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Unable to play podcast "This American Life"

  • 1 February 2021
  • 15 replies
  • 1195 views

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I am getting an error when playing the This American Life podcast to SONOS using either Pocket Casts or Tunein.  The error message is:

“Unable to play “episode title”.  The song is not encoded correctly.”

This error occurs when I try to either fast forward or restart a podcast.  If I play the podcast from the beginning without stopping I do not get the error and it plays correctly. 

The error does not occur when I play the podcast on other bluetooth speakers. I do not get the error from any other podcast.  I have only started getting this error in recent weeks. 

I get the error when I play the podcast from my iPad or my android phone.  I get the error on all episodes, even those I have played in the past. 

I have unsubscribed and re-subscribed.  I have deleted and then downloaded episodes again.  But the problem persists. This is a very specific and odd problem and I am hoping someone might have a suggestions on how to fix this. 

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Best answer by Xander P 17 February 2021, 14:19

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15 replies

Thank you for everyone’s input on here I have had so many problems with podcasts on Sonos that I am ready to try another system if they don’t resolve it. It was working with Sonos 1 and has only become a problem when I upgraded to Sonos 2. It seems strange that a company would “upgrade” to provide nothing but more frustration and headaches for its users. If anyone knows how to listen podcasts on Sonos, please let me know. Pocket Casts was working, but now it does not even refresh on Sonos when I add new podcasts. It doesn’t give a choice to listen to podcasts through Spotify. Apple podcasts app never did work, even on Sonos 1. Wish I had not upgraded. I have been through the whole rigamorole with the support line and done all the steps to no avail. 

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I am both gladdened and saddened to learn that others have experienced the same problem as me with a variety of different podcast apps and podcasts.  This confirms for me that the solution I was offered, of a sequential reboot and the blame then being laid on wifi or network congestion, or perhaps a faulty cable was ridiculous and the equivalent of “Turn it off, wait 10 seconds, and turn it back on” when calling any PC help desk.   

I did everything I was asked, then called the support number as I was directed and I was left with a system in worse condition than when I started.  Over the following days I was able to get my system back to where I started on my own, but of course the podcast issue continues.  I have given up on ever getting that corrected and I am now hesitant to ever follow instructions provided by SONOS support again.  I may have been considering expanding my SONOS system, but this experience has left me cautious.  Instead, I will be looking elsewhere.

Hi everyone, thanks for raising this with the Sonos Community.

We are indeed aware of an issue when trying to rewind or fast-forward Podcast shows, which causes a “Song not encoded properly" message. No ETA for a fix at the moment I’m afraid, however our engineers are investigating this.

A possible workaround, if using an iOS device and AirPlay capable speakers, is to use AirPlay to stream the podcast directly from your phone, rather than using the Sonos app.

I have an Android. If there is no ETA for a fix, does this mean this is indefinitely a gap, and that Sonos and podcasts (i.e. Stitcher) are not compatible? This seriously reduces Sonos' appeal and functionality, and makes me reconsider my home sound system.

 

I've been a Sonos user for almost 4 years, and it was a significantly large purchase for me (big investment!) But this problem (which has persisted for at least a year) and having no commitment or timeline from Sonos to fixing it is a severe set back, especially considering I'm home 24/7 this past year with the pandemic.

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SONOS....in the meantime, I suggest removing Pocket Casts from your stable of supported services.  It is currently unusable due to this error.  Luring users into time consuming network tweaks and blaming "wifi interference" is a disservice and seriously erodes confidence in the SONOS plug and play reputation.

Userlevel 6
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Hi everyone, thanks for raising this with the Sonos Community.

We are indeed aware of an issue when trying to rewind or fast-forward Podcast shows, which causes a “Song not encoded properly" message. No ETA for a fix at the moment I’m afraid, however our engineers are investigating this.

A possible workaround, if using an iOS device and AirPlay capable speakers, is to use AirPlay to stream the podcast directly from your phone, rather than using the Sonos app.

I have also experienced this issue in the last 24 hours while trying to play Nice White Parents - a podcast made by Serial / NY Times.

I have read all of the above thread and refuse to believe this error requires some convoluted reboot and system reset. In some cases it seems this ‘remedy’ has caused further system problems.

I think this is something Sonos need to investigate and get back to us with a remedy…. 

Userlevel 5
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Hi folks, thanks for getting back to us and describing your concern. We appreciate all your effort in trying to resolve the issue. At this point, I would recommend contacting our phone support for more in-depth troubleshooting steps. It would be great if you can provide our team with your full network setup including the make and model to check for hardware compatibility. Please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns, we'll be glad to assist you.  

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I have followed section 1 of the instructions provided and done a full sequential reboot.  Play a new podcast, stopped it, then tried to restart it.  i got the same error. 

 

I then followed section 2 of the instructions and changed my wireless channel.  That’s when things went from mildly irritating to very bad.  I lost all connectivity - got the message “Unable to connect to SONOS”..  I called support who had me go through most of the reboot steps again, and now have asked me to connect my Playbar via ethernet cable to the router.  It is beyond me how a problem with a podcast playback could lead me to this position. 

After much restarting, I now have sound coming from my playbar, but no other speaker.  That will have to do.  I told the support person I have already spent too much time on this problem today.  It’s not her fault.  Maybe I’ll call back when I have more time.  But I have become less and less impressed with the SONOS system.  it’s time to consider alternatives.  

I have the same issue, with Stitcher for many podcasts including This American Life. It happens when I pause or rewind, and sometimes it won't let me start at all. I did the sequential reboot and switched to another wireless channel as instructed above. It is still not working. 

My reference number for the submitted diagnostics is 1130379650. Thank you for troubleshoot information. This has been happening for at least a year

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Hi @louiset

Thank you for your response and for updating us. Sorry for the confusion. Let me check your diagnostic report to help you out.

Based on the diagnostic, an audio dropout due to sync errors were detected in your Sonos system, an audio playback failure causing why unable to play selected content, and a potentially bad ethernet cable connected to the Sonos Connect. This could be the reason why you're experiencing the issue.

Let me suggest the next troubleshooting to refresh the connection of your network and your Sonos devices.

  1. Sequential reboot and needs to be performed in order
    • Unplug your network devices (modem, router, any wireless access points on the network) from the power and wait for 60 full seconds before you plug it back in.
    • Once the router is back online, unplug all your Sonos devices from the power.
    • Please wait 15 seconds before you plug back them back in.
    • Force close the Sonos app from your iOS or Android device.
    • When the status light on your Sonos speakers are solid white, get back on the Sonos app and check if you're connected.
    • Test playback from and observe Sonos performance.
  2. Change the wireless channel on the Sonos app
    • Settings > System > Network > Networks > SonosNet Channel > Set it to 1
    • Observe your Sonos system performance.
  3. If available, replace the ethernet cable on your Sonos Connect.
    • Observe your Sonos system performance.

Let us know how you get on with the advice above and submit another diagnostic report for us to check. Just include the confirmation number in your response so that we can look up the information. If you have any further questions or concerns, we'll be glad to assist you.  

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Hello Rowena,

 

I have now submitted my diagnostics.  Reference number is 1199202499

 

regards,

 

Louise

 

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Hello Rowena,

 

thank you for your reply but I have not yet submitted a diagnostic report.  I think you have confused me with grassynoel who also replied with a similar issue.  I will submit a diagnostic today.

 

regards,

 

Louise

Userlevel 5
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Hi @louiset,

Thanks for your response and for submitting the diagnostic report. Let me help you out with this.

Based on the report,  there's interference in your wireless network that is caused by wireless congestion and an audio playback failure, the reasons why you're unable to play selected content. Also, some of your Sonos speakers are offline (Play:1 and Connect). The only Sonos device showing in the report is your Sonos PLAY:5.    

To help you out with this, let me suggest the next troubleshooting to refresh the connection of your network and your Sonos devices.

  1. Sequential reboot and needs to be performed in order
    • Unplug your network devices (modem, router, any wireless access points on the network) from the power and wait for 60 full seconds before you plug it back in.
    • Once the router is back online, unplug all your Sonos devices from the power.
    • Please wait 15 seconds before you plug back them back in.
    • Force close the Sonos app from your iOS or Android device.
    • When the status light on your Sonos speakers are solid white, get back on the Sonos app and check if you're connected.
    • Test playback from and observe Sonos performance.
  2. Reduce wireless interference. Wireless interference can occur when two or more wireless devices compete for the same WiFi space.
    • Relocate the affected speaker(s) to determine if it is a wireless range issue.
    • You can also find instructions on how to reduce wireless interference in our short video.
  3. Hardwire another speaker to your router (not to your modem).
    • Observe your Sonos system performance.
  4. Change the wireless channel on the Sonos app
    • Settings > System > Network > Networks > SonosNet Channel > Set it to 6
    • Observe your Sonos system performance.

 
Let us know how you get on with the advice above and run another diagnostic report. Kindly include the confirmation number in your response for us to check. We’ll wait for your reply.

happening here too. Playing Rachel Maddow podcast. Plays fine from start if left alone but try to scrub to a later point gets "...not encoded correctly" error. Happens with both Stitcher and Tunein versions.

 

 

Diagnostic number 466744785

Google search shows this happening to people for many years but I landed here before finding solution.

 

Userlevel 5
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Hi @louiset

Thank you for reaching the Sonos community and for letting us know about your concern. We appreciate you for filling us up with the steps that you have performed with your Sonos system. Let me share some information with you. This error message “Unable to play “episode title”.  The song is not encoded correctly.” when the streaming was interrupted, caused by wireless interference or network congestion. Do you have any Sonos device wired to your router via an Ethernet cable? To help you out with this, please send in a diagnostic report and reply here with the confirmation number, let me take a look it for you. Let us know if you have any further questions or concerns, we'll be glad to assist you.