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BenQ HT2050 Projector, AppleTV (4th gen), Sonos Playbar, Sub, 1

  • 22 September 2017
  • 6 replies
  • 8310 views

I recently ditched my Sony HD TV and replaced it with a BenQ HT2050 projector. I'm trying to adapt my Sonos pieces to a home theatre powered by this projector and a 4th gen AppleTV.

Challenges / Questions:


Can I set up the Playbar without an optical connection? It's a Sonos speaker right? So I should be able to add it to a Sonos network, or so I thought. But the app keeps wanting me to connect via optical. Neither the projector nor the AppleTV has optical ports. Is that the end of the discussion??

Assuming I CAN add in the Playbar without optical, my plan is to run a minijack (3.5mm) audio cable out of the projector and into the Play 5. The projector's ONLY audio out is this minijack. That feed will power all the other Sonos Speakers, to include the playbar and eventually two Play 1 speakers as tweeter/surround sounds. Is there a better way of getting audio into the Sonos network other than the Play 5? Maybe with a Connect?

FYI my projector is mounted on the ceiling so I'd really rather not have a bunch of cables taped along the ceiling and wall. I'm currently using an iOGear wireless HDMI switch to connect the AppleTV to the BenQ projector.

Assuming optical-to-playbar is required, perhaps I can get an audio to optical adapter that takes minijack as an input. If this were wireless that would be great, otherwise it's a LONG optical cable from the ceiling at the back of the room all the way to the front and down to the playbar.

Why can't we have nice, wireless sound?? My AppleTV talks Airplay and Bluetooth. Is there a bluetooth adaptor for all this sonos gear??
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Best answer by melvimbe 22 September 2017, 15:04

Did a quick search on Amazon and the only IO wireless hdmi gear I see doesn't have optical out, but it does have hdmi out. That gives you options. You can get an hdmi to optical converter to connect to you playbar. They all will give you stereo sound, but some don't seem to pass through 5.1, which you want if you ever want to add surrounds P:1s or a sub.

You could connect it in 1 of 2 ways.

Apple TV -> IO Gear -> Projector
IO Gear -> hdmi/optical convertor -> playbar

OR

Apple TV -> hdmi/optical convertor -> IO Gear -> Projector
hdmi/optical convertor -> playbar

I would probably go with the first option since you won't have to worry about the video quality of the hdmi/optical convertor.

And just a random comment. I get why people assume that everything is going to easily work with everything these days, but the reality is that there are still a lot of different protocols and standards out there, with different levels of quality and ease of use. It won't always work together nicely. It's always a good idea to figure out how everything is going to work together before you add a new product into your A/V system.
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6 replies

While I've never tried it, I believe you can indeed set up the PLAYBAR without the optical, as a normal speaker.

However, here's where your plan goes awry. You speak about using the headphone jack to get the audio data from your projector to the PLAY:5. This will indeed work....but only stereo information. Which means that the two PLAY:1s you're speaking about wont get any exercise, since there won't be any Dolby Digital information getting to the PLAYBAR. And, since you asked, only the PLAYBAR and PLAYBASE have the necessary circuitry to interpret a Dolby Digital signal from an input, and that input is only optical. The CONNECT, which it would work basically the same as the PLAY:5 (except with RCA rather than 3.5mm) also doesn't have the capability to interpret Dolby Digital.

Now, I think there's some saving grace in your setup. Or at least there might be. I'm not familiar with that IOGear wireless HDMI device, but is there possibly an optical output on that? If so, you could connect the PLAYBAR to that, using an appropriate length optical cable. There are also HDMI switch boxes that you might put in line before the IOGear device that would extract the optical signal for you.

What you're trying to do is hard, unfortunately. Sonos really designed their equipment for standard TV folks, not for higher end installations, so it gets complex. But I agree that stringing a wire from the projector to the speaker wouldn't be very aesthetically pleasing.

In all honesty, and as much as I am a fan of Sonos and their equipment, you might want to widen your search a bit further, and see if there's other equipment that is properly designed for what you want to do. My suggestion is what I consider a hack. And while it would certainly work, it feels "hinky", if you'll pardon the expression.
https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/can-i-use-a-play-5-to-send-audio-from-my-ceiling-mounted-projector-to-a-playbar-10-meters-away-wirelessly-6790621/index1.html#post16144806

I think you just insert 'Apple TV' for 'Chromecast' in that thread. I think this accords with Bruce's comments.
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Did a quick search on Amazon and the only IO wireless hdmi gear I see doesn't have optical out, but it does have hdmi out. That gives you options. You can get an hdmi to optical converter to connect to you playbar. They all will give you stereo sound, but some don't seem to pass through 5.1, which you want if you ever want to add surrounds P:1s or a sub.

You could connect it in 1 of 2 ways.

Apple TV -> IO Gear -> Projector
IO Gear -> hdmi/optical convertor -> playbar

OR

Apple TV -> hdmi/optical convertor -> IO Gear -> Projector
hdmi/optical convertor -> playbar

I would probably go with the first option since you won't have to worry about the video quality of the hdmi/optical convertor.

And just a random comment. I get why people assume that everything is going to easily work with everything these days, but the reality is that there are still a lot of different protocols and standards out there, with different levels of quality and ease of use. It won't always work together nicely. It's always a good idea to figure out how everything is going to work together before you add a new product into your A/V system.
Thanks All! I’m going to get the HDMI optical splitter. It’s the simplest piece of the puzzle to add that will make things work. And for melvimbe. I hear you. I definitely didn’t assume everything would work. I’m a veteran of apple and Sony, both of whom love their proprietary connections. I was gifted the Sonos set so really want to use all those pieces and the shift away from the 4K tv to projector is prompted by a move. Thanks for your help again!
Just letting you all know my system is up and working great! The HDMI/optical splitter works well. Playbar is on the wall (though I'm looking for a good option to make it white), and the HDMI transmitter is still chugging along nicely. Sometimes there is lag when booting everything up, but it's still far superior to a bunch of 20 or 30 foot cables along the walls, ceiling and floor. Thanks again.
Good news. Thanks for posting back.