time for Chromecast


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  • Lyricist I
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I recently bought a cheap system for my garage, significantly cheaper than Sonos 5.1 system.

That cheap system really surprised me. It has Chromecast and Airplay. Yes, Chromecast and Airplay. 

Now I start wondering why I spent so much more money on Sonos system, and Sonos doesn't even support Chromecast. I think it is time for me to ditch the Sonos, due to its lack of Chromecast.

SONOS, please add Chromecast asap, otherwise you will loose many existing customers and future customers.


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Chromecast has existed for 7 years now, and Sonos is doing just fine.  

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Chromecast has existed for 7 years now, and Sonos is doing just fine.  

I don't think so. Have you followed their market share? Plus the legal battles. Definitely they are not doing fine. But that is not the point. 

The point is they are missing Chromecast for android users, which potentially can gain them a lot more business. And I am one of them.

I don't think so. Have you followed their market share? Plus the legal battles. Definitely they are not doing fine. But that is not the point. 

The point is they are missing Chromecast for android users, which potentially can gain them a lot more business. And I am one of them.

 

Yes, I follow their market share, the real question is:  Do you?  Because their market share just doubled over 1st quarter last year.  

Chromecast has existed for 7 years now, and Sonos is doing just fine.  

I don't think so. Have you followed their market share?

 

 

Yes. Doubled in 2020.

https://voicebot.ai/2020/04/28/amazon-smart-speaker-market-share-falls-to-53-in-2019-with-google-the-biggest-beneficiary-rising-to-31-sonos-also-moves-up/

 

 

Plus the legal battles. Definitely they are not doing fine. But that is not the point. 

 

 

Legal battles?  You mean the ones where Sonos is suing others for stealing their tech?  

 

 

The point is they are missing Chromecast for android users, which potentially can gain them a lot more business. And I am one of them.

 

Maybe, maybe not.  Are you sure that Sonos wouldn’t be happy to work with Google on Chromecast, and it’s actually Google that’s preventing it from happening?

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Are you all iOS users? Because I am an Android user, and not able to cast audio from my my android devices have been a big negative for me. No Chromecast, no bluetooth, there is no way to stream audio from an android device. 

I agreed with you all that sonos market share was increased, my point is that number would be significantly higher if Chromecast is added along with Airplay. You can google and see many people hesitated to buy Sonos products because they use Android phone. 

Never cared a hoot about streaming from my phone, and I'm an Android user.  That's just not the way I listen to music, and I'd rather keep my phone in its charger.

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As I understand it, even without Chromecast it is possible to stream to Sonos from an Android phone, at least for music that is on the phone itself: https://support.sonos.com/s/article/3198?language=en_US

This means there is less of a need for Sonos to implement Chromecast, especially since some streaming services have there own way of streaming (i.e. Spotify Connect). I agree with the OP though: Chromecast would be a nice addition to Sonos.

Are you all iOS users? Because I am an Android user, and not able to cast audio from my my android devices have been a big negative for me. No Chromecast, no bluetooth, there is no way to stream audio from an android device.  

That’s not true - you can cast to a Sonos device directly. As I write, I’m casting from my NAS to a Play 5 G1, with no Chromecast involved. I’m using an android phone and Hifi Cast as the casting software. If I held music on my phone, Hifi Cast could us it as a source.

I’m not saying that it’s ideal, but it is possible.

I think the difference here is that the OP wants to cast all audio, not music files, which can be done anyway using ‘on this mobile device’.  Maybe HiFi cast does this, but I doubt it?  The issue isn’t music on the phone, it is YouTube audio etc (I assume).

Having said that, I fundamentally disagree with the OP that this is a big issue for Sonos.  Sonos is designed as a whole home HiFi sysem - it will play music stored on a NAS, computer, Android mobile device, iOS mobile device (to Airplay 2 compatible speakers).  It will stream just about any piece of music that exists from a huge range of streaming services.  And internet radio.  This is plenty for the vast majority of Sonos users and potential users.

And if I really, really wanted to watch a YouTube video on my phone and hear the music on Sonos, I would pair the phone to my TV, and listen on my Playbar and / or speakers grouped to it.  But I never want to do that…..

So is Chromecast a game changer?  Not by a million miles.

I think the difference here is that the OP wants to cast all audio, not music files, which can be done anyway using ‘on this mobile device’.  Maybe HiFi cast does this, but I doubt it?  The issue isn’t music on the phone, it is YouTube audio etc (I assume).

Hadn’t thought of that, as I see Sonos as audio only...

However….

» So is Chromecast a game changer?  Not by a million miles.

I wouldn’t call it a game changer, but Chromecast is built into so many much cheaper devices these days that I don’t think that it’s an entirely unreasonable request considering the premium price for Sonos kit. If I were a new (and much younger) prospective purchaser then I’d expect something the price of Sonos to have all of the common communication methods built in - e.g. bluetooth, chromecast etc.

Regarding casting of Youtube, I thought Google’s rule was that it would not allow casting to audio only devices (like Sonos), it must be video capable devices?

 

Honestly, I’m not 100% sure what chromecast is capable of, or perhaps better stated, what I’m missing by not using it.  As it stands right now, I can cast Amazon music, Pandora, etc to Sonos using the services own app.  For youtube, I would rather cast the whole video to my TV.  Is it for other apps, like audio from browsers, facebook, other social media apps?  I don’t use them much, and never really felt the need for ‘big’ audio with a tiny screen.

 

 

@amun - I get that argument, certainly regarding what people might expect.  But one should always do the research.  More fundamentally, the people who expect Bluetooth tend to miss the fact that Sonos is fundamentally a multiroom, multisource, multicontroller system with an app that is a remote control not a music player.

Sonos has (until the Move, which is something of a special case) rejected Bluetooth on the grounds that it was not multiroom, played from the device not over LAN, and not much good.  Same pretty much for the original Airplay.

Although this is a generalisation and not always true, complaints about the lack of such things generally come from people you want to play from a single mobile device to a single speaker, and who probably should have bought a BT speaker in the first place.

@amun - I get that argument, certainly regarding what people might expect.  But one should always do the research.  More fundamentally, the people who expect Bluetooth tend to miss the fact that Sonos is fundamentally a multiroom, multisource, multicontroller system with an app that is a remote control not a music player.

Yes, but there’s still no reason why it shouldn’t support - as well as it can - most modern standards. 

It’s also about tick-boxes, as the news that hi-res may be supported in the future only reinforces. If Sonos are prepared to invest money into providing a facility that they themselves have implied is pointless, then surely chromecast and bluetooth are comparatively cheap and perhaps more important boxes to tick.

Yes, but there’s still no reason why it shouldn’t support - as well as it can - most modern standards. 

It’s also about tick-boxes, as the news that hi-res may be supported in the future only reinforces. If Sonos are prepared to invest money into providing a facility that they themselves have implied is pointless, then surely chromecast and bluetooth are comparatively cheap and perhaps more important boxes to tick.

 

I don’t think it’s just a matter of ticking boxes and costs.  With Hi Res, the user experience isn’t worse than what Sonos already offers.  At least with bluetooth, you’re really not getting as good of an experience.  Besides being tethered to your phone, not being able to sync audio/video,  the sound quality is often lowered.  I don’t think it’s the experience that Sonos wanted customers to have, and not what’s going to get customers to go back and buy more speakers.

 

On chromecast, I’m not sure exactly how it works, whether Google would allow it or what.  My guess, could be wrong, but I think it would have the same video syncing issue you’d get with bluetooth.  By contrast, Airplay 2 is WiFi, and has built in buffering to allow for audio/video sync properly.

I don’t think it’s just a matter of ticking boxes and costs.  With Hi Res, the user experience isn’t worse than what Sonos already offers.  At least with bluetooth, you’re really not getting as good of an experience.  

But at least they’d be getting some sort of experience….. And it’s more likely to affect those who buy their first Sonos - who certainly won’t be coming back because they couldn’t use the first one ;-) 

» ... but I think it would have the same video syncing issue you’d get with bluetooth.  By contrast,

» Airplay 2 is WiFi, and has built in buffering to allow for audio/video sync properly.

I don’t really understand this. Why should using Chromecast as an input be any different? It’s streaming the same music from the same source via the same network. In my case, at the moment I’m streaming flac files from the NAS audio server to a Play 5. If I group the Play 5 with the Sitting Room (a ZP90) then it plays in perfect sync - why wouldn’t it? Once the file is in the Sonos system it’s just the same as any other file.

Personally, I still use the Sonos app most of the time, but casting from a music server makes a lot of sense, has so far been 100% reliable and get’s round some of the Sonos constraints on local music - e.g. number of tracks and store. By casting, I can access the whole of my music library, whereas using Sonos I keep having to shift old music out to make room for the new as it will only handle a subset. Having CC available in the device itself would have been beneficial, as CC handles 24 bit files perfectly. Probably not an issue with S2 capable kit, though.

I’m afraid that I don’t have any experience using music from phones, as it’s not something that I’ve ever bothered with, but I can understand the frustrations of those who choose to do so.

I don’t think it’s just a matter of ticking boxes and costs.  With Hi Res, the user experience isn’t worse than what Sonos already offers.  At least with bluetooth, you’re really not getting as good of an experience.  

But at least they’d be getting some sort of experience….. And it’s more likely to affect those who buy their first Sonos - who certainly won’t be coming back because they couldn’t use the first one ;-) 

 

 

Look at it this way.  If someone buys a hypothetical Sonos One SL that was bluetooth capable, thinking they bought a really good BT speaker, they may be disappointed that it doesn’t sound much better than their $100 BT only speaker.  Thus inclined to not buy another Sonos speaker, as they don't see the point.  Along the same lines, a guest who hears a Sonos speaker over BT is not going to be that impressed and think about getting one for them self.  That’s not even considering that the person who bought it may be wanting to sync audio with video on thier phone...which will just be disappointing.  BT just isn’t going to give people the experience of what Sonos is.  Yes, some will avoid Sonos without BT, but that’s not better than those who buy it for BT then return it with disappointment.

 

FYI, I think the Move is a bit different, because of it’s price point.  The $400 tag is going to turn off those looking for just a BT, not really understanding what Sonos is, and all it’s multiroom capabilities.  I would not be surprised if the majority of Move buyers already own Sonos speakers.

 

» ... but I think it would have the same video syncing issue you’d get with bluetooth.  By contrast,

» Airplay 2 is WiFi, and has built in buffering to allow for audio/video sync properly.

I don’t really understand this. Why should using Chromecast as an input be any different? It’s streaming the same music from the same source via the same network. In my case, at the moment I’m streaming flac files from the NAS audio server to a Play 5. If I group the Play 5 with the Sitting Room (a ZP90) then it plays in perfect sync - why wouldn’t it? Once the file is in the Sonos system it’s just the same as any other file.

 

 

Your example is referring to audio only, where buffering can be used liberally as needed.  However, when the video must match the audio, then you can’t buffer liberally.   If you were to cast youtube for example, with video on your phone, audio on your Sonos speaker, your phone does not know there’s a buffer/delay added by Sonos, so it proceeds to play video and the audio will be behind it.  My understanding is that Airplay works differently, in that it sets a large buffer on both the audio and video sides….say it’s 2 seconds.  Airplay gives Sonos plenty of time to get the audio and provide the buffer it needs for multiroom, and delays the video to match that...so it’s in sync.  That’s the way I understand it, but could be wrong on that.

 

Personally, I still use the Sonos app most of the time, but casting from a music server makes a lot of sense, has so far been 100% reliable and get’s round some of the Sonos constraints on local music - e.g. number of tracks and store. By casting, I can access the whole of my music library, whereas using Sonos I keep having to shift old music out to make room for the new as it will only handle a subset. Having CC available in the device itself would have been beneficial, as CC handles 24 bit files perfectly. Probably not an issue with S2 capable kit, though.

 

 

All makes sense, but again, you’re not considering syncing video. But perhaps I am overplaying the role of video.  Maybe it could have been implemented in an audio only sources way that make sense.

 

I’m afraid that I don’t have any experience using music from phones, as it’s not something that I’ve ever bothered with, but I can understand the frustrations of those who choose to do so.

 

 

All makes sense, but again, you’re not considering syncing video. But perhaps I am overplaying the role of video.  Maybe it could have been implemented in an audio only sources way that make sense.

No, I’m not considering video, as Sonos is an audio system.

 

All makes sense, but again, you’re not considering syncing video. But perhaps I am overplaying the role of video.  Maybe it could have been implemented in an audio only sources way that make sense.

No, I’m not considering video, as Sonos is an audio system.

 

Well, if you can’t see how people want audio and video to be in sync in certain applications, I don’t know what else to say.

 

All makes sense, but again, you’re not considering syncing video. But perhaps I am overplaying the role of video.  Maybe it could have been implemented in an audio only sources way that make sense.

No, I’m not considering video, as Sonos is an audio system.

 

Well, if you can’t see how people want audio and video to be in sync in certain applications, I don’t know what else to say.

Unless Sonos has the capability to play videos, I don’t see how this is relevant as a Sonos issue.

 

All makes sense, but again, you’re not considering syncing video. But perhaps I am overplaying the role of video.  Maybe it could have been implemented in an audio only sources way that make sense.

No, I’m not considering video, as Sonos is an audio system.

 

Well, if you can’t see how people want audio and video to be in sync in certain applications, I don’t know what else to say.

Unless Sonos has the capability to play videos, I don’t see how this is relevant as a Sonos issue.

 

If Sonos were to allow bluetooth on something other than the Move, you don’t think customers would want the youtube video on their phone to be in sync with the bluetooth audio no the speaker?    Maybe forget Sonos for a second, and consider headphones, which also can’t play video.  Don’t you see the requirement that the headphone is in sync with whatever video is on the phone screen? 

 

And of course, this doesn’t always matter as sometimes users are only interested in audio.  They aren’t watching a youtube video or streaming netflix, they’re playing Spotify, Pandora, etc.  Still, the expectation is going to be that the audio from a bluetooth receiver is going to be sync with any corresponding video on the bluetooth sending device.

 

All makes sense, but again, you’re not considering syncing video. But perhaps I am overplaying the role of video.  Maybe it could have been implemented in an audio only sources way that make sense.

No, I’m not considering video, as Sonos is an audio system.

 

Well, if you can’t see how people want audio and video to be in sync in certain applications, I don’t know what else to say.

Unless Sonos has the capability to play videos, I don’t see how this is relevant as a Sonos issue.

 

If Sonos were to allow bluetooth on something other than the Move, you don’t think customers would want the youtube video on their phone to be in sync with the bluetooth audio no the speaker?    Maybe forget Sonos for a second, and consider headphones, which also can’t play video.  Don’t you see the requirement that the headphone is in sync with whatever video is on the phone screen? 

 

And of course, this doesn’t always matter as sometimes users are only interested in audio.  They aren’t watching a youtube video or streaming netflix, they’re playing Spotify, Pandora, etc.  Still, the expectation is going to be that the audio from a bluetooth receiver is going to be sync with any corresponding video on the bluetooth sending device.

<Sigh> The subject under discsussion was “and not able to cast audio from my my android devices have been a big negative for me. No Chromecast, no bluetooth, there is no way to stream audio from an android device. “ You’re the only one confusing the issue with video. What the OP is asking for is perfectly reasonable in such an expensive product - but there we’ll have to differ, obviously.

I really do not understand why the fact that Sonos is expensive (I don't really think it is, but let's pass on that) should mean it has to contain a particular feature common on cheaper products. Products that are cheaper because they are inferior to Sonos in many other respects, and designed to meet different needs from Sonos. 

Should Sonos add Bluetooth to all its speakers? Possibly, if the cost of doing so is less than the expected increased revenue. And if there is no other development that would be a better cost-benefit prospect, given scarce development resource. None of us has the data to know. But we do know that Sonos hasn't done it. Go figure.

A particular price doesn't guarantee anything. You look at what the product does offer and what it costs. You look at the competition. If you think it's worth it you buy it. At which point, by definition, it is good value for money.

I mention Bluetooth but the argument applies to any feature.

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When you think Sonos, you think a superior experience.

When you see this Google Assistant symbol on inferior speaker, dozens of brands include Chromecast as well.  That is what sets the expectations.  Stepping up to the superior Sonos experience should not mean sacrificing Chromecast.  Buyers just don’t think twice, the expectation is already set.    

And yes, I realize that Chromecast has its own image and it is clearly missing from the Sonos messaging…  

You do realize Sonos and Google aren't exactly on great terms right now?  

I guess you’re not aware that Sonos speakers can be set as the default speaker for any Google Home device.  No need for the rather unreliable Chromecast, which Google has been deemphasizing  for some time, starting with killing off the Chromecast Audio dongle. 

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