Sonos Version 6.4 Now in Public Beta



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Well all that said....I am looking forward to final release post beta. I am also certainly looking forward to Aug 30th.
DarrenLink,

I think all your remarks are 'fair comment' and it is clear that these big streaming services all need to come together and draft some kind of rules and conventions so that all their search and play features etc. work in the same or similar way for the end-user.

The thing is no-one wants to collaborate or share their innovative ideas, as they each are competing for their consumer market share.

It means the end-user however is given a choice, I guess, but when things are bought together in things like the Sonos App it means we (the user) quickly see the differences as to how each of these companies are doing things.

It means we get to see the good features of some services and also the annoyances in others.

In many respects Sonos has had to cater for these differences in each and every music service they offer via the Sonos Controller interface and IMHO they have not done a bad job so far.

Yes, there is plenty of room for improvement and customisation and I'm sure eventually these companies will move towards a customer 'minimum' service level agreement that will please many, but not everyone.

This is what happens in lots of cases where multiple data sources are brought together through one common app interface.

There is rumour on the net that eventually some apps like Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play and Apple Music etc. will be able to cast their content direct to Sonos speakers direct (one day) and if that is true, then we can each choose the service and software that best suits our individual needs.

In many respects, if the rumours turn out to be true, it may suit Sonos who are primarily in the speaker hardware business and the software controller aspect can then fall into the hands of third party developers,such as Amazon, Spotify and Apple etc.

The Sonos software developers role will probably change as things progress, but they would still be much-needed to oversee the continued integration into third party software.

I think that's the sort of future road-map I would choose, if I was the Sonos CEO.
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If I shuffle a multi-artist compilation (for instance) and then got to an album and choose add to end of queue, it adds the album tracks into the queue randomly. I don't find this intuitive at all, but I think it's always been like this with shuffle turned on (in Sonos). I would prefer it to complete my shuffled multi-artist compilation and then play the album in non-shuffled order. It's always been confusing choosing "Add to end of queue" when in shuffle mode as it doesn't do that. I go from shuffling playlists or multi-artist compilations to playing albums in the intended order a lot, so this is something I would like to be more intuitive.

If I shuffle a multi-artist compilation in the Google Play music app it creates a queue with the contents shuffled. If I add an album to the queue it adds the album to the end in the original order. Much more intuitive and the desired outcome. I much prefer the way the app adds the contents of the compilation to the queue in a random order, rather than shuffling the queue. With Google Play once you have a queue of shuffled tracks there is no way to un-shuffle it. There is no toggle for shuffle as it works very differently. I like the Google Play way, but doing the same in Sonos would require yet another shuffle re-design. I'm not sure what the answer is!!!!! I'm worried too much change will alienate the Sonos user base.

My biggest complaint though with Sonos and music services (as mentioned in one of my earlier posts) is that I can't quickly shuffle my entire playlist of 8000 Apple Music tracks that I have added to my library. The entire playlist has to be loaded into the queue (which takes about 4 minutes!!!!) before playback can begin. This is very user unfriendly, especially as an error is shown after 20 seconds, and the load continues in the background without the user being aware. It's issues like this that make me feel that I'm wasting money with "music services" and that I should go back to the old fashioned NAS / imported "Music Library" approach. Large imported iTunes playlists are loaded into the queue instantly and I get much more enjoyment out of my entire library as a result.

I'm in a situation at the moment where I subscribe to Apple Music and use iTunes (with iTunes Match), but I only have an Android phone. The Android Apple Music app is just awful, which makes me want to cancel Apple Music and go back to Google Play - but I'm reluctant to abandon my iTunes library, especially when large imported playlists from iTunes (via the XML) are loaded into the queue so efficiently, but this approach obviously doesn't work with the Apple Music tracks that I have in iTunes. I'm also not sure about going back to Google Play (as a subscriber) as I believe it still has a maximum playlist limit of 1000 tracks. But I love the Android "Google Play Music" app (with my uploaded music / free account). I don't know what to do as I'm not fully happy with either service and I'm not happy with the Sonos integration with either for large playlists.

Apologies for covering a lot of topics in a single post and for returning to my previous rant about large playlists. Music services encourage us to add large volumes of music to our libraries but we need efficient ways of being able to play it all back on Sonos - and the queue (although needed for multi-room) is the culprit.

I really wish the Sonos focus was on improving music service integration, rather than going down the "voice control" route.
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Cheers. I can't access this page from my mobile. Selecting the last page arrow at the bottom just takes me to the first page. Changing the URL to page 7 is the same. Tried in FF, standard browser and Chrome.
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No - this site sucks (technically) on many levels and has been widely trounced by many who knew the old (superior) site. Indeed on a mobile you have to scroll to the bottom of page 1, navigate to the last page then scroll to the bottom of the last page 😞
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Does anyone else struggle accessing the last page of this thread (had it on others too) on a mobile browser? I push the last number but it just takes me to the first page. Changing the URL to what I think it should be still takes me to the first page.
Separately, hopefully it's me because I can't believe it would still be so poor, but is it possible to go the last page of a thread from the main page? Esp on mobile it seems silly to have to go to the first page (data usage) and then scroll and select the last page.
A queue pointer has to go somewhere after the end of the last track. Wrapping it to the first track is logical (you might want to play the album again), but can produce undesirable behaviour with 'Play Now', as discussed.

It should be relatively simple for 'Play Now' to append to a stopped queue.


Yes Ratty, that seems a very sensible solution, just when a queue is stopped (not paused).

I just think adding the 'Play Now' track to the queue focus, is a great new feature and much better than always adding the track to the end of a queue, but if the queue isn't playing (or paused), then I think adding it at the end of a 'stopped' queue is a very good compromise.
A queue pointer has to go somewhere after the end of the last track. Wrapping it to the first track is logical (you might want to play the album again), but can produce undesirable behaviour with 'Play Now', as discussed.

It should be relatively simple for 'Play Now' to append to a stopped queue.
BurtBushell,

.. but there is also the option to 'add to end of queue' in the menu context list already ... The 'Play Now' feature, just adds a chosen song to where the 'focus' is in the queue.

The only issue I can see here, is after the queue has finished playing (exhausted), because the queue 'focus' automatically shifts back to the first track once the last song finishes playing.

Personally, I prefer the 'Play Now' feature to not add to the end of the queue, as that means that it then skips all my other tracks previously loaded into my queue ... I thought the object here with the new beta, is to keep the music playing, not skip the remaining queue and play just the one added-track... and then the music ends.

I think it's a difficult discussion here, because end-users probably would like to see different things happen when they add another song to their queue and it's then complicated further, when a queue has finished playing.

Perhaps it would be solved, by leaving the 'focus' at the end of the queue and not auto-shifting it back to the beginning of the queue.

I think these things are maybe 'easier said than done' and that's why I was thinking that it's perhaps something that should be carefully considered and maybe corrected in a later version of the software (v6.5 etc.) rather than rushing things through in v6.4 - that's if there isn't time to meet any (nearby) potential release deadline date set by Sonos management.

My thoughts were that there are lots of news stories emerging on the web about Sonos announcements coming soon, so I am second-guessing that the company may want to draw a line under this beta in the not too distant future.

I personally still do not see the issue as being a show-stopper, but I would rather the 'Play Now' menu feature stays in the software, as the developers and their managers may decide to remove it in this version and reintroduce it at a later date, when all the different user-options, mentioned here, have been carefully considered in depth.
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It could be addressed by varying the action based on play state: appending to the queue if STOPPED, else inserting after the currently PLAYING or PAUSED_PLAYBACK track. But the fine distinction between STOPPED and PAUSED_PLAYBACK might confuse many a user.

It's probably not a 'show stopper', but it shows that releasing the Sonos software in beta format to the wider public, is very useful to highlight these type of matters before the full release, but I'm sure that some such issues are forced to be left in situ because of deadline dates imposed by management.

I guess a line has to be drawn in the sand at some point and some issues like this might then get rolled over to v6.5 or later.

Which is why I still maintain that Play Now should add a track at the end of the queue. If you want to inject a track into a queue there is "Play next" already for that. The time you would likely want to inject a track into a queue is when a playlist is already playing so that works well. I can even select "Play next" and do a quick tap forward to the next track if I want to get close to a play now experience but maintaining the queue order.

I don't think I would be too disappointed in its current form.
yes, I reported it.
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Definitely. Asking for a song to play now with an exhausted queue and then suddenly be going back through the queue is undesirable and a bug that should certainly be fixed pre release. Assume you have reported it.
I would hope that they would fix it as an exhausted queue is common place, and the current behaviour is undesirable and confusing.
It could be addressed by varying the action based on play state: appending to the queue if STOPPED, else inserting after the currently PLAYING or PAUSED_PLAYBACK track. But the fine distinction between STOPPED and PAUSED_PLAYBACK might confuse many a user.

It's probably not a 'show stopper', but it shows that releasing the Sonos software in beta format to the wider public, is very useful to highlight these type of matters before the full release, but I'm sure that some such issues are forced to be left in situ because of deadline dates imposed by management.

I guess a line has to be drawn in the sand at some point and some issues like this might then get rolled over to v6.5 or later.

I don't think I would be too disappointed in its current form.
The new Play Now function is not working well with an exhausted queue.

ie. The queue is populated, and has completed playing. It is expected that Play Now would add the track at the end of the queue, and play just that track.

What happens is that the item is inserted into position #2. It plays, and then all queued items, from position 3 forwards, are replayed.

Hmm. Messy.

It could be addressed by varying the action based on play state: appending to the queue if STOPPED, else inserting after the currently PLAYING or PAUSED_PLAYBACK track. But the fine distinction between STOPPED and PAUSED_PLAYBACK might confuse many a user.
The new Play Now function is not working well with an exhausted queue.

ie. The queue is populated, and has completed playing. It is expected that Play Now would add the track at the end of the queue, and play just that track.

What happens is that the item is inserted into position #2. It plays, and then all queued items, from position 3 forwards, are replayed.


I think at the end of playing the queue, the 'focus' jumps to track position -1 and the queue is then ready to play again. So when 'PLAY NOW' is chosen, it inserts the new track at position -2 and begins playing.

This might just be down to end-user expectations? It is a good point though for further discussion.
The new Play Now function is not working well with an exhausted queue.

ie. The queue is populated, and has completed playing. It is expected that Play Now would add the track at the end of the queue, and play just that track.

What happens is that the item is inserted into position #2. It plays, and then all queued items, from position 3 forwards, are replayed.
BurtBushell,

I like the new beta and the fact Sonos have introduced the new added "Play Now" single-track menu option, shows they are indeed listening to their customers.

I believe some users wanted the feature to add the song to the end of the queue and begin playing, but it makes more sense to insert it into the queue after the current playing track IMHO, so I think they have got that right.

I also like the fact you can double-click and triple-click the hardware PLAY button on ANY speaker to play the 'next' and 'previous' tracks in the queue, but I would like to see the 'click speed' for those features adjusted, or become user-adjustable, as I find that I sometimes end up playing the next track or muting the sound, when I actually wanted it to play the previous song... The speed/timing of the button does not quite suit the speed of my rapid double/triple presses. It might be a case where I just need to have a bit more practice with this feature, but I see some others have commented on this issue too.

Overall I am very happy with the beta and cannot wait to see it go live for use with iOS controller devices.

I personally think v6.4 is a great improvement over v6.3.
Just a thank you to sonos. When 6.3 went public many, including myself, stated how we missed the play now function. It was also said that it was unlikely Sonos would alter the release at such a late stage. Wrong! Well done Sonos for both listening AND reacting.

6.4. 6.3 is the current public release.


So The LHC.....What are your thoughts about the return of the "Play Now" function and how it works together with all the recent queue changes?


It sounds better but I won't know until I try it. As I said a few pages back I don't participate in the beta programs.
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Just a thank you to sonos. When 6.3 went public many, including myself, stated how we missed the play now function. It was also said that it was unlikely Sonos would alter the release at such a late stage. Wrong! Well done Sonos for both listening AND reacting.

6.4. 6.3 is the current public release.


So The LHC.....What are your thoughts about the return of the "Play Now" function and how it works together with all the recent queue changes?
Just a thank you to sonos. When 6.3 went public many, including myself, stated how we missed the play now function. It was also said that it was unlikely Sonos would alter the release at such a late stage. Wrong! Well done Sonos for both listening AND reacting.

6.4. 6.3 is the current public release.
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Just a thank you to sonos. When 6.3 went public many, including myself, stated how we missed the play now function. It was also said that it was unlikely Sonos would alter the release at such a late stage. Wrong! Well done Sonos for both listening AND reacting.
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To be clearer I suggest the "Play Now" option add the song only and to the end of the queue. Play next already allows you to inject a song into a queue just after the song you are currently listening to. I think when many chose "Play Now" they don't necessarily want to return to the previous songs in queue but want to move forward. So it is storage to select it and find that it's in between the songs in the queue.
That's effectively covered by "Replace Queue" isn't it?

It makes sense to me based upon what has been discussed previously about requirements for a party situation.

It takes a bit to get your head around, and I have gone off half-cocked about it already :)

Play ALL - the nuclear option ... ask for confirmation, junk anything currently playing, plus the queue, and start playing this album|playlist|artist|genre
Play NOW - interrupt the current track .. play this track, then continue on with the queue
Play NEXT - when the current track has completed, play this track(s), then continue on with the queue
ADD to END of queue - as it says
REPLACE Queue - the other nuclear option - the same effect as Play ALL, but as the implication is clear from the option name don't ask for confirmation, and this time it is also available for a single track, or a track selection if using the PC controller

The anomaly is Play NOW. If multiple tracks have been selected using the DCR, it junks the queue for some reason ... hopefully this is a temporary bug.

I think that the problem is that the UI is trying to be Sonos-minimalist, and has become a bit of a muddle of intentions. It would better if we could go to a configuration screen, and configure the behaviours which we wanted for Play All, Play Now, etc.

It would be clearer if the options where capitalised as above IMO.
ie Play ALL not Play all, etc


With respect to your comment that what I want is effectively covered by "Replace Queue" - I will say...True. But I find that to be a bit unintuitive and I don't necessarily want to queue replaced. It might be that its just how I listen to music and the majority maybe happier. Though I think as with every Beta, Sonos will only get the true sense of its impact after full release. It may be just like universal search where many were up in arms but adjusted to it just fine. I personally loved it but others didn't.

Will just have to see how it all shakes out.
A charitable explanation would be that "Play Selected" = "Replace Queue" is deliberate, given that "Play Selected Now" can be achieved by "Play Selected Next" plus a small wrist action and one double-click in the queue. On the other hand the inconsistency with the single-track menu could be an oversight.
As for multiple selections in the DCR, it's "Play Selected", not "Play Selected Now". In the minimalist design language that one missing word is crucial. "Replace Queue" is being inferred.
Thanks Ratty, I didn't notice that the menu option name had changed when additional tracks were added to the selection.

IMO it would be best if it was "Play Selected Now", and worked as I suggested. The Play UI is already becoming complex enough, and it doesn't seem helpful if the selection of multiple tracks, introduces its own behaviours. It would be simpler if they operated the same as single track selections.