AirPlay

  • 1 September 2010
  • 209 replies
  • 74652 views


Show first post
This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

209 replies

Userlevel 4
Badge +14
I understand the legal implications, and I can see why Sonos don't want to go that way.

I have a few questions which might not be suitable here, but feel free to move this into it's own thread in that case:

Sonos supports Apple lossless if I understood it correct. Will it support it even on a stream? (radio, http streaming)

Is it possible to "push" a stream to a sonos zone, meaning start playing a zone using uPnP actions with autostart, and when the stream ends (socket closed) it will continue on it's regular playlist?

That way it would be possible to have a proxy software that would broadcast all the zones as airplay devices, and upon receiving audio, switch the selected zone into airplay mode, much like Majik suggested. No need for user interaction would be utterly awesome.

Regards, Jimmy
Messing with encryption keys is obvious "circumvention" of protection schemes and leads to a fairly clear path into court. While it may be impractial for Apple to pursue every individual who tinkers, a commercial entity, such as SONOS, is another matter. SONOS would be accused of providing "enabling" technology.

I don't think that this sort of suit has been fully tested in court, but the participants should be prepared to spend a few hundred million dollars to follow this path to the end.
Well, of course there is a probability that they might block it, but that would involve the following:

Every chip that has been distributed must be replaced or reflashed.

Every Airport express/extreme must be upgraded in order to work with the latest version of iTunes and/or ipod/iphone/ipad (this is not automatic).


This is entirely possible. It's not going to happen overnight, but it could be pushed out over several months. All of the Airplay devices (including the 3rd party ones like B&W) are firmware upgradeable. Apple could push a change in keys (or even a security fix) into a future IOS upgrade, and then force people who upgrade to the latest IOS to also upgrade their AEs and other Airplay devices to be compatible.

They have done this with iTunes and iPods several times in the past.

Airfoil has been working for the past 4-5 years without intervention from Apple that forced them to shut down.


The big difference here is that (so far) Apple hasn't tried to prevent users from using the DAAP streaming interface. As you suggest, it wasn't in their interest. They have, however, shut down and encrypted the equivalent interfaces that allows content to be pulled from iTunes. Now it will only work with Apple products.

Nipping unlicensed use of Airplay IS in their interest as they have stated that they see Airplay as a massive licensing cash-cow. If commercial 3rd-parties find a loophole that lets them use Airplay without licensing or additional hardware, that cash-cow is well on its way to the slaughter house.

Do you really think Apple will let this happen?

Do you really think Apple hadn't considered this eventuality and make provisions to deal with it if it occurred.

If Sonos would implement a "plugin"-based system that would allow 3rd party extensions to be installed, this would be outside of Sonos jurisdiction


Not required. If some third-party with development skills wants to do this, they can. It would need to be done using a proxy box, such as a PC or Linux system, but it's perfectly possible to do this now.

The way you would do it is to develop an app, based on shairport, that acts as an Airplay receiver with multiple endpoints (so it looks, to an Airplay sender, like multiple Airplay devices). It then proxies this stream to the associated Sonos zone using standard UPnP.

I'm sure there are some "gotchas" and it's certainly not trivial, but I'm sure it's possible.

Cheers,

Keith
Userlevel 4
Badge +14
Well, of course there is a probability that they might block it, but that would involve the following:

Every chip that has been distributed must be replaced or reflashed.

Every Airport express/extreme must be upgraded in order to work with the latest version of iTunes and/or ipod/iphone/ipad (this is not automatic).

Airfoil has been working for the past 4-5 years without intervention from Apple that forced them to shut down. Obviously they haven't emulated the destination device, only the source device (aka, iTunes) so it was somehow in favour for the Apple products in general.

If Sonos would implement a "plugin"-based system that would allow 3rd party extensions to be installed, this would be outside of Sonos jurisdiction. That would be awesome, however I do understand that it is highly unlikely (although I want to bring up the idea :)

Anyway, it's gonna be interesting what will happen to software like http://bananatv.net/ and http://www.airserverapp.com/, because they are likely to violate Apple terms.

Cheers, Jimmy
I would also be highly surprised if Apple doesn't release an update which blocks this anyway. That's that they have done with iTunes and iPods: every time someone has worked out how to get the iPod working with some other software, they have released an update which closes it back down.

This, by the way, is why I don't buy Apple products. Even if I didn't find iTunes to be an appalling piece of software (which I do), and even if I didn't think iTunes is a complete rip-off of a content store (which I do), I wouldn't be happy to be trapped into using either of them just because the vendor I had graced with my business wants to milk some more from me. No thank-you very much!

but, back to the topic...

Imagine the furore if Sonos released an unofficial software Airplay capability, when Apple released a "security fix" upgrade and stopped working suddenly.

I'm sorry, but the only way there will be native and direct Airplay support on Sonos is if they licence it. Currently this requires them to use the licensed chipset, which means it requires new hardware. It's cloud cuckoo-land to believe there is any other option until Apple loosen their licensing restrictions.

Cheers,

Keith
Userlevel 1
You would probably be in a lot of trouble if you implement this in a commercial product, but if Sonos would implement the functionality, and let the user itself enter the encryption key, shouldn't that prevent any sue attempts from Apple?

Dude, this is the company that sue because someone else's product looks a little bit like one of theirs, of course it won't stop Apple from suing and I expect they'd actually have a reasonable case in this instance.
Userlevel 4
Badge +14
https://github.com/albertz/shairport

People have finally cracked open the encryption key used for receiving audio from an airplay stream.

You would probably be in a lot of trouble if you implement this in a commercial product, but if Sonos would implement the functionality, and let the user itself enter the encryption key, shouldn't that prevent any sue attempts from Apple?

Suggestion here (in the comments):
http://rogueamoeba.com/utm/2011/04/26/airfoil-works-great-with-third-party-airplay-devices/

This would actually open up for exposing every "zone" as a playable airplay device, without any hardware requirements.
Userlevel 2
but could the app stream to Sonos aswell?

Tried to add a new shared folder with the IP-address of my iPad but Sonos can not access, allthough I have the SongExporter activated. Might work on another port???

But if it is possible for SongExporter to stream music from an iPad, it should be easy to include in the Sonos iPad app aswell...
Userlevel 2
Well I got my wish. Airplay integration has left me wanting nothing more of my Sonos. The quality has been flawless. Since the update I have not dropped a second of music. I found that even internet radio stations play better (larger buffer in iTunes?).

It's the added functionality of iTunes I love. Genius, ratings, streaming from all my Apple devices (beyond what I could have imagined!), no more updating, and the list goes on...

Friends walk in and open the remote app on THEIR phone and request and vote on the iTunes DJ, or they stream music from their device. This is a huge leap in functionality! I have iTunes stream to my Apple TV and the album art is on the screen as music plays throughout the house.

Let Apple do what they do best....functionality!

Couldn't have hoped for better. So far NO downside for me.

Happy Sonos customer,

Kev
Userlevel 1
Instead of "assuming" perhaps you should have done some basic research before spending your money? You can't blame Sonos for your erroneous assumptions.
Userlevel 2
I also want to vote for the integration of Airplay to Sonos.

I bought a Sonos ZP120, assuming that I could play directly from my iTunes-library on my iPad. Now I come to the conclusion that when I want to play my local music collection without having my PC on, I have to buy a NAS also.
That's a bit of a disappointment for me.

To connect an Airport Express to the line-in is no option for me because I have a CD-player on the line-in of my (one and only) ZP120.

And to use an iPod Dock with extension cable to iPad.. Well, to have my iPad wired up is not why I bought my iPad. :rolleyes: 😃
Badge +4
So, one request would be to have iTunes somehow be able to speak to Sonos and see it as a device, the way it sees the Airport Express as a device.

This is more up to Apple than it is Sonos. Sonos Zone Players can be used a industry standard DLNA renderers. So for example, you could use Windows7 "play to" feature in Windows Media Player, and choose a zone-player to play to. There are also some smart phones out now that can play to DLNA devices, and they can also play to sonos zone players wirelessly with no extra hardware.

In other words, Sonos zone players DO expose themselves so that any device that wants to can play "to" a zone player. The player must support DLNA, which is an industry standard.

So what you should really do, is be lobbying Apple to support DLNA in their devices / software.

But another feature I would very much like to see is the ability to play music that exists on my iPhone or iPad through the Sonos system - through Airplay. I don't want to have to connect a cable from my airport express to my other sonos speaker to be able to do this.


Personally, I don't see what the real issue is here. You can connect a single Airport Express into any zone player, and then send that line-in to any zone player. Yes, you need ONE extra device (airport Express), and one extra wire (line from Airport Express to Zone player), to stream iDevice output wirelessly to ANY sonos zone player... but I don't see that as a big deal in order to get the functionality you want.

Having said that, as above, I do think that in a future version of the iPod Dock, Sonos should integrate an AirPlay receiver (and charge more for it.).
But another feature I would very much like to see is the ability to play music that exists on my iPhone or iPad through the Sonos systemThis is precisely the purpose of the WD100 Wireless Dock (the iPad needs an extender cable as it doesn't physically fit the dock).
If you haven't already, read through this slightly long thread: http://forums.sonos.com/showthread.php?t=17835

It will attempt to clarify & answer many of your questions/issues.

Spoiler Alert: You may not like the current set of 'answers'. Either way, they are what they are...

Best of Luck
Userlevel 2
Hi Sonos and Sonos Users -
Let me start with my setup and why I bought Sonos speakers. I wanted to be able to play music without having to have my computer turned on. Being able to have two types of music playing in two areas is nice, but not really what I wanted it for. I wanted a wireless speaker solution that wasn't dependent on my iTunes being on. That aspect of it is great. However, my wife uses iTunes on the computer to play music, and doesn't like the interface of the Sonos Player (i don't blame her). So in order for her to listen to music, she has to go to the sonos control panel and change the input to Line In so that the output of iTunes and the computer goes to the sonos speakers. This, right there, negates the whole point of having Sonos. It was supposed to make everything easier, and as soon as I use my iPhone or iPad to play some music, it switches it away from the Line in and she has to do it all over again, unless I remember to switch it back. So, one request would be to have iTunes somehow be able to speak to Sonos and see it as a device, the way it sees the Airport Express as a device.

But another feature I would very much like to see is the ability to play music that exists on my iPhone or iPad through the Sonos system - through Airplay. I don't want to have to connect a cable from my airport express to my other sonos speaker to be able to do this. All this cables are the reason I wanted to have Sonos in the first place! To get RID of all the wires. I sync my iPhone and iPad at the office, so I have different music on them than I have in my library at home.

There has to be a solution for all this. If someone has a suggestion for how to make all this clevr technology work together the way I want, I'm all ears (or in this case, all eyes).

thanks in advance.

Charles.
Badge +4
This is a key point. Apparently at one point Apple used to charge a licence fee of 10% of product list price for the right to include an Apple dock on it. I have no idea what the fee for Airplay is, but I suspect it is significant as their aim is to convert Airplay into a multi-billion dollar licensing revenue stream.

Yup...I think the only reasonable possibility is adding AirPlay to a future version of the Dock....and it's more for marketing IMO (Sonos supports AirPlay") than any true benefit.

It would likely drive up the cost of the dock...but then if the iDevice users want it...they have to pay for it.

I'm also not sure what incremental consumer costs will be passed on if a new ZP is developed w/AirPlay capabilities. How many folks (of the total Sonos purchasers) would truly value the increase? How many may be forced into paying a (currently unknown) premium for a feature they do not value?


This is a key point. Apparently at one point Apple used to charge a licence fee of 10% of product list price for the right to include an Apple dock on it. I have no idea what the fee for Airplay is, but I suspect it is significant as their aim is to convert Airplay into a multi-billion dollar licensing revenue stream.

Cheers,

Keith
While I would like to see this non-critical (IMO) feature added to Sonos, given there's a simple Apple add-on to get this functionality, I see little urgency in developing AirPlay within Sonos unless it can be accomplished easily and cheaply.

One or several $99US Apple AirPort Express units will suffice very nicely (your std wireless coverage needs may vary).

If Sonos can develop AirPlay capability via a software/firmware solution within the current crop of ZonePlayers, it should be a nice add-on.

If it requires a licensing payout to Apple (highly likely), then corporate economics will be a strong secondary &/or limiting factor. This is for Sonos to determine - not us users - no matter how much we 'need' this feature.

If it requires a physical chip or HW redesign (possible), then any current ZP will be SOL. Designing AirPlay capabilities into future ZPs becomes less of a sure thing given the ease of hooking up an AirPort Express into the line-in of any ZP. For my situation, I'm not buying another ZP at $400-$500+ just to occasionally stream marginal quality iDevice audio when there's a cheap & easy $99 solution already out there.

I'm also not sure what incremental consumer costs will be passed on if a new ZP is developed w/AirPlay capabilities. How many folks (of the total Sonos purchasers) would truly value the increase? How many may be forced into paying a (currently unknown) premium for a feature they do not value?

Creating a separate AirPlay-enabled ZP could happen, but does Sonos want to differentiate between ZP types for those who 'require' an embedded AirPlay solution?

I'm about to spring for an AirPort Express. It's a simple, inexpensive and elegant solution for now. I do not foresee needing a second unit to cover my household. Time will tell. As it is, none of my current iDevices are recent enough to enable AirPlay (though there will be several rather soon).

Bottom Line
- You can wait for an undetermined amount of time and potential cost for a Sonos produced solution, or you can get an Apple AirPort Express for $99 now and immediately solve your perceived needs.
*** As a bonus, the AirPort Express can travel with you and create a wireless zone from a wired connection.

Best of Luck
Userlevel 2
Throwing my voice in to include AirPlay on the Sonos system. Yes please!
When I add tunes, artwork, change track names etc. etc. in itunes, it's a drag to have to do the same in the Sonos folder.

Welcome to the forum.

Why not configure iTunes to store directly on the NAS? I don't use iTunes (other than as required to keep my iTouch up to date), but that seems as it would avoid the double entry.
Badge +4
Errr.... not so. ....The ZP to which the external device is physically connected doesn't have to be included in the zone group.

Well well...I learn something new every day! 🙂 I never tried that...just assumed...incorrectly!

In that case, the only real benefit for "integrating" AirPlay receiver capability that I can tell is for quality (reducing analog / digital conversions).

And well...I'm not sure if it's really worth it at that point.

It still might be worth considering adding air-play functionality to the Dock if only from a marketing standpoint...just to appease the i crowd. This would add value to the dock hardware, and becomes "one stop shop" for adding "i device support" to Sonos. You would now have an option with i Devices:

1) Control music with sonos controller and enjoy "stable" connection with i Device docked and charging
or
2) Push music with i Device software and be able to roam with the i Device (with stability limitations based on range to the dock)...
For example, if I have an airport express receiver hanging off the ZP in my kitchen, and my son has a friend over who wants to play his iPod music in his bedroom sonos speakers, he could not do so without also including the kitchen in the zone.
Errr.... not so. The Line-In on any ZonePlayer can be played on any zone(s).

The ZP to which the external device is physically connected doesn't have to be included in the zone group.
Badge +4
Quite simply, I just want to be able to stream music from itunes to my wonderful Sonos system.

You realize you can do this now, correct? (By adding an AirPort Express unit to the line-in on one of your zone players?)
Badge +4
This thread was a good read for its entertainment value alone. :)

My $0.02...

Based on what I know of air-play, I'm going to assume that being an air-play "receiver" requires some additional hardware not in current sonos players...and more it requires licensed air-play specific hardware / chip. (I don't know this for sure however).

If this is indeed the case, I would hope that sonos does NOT make this an integrated feature in new zone players, just from a cost perspective.

On the other hand.... for the most part adding an AirPort Express receiver to the line-in of any zone player is a good solution, but it's not quite as flexible a solution as might be required.

For example, if I have an airport express receiver hanging off the ZP in my kitchen, and my son has a friend over who wants to play his iPod music in his bedroom sonos speakers, he could not do so without also including the kitchen in the zone. (Of course, one could add an airport express to EACH of the zone-players.....but that's not exactly a cost-effective solution).

So, I could see value in integrating "AirPlay" support in updated versions of two specific products :

Sonos Wireless Doc
Sonos ZoneBridge

This way, if you want to add "integrated" AirPlay support into your Sonos system, you would need to add at least one those two devices. This would of course require the ZoneBridge to in effect be a slectable audio source for AirPlay only.

I see this as the most "balanced" way (in terms of cost vs. flexibility) way to add "integrated" AirPlay support to Sonos.
Userlevel 2
haywood floyd... well said, my big thing is I still use itunes to manage my music, which, let's face it, is better than Sonos Desktop. When I add tunes, artwork, change track names etc. etc. in itunes, it's a drag to have to do the same in the Sonos folder. I bought this thing called Chronosync to synchronise the folders, but it's fraught with problems. (probably because the Sonos folder is on my NAS drive- the Apple Time Capsule)

Quite simply, I just want to be able to stream music from itunes to my wonderful Sonos system.

I hope it can happen soon... I hope Sonos ditch the fear and get with it. Their track record suggests they usually do....

S