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Monday, November 06, 2023

Integrating Modern Devices With Old Equipment

Since 2017, I have been integrating Alexa devices throughout the house.

Almost immediately, I noticed the reception from radio stations was better through Alexa devices rather than regular FM stations, so at the same time- I hooked up most of the new Alexa devices to various stereo receivers and amps that were already in the house.

This post provides a video of how some of the Alexa devices are used.

The most frequent uses for Alexa in my environment include:

  • Streaming Music
  • Streaming Security Cameras
  • Information Requests
  • Timers
  • Intercom

Years earlier, before 2017, I hooked up the television in the family room to the receiver/amp and the four older floor speakers in that room. When I added an Echo Dot for streaming music, all I had to do was purchase an RCA splitter and add the 3.5mm (Echo Dot plugin) with a two male RCA plugs on the other end to the existing configuration.

All of this worked well, until recently, when I decided I wanted to create content in the kitchen, which is right off the family room and the television noise.

In December 2018, when I setup the Soundbar system discussed in this post, I noticed for the first time the term "Optical Audio" and noticed the cable included in the box, for this type of connection. That said, I used the 3.5mm cable with the 2 RCA plugs to connect the Echo Dot to the soundbar system. To date, none of my Echo devices support the Optical Audio feature.

When I was searching for a solution to quiet the noise from the television, I checked the back of the Verizon Settop Box and noticed something labeled "Optical Audio". So I checked Amazon and found headphones I thought would be perfect.


Then, I remembered testing another older stereo system in the guest bedroom using a pair of old headphones that belonged to my father. I checked to see if the amp in the family room had the jack on the front panel I needed. It did.

Muting the quad speakers via the amp in the family room and plugging in the old headphones is going to work, however I would love to test the more modern Optical Audio jack using the headphones I linked to above. Have you used this type of connection?

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