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Google Play Music doesn’t offer a tvOS app for Apple TV. This article provides tips for using Google Play Music with Apple TV.
It’s ideal to listen to music on the best speakers in your home. Modern home theater systems often feature amazing sound. Whether you’re using a compact sound bar or a powerful stereo, chances are your TV is connected to incredible sound. Unfortunately, if you own an Apple TV, your options for music are limited. Strict in-app purchasing policies and lackluster market share have kept competitors like Spotify and Google Play Music from developing tvOS apps. If you want a native music subscription app for Apple TV, you’re limited to Apple Music.
I was an early adopter of Apple Music. I used it the day it launched and kept using it through the free trial. It was my first real experience with a music subscription service. I loved the concept, but I didn’t like Apple’s implementation. It was just too buggy. More than a year after its launched, customers are still plagued with defects. This is par for the course. Apple makes great devices, but their services and software often leave much to be desired. My feeling was that Apple Music just wouldn’t get any better, much like with iTunes.
I subscribed to Spotify after my Apple Music trial expired. I really loved Spotify. It has the best app of any music subscription service. The problem is, it was missing some albums I really enjoy. After they lost the rights to Eric Dolphy’s Iron Man, I began to question the utility of music subscription services. Then I found out about Google Play Music. With 35 million songs in their library, they offer far more music than their competitors. I signed up for the free trial, and found all of the music I was missing on other services. Their music library is impressive! While their app isn’t as good as Spotify, it’s decent. The Google Play Music app is far better than Apple Music.
Apple Music has one key advantage. They offer a native tvOS app for Apple TV. In fact, Apple Music is built-in to tvOS. Users can play music using Siri and browse the library directly on their TV. Unfortunately, when I used Apple Music with Siri on my iPhone, I just wasn’t impressed. Recording artists often have unconventional names, making it difficult for Siri to interpret your true intentions. For example, when I say “play artist Gong”, Siri thinks I said “play artist gone”. For me, Siri was practically useless. I couldn’t stick with Apple Music because of Siri or its tvOS app. The music is the most important thing.
Apple Music offers the worst audio quality of any music subscription service. This statement often surprises and sometimes offends Apple fans. The reality is, Apple Music streams 256 kbps AAC audio. Both Spotify and Google Play Music use 320 kbps audio formats. Although you won’t notice much of a difference using the stock Apple ear buds, Apple Music’s competitors sound much better on a high fidelity audio system. This, and Google Play Music’s vast library, were even more compelling reasons to move away from Apple Music. The bugs alone were aggravating.
The good news is that you can listen to Google Play Music through your Apple TV using AirPlay. It sounds just as good as a native tvOS app would. AirPlay doesn’t degrade audio quality. Although it isn’t as convenient as a tvOS app, Google Play Music and AirPlay provide an adequate user experience. Let’s take a look at some tips to help you get the most out of Google Play Music.
Beam Google Play Music to Apple TV using AirPlay
AirPlay is Apple’s technology for beaming media to Apple TV and other devices. Although there were some nascent systems that enabled media-beaming prior to AirPlay, Apple was the first to perfect the technology. AirPlay grew out of their own AirTunes technology. AirPlay is also compatible with virtually any device. Beyond Apple devices, innovative third-party solutions bring AirPlay technology to Windows, Android, ChromeOS and Linux. Thousands of apps support Apple’s technology. Companies such as Yamaha, Marantz and Pioneer have built AirPlay support into their AV receivers. It’s a widely supported technology — a de facto standard. (continue…)