Alexa not recognising Sonos Beam Room Name (TV)

  • 25 March 2019
  • 2 replies

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I have a Sonos Beam with the room name TV. From any of my Sonos speakers (2*One and Beam) I can say Alexa, turn on TV, which works fine. I can say to the Sonos Beam "Alexa play music" and it switches from TV to playing Music. However, if I say to any of the One's "Alexa play music on TV" the response is "I didn't find anything named TV that can play music". If I say to the Beam "Alexa play music on Kitchen" that works fine also.

FYI, TV appears as a device in the Alexa App (iOS).

If I create a group in the Alexa App then I can add TV as a preferred speak. Here is the strange part: TV is listed as an Alexa Enabled Device when I edit the group but it won't let me select TV as an Alexa Enabled Device. It just highlights TV but doesn't put a tick next to it. The two One's can be selected, no problem.

I renamed the room name for the Beam from TV to Lounge in the Sonos App and rediscovered devices. In the Alexa App there is now Lounge which shows as Alexa and Lounge TV which shows as a device. Asking Alexa to play music on Lounge now works, but TV or Lounge TV still doesn't. I can still say to any device Turn on Lounge TV or just Turn on TV and that works too.

It would appear that TV is now a reserved device name for some reason, that is independent of the room name.

With the Beam named Lounge, I still cannot add it as an Alexa Enabled Device, but I can add Lounge TV as a smart device to the Group and set Lounge as a preferred speaker.

Confused? I know I am. For some reason the Beam is being treated differently to the two One's.

Any advice or thoughts welcomed! Thanks.

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2 replies


This is my take on your issue ... note it is my own personal viewpoint...

There should be two devices (icons) in the Amazon Alexa App device list for your Sonos Beam... in fact you will see three devices if the “Sonos Skill” is removed from the smart-home section, but that’s a story I will try to explain as we go along...

The one device has an icon that simply looks like a 'speaker' and it operates like any other Sonos smart speaker. (with some exceptions). This usually has the name of the Sonos Room, like 'Lounge', or 'Dining Room', (just as two randomly selected examples to maybe help explain things here).

Inside the settings of that first device icon, (with the Sonos Skill installed) you will now see what I will call a hidden/embedded third icon, which looks like an Echo Dot... (note: the icon has been changed recently and now also looks like a speaker). This represents the Alexa voice control part of the Beam. If you were to remove the Sonos Skill you would see that this third icon emerges as that third standalone device that I mentioned in the first paragraph above. It’s suffice to say/reiterate though, that you just need to think of this as the embedded Alexa voice service part of the Beam. It will often have a name like 'SkiBuddy's Sonos Beam' or 'Ken's Sonos Beam' etc. (also just as examples).

The two devices mentioned are simple 'one device embedded inside the other' in The Alexa App device list. They used to be separate at one time, but for some reason Sonos have chosen to merge them together in the Alexa App. I would think of this merged component simply as 'an Alexa device held inside a Sonos Speaker'.

Now we need to move on and look at the second standalone device icon for the Beam in the Alexa App... you should see this actually looks like a small TV icon and by default it usually has a visible name and from what I can tell, a hidden alias. It’s visible name is usually “[SONOS ROOM NAME]-TV” so using our examples above, it might be “Lounge-TV” or “Dining Room-TV” ... it’s hidden alias however is simply “TV”.

It appears the purpose of this 'TV' device is related to the Beam's HDMI-CEC instructions to voice control the Beam to switch the TV 'on' and 'off' via the HDMI-ARC port etc.

Many people often choose to shorten and rename this TV device icon just to 'TV' to keep things really simple ... however if the user already has a TV device in their Alexa device list, this will often cause a conflict and confuse Alexa... I suspect in your case you may have caused such a conflict by incorrectly naming the speaker part of your Beam as “TV” and as a consequence it probably clashed with the Alias part of this other standalone device.

I can go on, but I suspect it will only succeed to bring about further confusion... but hopefully I have now briefly explained about the three Sonos Beam device components and you should hopefully now be able to see what the problem was in your case and how best to resolve it.

If you need anything further, then let me know and I will do my best to help 'clear the mist' a little further.

I hope that explanation helps.?
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Thanks Ken_Griffiths that's clear and matches my understanding. I've had my Beam since October and it was named TV when it was setup, and all worked fine until recently. Something has therefore changed with Amazon Alexa and Sonos integration in my opinion. I thinks its to do with the recognition of TV as a smart device, distinct from Alexa recognising the Beam as a speaker and an Alexa enable device.
It makes sense that TV now appears as a smart device, akin to Light Bulbs. This supports giving Alexa commands specifically related to the TV, distinct from the speaker. e.g allows Alexa turn on TV as per Alexa turn on Lights. I supect if I had more than one Beam, each connected to a TV, then the command Alexa turn on TV would turn on all TVs, while "Alexa turn on Lounge TV" would just turn on the TV in the lounge.
As stated above, there does seem to be a bug in the Alexa App (in the iOS app at least, don't know about Android) when creating a Group and trying to add the Beam to the group as an Alexa Enabled Device.
To be honest I don't really understand Alexa Groups and what it means to add multiple Alexa Enable Devices, multiple smart devices and a prefered speaker to a Group. I've created a Group called Everything that I've add Lounge Lights, Hall Lights, Kitchen Lights and Lounge TV to the Group. When going up to bed I can tell "Alexa turn Everything off", and she does :->