Sonos, Alexa and local NAS stored music

  • 5 October 2017
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As far as I can see from what's been said in previous threads the Alexa App can't access your local files only stream online content. This may change but for me right now Sonos APP is disabled, useless as I don't stream anything.
I'd say the amateur code isn't exactly an integration either. In that setup Alexa has absolutely no idea what just happened. Alexa doesn't know what speakers you have, what they are doing, or what they can do. That can be a limiting factor on future functionality. This setup, though somewhat wanting in many areas, allows for much better enhancements in the future.

That said though, anyone who has homebrew skills, direct line in's, or third party hubs to make an 'integration' happen...I completely see why you aren't giving them up yet. I'm sure I'll still using my 3rd party hub (Lutron) to setup some common routines.
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There is a thread elsewhere ( https://en.community.sonos.com/amazon-alexa-and-sonos-229102/playing-local-music-library-on-sonos-through-alexa-6791360/index1.html#post16150671 ) where the question was explicitly asked "Will alexa skill be able to play from my music library?" and, although Ryan (from Sonos) at no point answers this (instead essentially talking about what it can currently do), it is marked as 'Answered'.
My apologies, it was a busy day and I marked it answered because it answered the second question asked, I must not have noticed that the original one was "will" not "what". I've since edited the post a bit.

In short, melvimbe's analysis is pretty darn good, and on point. There would be work needing to be done on both sides of things for local libraries. There needs to be a cloud listing of your local tracks available when you'd want to listen to music, also with the knowledge of where or when to tell Sonos where to go. You can expect this Alexa integration to get better over time, we're constantly working on it. But I don't have any specifics on if or when we might get local libraries included. For those new to the thread, you can still use Alexa to control what's currently playing from any source, you just can't add something to the queue or start playing from certain sources with Alexa.


I am running Plex on my nas and on the sonos app. Is Plex then supported by Alexa as this will allow me to use my own library and not force me to use a streaming service


I am running Plex on my nas and on the sonos app. Is Plex then supported by Alexa as this will allow me to use my own library and not force me to use a streaming service


Alexa does not support Plex, but it supports Amazon uploads of your own tracks. I believe the cost per year is ~$25.

See here:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1001432841

After you upload/match your tracks, they will play over Alexa.
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Plex and Sonos work already. from reading Ryan's answer regarding Alexa and Sonos and a local library - the issue is how will Alexa know what is on YOUR local library?

So there needs to be some place (on a Sonos account in the cloud? on your Plex cloud server? ) with a file listing your local library listings - with at least the library name, the album and maybe the title
and
that 'file' would have to be accessible and readable by both Alexa and Sonos - so that Alexa can see what you have and tell Sonos and Sonos knows what and where to get it.

I imagine the Plex / Sonos part would not be hard to program... however whether Amazon wants to do the programming for the Alexa / Sonos part would be the question.

however it certainly seems feasible.


Plex stores the library in the cloud via an external connection to my nas. I can use my library on any machine and browser. I have in fact been using it this evening remotely in the U.K. While my nas is running in LA. Plex has an app for sonos which requires the Plex library to be accessible externally and not locally. This works flawlessly. So there should have been no reason not to implement this unless amazon wants the user to be forced to rent music through an amazon subscription. As is, Alexa on sonos only works fully if you are subscribed to an amazon rental prOgram. You cannot use full functionality otherwise
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I thougtt sonos was supposed to be agnostic and instead I have to subscribe to amazon music google music or Apple Music

Yeah, how un-agnostic of them to offer you all three of the major players in the space...

So there should have been no reason not to implement this unless amazon wants the user to be forced to rent music through an amazon subscription.

You forgot the equally logical reason that Sonos is doing this intentionally to offend you and you alone.

I, and others, have actually provided solid answers why this is the situation at beta launch. You've elected to ignore them.
I have yet to order a Dot, although I have one teed up on amazon.

Before you spend any money, you can install either the Amazon app or the Amazon Music app on your phone and play around with it. You won't have the always listening aspect like an Echo or Sonos 1 -- you'll need to press something on the phone screen instead of saying "Alexa..." but you can speak every command and have it be processed just like an Echo would process it.
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I have yet to order a Dot, although I have one teed up on amazon.

Before you spend any money, you can install either the Amazon app or the Amazon Music app on your phone and play around with it. You won't have the always listening aspect like an Echo or Sonos 1 -- you'll need to press something on the phone screen instead of saying "Alexa..." but you can speak every command and have it be processed just like an Echo would process it.


Thanks for the tip. The decision to purchase involves the confluence of a variety of tasks; sort of a "smart house" retrofit.
It strikes me that some of the furor around all of the "new" stuff in the privacy update last month will be raised again, if indeed they need to upload in a cloud location all of the names of the music that people have locally. For me, it's not an issue, but then again, I've got a fairly high threshold for that kind of privacy issues. And frankly, Amazon already knows what CDs I've purchased from them. I don't consider my music to be a sensitive issue, like I do my bank account, social security, and other more pertinent data points. What I listen to isn't an issue, other than folks making fun of me. And I'm fairly inured to that, as well.
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Plex stores the library in the cloud via an external connection to my nas. I can use my library on any machine and browser. I have in fact been using it this evening remotely in the U.K. While my nas is running in LA. Plex has an app for sonos which requires the Plex library to be accessible externally and not locally. This works flawlessly. So there should have been no reason not to implement this unless amazon wants the user to be forced to rent music through an amazon subscription. As is, Alexa on sonos only works fully if you are subscribed to an amazon rental prOgram. You cannot use full functionality otherwise


hmm are you referring to Plex via remote (as in make it viewable from outside your intranet)? which of course i have set up and use it with the Plex app and the website from work or wherever.

however i only have sonos at my apartment not any at my office. i should try to bring one in for a day and test that - no way am i leaving one here (no lock on my office door).

so if that is true than you are correct... there is no reason not to be able to access our local libraries on plex via sonos via alexa.
As far as I know, Sonos only supports Plex on a local server, not the cloud, and quite frankly, the Plex implementation is terrible and Plex basically abandoned it soon after it launched.
It strikes me that some of the furor around all of the "new" stuff in the privacy update last month will be raised again, if indeed they need to upload in a cloud location all of the names of the music that people have locally. For me, it's not an issue, but then again, I've got a fairly high threshold for that kind of privacy issues. And frankly, Amazon already knows what CDs I've purchased from them. I don't consider my music to be a sensitive issue, like I do my bank account, social security, and other more pertinent data points. What I listen to isn't an issue, other than folks making fun of me. And I'm fairly inured to that, as well.

It is an interesting topic to ponder. Revealing the songs you collect in your library is probably a low risk privacy issue. Revealing how often you listen to certain tracks vs. other tracks could arguably be more of a concern. It is less about people making fun of you than it is a matter of people applying some statistical analysis like "people who listen primarily to this music genre are bad credit risks" or " they would not make good candidates to work here", etc.

Knowing in real time when you are at home listening to music is absolutely a risky piece of information to share. It can be used in a court of law to invalidate an alibi or used by thieves to establish a pattern for when your house is likely to be occupied or not.

It may sound far fetched but all of these scenarios have already occurred to some extent and are only expected to expand in the future.
Yeah, because hanging out down the street to watch you get in the car and leave is so much harder than hacking Amazon to figure out when someone isn't playing music. Jebus Christmas, do you people think about what you write? :8

Why would a thief waste time staking out a house when they can use data mining to get the info they need? Thieves are very sensitive to time management and return on investment.
Yeah, because hanging out down the street to watch you get in the car and leave is so much harder than hacking Amazon to figure out when someone isn't playing music. Jebus Christmas, do you people think about what you write? :8

Why would a thief waste time staking out a house when they can use data mining to get the info they need? Thieves are very sensitive to time management and return on investment.


Dear Lord, please tell me you are not being serious. :8


I could say that all of my posts are absolutely dead serious... but that would by lying. 😃
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As far as I know, Sonos only supports Plex on a local server, not the cloud, and quite frankly, the Plex implementation is terrible and Plex basically abandoned it soon after it launched.

Plex implementation is fine. Don't know what rubbish you are spouting about saying implementation is terrible. Works same or better than the crappy local
Library definition in sonos app, and at least we aren't crippled by the 65k music limit with the sonos default local library
As far as I know, Sonos only supports Plex on a local server, not the cloud, and quite frankly, the Plex implementation is terrible and Plex basically abandoned it soon after it launched.

Plex implementation is fine. Don't know what rubbish you are spouting about saying implementation is terrible. Works same or better than the crappy local
Library definition in sonos app, and at least we aren't crippled by the 65k music limit with the sonos default local library


Your opinion is decidedly in the minority. But to each his own.
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Am I interpreting correctly what Alexa/Sonos integration can and cannot achieve?

I have just bought an Echo Dot and gone through the set up...

1 It CAN play a Radio Station in any of my Sonos devices, start and stop and control volume.
2 It CANT play anything from my local NAS ( this makes the whole thing useless to me)
3 It CANT play anything from Napster which is the only streaming service I have.
4 It CANT play anything from my Sonos playlist ( the playlists are mostly from the NAS, and some mixed NAS/Napster)

Can an expert confirm on 2-4 please.

The problem with this type of modern development methodology is that there isn’t a definition of what it should do? What I would call a Functional Spec. Where would I find this definition, as I’m not sure whether it’s because I don’t know how to get it to do something, or it just doesn’t do it!
It cannot initiate playback from anything except Amazon's music services, Pandora, SiriusXM, iHeart, and TuneIn, with Spotify coming soon. You can initiate playback of all other services via the Sonos app and then control playback pause, play, skip, volume, ask what's playing, etc. via Alexa.

See here for more details:

https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4343?_ga=2.109578245.1024760305.1507348659-107072400.1489101718

Remember this Alexa implementation is currently in beta, and thus subject to change (hopefully for the better) as it gets closer to general release.

The problem with this type of modern development methodology is that there isn’t a definition of what it should do? What I would call a Functional Spec. Where would I find this definition, as I’m not sure whether it’s because I don’t know how to get it to do something, or it just doesn’t do it!


Amazon is the owner of the API, which Sonos is first to use, but Denon and several of HK's other brands will soon integrate, as well. Amazon isn't sharing their specs publicly. Maybe if you ask them real nice...

Or, you can sign up for access here. Just be prepared to prove you're representing a company that's building smart speakers.

https://alexa.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eJdai0Nm0gwLsQ5
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OK thanks for the clarification - I’m afraid it’s pretty useless IMO, oh well put the Echo Dot on eBay......
OK thanks for the clarification - I’m afraid it’s pretty useless IMO, oh well put the Echo Dot on eBay......

That is a pretty fatalistic approach when something is still in beta and Sonos has stated it will be improving with every beta release. But to each his own.
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Of course, if the playing of personal tracks is something of paramount importance, Amazon will gladly provide a cloud hosted option for $25 a year.

Depending on the up time your own Nas has, and your personal electricity costs, this could actually be a more attractive route for some users.

My personal server which is now mainly used for NAS and backups is currently running at about 75p ($1)/day in electricity costs. So £273 ($365) a year. I can't rememebr the last time I actually used the server for plex, and viewing photos/videos from a cloud storage facility is just as easy.

If I pushed more of my media onto a cloud storage facility, not only could I scale back the home server and reduce electricity costs, it could also make the media a lot more accessible.

I have been one of the techy die hards for ages. I have two racks of server and network gear in the home, and a 32TB freenas server with plex, backup, etc setup was something that appealed. But I think the time has come to reassess this strategy and a move to the cloud could actually save me a small fortune.
I hope you are wrong about NAS support being unlikely. If you play classical or opera you don’t generally mess about with the sequencing, although you do pause, adjust volume maybe.
.

To clarify: it is just voice control we are talking about, not the use of NAS in general. And that too, just the starting command with further actions possible via voice control.
Plex implementation is fine. Don't know what rubbish you are spouting about saying implementation is terrible.
You have got to be joking - unless it's changed drastically in the last couple of months, then it's useless if you have varied tastes in music. The web version is very flexible, but the Sonos implementation is so limited that it's unusable.
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Actually, the One is going to be platform agnostic. You will be able to select the voice assistant you wish to use, with Google being next on the slate.

Indeed, Sonos shouldn't be reliant on Amazon so much. The Brilliant controller (https://en.community.sonos.com/controllers-software-228995/brilliant-controller-6788719) has multiple Assitants such as Google and Alexa and also has its own. Surely Sonos could implement something themselves to fill the gap.