Why is it always so hard to do anything?


It drives me mad when so-called easy to use products like Sonos speakers that are advertised as a better balance for TV and the spoken word and using with music apps! So firstly, TV volume control over music v voice. One of the main reasons I purchased Sonos was because of adverts saying you can do better! Demonstrating volume control over music and spoken words, well after 3yrs and 2 different high-end TVs I have not heard any evidence of this control or it working, in any way shape or form. The over all quality is good, but the app is not easy or obvious to use or control and appears to be more limited than you might expect.

Apps, why these cannot be linked to work with all voice controls is beyond annoying! I have spent the last 2hrs trying to make things work, using online help, but nothing works! It is so frustrating! WHY OH WHY would you make something this hard to use? You should be able to add apps, open apps and play from the selected app what you need. But you download the app, then add it to Sonos and then the voice control ignores the app and either opens something you don’t want or say that it is not available, rather than offer the option to open the app. Therefore, you need your phone to make it do what you need. Why? These should just work via any of the voice assistance with ease, but Sonos you clearly have not thought about how these integrate for the end users, are you at any point going to update these two things to do what they should? i.e. how they are depicted in the adverts..


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17 replies

A focus for you is Internet Radio. I find searching for stations, regardless of platform, is frustrating because I don’t always use the “correct” search term. Maybe I should use call letters (if I know them) or maybe I should use a marketing slogan.

Overall, I find voice control on all platforms frustrating because we do not yet have a common syntax and vocabulary. For example, how would you voice an attempt to play Songs for Dancing in the Kitchen?

Whilst I agree adults are less likely to invest time, it cannot be the excuse for not improving. I love tech, and spend hours working on stuff to get the best from it, however when the tech is hidden or poor in the first place it is difficult to gain a satisfactory solution.

In this case what we all need is for Sonos to produce a better way of accessing all radio stations that are available via the internet. Control of these via voice control would be expected as their adverts say “it works like magic”! Which it does not! What I’m hoping for is a little of that Magic to happen and Sonos step-up and give us, the users, something tangible that we can all use with ease.

Tech people often do great things that are not front of house, not easy to see or even to understand, this is not a bad thing but when companies figure-out what customers really need and supply it, that's when sales kick-off and make them a ton of money! So, come on Sonos, add the promised MAGIC!   Take the win and grab the extra sales!

Apple marketing is very strong. I watch people who are struggling with technology, complaining that product XYZ is hard to use. They’ll switch to Apple because it is “easy” and they still struggle, but rather than blaming Apple for their struggle, they simply give up and decide that “I can’t do this”.

“Intuitive” for an individual depends on the individual’s background. Personality, I don’t enjoy the Apple user interface concepts that also seem to strongly influence SONOS. Perhaps there are a lot of Apple expats working at SONOS or there is a common educational background. In an attempt to appear “simple” there is no “meat” on the screens and one must scroll through long pages with pretty pictures and smiling faces then endlessly drill down in order to accomplish anything. I prefer “meat”.

There is also a reluctance invest any time too learn details. Motivation is a large component. Consider a child with a disc/phone/computer and The Lion King. The child will keep fussing and asking questions until The Lion King emerges. An adult, the other hand will blindly push a button once, not achieve a useful response then walk away claiming “too hard”. The adult is unwilling to invest any time learning while the child will invest and is successful.

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +18

What the Sonos needs is some software update to enable this to work.

Care to elaborate what you mean by "this"?

Actually it does not need that to pick up radio from the internet. The facts are simple, pretty much any smart radio 📻 with internet access can play all the free to air commercial radio stations. What the Sonos needs is some software update to enable this to work. The trouble is there is no subscription in for them so they don’t appear to be keen. 🙁

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

I see may parents struggling with their iPhones and did on occasion not succeed in getting a slef produced  a ringtone on mine. Even Apple needs explanation sometimes. I don't think their is a device anymore that can do without.

Your TV picks up the stations from the air or your cable service. Since Sonos does not have this feature it needs a service like TuneIn to assemble listst with link to point the system in the right direction. And these lists change daily, unlike the broadcasters available for your TV.

Sorry folks! I was hoping that because this is a forum provided by Sonos that they might take up this enquiry and not just rely on other subscribers.

 

I’m not writing about this issue to upset anyone who is enjoying a good experience with their purchase/s.

 

My biggest beef with Sonos is mostly towards the advertisement which demonstrates that this is an amazing system that interacts extremely well with other things like TV, Radio, apps and music apps. This is not quite the case, and the system is not entirely as good as they make it seem.

 

In the replies I see several mentions regards refereeing to instructions and taking time to understand how certain things work. This is what I’m trying to get across here, the fact that people need to spend so much time trying to understand how to make things work. One of the key factors for companies like Apple is, that they had the vision to understand that customers need things to work intuitively. Sonos would be so much better if they listened to customers rather than following the tech team and would sell more product because customers would be so much more enthusiastic about their brand.

 

Therefore, Sonos, please add your comments as to why the system cannot hold all available online radio stations like most Radio’s or TV’s? Why is access to these stations made difficult using voice controls.

 

Also, why does my Sonos often pick-up sounds from the playback i.e. its speakers that active Alexa when the sound is not the word Alexa or even close. I don’t know if others are experiencing this but on average over a daily period or listening to either Radio or TV this happens 4-5 a day. Okay it’s only 1–2 seconds of slightly muted sound, but why does it do this in the first place? Surely Sonos this should be something the system could recognise and stop itself from doing.

 

My Philips Hue lights connected so easily and work really well, a great feature!

So why can’t the radio stations be this simple? It really cannot be too hard, can it?

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +19

@Dwave4 I cannot say I find Sonos hard to use, neither the app nor adding voice control. I followed the manual for adding Google Assistant and this has alway worked for me. I am using GA with TuneIn, Spotify and to command my Philips Hue lights and my Somfy screens. Are you sure you added your smart systems to the right assistant?

Not sure you can use GA and Alexa on the same speaker - though I understand Google objects to this, so it is probably not on Sonos.

I do not understand what you are saying here: “Demonstrating volume control over music and spoken words, well after 3yrs and 2 different high-end TVs I have not heard any evidence of this control or it working, in any way shape or form.”

Does this mean you cannot command the volume of your Arc or Beam by voice? How come? On my system this works well.


 

@Dwave4   


My microphone-enabled speakers/rooms also respond well to voice. I also have a Play:5 Gen 2 which has no microphone, but I can tell the One in the kitchen “hey Sonos: volume up in extension” and the volume increases on that play:5 in the extension. 

I’ve been on these forums for several years, and the experiences you’re voicing here are very rare. 

You’ve posted in a forum called “Ask the community” and which is described “Ask questions, find answers, and share your Sonos experience with other music lovers around the world. Join the Sonos Community.” Even so, you seem to think this is a forum for Sonos employees to provide answers. 
 

To be clear: I am a user. I am not employed by, and nor do I receive any consideration from, Sonos. I did receive good advice on these forums when I was a new user. Now that my experience has grown I try to help others when I can. That said, I’m not sure how I can help you. You seem firm in your dissatisfaction of the user interface and since that is your opinion, even though it’s at odds with the experience and opinion of many others, I guess we must simply agree to disagree. 
 

 

Apps, why these cannot be linked to work with all voice controls is beyond annoying! I have spent the last 2hrs trying to make things work, using online help, but nothing works! It is so frustrating! WHY OH WHY would you make something this hard to use? You should be able to add apps, open apps and play from the selected app what you need. But you download the app, then add it to Sonos and then the voice control ignores the app and either opens something you don’t want or say that it is not available, rather than offer the option to open the app. Therefore, you need your phone to make it do what you need. Why? These should just work via any of the voice assistance with ease, but Sonos you clearly have not thought about how these integrate for the end users, are you at any point going to update these two things to do what they should? i.e. how they are depicted in the adverts..

 

I don’t think voice control works the way you think it does.  Amazon has made deal with streaming service companies to allow it to work through Alexa.  Sonos has no say in that.  Amazon could decide to no longer support Apple music tomorrow, and Sonos would have no say in that.  The same goes for Google Assistant.  Neither of them allow you to do dynamic grouping like you can in the app, as it’s just not something you can do with Amazon or Google’s own speakers.

Sonos Voice Control is obviously Sonos owned, but even that does not work with every voice service available.  Don’t know for sure, but there are likely license agreements and/or the service wants some say in how it’s done, or something like that.  It may even be that the speakers don’t have the processing power to do everything by voice that you can do via the app.

The point being, it’s not just a matter of voice control being able to do everything that you can do via the app.   No doubt that would be ideal for the consumer.

 

And to be clear, not a Sonos employee.  Just another consumer with opinions.

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

@Dwave4 I cannot say I find Sonos hard to use, neither the app nor adding voice control. I followed the manual for adding Google Assistant and this has alway worked for me. I am using GA with TuneIn, Spotify and to command my Philips Hue lights and my Somfy screens. Are you sure you added your smart systems to the right assistant?

Not sure you can use GA and Alexa on the same speaker - though I understand Google objects to this, so it is probably not on Sonos.

I do not understand what you are saying here: “Demonstrating volume control over music and spoken words, well after 3yrs and 2 different high-end TVs I have not heard any evidence of this control or it working, in any way shape or form.”

Does this mean you cannot command the volume of your Arc or Beam by voice? How come? On my system this works well.

Seriously why would I bother writing this stuff if it was as simple as you make out.

But if you don’t wish to take my feedback seriously, it is a shame for all those users that do struggle with the poor interface and don’t bother with any feedback.

I guess in the future we should look to choose more wisely and opt for companies that want to impress with easy to use products, especially at the premium end of the market.

Today's marketplace is changing rapidly and companies are spending thousands on obtaining customer feedback, I’m offering it willingly and for free, and currently it feels that you don’t care.

It seems the attitude is, let's stick with the product, it is great, now move on and leave us alone.

Thanks for all your reassures about how you have taken onboard my comments and are looking at some amazing updates for all customers in the near future!

Sorry that I troubled with my issues around your product and that you can’t see an opportunity for improving the software to make the whole experience better for us, the customers.

 

 

You seem to have the impression that you are speaking to Sonos employees in this thread.  I assure you, you are not.  Posters in this thread are not Sonos employees, unless specifically marked as such (and I see none of those in here so far).  So any “attitude” you see expressed in this thread is solely that of Sonos’ users, and does not reflect the policies and/or temperament of Sonos the corporation.  

Seriously why would I bother writing this stuff if it was as simple as you make out.

But if you don’t wish to take my feedback seriously, it is a shame for all those users that do struggle with the poor interface and don’t bother with any feedback.

I guess in the future we should look to choose more wisely and opt for companies that want to impress with easy to use products, especially at the premium end of the market.

Today's marketplace is changing rapidly and companies are spending thousands on obtaining customer feedback, I’m offering it willingly and for free, and currently it feels that you don’t care.

It seems the attitude is, let's stick with the product, it is great, now move on and leave us alone.

Thanks for all your reassures about how you have taken onboard my comments and are looking at some amazing updates for all customers in the near future!

Sorry that I troubled with my issues around your product and that you can’t see an opportunity for improving the software to make the whole experience better for us, the customers.

 

Userlevel 7

AirPlay is simple to use. Open the third-party app. Play the music. Connect to the Sonos speaker via AirPlay.

https://support.sonos.com/en-us/article/stream-airplay-audio-to-sonos

 

You can add TuneIn to Sonos for FREE:

https://support.sonos.com/en-us/services/radio-by-tunein

 

Sonos is really simple to use. Don’t make it more difficult than it needs to be.

Okay, first it is wired directly to the router and that part is not an issue broadband is on full fibre network at 380mbps. TuneIn service is a premium paid service that I’m not keen to use as quite frankly the services I want are broadcast free of charge hence the need to use apps such as Virgin/GHR.

I did not know that Google and Alexa can be use together, that is some good news.

Yes I get that I can use airplay via my phone or iMac etc, but that again is not the point. Sonos is a premium product and as such it should be better, like it is in the ads, simple, easy to use with great integrations. But it is not that good unfortunately, and the interface is not that intuitive, so it is often difficult to understand what is going on and what controls which of the elements. An example of what is good, the sound set up via your phone, simple walk around waving the phone until the Sonos figures out the space etc, brilliant stuff. But then tuning into the correct radio station, wow this is tricky stuff, why? It should like tuning the TV, set a tuning option via your phone for stations available via the internet, save, select your favourites and that's it done, so simple that most basic radios these days come with the option built in! This is premium kit, it has the ability to do this, so why doesn't Sonos enable this and make our lives simple and offer a truly great service? Is it because they want to sell music in HD rather than allow us the choice via online options?

 

Userlevel 7

You can use Alexa and Google Assistant together on the same Sonos speaker. And Sonos Voice Control can be used together with Alexa. Setting up a voice assistant is a pretty simple process:

https://support.sonos.com/en-us/topic/voice-services-on-sonos

If you want to listen to specific radio stations on Sonos, the easiest option is using the TuneIn music service in the Sonos app. And you should be able to play the stations on TuneIn using Alexa.

If you don’t want to use the Sonos app to stream music and prefer streaming directly from third-party apps, you can use AirPlay to stream the music to your Sonos speaker if you have an iOS device.

If you have playback issues on your Sonos device, consider wiring the device to your router with an ethernet cable.

 

It does not really matter which voice assistant but ideally Alexa (really you should be able to use all the voice assistants without having to choose just one) As for the music, surely a quality product like Sonos should be able to download most radio or music apps and play them with ease from the selected app. However, the system seems to get stuck on the preprogrammed options like wireless rather than for example Virgin Radio App or Greatest Hits Radio App. These stations are popular enough to have good quality apps and really any music provider that has a quality app should be easy to add to Sonos and easy to access via voice control. But if I download these apps rather than playing from the app, the system wants to play from other sources, which often fail to play or drop out or even play on/off with 1second gapping, which is awful, and then it effects being able to switch off or change to any other station or music option. It’s driving me mad, when something so simple does not work and does not appear to have easy solutions.

Userlevel 7

What voice assistant would you like to use with Sonos? What music services do you use with your Sonos speakers?