How will extending Airplay 2 work?

  • 27 April 2018
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I'm hoping someone from Sonos can chime in here, as there's not a lot of concrete information in the blog post. I have a Playbar 5.1 system and am willing to buy a Sonos ONE to add Airplay 2. The blog post mentions When you group one of these Airplay-enabled speakers with older Sonos devices, you can bring AirPlay capabilities to your entire Sonos system. and the image on the airplay page shown the Playbar. But I'm confused and concerned on exactly what this statement means. I would like it to mean:

"When you have one Airplay 2 speaker in your Sonos ecosystem, Airplay 2 will work on all of your Sonos speakers."

But to me the statement really seams to say

"When you group an Airplay 2 speaker with older speakers, Airplay 2 will work with that group."

I fear that the latter is how this is being implemented, which would mean that, for example, if you have older Sonos speakers in 3 rooms, you would need 3 Sonos ONEs to add Airplay 2 to every room. Which would suck. And in particular, if you have a Sonos ONE grouped (not paired) with the Playbar, it will default ungroup when TV audio plays. This is usually desired (I won't want to play TV audio in the kitchen usually, but I will want to play music in there), but would be a pain to constantly regroup. And also would be a pain to keep grouped but mute the speaker when I want to watch TV.

I suppose another option is to switch to Sonos ONE as the rear surround (which would make the Playbar system Airply 2, right? RIGHT???) but I don't really need two more speakers around the house (don't even really need 1 more), so I'd rather not spend the extra $200.

Any official input on how this works would be much appreciated!

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They haven't finished implementing it yet.

And I'm talking about Apple. It hasn't been released, so any thing that Sonos might have done at this point is pure speculative work. Once Apple releases it out of Beta, I suspect that Sonos can start firming up their work, and we'll find out answers to your questions at the point at which they release the software update. In all cases, Sonos doesn't release "hard" information until just days before, or the day of the release.

I sincerely doubt you're going to get an official response to your questions.
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While your comment makes sense, the announcement specifically mentions grouping, which is a pretty specific term in Sonos language. Personally I was hoping grouping wouldn't be involved at all. Why mention that if it isn't a requirement? Perhaps the implementation isn't complete and grouping is a "worst case" method of extending Airplay 2 to legacy speakers (so they didn't want to set higher expectations). But I think it's fair to ask for clarification of what they meant in the blog post. Other than hitting a wider audience with the announcement, it's really not anything that we hadn't already heard here on the forums except for the explicit mention of the word grouping.

At the end of the day, I'd even be happy with a "we haven't completed the way in which you can add Airplay 2 to older speakers" message. I just want to prepare myself for the letdown if it is already known that grouping is required.
My apologies for wasting your time.
My personal thoughts here, are the newer devices like the Sonos One, Play-5 gen2, Playbase etc. have the faster processing speed to deal with the forthcoming requirements of the new AirPlay2 ... so I think that 'quicker' device will act as a receiver/controller for the AirPlay2 music stream (stereo, or 5,1 surround perhaps?) and the music will play through the receiving device or any other Sonos devices grouped (or perhaps bonded of paired) with it, including the older legacy Play-1/Play-3 speakers etc.

But the older devices will need the processing power of the newer Sonos products for them to work.

Obviously this is just a bit of guesswork on my part and we will all have to wait and see what happens when AirPlay2 is released and how Sonos are able to integrate it into their newer and older products.
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My apologies for wasting your time.

Not at all! I appreciate any discourse on this topic. I'm just optimistic that we can get a few more details on how this is going to work from Sonos.

But the older devices will need the processing power of the newer Sonos products for them to work.

I agree with this for sure, especially as they mentioned the relative processing power of the Play:1 vs. the ONE. But I also know that third party applications like AirConnect can handle the processing for the legacy devices (I use it for my Playbar). I'm hopeful that having a ONE in the system (grouped or not) will function similar to AirConnect. But AirConnect lags to the point where I can't do multiroom with non-Sonos speakers (which is all my other rooms, currently), so I'm really hoping to be able to utilize Sonos's Airplay 2 implementation. I'm definitely willing to buy a ONE, but I'm not sure I'm willing to buy 2 (to pair with the playbar and in theory make that Airplay 2 compatible). Based on my current home speaker coverage, adding one more is a stretch, and two is completely unnecessary and those Play:1s I already have wouldn't even be able to Airplay 2 under the current assumption.

Appreciate the thoughts so far, I'm just anxious to understand the details behind the announcement that was put out there!

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