon Alexa, and signed up for their music package which was first month free, then I think 4 dollars a month, and I do know that there are a few different levels of service from Amazon. As of the third week of February 2017, they offer:
Echo Plan- Unlimited music for $3.99/mo.
Individual- Unlimited music for all your devices for $7.99
Family Plan- Family Unlimited music for up to 6 in your family $14.99
The Music sounds weak from the Echo Dot but when exported via Bluetooth into my Sony STR-DN1070 receiver it sounded quite good. The only problem is you must turn on the Sony receiver and place input to Bluetooth. I was happy with this arrangement until I learned that Sony and Google Via the Google Home unit would take it one step farther. Here’s how it works:
You start by getting both units (receiver and Google Home on your home network via wireless, wired or combination of these methods). To achieve this you must download the Google Home app on your personal device, be it computer, laptop, tablet or phone. Plug power into the Google Home unit and place in a known good area for WiFi performance, generally higher closer rather than further from your router, as poor/intermittent WiFi will cause problems with the system’s ability to communicate both with the Internet and your device to be cast to. There are a variety of different types of units which conform to the Google Cast Network. So, say for instance you had a Google Home unit, a Sony Surround receiver with main plus zone 2 and a Sony or other conforming wireless speaker in some other area. Back to the app. Open the Google Home app and you should see all the units which can be seen on the Google Home system.
Name the units with appropriate names for where they are located. The app will ask you to make a “Home Group”. This may include all of your Google Home units which will show up on the auto search. On the app’s upper right hand corner, there is an icon to take you into setup of the Home Group.
Allow these units to use Voice Command.
Speak clearly and say “OK Google play Paul Simon on Home Group. If all is good you will have Paul
Simon on all speakers. Hence GET READY-Get ready- speak clearly.
One caveat. When you are finished, and you say “OK Google Stop” the STR1070 will not go back automatically to its previous setting, which in my case in “sat/catv” so you must press that button for it to return to its previous task i.e. watching cable. Neither Alexa-Amazon nor the Google Home system is perfect. The good news is they both are systems which learn as they go. My choice as of today would be the Google.