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AppleTV/AirPlay theater integration

  • 19 February 2019
  • 6 replies
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Really need some help figuring out which way is up here. I want to use my speakers with my AppleTV for watching movies and listening to music. I listened to demo speakers at the store. To be honest, a pair of Play5s may just be enough for my taste, but would like the option for true stereo later on. The AppleTV can connect to the One, Play5, and Beam through AirPlay or I can do the Beam through HDMI ARC. If I if I just get a 5 to start and get a second one later, will they be stereo L/R or just two speakers playing the same thing? If I get the Beam and connect with ARC, will it set up a network that I can then use with non-AirPlay speakers like the Play1?
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Best answer by Airgetlam 19 February 2019, 05:55

OK, let's break this down.

1) The AppleTV can send an AirPlay 2 signal to any of the Sonos speakers that can accept an AirPlay 2 signal. That's the Sonos One, the PLAY:5 Gen 2, the PLAYBASE and the Beam.

2) You can choose, when you set up the second PLAY:5, to have them in a stereo pair, i.e. one left and one right, or you can choose to set the second one up as a separate "room" in the Sonos software, and group the two rooms together, so both will be playing the same stream.

3) If you get a Beam, no matter whether you connect it with HDMI-ARC or the optical connection, it does become part of the Sonos ecosystem, and any number (well, up to 32) speakers can be grouped with it.

4) Once you have a single Sonos speaker that can receive and process an AirPlay 2 signal, you can group any other Sonos speaker, of any age, with it, and get the AirPlay 2 signal across your entire Sonos network.

If I missed a question, let me know.
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6 replies

OK, let's break this down.

1) The AppleTV can send an AirPlay 2 signal to any of the Sonos speakers that can accept an AirPlay 2 signal. That's the Sonos One, the PLAY:5 Gen 2, the PLAYBASE and the Beam.

2) You can choose, when you set up the second PLAY:5, to have them in a stereo pair, i.e. one left and one right, or you can choose to set the second one up as a separate "room" in the Sonos software, and group the two rooms together, so both will be playing the same stream.

3) If you get a Beam, no matter whether you connect it with HDMI-ARC or the optical connection, it does become part of the Sonos ecosystem, and any number (well, up to 32) speakers can be grouped with it.

4) Once you have a single Sonos speaker that can receive and process an AirPlay 2 signal, you can group any other Sonos speaker, of any age, with it, and get the AirPlay 2 signal across your entire Sonos network.

If I missed a question, let me know.
You pretty much covered it all. I’m gonna start with a Play5, as that was by far the most impressive standalone. From what you said about any Sonos being able to get into the network once it’s set up, I’ll airplay to that and can include energy non-AirPlay speakers like the pair of Play1s my neighbor is thinking of selling. Down the road, I can get a second Play 5 and they’ll all work in stereo. I was concerned about not being able to work with a theater without a bar. Sounds like the only issue will be a bit of weirdness from having an even number surround (no center), but that can be changed down the line as well.

Thanks again!
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Just to make sure, when people typically refer to theater sound, it's beyond stereo (2 channel) audio to include a center channel, surround channels, and beyond. Airplay 2 currently only supports stereo audio, so if you intend to use airplay than you will be limited to stereo or mono audio.

Also, within the Sonos home theatre system (5.1), you cannot use play:5s as the front left and right channels along with rear surrounds and a center channel, they could only be used as rear surrounds. Sonos has the playbar/playbase/beam/amp available to cover all three front channels (left, right, center). So although using play:5s in the front with airplay will meet your needs for right now, it is not a good option to expand your home theater at a later date.
Ok. That actually makes sense with the bar, because it would cover the front 3 channels. I found this article that shows it too https://support.sonos.com/s/article/2927?language=en_US. Basically, I could use the single Play5 now, get a second one later and play as stereo, and add a bar to make theater if I chose.

Another question then: with the Play5s, they’d be connected through AirPlay, so my Apple Siri remote would control the volume. If I expanded to a theater system, I would have to connect a different way since AirPlay doesn’t do theater. Would HDMI ARC with the Beam or Optical with the PlayBar retain the ability to use my Siri remote?
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Another question then: with the Play5s, they’d be connected through AirPlay, so my Apple Siri remote would control the volume. If I expanded to a theater system, I would have to connect a different way since AirPlay doesn’t do theater. Would HDMI ARC with the Beam or Optical with the PlayBar retain the ability to use my Siri remote?


If you have an optical connection, you would need a IR remote to control the Sonos Beam or playbar. If your siri remote can do IR, then yes. For an HDMI-ARC connection, volume control commands come through the TV. So if your siri remote can control the TV volume, you would be controlling the Beams volume.

Another question then: with the Play5s, they’d be connected through AirPlay, so my Apple Siri remote would control the volume. If I expanded to a theater system, I would have to connect a different way since AirPlay doesn’t do theater. Would HDMI ARC with the Beam or Optical with the PlayBar retain the ability to use my Siri remote?


If you have an optical connection, you would need a IR remote to control the Sonos Beam or playbar. If your siri remote can do IR, then yes. For an HDMI-ARC connection, volume control commands come through the TV. So if your siri remote can control the TV volume, you would be controlling the Beams volume.


Gosh, that’s a lot of layers detail. The Siri remote can do IR and I believe my TV can be programmed to recognize it (that’s what I’m doing now, but with my theater receiver). The only complaints I have with that is I’m kinda screwed when my kids lose/hide the little Siri remote and that with IR, the remote has to be close enough and aimed right. I guess I thought the AppleTV would control the volume since it’s the originator sending Audio and Video through HDMI to the TV, which then sends Audio to the speaker through the HDMI ARC. But you’re saying the TV would control the volume since it’s the previous point in the chain? I wonder if it would be worth upgrading to the AppleTV 4K, which has its own optical out, so it really would be what controls the volume.