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Pretty please - Build a Play:Win device

  • 19 December 2015
  • 46 replies
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I absolutely love the Sonos Windows and Android apps and my new 5.1 and other Play speakers. You did an excellent job on this system!

I also want to listen to all the great music sources while working at my PC and don't always want to bother everyone else turning on the real speakers (I develop Windows software at home).

Please create a new "Play:Win" device that can be a Sonos "Room" which can send audio to any of the Windows Playback devices. E.G. headset, speakers, digital audio S/PDIF 5.1 etc. same as how a user can select audio playback output on a PC. You can build a Windows device driver to do this.

This way I can use my local USB headset and you don't need to come out with those wireless headsets quite so soon.

I don't want to have to also run WinAmp or Kodi or something to play my local FLAC files that I can already play via Sonos reading my NAS drive.

And I want to use the great features in the Sonos app for internet radio, playlists, favorites etc. which would be yet additional apps if I can use Sonos.

Please add a Play:Win device as part of the Sonos PC app.

You of course could also build Play:Android etc. but I sit at my PC all day and that one is top priority :D

Please consider this especially for the Windows PC.

Thanks for your consideration. This would set Sonos way above the emerging IP speaker crowd!

Dave
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Best answer by Chris 21 December 2015, 00:05

I currently have a connect hooked between my PC output and my PC speakers. That makes my PC a Sonos Zone where I can play anything from my PC to any Sonos speaker in the house and I can play Sonos music to my PC speakers (making them a zone and I could just as easily have a splitter to use my wired headphones as well.



If speakers are built into the PC you could hook the connect to the MIC/Audio input of your PC to play Sonos sound - and from the audio out to play PC sound to other Sonos units.



How does the Connect not work for you?
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46 replies

CodeSlinger,

Here is a very old, very long, and sometimes contentious discussion about using a PC as a zone.
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The folks I read that were contentious about this have no clue what they are talking about. You certainly would not HAVE to have the PC be a zone if you did not want it but the important features MISSING with out it are -

- I can't listen using my headphones
- I can't listen to Internet radio at my PC
- I need multiple apps beside Sonos to listen at my PC
- I have to bother other folks that may not want to listen to my or any music while I'm working in my office while I do!

The ONLY two ways to overcome this are 1) make the PC a zone or 2) come out with wireless headphones. I don't care which but both would be best!

Dave
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I currently have a connect hooked between my PC output and my PC speakers. That makes my PC a Sonos Zone where I can play anything from my PC to any Sonos speaker in the house and I can play Sonos music to my PC speakers (making them a zone and I could just as easily have a splitter to use my wired headphones as well.

If speakers are built into the PC you could hook the connect to the MIC/Audio input of your PC to play Sonos sound - and from the audio out to play PC sound to other Sonos units.

How does the Connect not work for you?
CodeSlinger, besides the technical reasons, including the lousy timing of the pc clock, why in God's green earth would Sonos allow you to turn a pc into a zone? Raspberry Pi computers can be bought for under $100. That's half the price of a Play:1. Add cheap speakers and you have a Sonos device for under $150 with no profit to Sonos, spelling Sonos' death knell.

Don't believe me? The last multi-room streamer with a PC zone was Squeezebox. Their line is now deceased, except for the users who keep it going using Raspberry Pi computers and their old PC based software zone, all for less than half the price of the original Squeezebox hardware.
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I currently have a connect hooked between my PC output and my PC speakers. That makes my PC a Sonos Zone where I can play anything from my PC to any Sonos speaker in the house and I can play Sonos music to my PC speakers (making them a zone and I could just as easily have a splitter to use my wired headphones as well.

If speakers are built into the PC you could hook the connect to the MIC/Audio input of your PC to play Sonos sound - and from the audio out to play PC sound to other Sonos units.

How does the Connect not work for you?


Well that costs a lot more but some good ideas thanks. Maybe they could sell the PC software if the issue is they would not be selling hardware.


Well that costs a lot more but some good ideas thanks. Maybe they could sell the PC software if the issue is they would not be selling hardware.


Or maybe they can just never make the PC software, and keep selling hardware. What a novel concept.
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CodeSlinger, besides the technical reasons, including the lousy timing of the pc clock, why in God's green earth would Sonos allow you to turn a pc into a zone? Raspberry Pi computers can be bought for under $100. That's half the price of a Play:1. Add cheap speakers and you have a Sonos device for under $150 with no profit to Sonos, spelling Sonos' death knell.

Don't believe me? The last multi-room streamer with a PC zone was Squeezebox. Their line is now deceased, except for the users who keep it going using Raspberry Pi computers and their old PC based software zone, all for less than half the price of the original Squeezebox hardware.


You are wrong on the technical reasons and yes I know that is why they don't do it but I would like to believe they are looking at it wrong. They c/should sell the zone software to implement a zone as after all it is their intellectual property that they have every right to a profit from. And then I don't need to burn watts for another piece of gear I don't really need when I'm sitting much of the day in front of a system way more powerful, including very accurate timing and digital audio, I7, 32G etc. And I don't have to waste my time or space having additional devices and/or multiple apps on my PC to listen to all the music that Sonos can already nicely control. This could also add new sources for other zones. I just wanted to easily use my USB headset so must consider Chris' suggestion as the only possibility right now yet am going to wait a bit before going that route.

I think it makes logical and financial sense and would like to see Sonos do this and/or sell some wireless headphones. I think they can make decent $ doing both and I would like either as a consumer and it will further lock in their customer base. If folks use their software they would be hesitant to convert to other delivery systems due to the hassles of migrating off any entrenched software platform. Sonos is really in the music delivery business, not just the speaker busienss, and right now they don't easily deliver to headphones. Honestly, I'd rather have some really nice wireless headphones so while I'm reading Asimov on my Kindle in front of the linear FP I can listen to some nice instrumental w/o bothering the wife. And then I could use them sitting at the PC as well.
The folks I read that were contentious about this have no clue what they are talking about. You certainly would not HAVE to have the PC be a zone if you did not want it but the important features MISSING with out it are -

- I can't listen using my headphones
- I can't listen to Internet radio at my PC
- I need multiple apps beside Sonos to listen at my PC
- I have to bother other folks that may not want to listen to my or any music while I'm working in my office while I do!

The ONLY two ways to overcome this are 1) make the PC a zone or 2) come out with wireless headphones. I don't care which but both would be best!

Dave


No, there is a third way, plug some headphones into your pc's soundcard and listen to internet radio through a web browser.

Sonos don't make pc audio software, why should they when there's a million options out there for doing that already?
Sonos is not going to make a PC zone. It makes no technical or financial sense. If it did, they would have done it 10 years ago when it was first requested.
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...and they would be out of business
. . . like Squeezebox.
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the softsquueze player probably took away 20% of their hardware business. I think their other mistake was trying to cater to every whim of requested features (although Sonos could do a little more of this)...leading to bloatware that was difficult to keep running for it core purpose of serving music.
the softsquueze player probably took away 20% of their hardware business. I think their other mistake was trying to cater to every whim of requested features (although Sonos could do a little more of this)...leading to bloatware that was difficult to keep running for it core purpose of serving music.

There was a myriad of problems. Open Source without a dedicated team of programmers was one. Quality Control was another, with daily releases and "Load the latest build" being a mantra for some support personnel. But the SoftSqueeze player was most definitely to blame. There was talk on their forum of people who had already fabricated players from Raspberry Pi's within seconds of the first rumors of the line going bye-bye. If there is that level of support in the first few seconds after "The End is Near" declaration, then you know there was a healthy underground of users who were forsaking Squeeze hardware beforehand.
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No, there is a third way, plug some headphones into your pc's soundcard and listen to internet radio through a web browser.

Sonos don't make pc audio software, why should they when there's a million options out there for doing that already?


That is EXACTLY what I do NOT want to do! I want a single music app. Perhaps you did not really get my points...
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Sonos connect


No, there is a third way, plug some headphones into your pc's soundcard and listen to internet radio through a web browser.

Sonos don't make pc audio software, why should they when there's a million options out there for doing that already?


That is EXACTLY what I do NOT want to do! I want a single music app. Perhaps you did not really get my points...


Oh I got it but you didn't get the point that Sonos does NOT make pc audio playing software.
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Obviously this is a religious issue with many of you yet I will keep my freedom to believe it makes perfect technical sense. The financial sense can be argued but who in their right mind would open source their IP for something like this? Not sure how you thought that was part of my suggestion. In fact, hopefully they encrypt their remote command protocol so no one actually does clone it.
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Sonos connect

Yes I got that thanks.
hopefully they encrypt their remote command protocol so no one actually does clone it.
It uses UPnP, which is in clear text. Many have implemented third party controllers.

And you wouldn't need to open source a Sonos software player in order to blow a big hole through Sonos' business model, just a Win32 emulator.
Obviously this is a religious issue with many of you yet I will keep my freedom to believe it makes perfect technical sense. The financial sense can be argued but who in their right mind would open source their IP for something like this? Not sure how you thought that was part of my suggestion. In fact, hopefully they encrypt their remote command protocol so no one actually does clone it.

The Open Source aspect had nothing to do with the software being used as a substitute for hardware purchases. No modification was needed, it could have been non-Open Source and the same cannibalizing of sales would have occurred. Now is the fact Squeeze started out as an enthusiasts company that embraced Open Source the reason they put out a software based zone; simply because they could, with no thoughts about the financial impact? Maybe, but that is yet another argument against Sonos doing a software zone.

The fact remains, there are significant technical reasons why a PC cannot be used for a software zone. The interrupt based PC clock is one, and no, there is no way to argue against this. If you do, you will expose your ignorance of PC architecture. So don't go there, you will be embarrassed, as were others in the original thread (which you obviously have not read).

There are also financial reasons, which have been discussed. So wish all you want, it is not happening. Better to take the time wasted here posting about it and put it towards making money to purchase a Connect for your PC. That is the only way to get what you want.
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The Open Source aspect had nothing to do with the software being used as a substitute for hardware purchases. No modification was needed, it could have been non-Open Source and the same cannibalizing of sales would have occurred. Now is the fact Squeeze started out as an enthusiasts company that embraced Open Source the reason they put out a software based zone, simply because they could with no thoughts about the financial impact? Maybe, but that is yet another argument against Sonos doing a software zone.

The fact remains,. there are significant technical reasons why a PC cannot be used for a software zone. The interrupt based PC clock is one, and no, there is no way to argue against this. If you do, you will expose your ignorance of PC architecture. So don't go there, you will be embarrassed, as were others in the original thread (which you obviously have not read).

There are also financial reason, which have been discussed. So wish all you want, it is not happening. Better to take the time wasted here posting about it and put it towards making money to purchase a Connect for your PC. That is the only way to get what you want.


I guess the great USB and HDMI sound I hear from other apps on my PC is my imagination and 30 years in computer software and hardware doesn't count. I'm quite aware of how interrupt logic works having written device drivers for Intel. Yet I don't care to keep arguing. I'll hope for them coming out with a wireless headset and/or look into a Connect.
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hopefully they encrypt their remote command protocol so no one actually does clone it.
It uses UPnP, which is in clear text. Many have implemented third party controllers.


That seems a business risk they have. They could still use uPnP for their own sake, yet at the app layer, encrypt commands thus preventing someone from creating 3rd party controllers. Since those exist, it also seems it would be possible to create a PC zone or 3rd party speakers. Just sayin...
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And you wouldn't need to open source a Sonos software player in order to blow a big hole through Sonos' business model, just a Win32 emulator.

They would still need to get the software onto the emulator and would have to either buy it or steal it since it would not be free. They could also teach the PC software to not run if it did not find a key or some real Sonos speaker elsewhere to exchange a key with, or some such protection.

Anyway got to go do some work now. Thanks for all the comments everyone. It was just a suggestion on how I could have a Sonos headset...and my belief they could make a business case for it. They should protect their command stream within uPnP.
[I guess the great USB and HDMI sound I hear from other apps on my PC is my imagination and 30 years in computer software and hardware doesn't count. I'm quite aware of how interrupt logic works having written device drivers for Intel. Yet I don't care to keep arguing. I'll hope for them coming out with a wireless headset and/or look into a Connect.

Oh Jeeez, you actually went there. . .

Alright smart guy, do an experiment: Start a playlist on your PC, and start the same playlist on your Sonos at the same time. Or better yet start a long symphony, so any gap management does not affect the results. See how long it takes the PC to go out of sync with the Sonos device. Surprisingly, it is not too long. Why is this? Because the clock on the PC, being based on interrupts that are in use by many other processes, is as inaccurate as can be designed. It can drift off by tens of seconds a day, which is why we have internet servers that are set up just to resync the clocks on your PC. A drift of tens of seconds a day means over the course of a long piece of music, it doesn't take long to drift the few microseconds it takes for the human brain to detect a difference. Which is fine if you are only listening to music on your PC, but when you try to accurately sync the music to Sonos hardware players, it all falls apart.

This is also why the SqueezeSoft application listed above was incapable of playing synchronized audio, even when compared to the rather poor sync of the Squeeze hardware. Still didn't stop people from using it for a free player, though.

Now I'm sick of arguing with a person bringing up already rebutted points from an almost decade old thread. Read the thread and learn something, and you should change your mind about this request.
[They would still need to get the software onto the emulator and would have to either buy it or steal it since it would not be free. They could also teach the PC software to not run if it did not find a key or some real Sonos speaker elsewhere to exchange a key with, or some such protection.


Or they could just not make the software, and instead rely on hardware sales to become the billion dollar a year company they have become.