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Alexa + Sonos: How it Works


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So you’ve read all about Amazon Alexa working with Sonos and you want to know more. Here’s a rundown of how the integration works.

Your Amazon Alexa devices are listening for you to say the wake word, “Alexa”. When they hear that word, the microphones record what you say and send the audio to the Amazon Alexa cloud to be translated.

That voice line turns into a string of text. The Amazon protocols determine if it’s meant for Amazon Alexa or for a Sonos player. If it’s for Sonos, that text is then sent directly, and securely, over to the Sonos cloud to be turned into a command using our own codes.

Finally, the Sonos intended command goes down to the system.

Want to try it out?

Here are some fun commands to try. I like starting with:

“Alexa, play some salsa in the kitchen.”

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Uh oh, it's probably only a matter of time before I end up with salsa music playing instead of it salsa being added to my shopping list now. :D
Cool! how do you start the external input i.e. TV connected to my playbar?
Apple Music on the horizon?
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MarcelDume12 wrote:

Cool! how do you start the external input i.e. TV connected to my playbar?


I don't believe that's supported yet. Alexa doesn't know what the line-in is on the PLAYBAR. But the skill will keep getting better over time, so that may show up one day. You could always enable autoplay and the PLAYBAR will automatically start playing that line in.

Majorroyboy wrote:

Apple Music on the horizon?


You never know. We don't have full details to share on what services are coming, though Spotify is on the horizon.
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Is there any way to play Sonos playlists or favourites? Alexa seems to recognise the "playlist" keyword, but doesn't recognise any of my playlists. Alexa is presumably looking for them on the default music service.

I don't use any of the currently supported services other than TuneIn for radio stations (roll on Apple Music support :-) ) but in any event, would prefer to use my local FLAC library rather than stream over the Internet wherever possible.
Great new feature, but I don't see any way to play from my music library. Is that in the works?
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I've run into one problem.. I ask Alexa to play a radio station on the Sonos (in the kitchen). And it does! But then I can't get Alexa to stop it. It plays from Tunein, and shows up in the Sonos app and I can end it from there. What do I need to say to Alexa to get her to stop it?
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Chuckles wrote:

Is there any way to play Sonos playlists or favourites? Alexa seems to recognise the "playlist" keyword, but doesn't recognise any of my playlists. Alexa is presumably looking for them on the default music service.


Alexa doesn't have direct connection to the stuff on your local player, like playlists and favorites, though it can change the play state. So if you start a playlist from your Sonos app, or have it in the queue, you can use the "Alexa, play on..." command to start the music, or use Alexa to change the tracks.
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mike k wrote:

I've run into one problem.. I ask Alexa to play a radio station on the Sonos (in the kitchen). And it does! But then I can't get Alexa to stop it. It plays from Tunein, and shows up in the Sonos app and I can end it from there. What do I need to say to Alexa to get her to stop it?


Hi Mike, try "Alexa, stop." If that doesn't work, "Alexa, stop in the ...."

You can also use "pause" instead of "stop".
This is more of a hardware question - for people with in-ceiling speakers where you have say a Connect:Amp, will the new Alexa integration benefit you as well? Or is this only for the physical Sonos speakers?

So for example: I am running a connect amp, into a receiver which powers my in-ceiling speakers. I also have an echo/dot somewhere in the house. Can I say, Alexa, play "xxx" in the kitchen?

Because in theory, Alexa now communicates via wi-fi to the Sonos cloud. So does that work with the amp? Or only physical speakers? Hopefully this makes sense?
npompei,

Yes, if you have an Alexa device that can hear you, you can control any of your associated sonos devices.
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npompei wrote:

This is more of a hardware question - for people with in-ceiling speakers where you have say a Connect:Amp, will the new Alexa integration benefit you as well? Or is this only for the physical Sonos speakers?

So for example: I am running a connect amp, into a receiver which powers my in-ceiling speakers. I also have an echo/dot somewhere in the house. Can I say, Alexa, play "xxx" in the kitchen?

Because in theory, Alexa now communicates via wi-fi to the Sonos cloud. So does that work with the amp? Or only physical speakers? Hopefully this makes sense?


Makes total sense. The commands are sent to the Sonos cloud, then down to your players over the internet and network. Strictly speaking, Alexa doesn't even know the difference between your Kitchen CONNECT:AMP or a PLAY:1 called Kitchen. It's just looking for a Sonos player with that name.

Those commands will work great for you. The Alexa device in the Kitchen just needs to be online, same as your CONNECT:AMP.
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Airgetlam beat me to it.
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Playing with it, this is freaking awesome... And more flexible/powerful than I thought it would be for the first generation of integration.
Wow!
Airgetlam wrote:

npompei,

Yes, if you have an Alexa device that can hear you, you can control any of your associated sonos devices.



Awesome news! Thank you Airgetlam and Ryan S!
+1 on the 'Stop Playing" bug. Alexa wont stop playing music on a Sonos player even though she was able to start it.
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Sonos' continued support for their older devices continues to impress me. Where other companies seize upon forced obsolescence to feed their revenue stream, Sonos take the high road and continue to improve functionality on much older yet still perfectly capable hardware, making your Sonos acquisitions a true long term investment which you can grow and enjoy over time.

To answer your question @npompei (though @Airgetlam has already done so above) I'm using an Echo and an Echo Dot to control a Sonos ZP120 (Sonos Connect:Amp before they introduced that new name) and ZP90 (Sonos Connect - before the renaming).
If I ask Alexa to start playing music in the bedroom all the Sonos speakers will play. Should it be possible to just start playing on one speaker or do I need to group/ungroup in the app before giving the play command?
I'm unable to enable the Alexa skill. Despite going through the Amazon and then Sonos dognon pages it still doesnt appear as an enabke skill. Any ideas?
Been waiting a long time for this - it's really great! My question for someone in the know:

I can enable two rooms to play from Pandora if I ask Alexa separately, i.e., one at a time. Is there something I'm missing to play in each room with just one command?

Thanks.
I'm confused. I have the newer play5s. Both grouped as Living Room. I updated my app. I updated my Sonos system. I even scanned devices in Alexa app (but not sure if Sonos should show up there or not (it does not). I say things like "Alexa, play jazz in the living room" and she says things like "I cannot do that in the living room" and other versions of "no".

I have Hue bulbs that are grouped as Living Room too. Any ideas what I should be saying? How I should be saying it? Or why I am having problems?
JJ3 wrote:

Been waiting a long time for this - it's really great! My question for someone in the know:

I can enable two rooms to play from Pandora if I ask Alexa separately, i.e., one at a time. Is there something I'm missing to play in each room with just one command?

Thanks.



Grouping functionality is not in this release, though it may be planned for the future. For now, you need to Group via the app, then you can use a voice command to either room and it will play in both. Or vice versa, voice to play in a room, then Group via the app.
Anyone know if there's a command to have Alexa play "TV" audio on Sonos?
Feenix7 wrote:

I'm confused. I have the newer play5s. Both grouped as Living Room. I updated my app. I updated my Sonos system. I even scanned devices in Alexa app (but not sure if Sonos should show up there or not (it does not). I say things like "Alexa, play jazz in the living room" and she says things like "I cannot do that in the living room" and other versions of "no".

I have Hue bulbs that are grouped as Living Room too. Any ideas what I should be saying? How I should be saying it? Or why I am having problems?



More than likely it is defaulting to the bulbs. Name the bulbs "Living Room Lights" or something similar (or name the Sonos "Living Room Sonos".
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..... so how to command Playlists and/or Favourites ?

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