Apple has expanded its list of HomeKit categories with a new entry: AirPlay 2 receivers. We’ve seen upcoming and currently available AirPlay 2 speakers including HomePod, Sonos, and Libratone on Apple’s HomeKit accessory list since Apple’s wireless audio streaming solution debuted earlier this year. The addition of AirPlay 2 receivers adds a new way to control audio with HomeKit, and receiver maker Denon is owning the category for now.
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AirPlay 2 receivers are great for audio experts who already own speakers they love and just want a solution for routing audio to the right place in the right format. The current list of compatible AirPlay 2 receivers includes almost 40 models all from audio company Denon. The list starts with the pricey $2199 Denon AVR-X6500H, but there may be more affordable options with 38 other models listed.
Apple retroactively added AirPlay 2 support to its discontinued AirPort Express base station which included a basic solution for adding AirPlay 2 to speakers with line-in, but the routers are no longer sold. Speakers and receivers that work with AirPlay 2 also appear in the Home app on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.
HomeKit speakers and receivers have an interesting place in the Home app. They’re primarily there so you can name a speaker and assign it to a room in your home. Then you can stream audio to it over AirPlay 2 and control audio playback with Siri. There’s not much more to HomeKit speakers than that yet.