Question

Turn off updates and update notifications on a CR200

  • 22 October 2016
  • 23 replies
  • 795 views

  • Anonymous
  • 0 replies
Hi,

I already asked this question elsewere but think it's better dealt with in it's appropriately titled own thread.

Because I am afraid that at some point in time an update more or less might brick my CR200 because Sonos decides not to support it anymore, I would like to switch off the search for updates and the update notifications, too.

Advices I've got so far:
-turn notifications off in the settings menu - but there is no such setting on a CR200.
-use parental control of my router and block u*.sonos.com.
But it seems like the implementation in my router is somewhat flawed - many websites take much longer to open when I use the blacklist with u*.sonos.com as the only entry.
Or maybe this is related to the recent hack attacks on big companies they mentioned in the news today?

Anyway, when I use this blacklist item, I'd expect the 'Check for updates' to fail.
But it doesn' give any error message, it just tells me that my system is up to date.
Could a Sonos rep chime in and give further advice?

Thanks in advance
Thomas

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23 replies



I always intended "expand your system" to mean "add more rooms" NOT "add new components that do not exist in the firmware level you are using". I want to add another ZP120 (aka Connect Amp) without having to update to the firmware designed to support the Play5 Gen2.

In any case I agree the topic has been covered sufficiently and I also will stop here.


As I said, goalposts moved. But yes, this has been done to death, and I think we both know that regardless of feasibility, the market for these requirements is vanishingly small, not worth the ROI, and never going to happen. Thusly, my "absurd" comment stands.
2- A customer should never have to give up the ability to expand or repair their system in order to protect it from upgrades that would reduce the functionality of some components in their large audio system investment


I personally have no interest in the Playbar or Play5 Gen2 and would happily give up the ability to add those products to my system if it returned full setup menus to my CR100s or restored the local mute button to it's previous configuration. I like the system I bought and never asked for or wanted anything that has been done to it since.



Goalposts successfully moved. Thus, I'm done with this conversation. :rolleyes


I always intended "expand your system" to mean "add more rooms" NOT "add new components that do not exist in the firmware level you are using". I want to add another ZP120 (aka Connect Amp) without having to update to the firmware designed to support the Play5 Gen2.

In any case I agree the topic has been covered sufficiently and I also will stop here.
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I've said it before but I can't see why Sonos can't build a CR200 based on Android that can keep up with the updates for years to come. I love my CR200, I don't want to leave a Fire Tablet (or other) around the kitchen, I want a little controller with a huge battery. Wall mountable would be nice too :)

On the subject of turning off notifications. You may get problems doing library updates if you do that as you can only do them when all connected devices are on the latest firmware! I recently found that out when moving house and having no Internet for a few weeks, therefore no firmware updates, therefore no new music to listen to 😞
2- A customer should never have to give up the ability to expand or repair their system in order to protect it from upgrades that would reduce the functionality of some components in their large audio system investment


I personally have no interest in the Playbar or Play5 Gen2 and would happily give up the ability to add those products to my system if it returned full setup menus to my CR100s or restored the local mute button to it's previous configuration. I like the system I bought and never asked for or wanted anything that has been done to it since.



Goalposts successfully moved. Thus, I'm done with this conversation. :rolleyes
1- See the point about no dependency on external services. Sonos should not put themselves in a position where Spotty Sound and other paid services drive their firmware... particularly since many Sonos users do not utilize paid streaming services at all. Why should those folks have to endure a firmware change for an issue that does not even apply to them?

2- 3-4 firmware versions per year is a Sonos choice. They could either roll the changes into larger chunks less often or accept the cost of doing business on the current cycle, so no I don't agree that it is absurd to expect they could deal with that. Most changes benefit a small targeted group such as users of a particular streaming service while at the same time are disruptive to everyone so less often is fine with me.

I have already stated I am fine with the concept that people who stay on older firmware do not get new features, including the ability to add newer product models. It is up to the customer to decide if the ability to add a new hardware model is more important than the retention of a particular function that they would otherwise have to give up. I personally have no interest in the Playbar or Play5 Gen2 and would happily give up the ability to add those products to my system if it returned full setup menus to my CR100s or restored the local mute button to it's previous configuration. I like the system I bought and never asked for or wanted anything that has been done to it since.

In the end the customer should be able to accept or reject changes based on how they perceive the alleged benefits vs. what they have to give up to get them. As far as where Sonos should draw the line for when to cut off support it should be a simple market decision. If existing customers stop buying new hardware because they want to retain previous functionality that would be an indication that those older features should still be supported. If very few people want to stay behind to keep certain features then fine let them stay behind and don't worry about those features in the newer versions.

Finally the argument that Sonos cannot support more than one firmware version to a time is also nonsense. They just don't want to. Reality is that this is just the cost of doing business in this space and they can mitigate that by having fewer versions or distinguishing between major and minor releases and only support the last version in each major series. And yes they could go back to an old series and create an update to add functionality to support a Bridge or Boost without otherwise disrupting features that people using that level want to retain if they fell it would get people using that level to buy a Bridge or Boost. There is no good reason I should need to accept reduced CR100 functionality, changed local mute functions, unneeded streaming service features, etc. just to add a Boost to the system.

That said, I would gladly give up that option if it was the only way to retain the core features I liked in my original purchase. The only two things I can't give up are the ability to replace broken Zone Players , because they do fail, without losing legacy features, and the ability to expand my system using components compatible with the firmware series that supports the features I want to keep.
Ok, I will pick a couple of your wishes and point out how absurd they are:

1- A customer should never lose any functionality in any component of their audio investment. It is fine if the old stuff stops getting new features but old features should never be removed.


As of a few releases ago, Spotify switched Sonos from their online API to their web based API. Ignoring the fact that customers who upgraded lost functionality due to this change, eventually those who did not upgrade lost Spotify functionality on Sonos. This was totally out of Sonos' hands, and yet it fails your criteria. Same thing happened with the BBC. In other words, this requirement of yours is not possible because some functionality is out of Sonos' control. Thus having it as a requirement is absurd.

2- A customer should never have to give up the ability to expand or repair their system in order to protect it from upgrades that would reduce the functionality of some components in their large audio system investment.


So, you wish to never give up the ability to expand your system, regardless of the version level you may wish to keep in order to prevent reduced functionality. In theory, this means you would want to keep your system at software version 1.0, and be able to expand it indefinitely to this day. So let's look at this scenario:

You have the original ZP100 at version 1.0, and you wish to add a Play:5 Gen 2. Let's say Sonos has averaged 3-4 major releases per year for around 10 years; call it 30 different versions so far. To meet your criteria, when Sonos develops the Play:5 Gen 2, they must start with a version that is compatible with release 1.0, and then develop firmware that is compatible with all 29 versions after 1.0 up to the present day., Each of these versions must go through a full development cycle. Each must go through a full QA/Alpha/Beta cycle. Now while the development cycle may not be as time consuming as if you were doing it from scratch, the QA/Alpha/Beta phase has to be full cycle. Forget the fact that finding a Beta testing field large enough to actually mount a full test would be impossible, the sheer fact that you must do this 30 times makes this idea logistically absurd.

Now of course this is an extreme example, but where do you draw the line? Should people who stayed at version 4 still be able to expand to use Play:5 Gen 2? Should people who stayed at the version before the Playbar be able to add a Playbar and Play:1 for surrounds? How about the version before the Bridge using a Bridge? The Boost? Sonosnet 2.0? The questions are endless, and the answers are not satisfactory to your criteria. no matter where the line is drawn. In addition, some hardware will simply be incompatible with your current release version, and there will be nothing Sonos can do to make it compatible (i.e. Adding a Bridge or Playbar before they existed, or Sonosnet 1.0 vs. Sonosnet 2.0). That right there makes your idea impossible to support, for no matter how many past releases you choose to develop new hardware for, you cannot retroactively add new functions to past releases of your existing hardware.

Now combine these facts with the reality that these requirements are in place to satisfy the tiny minority of users who do not choose to upgrade, and the absurdity of your requirements is plain as day.
Maybe if you elaborate on why they are absurd I can provide my reasoning to the contrary. Once again I am coming from the position that Sonos presented itself as a substitute for large scale wired multi-room audio systems so my perspective is only related to characteristics pertaining to that objective. I'm not interested in comparing Sonos to short life consumer products like cell phones and their related apps, Bluetooth gadgets, tablets and the like. They are pretty much just digital clutter and I don't use them much.

I do use regular home infrastructure technology such as smart lighting switches, automated thermostats, security camera, and multi-room audio systems. Picking one of the other technologies in this category, smart lighting switches for example, I would be pretty upset if one day the company that makes the control hub for the switches pushed out an update that left my 100+ smart light switches with reduced functionality and my only option was to replace them all at $50 dollars a pop. I would hate it even more if I was the installer for somebody else's system and was stuck trying to explain why their lights no longer work the way they did and can't be fixed without another huge investment. I'm not saying you would have 100 controllers or tablets for a Sonos system but those also cost a lot more than a smart switch so even replacing a dozen can have a similar impact.

I'm also not saying Sonos has to continue to play in this space if they have decided they don't want to and would rather compete instead in the world of short life disposable consumer gadgets. It's just that they originally billed themselves as a viable competitor in the big installation world and they should make it clear that they are walking that back if they don't have any plans to address the things that are important to be successful in that arena.
No offense, but your expectations are absurd in the current market of consumer electronics. I'll say it again . . . Absurd! If this is your criteria for product satisfaction, might as well stop buying electronics of any kind.

Sonos is the only product I own that will force an update of bought and paid for hardware (if you want to continue to be able to repair or expand your system) while offering no option to roll back or opt out and retain the reduced functionality. The only one.

I guess the world is full of absurd products that happen to meet this criteria... heck even Sonos did at the time I bought it.


So that covers one element on your list of absurdities. Care to try for two?
No offense, but your expectations are absurd in the current market of consumer electronics. I'll say it again . . . Absurd! If this is your criteria for product satisfaction, might as well stop buying electronics of any kind.

Sonos is the only product I own that will force an update of bought and paid for hardware (if you want to continue to be able to repair or expand your system) while offering no option to roll back or opt out and retain the reduced functionality. The only one.

I guess the world is full of absurd products that happen to meet this criteria... heck even Sonos did at the time I bought it.
No offense, but your expectations are absurd in the current market of consumer electronics. I'll say it again . . . Absurd! If this is your criteria for product satisfaction, might as well stop buying electronics of any kind.
I think it is fine for Sonos to stop making or adding features to dedicated controllers if that is the way they see the market going but it is not OK to remove functionality already paid for from existing ones. I think there are a few basic rights that should exist for anybody who invests in a large scale multi-room audio system including:

1- A customer should never lose any functionality in any component of their audio investment. It is fine if the old stuff stops getting new features but old features should never be removed.

2- A customer should never have to give up the ability to expand or repair their system in order to protect it from upgrades that would reduce the functionality of some components in their large audio system investment.

3- A customer should not expect any guarantee of future feature upgrades but likewise they should never have to tolerate unwanted changes designed to appease the desires of "the majority". The customer invested in a product that had a set of features they were willing to pay for at a point in time and they expect to retain those features. They did not buy a service which could reasonably be expected to change at any time, nor did they buy into a community where they gave people license to vote on whether or not to screw with the features of their bought and paid for hardware.

4- There should never be a learning curve for a customer to be able to keep using hardware they already own because of some unwanted change.

5- A customer should not have to depend on third party services or hardware to retain core functionality of their system. Third party integrations are fine as an enhancement but there should never be a dependency that allows a misstep or policy decision by another vendor to negatively impact the usability of the system or that forces them to purchase new hardware just to maintain access to their system.

6- No components in the system should have non-replaceable batteries or other design aspects that artificially limit the lifespan of that component.

When I bought my system Sonos met all of these criteria having just introduced a controller with user replaceable batteries in the CR200. Nowadays they don't even come close.
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The redundancy of controlling hardware is directly linked to how long the battery is going to last, and not how old it is. Say about 750 charge cycles. During that lifetime period technology flies at seemingly fast forward speed. Everybody I know now has a mobile phone. Ten years ago it was likely less than half. Most also have a tablet - six years ago nobody had one, nor many a smart phone. The cost of these "controllers" is now almost insignificant and I have something that will control in every room - old phones/tablets and purpose bought tablets.
If you consider the way consumer use of phones has gone with regular upgrades to a new model, then there is an abundance of control devices. Depending upon your point of view many a single "old" controller. Whilst some functionality has been removed from the original controllers by dint of "progress" (however you want to define that) I assume that they can still operate the speakers

That this does not apply to everyone does not mean that remedy is not cheaply and readily available. With advances in voice control and home automation (a Hue wall switch would be very nice in the kitchen tocontrol the speakers) the need for a dedicated controller recedes rapidly. That Sonos still support their controllers I viewas a testament of the company supporting its customers.
..., I was already astonished that the device was supported back then... 2 years ago. Alas, I digress.
Hi Edward,

maybe I am getting old, but...
When I bought my Sonos kit 6(?) years ago, the CR200 had only just replaced the CR100 as the only controller available.
In any case the iOS app wasn't released yet.
The price of the controller was only a few bucks below the ZP90, wasn't it?
350 EUR or something around that.

Someone please help me out, because this seems too surreal to be true:
I'm not really certain about the 6 years, but I know that the iOS app wasn't out when I bought my Sonos.
I hesitated and waited, and I hoped for an app, but at some point didn't want to wait any longer and bought the ZP120 together with the CR200.
Does somebody here know the exact date when the first app was released?

Of course, like I said, I am not at all sure, but if(!) my memory serves me right:
You really think it's surprising that a component you were forced to buy if you wanted to use Sonos was still supported four years after the purchase?
In my opinion it wouldn't be better if it was five years, if you consider the price point.

In any case, I am getting old.
Either suffering from bad memory or suffering from 'everything was better in the good old days'.
As I'm sure you know already, any "strategy" Sonos is going to reveal to the public has already been revealed.

For the rest, we will agree to disagree.
The controllers were not physically wired into the house infrastructure but they were dedicated parts of the Sonos multi-room system which is considered infrastructure. All components of an infrastructure system are considered part of the infrastructure even if they are wireless. My wireless garage door opener is not wired to my house but it is still considered a component of the door opener system. It may break and have to be replaced at some point but I don't expect it to become unusable because it is made obsolete midway through the lifespan of the rest of the door opener system.

Also Sonos never marketed their controllers (the only control option available at the time) as potentially having a different supported lifespan from the rest of the system components.

A step toward due diligence would be to get an answer from Sonos as to what their control strategy going forward will be for large installations where an installer is using Sonos as whole house music infrastructure. Is the answer that they just aren't going to pursue that market anymore and people should return to wired systems such as Russound etc.? Or if they do want to maintain themselves as the viable alternative to wired infrastructure then reveal their supported strategy for a more enduring control mechanism that won't blow up at the whim of Apple or Samsung? Is Alexa that long-term option that will allow the control interface to keep up with changes without needing for hardware to be replaced?
Sonos is a 32 zone multi-room music system so somebody building a house should be able to include one in the design and prewire of that new house with the expectation that it will need no further significant investment any sooner than they would remodel any other part of their home... kitchen appliances, bathrooms, etc. It is part of the house infrastructure like smart light switches or a security system, not a disposable stand alone appliance like a TV or a cell phone (or some Bluetooth lifestyle music system).

Android tablets might have a longer life than the CR 200 did but without the drop in charging dock and other key features of a dedicated controller so they are at best a significant compromise.


Sonos has promised in the past their players should have the life of an average home appliance, and for going on 10+ years they have kept the promise. However, Sonos has never, ever marketed itself as having their controllers integrated into the infrastructure of the home. Its controllers have always been portable and separate from the players. Matter of fact, Sonos was from the start marketed as an alternative to the traditional "home-run wired, wall mounted control" type of systems.

The fact that some users/installers choose to mount iPads in walls or phones where volume controls used to be is not the fault of Sonos, nor is the onus on them to support these types of installs. Sonos long ago stated they were switching to phones and tablets for controllers. This was not hidden from users. As you said above with your mention of cell phones, the phone and tablet market is by definition one of near disposable tech. If one is going to invest in Sonos, they should be doing due diligence and realizing this, not to mention they (or their installer) should be doing as much as possible to ameliorate the effect of disposable tech (if that is a concern) by either modifying the outdated wall mount install, and/or refusing to buy controllers with a history of being abandoned.
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As far as updates are concerned has there ever been the removal of existing functionally?


Yes there has been a significant reduction in features in the CR100 and CR200. Fortunately the PC interface has been left unmolested but that is the only control interface you can really rely on any more so let's hope they don't decide to screw with that.


Updates will, by there very nature, make some hardware it is being used on redundant, but how does that equate with the natural redundancy of that hardware.


Not sure what natural redundancy of hardware means... I know a lot of people who drive classic cars from the 50s and 60s... they don't have fancy navigation systems and rear view cameras but they do what they were built to do without any update making them redundant. Likewise I have amplifiers and other sound gear built in the 70s that I still use daily with no concern about redundancy.

When I first bought into the Sonos ecosystem there were no tablet based controllers and the advertising around updates was strictly about adding functionality. No mention was ever made of eliminating features or making things redundant.
Sonos is a 32 zone multi-room music system so somebody building a house should be able to include one in the design and prewire of that new house with the expectation that it will need no further significant investment any sooner than they would remodel any other part of their home... kitchen appliances, bathrooms, etc. It is part of the house infrastructure like smart light switches or a security system, not a disposable stand alone appliance like a TV or a cell phone (or some Bluetooth lifestyle music system).

Android tablets might have a longer life than the CR 200 did but without the drop in charging dock and other key features of a dedicated controller so they are at best a significant compromise.
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The problem with updates is that you never knew you didn't want an update or feature until you have it e.g. Track skip on a CD player. Neither do you know if you want the things you have been using for years - which you have only used because there was no alternative e.g. Programme track order on a CD player.

As far as updates are concerned has there ever been the removal of existing functionally? Especially the day to day variety.
Updates will, by there very nature, make some hardware it is being used on redundant, but how does that equate with the natural redundancy of that hardware.

The iPhone is now, what, eight years old and look at how that has changed beyond all recognition for the first ones. That the original controllers still work, albeit with some limited functionality, is more a testament to Sonos not abandoning their kit.
Depends on what you mean by "every few years". I highly doubt you are going to see a viable strategy for a period of 10 years, the logistics are just not there. However, Android phones/tablets are still compatible with Android versions going back to the first really viable OS version, and are fully compatible going back 5 years. So if one were looking for a strategy for the longest time between controllers with the least amount of cost to replace, a cheap Android tablet is the solution.
Thomas, thanks for your post.

I must commence my response by stating the reality of the situation; there will come a day when the CR200 is no longer supported. When I first started working at Sonos, having some background in technology, I was already astonished that the device was supported back then...


Have asked many times but am still not clear on what the Sonos supported strategy is for large installations with lots of controllers. You can't just throw away a dozen controllers every few years to accommodate software updates. This is financially impractical and the frustration is magnified when the updates add features you don't care about and never wanted while removing functionality you use every day.

You can't just decide to never update because that blocks the ability to expand your system or replace broken Zone Players. So what is the right controller strategy if you want to invest in a large Sonos system that you can count on being stable and reliable for the next 10 years without being forced to replace a huge batch of hardware every few years for no good reason?
Thomas Förster,

If Sonos decided to withdraw the 'partial' functionality on the CRx00 it would surely be because further developments in the core firmware made it impossible to maintain support without compromising those newer features. IMO it makes little sense to turn off updates, block outbound traffic, or even don a tinfoil hat to forestall the march of progress and potentially lose out on (free) features that could enhance your Sonos experience.

Compared to the venerable CRx00 controllers a tablet or phone of the last few years is in a different league in terms of price–performance. Nowadays my old CR100s make nice paperweights, and a failed CR200 touchscreen qualifies it as e-waste.
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Thomas, thanks for your post.

I must commence my response by stating the reality of the situation; there will come a day when the CR200 is no longer supported. When I first started working at Sonos, having some background in technology, I was already astonished that the device was supported back then... 2 years ago. Alas, I digress.

In direct response to your query, there is little advice to be offered, other than what has been stated already. You are correct, there are limited options on the CR200 and you will find that it will be continuously limited in its functionality as time passes. I am happy to forward this feedback for you. Thanks and let us know if you have any further thoughts or suggestions.