Input only devices

  • 30 April 2021
  • 7 replies

I'm sure this isn't the first  time this has been brought up, but does anyone else have a need for input only devices to bring sources into their Sonos system. 


I am thinking an HDMI dongle that would plug into the arc port of your tv so you could use a stereo pair of speakers, a soundbar isn't ideal in my application.  Also I am sure an Audio input device would be handy for turntables, cd players etc.  I know there is the port but in lots of applications you don't need the output.  

I guess at the end of the day a port with an HDMI port would cover it all, they are just so damn expensive.

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7 replies

And just thinking while I posted this, I know there has been discussion that the delay/buffer would be a problem but my understanding is that this is currently possible using the appletv and two Sonos ones using airplay2 so its technically possible.

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I think the problem (in terms of manufacturing cost) is that you save almost nothing by omitting the output side.

The “core” of every Sonos device is essentially the same - a Linux-based network streaming processor - and that’s where most of the cost is.

You won’t save any money by leaving off the output circuitry, because the chipset that performs that function will have both input and output built in - you can’t separate the two. And then you would have to add on another chip to do the audio extraction from HDMI. So the only bit where you save money is not having to fit two RCA sockets, but then you have to add in the cost of an HDMI socket.

Realistically, I don’t think you can expect to see a cheap “dongle” (or a cheap anything, for that matter) from Sonos any time soon.

If you’re able to afford a Port then adding HDMI is relatively easy - HDMI to SPDIF adaptors are pretty cheap - typically £20 or less.

I agree with most of what @Antifon says, but I am puzzled as to how an HDMI to SPDIF adapter would fit in, as the Port does not have an SPDIF input. 

It also has to be borne in mind that Sonos is fundamentally not about playing physical media. The lines-in on Sonos' earliest products were really there as a comfort blanket for users who couldn't quite bring themselves to ditch tbe CD player or turntable. I don't think we will ever see a purely input device from Sonos.

FWIW, I generally suggest that people consider buying a Five rather than buy a Port just for line in.  For a bit more money you get a lot more product.

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I agree with most of what @Antifon says, but I am puzzled as to how an HDMI to SPDIF adapter would fit in, as the Port does not have an SPDIF input. 

I should have remembered - I started my system with three ZP90s and HDMI to SPDIF adapters, and then “upgraded” to three Ports, which then meant I had to replace the HDMI to SPDIF adapters for HDMI to coaxial digital, which was annoying! But HDMI to digital coaxial adapters are not significantly different in price, compared with the optical (TOSLINK) version.

I am still puzzled. The only input on a ZP90, Connect or Port is RCA stereo. Perhaps I am misunderstanding what is being connected to what here. 

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Sorry, yes - mixing up my inputs and outputs. No wired digital inputs on either (except over the network cable, of course).