Plex Now Available in Beta on Sonos



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I don't believe the music is being streamed to the internet and back... they might proxy the basic album/track data as you browse your library... but I'm pretty sure that unless your Plex server is being accessed by a Sonos system outside of your home, your internet connection isn't being used to play music.


Thanks for the in-depth explanation - you're hopefully correct here and you understand this stuff a lot more than I do! It would certainly make more sense not to send it all via the internet.

It would be interesting to have official word on this from the Sonos team. As background, here's the 2 questions posted on the Plex blog, and the response from the Plex guys:

Somebody asked this first:

Q1: Seems counterintuitive that I need to have Remote Access enabled when it's all local to my network
A1: Sonos services are always in the "cloud" and so have to be able to talk to your Plex Media Server from outside your network

Then I added this follow-up question, because I'd also assumed it was doing something similar to your explanation.

Q2: Just wondering, does this mean that if I'm using Plex to stream music from my NAS to Sonos (locally) then all music goes out via the internet and back in again? Or is the internet just used to initiate things and then music is subsequently streamed across my local network? Thanks.
A2: yes it does go out to the internet and back. we are looking into ways to get it to be local but much still to work out in that area.
Does Plex improve upon the rather lame browsing experience available from vanilla Sonos.

ie. any visibility of date ripped, date released, user rating, date last played ... that kind of thing.

I looked through the Plex site, as far as I can see they don't even have a Genre index.
Do they have a AlbumArtist index to filter out pollution coming from those who only have contributions to Various Artists albums?

It would be great if somebody could post an image of the UI.


Oh, and I figured out the issue that I was running into last night... my router (a mini-PC running pfSense) needed an advanced NAT setting enabled on my port forward for Plex. The setting allows devices that are on-network to still take advantage of connections to other hosts that are also on-network using the WAN IP address and port forward, rather than a direct LAN connection. Since Plex's "directory" keeps track of the WAN IP address of my internet connection, this setting needed to be enabled to allow Sonos and my Plex server to communicate with each other.

The setting is called "NAT Reflection", and it had to be enabled in a "NAT+Proxy" mode.


Could this be called Port Forwarding on my modem, or is that setting a way of scratching the same itch? (Netgear Cable Gateway CG3100D-2)
I'm happy to confirm that at a minimum, the actual music data does stay local, at least with my router.

Thanks for taking the time to check this. Apologies for any confusion I might've caused about the issue - that'll teach me not to believe everything I read on the internet 🆒 I guess the guys on the Plex blog misinterpreted what was implying by my question!
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So in layman terms, PLEX is for people with NAS drives who have large music collections, maybe in different formats, that can be listened to over the internet anywhere as long as the NAS is on?
No music is actually stored on plex servers?
Are these the advantages?
So in layman terms, PLEX is for people with NAS drives who have large music collections, maybe in different formats, that can be listened to over the internet anywhere as long as the NAS is on?
No music is actually stored on plex servers?
Are these the advantages?

I am struggling with also.
I already travel with my whole collection on one of those 2tb WiFi drives. I play it via Bubble UPnP on my tablet and a great set of headphones.
And I can listen to my collection while commuting as I took up Google's offer to upload my collection to their servers (free for up to 55,000 tracks).

So this isn't a deliverable which does much for me. .. and I can hide away my NAS when I am away for any lengthy period.

It seems that the paid version of Plex fleshes out what I had hoped would be delivered with Sonos' stunted "Info & Options", ie artist bios and album reviews.

That sounds ok, but if Plex also enriches the music browsing experience I am very interested.
I am guilty of being too lazy to do some research on this, but will ask anyway - does this do anything to allow computers to stream local or streaming audio from them wirelessly to Sonos units, or does that remain a no no?
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Thanks MikeV, that has helped me understand a lot more 🆒
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Does Plex improve upon the rather lame browsing experience available from vanilla Sonos.
ie. any visibility of date ripped, date released, user rating, date last played ... that kind of thing.
AFAICT there is no way to access Date ripped, date released, user rating. Date last played - not the specific date as far as I can tell, but there is a list of recently played artists. Here's some screen captures from my Android phone


Yes
now to expand.
for each client version you have the ability to see a variety of groups - album, artist, folder,
sorts - date added, date played, play count, name, rating
and view - grid, list and folder
and filters - genre, country, collection

so its very customizable

try it... its great!

Yes
now to expand.
for each client version you have the ability to see a variety of groups - album, artist, folder,
sorts - date added, date played, play count, name, rating
and view - grid, list and folder
and filters - genre, country, collection


We need to specify what plex app because almost all of what you describe above is not available in Plex on Sonos AFAICT. Plex Web Client we can do all that, but not in Sonos.

(Users are asking for these features over on the plex forums)
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I am guilty of being too lazy to do some research on this, but will ask anyway - does this do anything to allow computers to stream local or streaming audio from them wirelessly to Sonos units, or does that remain a no no?
Nope. For all intents and purposes, it's the same functionality as Sonos' own music library... playing audio files that already reside on a computer or NAS. They still have a bit of work to do to match the same lists - no way right now to browse by genre or song title... but I'm sure they'll get more stuff added soon.

That's not to say that in the future Plex couldn't add some kind of podcast functionality, wrap in some live audio channels/streaming, or things like that... but it's not that way now.
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Yes
now to expand.
for each client version you have the ability to see a variety of groups - album, artist, folder,
sorts - date added, date played, play count, name, rating
and view - grid, list and folder
and filters - genre, country, collection


We need to specify what plex app because almost all of what you describe above is not available in Plex on Sonos AFAICT. Plex Web Client we can do all that, but not in Sonos.

(Users are asking for these features over on the plex forums)


iOS and Web

i dont use the others but i cant imagine they are not there .
For all intents and purposes, it's the same functionality as Sonos' own music library... playing audio files that already reside on a computer or NAS. They still have a bit of work to do to match the same lists - no way right now to browse by genre or song title... but I'm sure they'll get more stuff added soon.

That's not to say that in the future Plex couldn't add some kind of podcast functionality, wrap in some live audio channels/streaming, or things like that... but it's not that way now.


Appreciate the clarification.
A follow up to the first part above - Isn't it the case that Sonos today can, if directed, pull music files off the computer and play them, but the computer cannot wirelessly push files from its hard disc to Sonos? The latter is how Bluetooth is architected to work?

To the second part, does this mean that Plex, if they choose to do so in future, could have a solution to the wirelessly push music - streaming or locally held - problem? In that their solution has the necessary architecture today to build such functionality in future?

How does a possible Sonos cast feature fit into this?

A bunch of layman questions:-).
Once again, thank you for the explanations!
A lot of waffle about using LMS to send music directly to Sonos

Just realised that everything I said won't be suitable if you use stereo pairs or want to use the multi-room sync within Sonos. I only have 1 Sonos unit so can't test it but I'm pretty sure the discussions on the LMSforums indicated that because LMS is pushing music to each Sonos unit it won't be 100% synched across zones. Stereo pairing probably wouldn't work either because LMS communicates with each MAC address separately. Therefore the Plex method would still be much better in these cases due to Sonos handling everything as it normally would.
@pjn you can play to synced groups, ie sync your rooms in sonos and lms sees them as one

Thanks for the confimation. Do you know if stereo pairs work the same way? A number of people had been discussing how to get sync working and the uPnP plug-in author was saying it woudn't be perfect... but now I realise they were probably talking about the generic sync mechanisms built into LMS rather than properly-grouped Sonos speakers. Sorry for any confusion - I should probably shut up in this thread now because I keep getting only half of my rambings correct! 😃
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I am guilty of being too lazy to do some research on this, but will ask anyway - does this do anything to allow computers to stream local or streaming audio from them wirelessly to Sonos units, or does that remain a no no?

This doesn't really have anything to do with Plex, and there's already an easy way to do this: http://www.streamwhatyouhear.com/

On the plex service: Tried it out over the weekend, it seems to work fine with my ~100k song library. I had been using Subsonic before. In comparison in seems slightly better at dealing with long lists. But the big win compared to Subsonic is just because Plex actually uses ID3 tags correctly. Subsonic required organizing content into folders and would use folder names for artist names, which was stupid, since it would create duplicates if you had more than one folder for an artist, e.g. drawing from different sources.

Subsonic also did not have a working Genre search, which is what I was really looking forward to with this, so it's a bit of a bummer that's not implemented. Presumably they will add it at some point, that's pretty much all I want out of this.
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[quote=jamietre]
...using Subsonic before. In comparison in seems slightly better at dealing with long lists. But the big win compared to Subsonic is just because Plex actually uses ID3 tags correctly. Subsonic required organizing content into folders and would use folder names for artist names, which was stupid, since it would create duplicates if you had more than one folder for an artist, e.g. drawing from different sources.

Subsonic also did not have a working Genre search, which is what I was really looking forward to with this, so it's a bit of a bummer that's not implemented. Presumably they will add it at some point, that's pretty much all I want out of this.


PLEX has genre for its web and mobile apps.
i am frustrated however as it does not import many of the ID3 tags and with my large collection of music recordings its been an evolution to figure out which tags plexx uses ... and then it throws in tags like trackartist which while useful is not a standard tag.

i really hope they are going to add Genre and Folder (and i prefer the Subsonic method because of the way classical music is .. too many artists to have one as the designated artist).

NO COMPLAINTS just tweaks!
;o
I've set up a Plex server on my Synology NAS, but when I try and add it to the Sonos system it keeps pushing me to create an account on the internet. I don't want to play music anywhere else, i don't want to open my system up to the internet, I just want to use Plex on my local network. Is there an FAQ for this, please?
You need a (free) plex account. https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4057/~/plex-and-sonos
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Aside from its built-in music library functionality, Sonos only knows how to speak internet. Technically, the Plex "service" on Sonos communicates with Plex's cloud servers in order to get the info to communicate with your own Plex media server. This is why a Plex account is required, and why the Plex media server requires Remote Access to be enabled.
Aside from its built-in music library functionality, Sonos only knows how to speak internet. Technically, the Plex "service" on Sonos communicates with Plex's cloud servers in order to get the info to communicate with your own Plex media server. This is why a Plex account is required, and why the Plex media server requires Remote Access to be enabled.

OK - thanks for the explanation. I now have it working, but have to confess that I missed your earlier comment re "The views through Sonos are certainly very basic at this time (only artist and album lists)" - that makes it about as much use as a chocolate teapot, to me.... It simply lists all classical and contemporary artists or albums in a single stream. When I looked at the web version of plex I got quite excited, as it offered my preferred folder view - it looks like the Sonos version is, to be kind, somewhat limited. It looks like I need to pursue this via the plex site, but I'm not really sure that this is the solution that I'm after - I really want something that works within my local network.
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Just keep in mind... it's still under development. Over in the Plex forums, many people are asking for additional views/lists... so I'm sure more will come eventually. But there's a sizable technical hurdle they're trying to get around that affects many, but not all, as far as Sonos and the local Plex server being able to communicate.
Just keep in mind... it's still under development.

Sure... it's under Sonos Labs, so a work in progress...

I'm not writing it off yet, I'm just a bit disappointed as my 'store' is now at 90% - and there's always more CDs to buy :8

I only have about 34.5k tracks, so didn't expect to hit the limits this soon, but as I've been buying mainly classical music lately, it's had a huge impact. I don't really want to start fiddling with the track names/titles yet, as I'm hoping that a suitable solution will be available soon. All I need is the folder view, and problem solved.

The little that I played with it, it seemed to work quite well, although very sluggish to navigate compared to the usual Sonos software
I don't really want to start fiddling with the track names/titles yet,

Many tag editors allow you to do all of this in batch jobs. While you fuss with your scheme, you could backup the original data in the track's comment field. Opera tracks can be very wasteful because some online databases want to include all or most of the words in the first stanza as part of the track title and file name.
Someone said previously that MP3Tag could handle it, but I couldn't see an easy way of doing it - probably just me being particularly thick...

The thing is that Sonos is steadily moving away from the system that I want, so I'd rather not adjust the files as I'd hope that any replacement system wouldn't have these constraints in the first place - and would offer better support of things that I do want, such as the composer tag. As changing the tags wouldn't be speedy, it would also mean holding even more copies of the file set, which already takes too long to back up.

If nothing better comes along, which I fully accept may not happen, then I may have to go down that route - but the Plex option (when it works a lot better) may mean that I can put it off for a while longer.