Workaround for only one remote on Sonos home theater speaker

  • 1 June 2019
  • 5 replies
  • 79 views

Sonos Support article 3402 reads in part "Only one remote can be programmed to control the Sonos home theater speaker at a time." Anyone know why this would be? I am hoping to find a workaround if anyone has one to use two remotes concurrently.

Want to know WHY I want this? Read on...

We use a smart TV based on the Amazon Fire TV Edition system. The TV has its own remote (of course) that includes the very solid Alexa-based voice recognition capability. The Fire TV Edition is an OS that acts like an umbrella with various streaming and (one) cable service hanging hanging from it. Under this umbrella we utilize the tightly couple Amazon Prime service and also the less tightly connected offerings from Netflix, HBO Go, and Comcast Xfinity (which includes live content, streaming content, and recorded content on the Comcast DVR). Here is the problem

  1. When we are at the umbrella level (e.g. the Amazon Fire TV Edition OS), or within Amazon Prime, the TV's remote is absolutely the best one to use and we leverage the voice-recognition system of that remote.
  2. When we use Netflix or HBO Go the only remote that works is the TV remote; no voice recognition is available in these apps.
  3. When we want something that is delivered via cable we select the "Cable" option from the Fire TV edition OS and then are unceremoniously dumped into the standard Comcast Xfinity UI. Thi system includes a shockingly good voice-recognition system that is completely unrelated to the one that is native to the TV itself. From within this Comcast UI we can access anything Comcast has to offer . When using these services the Comcast remote, with its integrated microphone which ties to its own voice-recognition system, is far-and-away the best remote to use.

Bottom line I want to use the TV's remote when I am using the top-level of the UI and the other third-party streaming services enabled by this UI (Netflix and HBO Go). When using this remote I want it to control volume. When I want to access Comcast content I would use the TV's remote to get to Cable, but then use the Comcast remote to control the cable content, include voice-recognition. And, of course, when using this remote I want to use it to control volume as well.

Any of you wise folk have any good solutions? Hopefully one that doesn't require buying a universal remote like a Harmony?

Thanks for the help...

5 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +22
If you program your TV remote to control the same TV type as the other remote it should see both remotes.

As long as both remotes are outputting the same TV codes (ie both remotes are setup to control your home TV - then both remotes should then control the Sonos unit). As long as both outputting IR. The remote that came with your TV may not have IR capability and is controlling TV volume via Bluetooth/Wifi and therefore wouldn't control Sonos.
Thanks @Chris (and your magical 16,000+ replies)!

This makes sense: as long as the codes are identical then Sonos would have no way to differentiate what remote they are coming through (and thus you could have 1,000 remotes if you wanted!) But what is Sonos trying to convey in their guidance "Only one remote can be programmed to control the Sonos home theater speaker at a time?"

BTW, will check on IR vs. BT when I return home; good tip.
I honestly don't understand it at all. I use multiple remotes to control my home theater speakers. A Harmony Hub remote, any of my iOS or Mac controllers work, and before/during the setup of the Harmony, both the TV's (Vizio remote) as well, and the DirecTV remote, set up to send Vizio data.

I have to think it's a bad piece of information.

As you say, the system has no way of knowing where the IR data comes from for the IR interface, and any Sonos controller would connect to it via Wifi.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I think Sonos says that to avoid confusion where people would try to go through the guided remote setup for multiple remotes and Sonos just remembers the single last remote you saved to it.

A case of Sonos not giving all the information to avoid people having trouble who don't understand.
Ah, that makes sense. The Sonos devices can only recognize one set of IR commands, so any device that's sending them has to be programmed to the one set of IR commands.

Thanks for the additional clarity, sir!

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