Question

Dot won’t play on Playbar but will on others.

  • 13 October 2017
  • 26 replies
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The Alexa app for my Dot has found all three of my Sonos devices. When I ask it to play, for example radio on the Playbar, nothing happens and the Dot tells me it doesn’t recognise the name Playbar. Thinking it may be confused when I say the name Playbar into it, because of inclusion of the word “play” in the instruction I renamed it TV in the Sonos app. However it’s made no difference. Now when I ask it to play on the TV, as before nothing happens other than it tells me it cannot find anything called TV although it is recognised in the Alexa app as I have rescanned my devices.
Other two devices are okay.
Anyone any ideas please?
Thanks.

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26 replies

Make sure there are no conflicting names for Smart devices in your Alex app. If there aren't any, reproduce the problem, then check the translation in the Alexa app to see if it was correctly heard. If nothing out of the ordinary shows there, I would submit a diagnostic and post the reference number here. That way a Sonos tech can dig deeper.
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Thanks for that. Thought it had now started working okay, as, for the first time, when I asked it to play radio on the TV (Playbar’s name), for the first time it said “playing radio on the TV”. Nothing though!
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BTW what do mean by checking the translation in the Alexa app? How please?
From the Home screen in the Alexa app, you can Scroll through the "Cards" to see descriptions of your recent Alexa interactions. Viewing these can give you hints as to why the command was not completed.
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Ah! Seen those cards but never clicked on “more”. Anyway, there were the commands and before the Dot heard the word “Playback” each time! For TV it apparently heard t.v. Don’t know the significance of the full stops it apparently heard. Anyway will rename Sonos device back to Playbar and rescan on the Alexa app and keep trying with getting it to play with the name Playbar which I prefer.
Now all I need to do is work on my pronunciation which is clearly lacking. Seriously though it’s not that bad as I’ve tried to speak the command very clearly. How the Dot manages with all the English accents I don’t know.
Thanks again for your help. Appreciated.
Ah! Seen those cards but never clicked on “more”. Anyway, there were the commands and before the Dot heard the word “Playback” each time! For TV it apparently heard t.v. Don’t know the significance of the full stops it apparently heard. Anyway will rename Sonos device back to Playbar and rescan on the Alexa app and keep trying with getting it to play with the name Playbar which I prefer.
Now all I need to do is work on my pronunciation which is clearly lacking. Seriously though it’s not that bad as I’ve tried to speak the command very clearly. How the Dot manages with all the English accents I don’t know.
Thanks again for your help. Appreciated.


Ran into problems with my Boston accent a few times. Told it to play The Cars, 'Bye Bye Love' and she though I meant 'The Casbah' by Love.
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IMO, unless and until speech recognition improves considerably I foresee the situation where I will very soon give up on it.
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I had this issue as well, my understanding of it was that i would say "alexa play the killers on playbar" and alexa misunderstood me and a couple of time started playing something called bar directly on the alexa, i think it was because playbar has the word play in it, it took me a couple of goes to get round it, i renamed my playbar in sonos app to TV and it tried to play through my amazon tv stick so renamed again to den and all seems to be fine. I also had a problem with the Killers new album, would ask to play wonderful wonderful by the killers expecting to play the whole album but no it just played the song called wonderful wonderful on the album named the same
thanks bruce
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I accept it’s a relatively new technology but I do wonder that if things do not improve, users will get frustrated and angry with inaccurate or non recognition of speech and the novelty will diminish use.
Remember 3D TV!
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Still having problems. Renamed Playbar back to “Playbar”. My Lounge Connect, Playbar and Play 3 in the bedroom are all recognised in the Alexa app. Asked Dot to play radio on Playbar - nothing, despite telling me that radio was playing on Playbar. Then asked it to play radio in lounge via Connect - nothing, although Play 3 no problems. When I unsuccessfully tried Playbar and Lounge to play radio and told the Dot to stop it asked me which I wanted to stop, Lounge or Playbar so it clearly thought both were playing!
Will contact Sonos support I think.
Advice please, if I do email them can I add a diagnostic number to it or should I just wait to be asked for it? As regards diagnosis numbers, do I replicate the problem then immediately generate a diagnostic reference at the moment I have unsuccessfully tried to play to a device from the Echo? Not done this before.
Thanks.
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i would recreate the problem and send them that diagnostics no. All my interactions with sonos support have been good so i'm sure they can assist with your issue
cheers bruce
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i would recreate the problem and send them that diagnostics no. All my interactions with sonos support have been good so i'm sure they can assist with your issue
cheers bruce


Thanks Bruce. Will do.
In addition to the voice recognition issues with Alexa mentioned above, I have also encountered some minor spelling issues that occasionally cause problems. One example that I came across recently was with the album name TRESPASS by Genesis ... for some reason Alexa interprets and spells the album name with an extra 'S' ... so my Alexa history shows it as being spelt TRESSPASS .. needless to say I cannot get the album to play using voice commands. I have clicked the option to report the matter back to Amazon by selecting "No that the command was not interpreted correctly' ... but there is no saying how long such things can take to fix, albeit I’m sure such errors are all eventually 'weeded out' of the system.

I guess the important thing is to keep reporting these type of issues and not just to simply keep ignoring them. The more they get to know about, the better things will become.

So if at first you don’t succeed... then redefine success ... er... I mean ... try, try, again... just to see if Amazon may have fixed it.
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Think you’re probably right Ken, but can’t help thinking that if problems continue with accurate speech recognition, the whole business will be too much hassle. I mostly now just pick up my iPad and select what I want to listen to. When I go back and try my Dot, mostly hit and miss, much frustration and just give up.
Wonder how successful Alexa is proving as I constantly get emails suggesting questions I can ask it. Surely I should be able to think of these myself without prompting? If I want to know something I just Google it!
Biffta,

Once I had spent a little amount of time learning the basic Alexa commands listed here:

https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4343?_ga=2.177647270.2064157704.1507302379-1233958171.1507302379

...I suddenly found that the Alexa voice recognition greatly improved for me and the important thing was perhaps knowing exactly when I needed to include/exclude the Sonos Room name in the instruction.

Once I had 'mastered' ... (not sure that’s the correct word) ... those things, I found everything greatly improved, but even now, I still tend to add on the room name at the end of an instruction, even when it is not truly required. It now seems to work 90%+ of the time, which isn’t too bad at all, but that is because they still never cater for those misspells like TRESSPASS etc.

I find the more I pesevere with Alexa, the better it is all becoming. I would even say I have got to the stage where I would now really quite miss the voice controlling of my music if they were to suddenly take it away ..and in truth, you are talking about a person here, who had no real initial interest in voice controlling things at all, about the house.

Admittedly, I have since moved onto a few other voice controlled devices, but I’ve had similar issues with the other 'smart' devices too, like the Philips Hue bulbs etc. It’s really a case of remembering their basic instruction formats.

Just as a quick example and explanation, with the Philips bulbs, they need you to say this sort of thing .. 'Alexa, turn on the lights in the lounge'.
Now my wife often will say this type of thing instead 'Alexa put on the lights in the lounge' ...and of course it doesn’t work when she says that and it really frustrates her ... but I’m sure eventually Philips or Amazon will go onto fix it for her, so that she can say it her way.

It’s obviously the case that we all 'say' and 'do' things differently ... I’m sure overtime though, Amazon, Philips and Sonos etc. will address these matters.

At this early stage in development though, it seems we all will have to stick to the basic command formats that have been put in place for us to follow.

Despite these set-backs, I still remain impressed at this technology, but I accept it still has a way to go in order to please everyone.

I think we should all be grateful that Sonos have jumped on board with this advancement early on and have chosen to roll it out to their existing customers and their 'legacy' hardware, completely free of charge... I think that is rather commendable.

I plan to stick with it, personally speaking ...and I’m confident we will all see some remarkable improvements to voice controlling our Sonos devices in the coming weeks/months/years.
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I can instruct Alexa to play music in a particular room and adjust the volume, but I can't get her to stop it playing. If, for example, I say Alexa stop the music in dining room" she says "I can change the playback mode only when music is playing", but it is playing. Anyone else having this problem?
Intelebop,

I have encountered that issue and my thoughts are there might be a 'behind the scenes' update to the Sonos Skill (not sure?)... Anyhow this is what I did to fix it:

Step-1
In the Sonos App check for any app updates and ensure you have the latest version.
Step-2
Whilst in the Sonos App, clear the Amazon Sessions and also clear any Playlists in each one of your room queue screens (you will need to unhide each room queue to do that). See screenshot attached.
Step-3
In the Amazon App go to the Smart-Home section and 'forget' your Sonos speakers... then disable the Sonos Skill.
Step-4 (optional see footnote)
Power off your Sonos speakers and then bring them back online one at a time. Let them settle for a few minutes.
Step-5
In the Amazon app skills section, re-enable the Sonos Skill and sign into the Sonos and Amazon accounts and accept the information sharing agreement.
Step-6
Then do a smart-home rescan and ensure all your Sonos speakers/rooms are discovered. You can then close the Amazon and Sonos apps.

Well those are the steps that have resolved most of the issues for me ... one of the other important things is to ensure that any other smart home devices, such as Philips Hue bulbs etc. do not have the same name as any of your Sonos Rooms/Devices.

Footnote:
I think you can skip Step-4 of powering off/on the speakers in most cases, so maybe only include that step if things are 'stubbornly' still not working and the problem persists.

In fact, these steps seem to fix most of the problems I have encountered to date, but I should add that I only recommend taking these steps when it has become last-resort and the voice control skill refuses to work correctly over a period of time.
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Thank you very much Ken. I've carried out all your instructions and the problem appears to be fixed. Thanks for taking the time to outline the steps. Also disableing and re-enabling the skill was useful as I've been able to refine my comments to Sonos via the public beta with regard to the install process. There's a definite problem whereby it won't always take you to the Device Discovery screen which I thought was my fault but I know now it definitely isn't.
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I found unplugging my dots, deregister, delete and reload the Alexa app, plug the dots back in and all was well.
Intelebop,

Well I’m glad the Sonos Skill is working for you now. There are one or two issues that pop up now and then, which are sometimes rather difficult to reproduce or to try to explain to Sonos, but mostly my system seems to have now settled down and is working well. I assume some 'tweaks' and 'changes' are perhaps still being done server-side as things get reported back and the developers examine the diagnostic submissions etc.

I think the voice control is extremely usable and working very well as a beta and I’m looking forward to the continued development. I’m sure this is really just the beginning of many months and/or years of ongoing advancement for Sonos in this area.
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Whilst I welcome the valuable and useful advice previously posted I have to say IMO it’s pathetic that these steps have to be taken in order to get a system working. Imagine if, for example, a TV wasn’t receiving or displaying channels and it was necessary to take the steps anywhere near what has been posted. If it was isolated to a particular make/model of TV it would rapidly be dumped.
Why do we seemingly have to endure this with Sonos & Alexa integration? It should just work! That’s what we paid for. Unplugging, disabling, re-registering, re-enabling or waiting for things to improve just isn’t good enough.
IT'S A BETA!!!!! If you want it to just work, don't sign up for a beta, for the very definition of beta is they are asking you to try it out and report back where there are problems in order to fix them for the general release. Betas are not for everyone, and certainly not for those who expect it to work as well as the general release.
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IT'S A BETA!!!!! If you want it to just work, don't sign up for a beta, for the very definition of beta is they are asking you to try it out and report back where there are problems in order to fix them for the general release. Betas are not for everyone, and certainly not for those who expect it to work as well as the general release.

Good point, forgot it was still in Beta. But, in my defence, amongst many others I was under the impression, perhaps mistakenly, that full Sonos/Alexa integration was being released in 2017. Therefore I naively though that when my system was updated to permit Alexa, it would work properly. Maybe I should be more patient! 🆒


Good point, forgot it was still in Beta. But, in my defence, amongst many others I was under the impression, perhaps mistakenly, that full Sonos/Alexa integration was being released in 2017. Therefore I naively though that when my system was updated to permit Alexa, it would work properly. Maybe I should be more patient! 🆒


Well, it is still 2017. 😉
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Just checked the year and you’re correct! Seriously when the big long awaited update came, I thought here it is at last after the many postings on the forum. Fully tested, working and ready to go!:(