Plex Now Available in Beta on Sonos


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I’m pleased to announce that we’ve added Plex as a music service on Sonos, currently in beta.

Plex is free media server software that allows you to stream your media from your computer (or NAS drive) to any supported device. With the Plex server software running on your computer, your videos, pictures, and music become available for streaming either remotely or on a local network.

Plex server software works on many different operating systems and NAS drives, and you can find the full list of requirements here. Once added to Sonos, you’ll be able to access your Plex music files directly through the Sonos app, similar to the Music Library function.

Plex is available worldwide and is available at no charge. A premium service called Plex Pass is available which adds some additional perks and features, but it’s not required to use Plex on Sonos. You can find out more about what Plex Pass offers here.

To add Plex to Sonos, use any Sonos app to select Add Music Services from the Music Menu. On a Mac or PC, you’ll need to select Add Music Services > Sonos Labs in order to see the listing for Plex.

For more information, please check out our Plex FAQ.

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84 replies

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It seems Plex just does not want to work with my set-up. Saving myself from further pain, I've gone with Amazon Music .. it works flawlessly for me. Bye, Bye; Plex. Thanks everyone for trying to help.
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Thanks, amun. I double-checked my router and UPnP was already switched on.
I've been into the guts of my router, and unfortunately I see nothing connected with any NAT Reflection or Hairpin NAT.

I guess if I really want Plex to work with my Sonos, I'm going to have to upgrade the router.


As far as I recall, though, the only thing that I had to do t make it work was to switch on UPnP, which was disabled in my router by default. I don't recall having to do anything more complex than that. It was under the NAT section of the router setup - do you have anything similar?
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Thanks for your detailed reply, Mike. Very much appreciate you taking the time.

I've been into the guts of my router, and unfortunately I see nothing connected with any NAT Reflection or Hairpin NAT.

I guess if I really want Plex to work with my Sonos, I'm going to have to upgrade the router.
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I have a simpleton question for you .. if Plex shows that there's full-pathway to outside the router .. doesn't that negate the need to go the port forward route?

The simple answer: No. The details, however, are not simple. 🙂 I've tried to make it easy to understand here, but networking is frequently complex.

So... port forwards can be set up two different ways. The hard way is setting up a manual port forward. This process can vary from router to router, and some routers have advanced options available that others don't, or that others might set automatically. And it's something that you need to do yourself (fortunately, there are a few different websites out there that go into the steps needed to do this for many different routers).

The easy way uses a great Microsoft technology called Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). The idea behind it is that devices on your network communicate with a process running on your router that automatically creates port forwards to allow hosts outside of your network to communicate with hosts inside your network. It's very often used for multi-player gaming, where the game software can pick a random port, set up the forward, then tell the game server where to make the connection. The thinking as to why this may not be sufficient enough for Plex/Sonos to work is because the automated software on the router is not able to set the advanced setting needed to allow the Sonos to Plex connection to work.

What Plex is currently doing to work with Sonos is a little unconventional, but it needs to be because of a security measure present in most routers. When you go to play a song from your Plex server, Plex is telling your Sonos speaker to connect to your router's WAN address. This is unusual because both devices are usually connected to the same network, so direct communication between the two devices is possible. The problem is that as a security measure, many routers have what is called DNS Rebinding protection. This prevents a malicious website from having its own hostname set up to point to a private network IP address on your network, then referencing their known hostname to access a device within your network. So Plex can't have a hostname for your server that resolves to, for example, 192.168.1.101, because the router would block that DNS result.

Since it can't use a private network address, Plex uses a DNS entry that returns your router's WAN address, and now your router needs to do something unique: It needs to receive a request from a device on your LAN that references your WAN address and port forward, and then return that traffic to the host on the LAN that the port forward points to. The advanced router/firewall systems refer to this as NAT reflection or Hairpin NAT (the data is being reflected back to the LAN, or making a hairpin turn and going back in the same direction it came from). And for some of the consumer routers, manually creating a port forward will might enable this in those routers that don't explicitly offer the advanced setting.
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Thanks, Mike. That's a real shame on Plexs' part .. this could be such a good addition to Sonos.

I have a simpleton question for you .. if Plex shows that there's full-pathway to outside the router .. doesn't that negate the need to go the port forward route?
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Plex developers have pretty much abandoned the Sonos forum on their own website. There doesn't seem to be any progress on this, and there has been no response from them as far as anything Sonos related goes for a couple of months now.

Kenners, there are a few possible solutions... some have found that manually adding a port forward for Plex to your router, rather than using UPnP to automatically add it, has helped allow Sonos and Plex to communicate. Some people with more advanced router/firewall setups (like pfSense, Sonicwall, and others) have found there are advanced NAT options that need to be enabled for it to work properly. And then there are just some routers that don't handle the trick Plex is currently using to make it work (which will require Plex to change things on their end somehow).
I got it working shortly after it was announced, running the Plex server on a Synology NAS.

AFAICS, it's very much beta software. The version on the Sonos controller was slow, clunky and had very limited categories - it may have improved since.

The web version was much slicker and fuller featured - if that had been available from the Sonos controller I'd have been much happier, and may well have used it to get round the '65k' problem. Maybe it will be better when the proper version is available.

[Edit] Just tried it again - a bit quicker than when I first tried it, but still useless in terms of categories etc.
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Where do I start? I added it to Sonos, and after creating an account .. Sonos indexed everything just fine. Sonos sees the Artists and song titles etc ... just won't connect to Plex to playback the darn stuff. I got into the guts of the Web version .. everything looks great .. nothing needed to be done to my router .. everything really looks fine and dandy, yet ... still no-play. ... and it's still in Beta in Sonos Labs (which is fine). I hope that when it's properly released for Sonos, I won't still be having these issues. Fingers-crossed.
Plex is still showing as a beta in the Sonos app section "add services"
Userlevel 7
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I think Plex has taken all of their development efforts and put them elsewhere for the time being, into features that are available for their paying Plex Pass customers. Cobwebs have been appearing here and there in the Sonos forum on their own website since there have been 0 posts by anyone from Plex in months. The Sonos forum on Plex's site still identifies it as a public beta, so Sonos may consider it to be done, but Plex hasn't said anything about it being done.

It also wouldn't surprise me if maybe Plex is waiting for more info on Sonos' control API, thinking that maybe you could instead play music from your Plex app to your Sonos speakers, just as you can now do with Spotify in the beta that's available. That might also change things as far as Sonos speakers accessing a Plex server on the same network, which many have issues with right now.
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Yes, I was surprised about that update, because quite frankly the Plex/Sonos beta doesn't work well, and would have been very surprised if, at that state, it had gone from beta to full implementation.

I think Plex aren't bothered in delivering a finished, easily understood and reliable product- I hope I'm proved wrong
Uhhhh, you do realize that the Plex implementation is the product of Plex's development, not Sonos'? Sonos only supplies the API and testing, Plex does the rest. Also, I find it hard to believe you mistook the 7.0 beta email for Plex. The announcement specifically stated the beta was for Spotify Direct Connect.
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I responded to an email sent to me by Sonos on November 01, 2016 welcoming me to the Beta 7.0 program. I thought I was still participating in the Sonos/PLEX beta program so I responded to the email;
The Sonos/Plex beta program was announced July 20, 2016 and in 100+ days, there's been no updates or responses to beta testers comments/suggestions/complaints from Sonos or Plex. The silence is deafening! It's tough to participate in a beta when there's no communication.

The response from Dave P. of Sonos Customer Care;
Thank you for contacting Sonos Customer Care today. I apologize for the wait, but I can happily inform you that PLEX is out of the Beta stage and is now fully supported on Sonos! If you have any questions or problems while setting this Service up, please let us know.

I obviously missed the announcement that the Sonos/PLEX integration was out of the beta stage. It feels good knowing that all the hours spent by the Sonos/PLEX beta users during this time resulted in such a great product. After this experience, I think I'll pass on participating in any more Sonos betas.
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I too have been having a lot of problems recently re Plex.
I had it all working, my library scanned etc.
But the last couple of days, it just cannot connect.
I have reauth'd the app/connection - which worked without error.
I have restarted the laptop on which the media server process is running, I have optimised the library, i have disabled/re-enabled the remote access option.
But still, I am now unable to browse the library via Plex.
Hey ho.
Thankfully, I have the M3U4U solution that was mentioned elsewhere to get around the 65K issue, and that (despite the lack of a search function) is working like a dream.
Mark
Userlevel 3
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That's interesting, Mike V. I guess we will just wait and see.
It's not a major issue for me. I only want to stream audiobooks through Plex, which are in a completely different folder to my main music folder. My main music folder is well below the 65k max anyway.

Would be nice to have the option, though. Here's hoping!
Userlevel 7
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Yeah, it's clear that there's work Plex needs to do, but I think there are a handful of things working against them in the way some routers handle redirecting connections within the router. Manual port forwards (rather than using UPnP) for Plex Remote Access seem to produce better results, but still doesn't fix all cases.

Hopefully Plex will be able to have some folks return to working on the Sonos integration soon... they seem to have abandoned their own Sonos forum.
Userlevel 3
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Was pleased to see this as an option, but just can't make it work consistently.

Can occasionally get tracks to play, but then get the "can not connect to Plex" message.

Have tried all the various settings on the router (the standard Sky HUB), but to be honest I'm not really sure what I am doing.

Hoping the final version makes things a lot clearer- to be honest a lot of the solutions I've read are in "techno-babble", which is weird for a solution that is meant to make things easier!

Keith
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A couple of questions :

- After this initial library index, when I update the library next time, does it scan for changes, or restart from scratch and redo the whole index again !?
- What are the advantages of Plex over Subsonic, as I have checked the Subsonic solution, and that looks like a very nice solution.


Plex has a variety of settings regarding its library update/rescan. If you browse to your server with a web browser (i.e. http://desktoppc:32400/web, if the computer name of your Plex server is desktoppc), click the wrench/screwdriver icon towards the upper right, click Server, then on the left side click Library. Here is Plex's support article on the Library settings, but there are a variety of them to adjust whether it does a full rescan or partial, whether it does it automatically when changes are detected, and whether a periodic rescan is done after a certain period of time

Can't speak to Subsonic though... never used it..
Userlevel 1
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Hello.

So, I am experimenting with this Plex solution to help re the 65K limit.
I've installed and configured the server, and despite not being able to resolve the remote access issue (not an important need for me), Plex is currently indexing my library, and so far, all is looking good.

A couple of questions :

- After this initial library index, when I update the library next time, does it scan for changes, or restart from scratch and redo the whole index again !?

- What are the advantages of Plex over Subsonic, as I have checked the Subsonic solution, and that looks like a very nice solution.

ta

Mark
Sonos does not read the Album Artist tag. In my Sonos Settings / Manage Music Library, I have Compilation Albums set to "Do not group compilations" and View Contributing Artists set "Off." I do not check the Compilation tag when ripping a CD to add to my music library.
Sonos does read the AlbumArtist tag.

I have set AlbumArtist tag on compilation albums to Various Artists. This doesn't seem such a kludge to me as the album is "owned" by a group of artists, rather one specific artist.

My ripper does not have a compilation tag setting. I have the Sonos Group Albums setting at AlbumArtist.

I don't use Plex. The Sonos advantages (to me) for this arrangement is that:
* incidental artists (ie. those who don't own an album) don't pollute the Artists index, meaning that it is smaller and more focused
* incidental artists can be located via the Contributing Artists index. This index can be turned on or off for each controller, so there is no index size or time saving if is turned off. ... Unfortunately these index entries are not available to the Search facility for some disappointing reason.
* compilation albums are grouped together in the artist index, as you say, which I find helpful

The main difference between your and my outcome is that I also have a lean index focused upon artists who "own" at least one whole album. ... Or are your 1-track artists also accessible by the Sonos search facility? .... even if this was the case, I would prefer my lean artists index ... I think.
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MikeV,

I did a web search of "Plex Compilation Albums" to see if I could find some guidance on how tags should be set for compilation albums in Plex. I did not find anything from Plex specifying how to tag compilation albums. I found many postings by Plex users who were having the same issues that I'm seeing. Users have tried numerous kluge tagging schemes to try to get their compilation albums to display in Plex with varying degrees of success. Most of them populate the Album Artist tag with a value such as "Various" or "Various Artists" while some make up multiple variations such as "Various Christmas Artists", Various Country Artists", etc.. These tag values cause these virtual artist names to appear in the list of artists when browsing by Artist. Plex assigns "Various Artists" as the value of the Album Artist tag when it indexes the music library and finds null values for the Album Artist tag. When browsing by Artist in my Plex Music Library and clicking on "Various Artists", a list of all my ~1,000 compilation albums is displayed in alphabetical order by Album Name. Clicking on an album shows a list of its tracks with no indication of the artist's name. What would happen if there was a band called "Various Artists" and I added them into Plex? Their albums would be found mixed in with my ~1,000 compilation albums!

During indexing of Sonos's Music Library, only 6 tags (Track Name, Track Number, Track Artist, Album Name, Genre, and Composer) are read and it does compilation albums right in my opinion. Sonos does not read the Album Artist tag. In my Sonos Settings / Manage Music Library, I have Compilation Albums set to "Do not group compilations" and View Contributing Artists set "Off." I do not check the Compilation tag when ripping a CD to add to my music library. When browsing by Artist, Sonos displays every unique artist value found in the Track Artist tag of all tracks included in the Music Library index. Clicking on an artist in this list shows a list of all albums on which that artist appears. Clicking on an album then shows the track(s) on that album by that artist. I can browse by Album and see a complete alphabetical list of all Album names and select the desired album from that list. With Plex, browsing by Album is a misnomer - it should be called browsing by Artist/Album since the albums are subgrouped by their artist. There's no way to see album names in one alphabetical list regardless of the artist.
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yungduga, #1 could be a tag issue... or you might have a setting in the Sonos controller enabled that allows it to show additional tags. For example, I have a handful of "Various Artist" albums... the Album Artist tag is "Various Artists", but the artist for each track (Contributing Artists is the tag name, I believe) is the artist for the song. When I browse both Sonos and Plex, they both show "Various Artists", but the artists for each song do not appear in the Artists list. Now, in the Sonos controller, there's a checkbox that can be enabled to allow Sonos to show the Contributing Artists in addition to the Album Artist, so you might have that enabled.

3 and 4 have both been raised over in the Plex forums, and I think 2 has as well. Not sure if 3 is something Plex can do anything about... they're just sending data to the Sonos app, so it may be up to Sonos to support such a capability for their internet services. 2 and 4 are just different ways for Plex to take its data and send it on to Sonos for display in the app. It shouldn't be hard for them to add those..

I think the lack of updates from Plex on Sonos support is a result of their recently announced DVR functionality for Plex Pass customers (the folks paying for a premium Plex experience)... I think they've put a lot of development effort into that right now, so Sonos isn't getting much attention at the moment. Once they get back to it, I would imagine they'll be working to improve the whole "NAT Reflection" or "Hairpin NAT" issue, since there are many people who have routers that don't support that capability, preventing them from using Plex and Sonos together. Different views/listings of songs/artists/genres should be trivial for them to add... though they might save that for last as a result.
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It's now been 5 weeks since I started using the Sonos / Plex beta.

The initial indexing took 20 days for ~8,600 albums with ~120,000 tracks. Initially, no artwork was being displayed in the Plex library either by using the Plex controller software on my MacBook or the Sonos controller software on my iPhone, iPad, or MacBook. The artwork gradually started showing up over the weeks. Here are the four main issues I've found with using the beta Sonos controller / Plex library for the past month;

#1 - Compilation Albums
I have close to a thousand compilation albums. Artists who only appear on one or more of these compilation albums do not appear when I browse by Artist. Example 1 - I have 3 compilation albums that artist W appears on but I have no albums by artist W. When I browse by Artist , that artist does not appear. That artist does appear using the Sonos Music Library.
Example 2 - I have 10 albums by artist X and 5 other albums that artist X has contributed a track. If I browse by Artist, I see artist X listed and the 10 albums by artist X but I do not see any of the 5 albums that artist X has contributed a track. Sonos's Music Library shows all 15 albums that artist "X" appears on. My Track Artist tags are populated with the artist name for each track. My Album Artist tags are all null.

#2 - List Of All Songs By An Artist In One List
Browsing by Artist with the Sonos Music Library shows all the albums on which an artist appears. It also includes a virtual "album" at the top of that artist's album list called "All" which contains an alphabetical list of all the songs from all the albums. The Plex library does not have this feature. You have to open up each album individually to find the song by that artist that you're looking for. And the compilation albums that that artist has contributed to do not appear.

#3 - Power Scroll When Browsing
Sonos allows you to "power scroll" to a location on a browsing list either by clicking on a letter in the alphabetical list displayed to the right of a list or by typing a letter on the keyboard. This is not supported using the Sonos controller with the Plex library. It is supported by the Plex controller with the Plex library.

#4 - Browse By Genre
Sonos allows browsing by Genre. My wife browses by Genre around Thanksgiving every year for "Christmas" which displays every Christmas album in one big list. She adds the whole list to the queue and saves it as "Christmas" playlist so she can play Christmas music in the kitchen all the way to New Year's Day. Plex does not support browsing by Genre. It's not going to be a merry Christmas here if this isn't implemented by Thanksgiving.


This is exactly what I selected and it took 20 (twenty) days to complete the Plex indexing of ~120,000 tracks in ~8,600 album folders.


That's really weird - my collection of 78,000 tracks took maybe 8 hours. Hardware is an HPN40L microserver / Win 10 / 8GB RAM so not sure if this would be better or worse performance than your Synology NAS (I used to have a DS411+ that was much slower than this server, but I'd expect newer NAS systems to be quicker?)