AirPlay

  • 1 September 2010
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209 replies

You really are missing the point.

I can easily set up a test similar to what you have done and it will work fine. I can also easily set one up that will fail badly.

The reality is wireless technology is fragile by nature. If you are lucky enough to have a setup that works then you should be happy, but extrapolating this to others simply doesn't work. You only have to read the forums of some other streaming systems that are based on wifi to see the problems.

So unless you can personally guarantee it will work flawlessly for everyone, or can point me to where Apple claim it will (and back that up with compensation for those it doesn't work for) the you are blowing hot air.

There are also many posts on this forum from people who have had problems with streaming feed because they were from a wireless laptop or other similar wireless device. Whilst an individual setup may work, the incidence of problems with wireless streaming is significant. To ignore this is to stick your head in the sand.

There is one main reason the WD100 will always provide a much more reliable and robust capability than an wireless Airplay device: the iPod is hardwired to the system. this increases the robustness by an order of magnitude or more.

The weak link in the Airplay scenario: you have a wifi connection to the streaming source. This is compounded by the fact that the device is likely to be moving around the house, and that it has limited power. It may work, it may not, YMMV but Apple (nor Denon, etc.) will take any responsibility when it doesn't.

Even if it works for a bit, given the battery issue, it's not something that people will be able to do for extended periods without resorting to a dock.

Even if it sounds like a "cool" idea, it's actually OK for the odd use, but for most people a Dock would be far more useful

I'm going to ignore your statements about me "not being an AirPlay Engineer" as they are ridiculous in the extreme. The reality is the nature of wireless is that wifi networks are fragile. What can Apple do about this when they really only have the ability to tweak the software in the iDevice? Not much (do I need to mention Apple's track record with Wireless)

As for your statements about future functionality, I will will turn the tables on you by saying "Where in Apple's roadmap does it say that this functionality will be available?".

Unless you are a Product Manager for Airplay, you haven't a clue what functionality is going to be released down the line. Based on what we do know about AirPlay today, using an AE or similar AirPlay enabled device into line in on a Zoneplayer fulfils 99% or more of the requirement to support Airplay functionality.

Personally I think Airplay is a gimmick. When people realise the limitations of using the iDevice in this mode due to the drain on battery and wireless range/mobility limitations, I think people will revert to using wired docks more often than not.

UPnP streaming from mobile devices has been reality for a few years now and it works well. It hasn't caught on because, although it sounds sexy, it's not that practical or useful.

Keith
Userlevel 2
awmawm,

wow, that's impressive. Honestly I'm not a big fan of the Time Machine/Capsule myself for multiple unrelated reasons, but it sounds like your capsule's wifi is running circles around my Linksys and Netgear wireless routers. Sounds like I may need to get some of Apple's wifi stuff.

Majik,

I don't disagree with the bulk of what you're saying here regarding wifi limitations/problems, but your point could honestly be made regarding SonosNet as well, there are examples within this forum where people have problems with wireless Sonos setups, it's been stated numerous times that wired is preferable, and depending on your locale and it's signal clutter, may be your only option. And yes I understand that it's vastly superior to standard wifi. As far as the dock being more useful, I think that depends on the end user's goals and desires. I personally would like both options, charging while playing is handy, but so is being untethered.
I am not arguing the functionality of the WD100, I am talking about the lack of AirPlay support and that a line-in solution lacks integrated functionality.

I'm missing your point. The WD100 uses the iDevice USB interface, it is not a simple line-in device.

Obviously, the WD100 is a dock and you want pocket wireless connectivity. Other than that, what functionality does the WS100 lack -- compared to Airplay?

---

Your wireless installation should be the poster for Airport. None of the Airport installations that I've seen work as well as yours.
Userlevel 2
Obviously, the WD100 is a dock and you want pocket wireless connectivity. Other than that, what functionality does the WS100 lack -- compared to Airplay?

iPad support

I don't disagree with the bulk of what you're saying here regarding wifi limitations/problems, but your point could honestly be made regarding SonosNet as well


Actually that was the point I made. Go back and check. For instance, I said:

The point is regardless of wireless technology, streaming audio from a portable, moving handheld device across wireless is prone to reliability problems.


and

It would be an issue for ANY portable device which streams across ANY wireless, including Sonosnet.


I agree that whilst Sonosnet is more robust than normal wifi, neither is perfect. As you say there are many occasions where people have problems even with Sonosnet and that's with fixed, mains powered devices which offer far more reliability and stability than a battery-powered mobile device.

The test results above are unusually good IMO, and certainly are not reflective of the experience most users should expect. There are many people who struggle to get a good wifi signal in the adjacent room.

My point was not that Sonosnet was better than wifi (even though it is).

My point is that streaming from a mobile device with limited battery power and a very high chance that the device will be moving around randomly is going to present reliability issues to many users. I can see it's uses (watching a movie on an iPad and wanting to push the audio to the main speakers), but I really cannot see people doing this all the time, if nothing more than that on average you'll not get more than an hour or so of music fro a typical iDevice before the battery dies. Bear in mind many complain about the battery life of the iPod using the iCR as a controller, and that uses far less power than continuous streaming.

Given this type of usage and the current specification of what AirPlay currently proposes to offer, an AE or similar plugged into a ZP line in pretty much nails all of the functionality required. I really don't see any significant reason for Sonos to create a box which wouldn't do much more than what a 3rd-party box.

it's been stated numerous times that wired is preferable, and depending on your locale and it's signal clutter, may be your only option.


And that is also my point: the dock largely eliminates this first wired hop (from the iPod to the system) and as this is the one which is most likely to fail due to the device battery and mobility, it should be far more reliable than someone streaming from an untethered iDevice, and it can be used for extended periods because battery life isn't an issue. Of course this assumes that the user can find a location for the WD100 which is within range of Sonosnet, but that's a pretty reasonable assumption.

The reality is I do see there is a need for both. I actually think the two are complementary. There will be circumstances where both will be useful facilities. Although there is overlap, neither solution completely negates the need for the other. However, a combination of WD100 and a third-party Airplay box plugged into a ZP line-in probably does fulfil all functional requirements (notwithstanding individual aesthetic views on whether this is "highly integrated" or not).

As far as the dock being more useful, I think that depends on the end user's goals and desires. I personally would like both options, charging while playing is handy, but so is being untethered.


I fully agree.

You should bear in mind many of my posts on this subject have been directed at someone who refers to the refers to the WD100 as a "ridiculous piece", and who is prepared to make fairly nonsensical claims to support his argument (For example, he claims people would rather plug their iPod into a 3rd-party charging dock to charge and use Airplay to stream than plug it into a WD100).

Unlike awmawm I actually think people will use both, and the combination of a WD100 and Airplay with a 3rd-party (or maybe a future Sonos branded) line-in device will satisfy all requirements. This gives people both push support via Airplay or a docked iPod, as well as pull support via a docked iPod in conjunction with the existing ability to stream directly from your iTunes library independently of any iDevice.

Cheers,

Keith
Userlevel 5
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Userlevel 2
I'm missing your point. The WD100 uses the iDevice USB interface, it is not a simple line-in device.

Obviously, the WD100 is a dock and you want pocket wireless connectivity. Other than that, what functionality does the WS100 lack -- compared to Airplay?

---

Your wireless installation should be the poster for Airport. None of the Airport installations that I've seen work as well as yours.


I am sure that the WD100 will work well for what it can do. My issue is that, IMO, Sonos was short sighted and did not include AirPlay as an additional feature in a brand new, not yet released dock, particularly when they already knew that other hardware manufacturers have announced AirPlay support in the very near future (e.g. Denon by November 2010). My other issue is that there are dock designs which allow the docking without the need to remove most cases first.

---

I am not sure why the reliability of our WiFi installation should be an exception to the norm. Maybe because we use mostly Apple devices with the TimeCapsule? We have a D-Link DIR-655 as a backup and it works very well, too - apart from the lack of range compared to the TimeCapsule. The DIR-655 took a lot of tweaking until it performed without problems whereas the TimeCapsule was up and running at full performance within 5 minutes after setting it up.


I am not sure why the reliability of our WiFi installation should be an exception to the norm.


To some extent it is the luck of the draw. Our point is that in this application, luck favors SonosNet, however, we are not claiming that any wireless technology is 100% lucky.
Userlevel 2
I have been reading this all over the palce here and other forumns, "Sonos should give us AirPlay support".

Why?

What could airplay possibly bring to Sonos what it doesnt Already have?

AirPlay would get its music from the the same source no? I hear the argument that to stream from the ipod. I dont get it. Jobs and company have it set up that the ipod syncs with itunes. Therefore the music is already on the PC that sonos is connected. Do they just want to run around the house with the ipod in there hand yelling "It is coming from here", "It is coming from here", "Its coming from here". Also i can see "Hey i would show you something really cool on my ipod except for it is busy streaming music for my sonos system. Another scenario is "Hey what happened to the music?" -- "Oh damn ipod ran out of batteries.". "Let me reload the song on Sonos and i will charge my Ipod. Then once charged i will shut off my perfectly running sonos setup and switch back over to streaming again. Isnt this cool?"


So feel free to enlighten me (not directed at you but the group in general) as to why i would ever want to stream from a portable device or add a layer of transmission between the music and speakers.

Barry






To some extent it is the luck of the draw. Our point is that in this application, luck favors SonosNet, however, we are not claiming that any wireless technology is 100% lucky.

AirPlay would get its music from the the same source no?


In general yes, but one use-case for this is where there may be content on the iDevice (such as a movie or YouTube) and they want to "push" the audio to the Speakers. Airplay apparently will allow this.

The other one, where the user pushes their iTunes content, is already supported by Sonos.

There the case where visitors want to play their content on their iDevice. Personally I've never experienced that as usually when they see my Sonos system with Napster, Last FM and now Spotify support, they stick their iDevice in their pocket. Howver, I can see that there may be some people who will use this. In particular there is one person on these forums who had a case where they wanted to stream music from individual people's iPods in a work environment, where they didn't have an iTunes library.

These are pull applications and, currently, this doesn't seem to be something Airplay will support.

However, it is supported by the Sonos Wireless Dock.

Personally I think Airplay sounds cool, but really is only compelling if you don't have a system like Sonos. To Sonos users they already have 90% of the functionality in a far better package. The remaining 10%? You can get it by attaching an Airplay device to line in, once they become available.

I will add that that the Wireless Dock has been in development and testing for several months now. Airplay has only recently been announced and products are still in development. If Airplay had been announced, say, this time last year, it might have made some sense to include it in the dock, but it's really too late. Including it would have, realistically, meant a delay of several months to the product launch. It would also have increased the price.

To criticise Sonos for launching a product because it doesn't include technology which isn't actually available yet is absurd.

Cheers,

Keith
Userlevel 2
Denon and Marantz obviously had enough lead time to develop and manufacture highly complicated networked receivers with AirPlay support. Hence, it is hardly absurd to ask why another piece of hardware that has yet to be released lacks AirPlay support.

Apart from a select group of people within Sonos, no one knows when Sonos became aware of AirPlay. Consequently, one can only speculate whether it was truly too late for Sonos to include AirPlay in the yet to be released dock. Some may speculate that it was too late, others may speculate that Sonos could have included AirPlay but decided against it.
Userlevel 2
I have been reading this all over the palce here and other forumns, "Sonos should give us AirPlay support".

Why?

What could airplay possibly bring to Sonos what it doesnt Already have?

AirPlay would get its music from the the same source no? I hear the argument that to stream from the ipod. I dont get it. Jobs and company have it set up that the ipod syncs with itunes. Therefore the music is already on the PC that sonos is connected. Do they just want to run around the house with the ipod in there hand yelling "It is coming from here", "It is coming from here", "Its coming from here". Also i can see "Hey i would show you something really cool on my ipod except for it is busy streaming music for my sonos system. Another scenario is "Hey what happened to the music?" -- "Oh damn ipod ran out of batteries.". "Let me reload the song on Sonos and i will charge my Ipod. Then once charged i will shut off my perfectly running sonos setup and switch back over to streaming again. Isnt this cool?"


So feel free to enlighten me (not directed at you but the group in general) as to why i would ever want to stream from a portable device or add a layer of transmission between the music and speakers.

Barry


The daily flock of guests visiting my kids loves to show off the newest music discoveries. Could they feed music over AirPlay for several hours from an iPhone or iPod without loosing power? Probably not, but that's not what they typically do in one single stretch. And considering what one can squeeze out of an iPad's battery, it is not unrealistic to expect hours of music streaming without loss of power. AirPlay may be regarded by some as a gimmick but I look at it as an enhancement to social interaction, particularly among teenagers and young adults.
Denon and Marantz obviously had enough lead time to develop and manufacture highly complicated networked receivers with AirPlay support.

Which are announced, but are unlikely to be available until Decemebr at the earliest.

The Sonos dock is available within a few days (I have emails from stockists saying "Our stock of WD100s arrives next Monday 25th October and we anticipate despatching pre-orders on the same day for arrival on Tuesday 26th").

The WD100 also has been in testing for some time. I know this because I have Beta unit which I have had many weeks beofre Airplay announcement of future availability by several weeks. That is how real world hardware development works. It takes 6 months or more.

Hence, it is hardly absurd to ask why another piece of hardware that has yet to be released lacks AirPlay support


Hence: another EPIC FAIL by awmawm!!!!.

Apart from a select group of people within Sonos, no one knows when Sonos became aware of AirPlay.



Unless you are part of the AirPlay Product/relationship management team, you don't know anything other than the date at which Airplay was publicly announced a few weeks ago.

As a competitor in the space, it's entirely reasonable to assume Sonos didn't know about it until everyone else did.


To propose that they knew something about before the public launch is entirely ludicrous under the circumstances.


Again, FAIL!!

awmawm, when people are digging themselves a hole like you are, I normally let them. But I have to warn you, you're nearly out the other side of the planet. Your credibility is deep in the negative numbers. I suggest you quit before you get father behind.

;)

Keith
Userlevel 2
The AirPlay-compatible Denon AVR-4311CI has already been released and undoubtedly required much more development time than the Sonos dock (assuming that equally qualified engineers were put to task).

Several hardware manufacturers obviously knew about AirPlay well before the public announcement of AirPlay. Was Sonos one of them? Some assume that they did not know but one can equally speculate that they did. Apart from a select group of Sonos insiders, no one knows.



Anyhow, it is sad that Sonos allows a "moderator" to bully a new member who happens to have a different view than the "moderator".
The AirPlay-compatible Denon AVR-4311CI has already been released and undoubtedly required much more development time than the Sonos dock (assuming that equally qualified engineers were put to task).
To return to basics after all the recent heat of this thread, could you please summarise just what you think the spec of the WD100 ought to have been?
The Denon AVR-4311CI doesn't work with Airplay yet, because it's not availble. It's due for a fimrware upgrade to make it compatible when it's available.

Note that Airplay relies on IOS 4.2 devices, and these aren't available yet. IOS 4.2 isn't officiall available for another month.

Yet again, another EPIC FAIL!!!


Anyhow, it is sad that Sonos allows a "moderator" to bully a new member who happens to have a different view than the "moderator".



Bully! The first cry of the one that starts to bully but then find himself against someone who will stand up to him!!!

I'm going to let you keep digging and keep notching up those EPIC FAILS!

Keith
Userlevel 2
Fact is, the AVR-4311CI has already been released and it includes all the required hardware to be AirPlay-compatible.

The "moderator" shall please point to the post where I did bully a forum member. Note: criticizing a product is not the same as bullying a member.
Userlevel 2
To return to basics after all the recent heat of this thread, could you please summarise just what you think the spec of the WD100 ought to have been?

- built-in AirPlay support (yes, I would expect to pay for it, similar to the $49 Denon and Marantz are going to charge on some models)

- a design that provides enough space to allow docking of iPhones/iPods without the need to remove most cases (perfect example how it can be done: Geneva Lab's sound systems).

- a design that allows the docking of iPads (along the lines of Apple's iPad dock)

The "moderator" shall please point to the post where I did bully a forum member. Note: criticizing a product is not the same as bullying a member.


You can on here with an opinion that bore no relationship to reality, and yet to dare to presume that no-one else is allowed to challenge your posts.

You single me out as a moderator (Post 92), and basically insinuated I wasn't allowed to have an opinion contrary to yours because of that.


The fact I am a moderator (aka. "caretaker") is of no consequence to my posts. I make that perfectly clear and yet you chose to continue to use that against me in the absence of any other argument.

I will warn you now: taking this tack is not acceptable. It's a personal attack. If you chose to continue with it, you should expect punitive action to be taken. You have been warned. If, on the other hand, you wish to continue with normal, non-personal, argument then please continue, however ineffective it is. It's not me you are making look stupid.

If I hadn't been a moderator I have no doubt you would have found some other reason.

Oh, you did.. despite admitting your lack of technical knowledge, you suggested my opinions as an Engineer weren't valid unless I actually worked for Apple, on Airplay.

You are not an AirPlay engineer. You have no clue what the AirPlay chip and software can achieve on a WiFi network


You are dismissing my knowledge without having a clue what my knowledge is or means. You work in Marketing, right? ;)

you behave like the typical "know it all" engineers


I rest my case!

Countering lies with facts is not bullying. It's putting the record straight. If you can't handle that, perhaps you would be better off researching your rants before you post them. Better still, if you really don't understand the technology behind this stuff, don't get into a p**ing contest with someone who does!

Back to the argument at hand, let's remind ourselves of the facts, because you seem to be ignoring them:

FACT: AIRPLAY IS NOT AVAILABLE TODAY

FACT: AIRPLAY WAS ONLY ANNOUNCED A FEW WEEKS AGO

FACT: THE SONOS WD100 WAS ALREADY IN ADVANCED BETA TESTING LONG BEFORE AIRPLAY WAS ANNOUNCED

FACT: SONOS IS NOT KNOWN OR LIKELY TO BE A STRATEGIC PARTNER FOR AIRPLAY

FACT: EVEN APPLE THEMSELVES WILL NOT HAVE WORKING AIRPLAY CAPABILITY UNTIL NEXT MONTH AT THE EARLIEST


That is the facts as we know them If you can definitively disprove them, then go ahead and give us the evidence. Otherwise you are blowing smoke.

The reality of the situation is expecting Sonos to have included support for a "technology" which has only just been announced on a product which is hitting the shelves in less than a week is nonsense.

Keith
In other news:

"iOS 4.2 beta 3 yanks AirPlay from YouTube
Apple's just-launched iOS 4.2 beta 3 has inexplicably pulled AirPlay from YouTube. While still available when viewing videos in Safari, the AirPlay button has vanished from the native YouTube app"

"It's deemed likely from explorations at MacStories and elsewhere that the absence may be a bug or else a sign Apple didn't feel the app was stable enough with AirPlay at the time it posted the build."


With the launch supposed to be next month, it seems that Airplay isn't that stable yet.

Cheers,

Keith
I will now drive this thread into the bowels of forum hell:

I think the WD100 should support AirPlay, but only if you can set a static IP address on it.

There, that should just about do it 😃
Userlevel 2
I will now drive this thread into the bowels of forum hell:

I think the WD100 should support AirPlay, but only if you can set a static IP address on it.

There, that should just about do it :D


+1 (but only if the ip is manually set static, none of that problematic dhcp stuff) 🙂
Userlevel 2
People talk about it being sad that AirPlay support was not added to the WD101. I do not get this. What does AirPlay have to do with the new dock? Nothing as far as I can see.

AirPlay will work by making speakers/mediaboxes available on the local area network. Where clients like the iPod and iPad will be able to see these 'servers' and connect to them and send their data (video and music) to them.

Sonos can do this just fine without the WD101. Something similar can be seen in Windows Media Player where you can share your library with all the Sonos zones if you choose to.

Technically the Sonos device acting as a bridge between your network and the Sonosnet can make all the zones available as speakers for AirPlay, receive the data and send it on to the right zone.

It has no real grounds for local users using iTunes on a PC/Mac, but only for guests in the house and perhaps if you're surfing the net and viewing something where you wish to hear the sound in a zone it would be nice.

This is how I see it and the reason for my initial idea for adding support for AirPlay.

I see it as a cheap feature to add as you it should not technically need any chip but rather just a license and access to the protocol so it can be implemented.

Enlighten me if I'm wrong here 🙂
... it should not technically need any chip but rather just a license and access to the protocol so it can be implemented.



If I owned the technology, while this is probably a delusion, I would feel more secure if the license required a chip.

As a licensee of the technology I would be both annoyed and more secure with the chip. Annoyed because I would need to physically redesign to incorporate the chip, secure because it is harder for the technology owner to rework the technology every quarter and waste my time tinkering with my program. I would much rather innovate my technology than constantly waste my time and resources following someone else.

One can look at another side of the coin too. The dollar value of small share of the iDevice market could be worth more than the major share of a much smaller market. But, there are significant risks in this approach because the major could gobble my share in a blink.
Userlevel 2
Just Dock it then! If they have that many vistiors then put the Dock near the door. At least this way they will leave with a fully charged phone!




The daily flock of guests visiting my kids loves to show off the newest music discoveries. Could they feed music over AirPlay for several hours from an iPhone or iPod without loosing power? Probably not, but that's not what they typically do in one single stretch. And considering what one can squeeze out of an iPad's battery, it is not unrealistic to expect hours of music streaming without loss of power. AirPlay may be regarded by some as a gimmick but I look at it as an enhancement to social interaction, particularly among teenagers and young adults.