BBC & Tunein

  • 12 August 2019
  • 72 replies
  • 10883 views

Userlevel 6
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https://radiotoday.co.uk/2019/08/bbc-to-pull-all-radio-services-from-tunein-uk-platform

Implications for Sonos?

72 replies

To use Alexa to play BBC radio on Sonos... (but please bear in mind my earlier comment that 'It is a rather limited workaround but is OK for my use case') You need an applet for every room-station combination, which is tolerable for me as I only listen to a couple of BBC stations in a couple of rooms.

  1. If you haven't used IFTTT before, download the IFTTT app and link your Sonos and Alexa accounts to it.
  2. Add any BBC radio stations to which you want to listen to your Sonos Favourites. I think this needs a desktop controller, because of the dog's breakfast that is 'My Sonos' etc nowadays.
  3. Create an IFTTT applet where the Alexa trigger is (for example) 'kitchen radio 6', and the Sonos action is 'Play a favourite'. Choose BBC Radio 6 Music' to play in room Kitchen.
  4. Make sure you tap the 'Finish' button to save the applet.
  5. To play BBC Radio 6 Music in the kitchen, say 'Alexa, trigger kitchen radio 6'.
..... if you think it's worth it.
Userlevel 7
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Hi brantome53, Sonos doesn't provide any information to the BBC in exchange for access to streams over TuneIn. They know that many Sonos users are avid BBC listeners and are working alternatives that'll work for them.

The way Sonos players currently connect with BBC stations over TuneIn is through a broadcasted streaming URL, where the stations content is sent out, and you can sign on to listen in. On the server end (at BBC or their stream hosting company), some information can be collected, such as the number of users listening, and some basics about what kind of device or the IPs addresses that are using the stream. But that information isn't provided to them by Sonos, but as a part of connecting to the stream itself.
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It works via the sonos app still but not via Alexa:

Me: Alexa, play radio 4 on kitchen.

Alexa: I could not find a station called radio 4.

Me: Alexa, play radio 4 from BBC on kitchen.

Alexa then plays it on the echo instead of on the sonos.

Edit: this is using voice control on a echo. If I use voice control directly on the sonos then it works as normal.

But then my echo show next to the sonos is useless so that's not much help...
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This is a car crash of epic proportions. The whole point of voice is integration, so now asking alexa to play 6 music in any of my rooms on sonos is not possible speakers grouped or not (none of my sonos speakers have alexa onboard). The only way at today is to listen via sonos app. The whole convenience of voice is down the toilet. Bonkers decision all round. being able to listen to bbc radio via voice on sonos speakers wasn't broken, it is today. all to do with the bbc wanting to know how many people are listening via tune in?
As thewishy says just use ip tracking? madness, total madness
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Why have a the BBC radio stations ceased to play on Sonos Radio? 

Has anybody else found that links to BBC R4 and the world service have stopped working today, and are no longer listed in the Tunein system?
If started through the Sonos app, the stream *should* still work, or at least was for me this morning. Last night it wasn't working, presumably an implementation error, but who knows?...
They've stopped Alexa playing BBC Radio, you're supposed to install the BBC Sound Alexa skill, sign in to your BBC account and then it'll work if you use the right sequence of words (Eg "Alexa ask bbc sounds to play radio 4")

Certainly kicking off - not sure how many of those are Sonos users hit by the associated outage, or people with other streaming systems which aren't supported.

Frankly I don't see why the BBC need the data. They can already track by IP, which is far more granular than anything they would get from broadcast. I'm just going to stick a Pi with a SDR in the loft I think.
Userlevel 6
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The BBC radio service on systems like Sonos, Alexa, Google has gone to pieces since they introduced the awful 'Youth-oriented' Sounds app.
Sad.
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I have pretty much the first generation of Sonos products dotted around the house.... none of which work with 'airplay'. So I won't be able to play BBC programs from the BBC app to Sonos.

There is an app called 'Radioplayer' which might continue to work.

I am not sure why the BBC need this data. They have a truckload of cash from licence fees and all the data they could possibly need from that.
Same issue as many. As of this morning I can no longer ask Alexa (via a Dot) to ‘Alexa, play BBC Radio 4 in Kitchen’. The kitchen being my Sonos Play 3. What it actually plays is ‘Four State Public Radio Pittsburgh’. I’ve put this post on the BBC Sounds page. I urge others to do so. BBC
I can no longer command a BBC station onto my Sonos from Alexa.

Whether this is the fault of the Sonos skill, the tunein skill, or the bbc skill I'm not sure, but this change has been flagged for a month and despite all the negative feedback from users the BBC went ahead and Amazon/Tunein/Sonos have done nothing to mitigate the damage caused by the change.

I doubt there is much anybody else can do.
FWIW I have found a way to use IFTTT to launch BBC Radio using Alexa. It is a rather limited workaround but is OK for my use case. Haven't got time to give details now but will post back later if anyone is interested.
Yes - complete rubbish! I bought an echo show and echo dot to control my sonos system when sonos stopped supporting their hand held controllers. Now the whole set up is pointless. I can use BBC sounds to play the radio on the echo speaker but not link it to my sonos amplifiers and surround sound system (I have mainly the older sonos gadgets, as an early adopter). So now I have top of the range speakers that I can't listen to music via the radio on. Sonos tells me I can use the sonos controller app on my phone to still use Tunein - but they also told me less than 12 months ago to switch to using alexa to control my listening. What an absolute shambles and waste of money. I have complained via the BBC.
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Good question, @castalla.

From the BBC Blog on the subject:

A number of older audio devices that offer an internet radio service powered by TuneIn will not currently be affected by this change – as it’s neither technically or economically practicable to deploy these data-driven features. We will also continue to provide BBC live radio steams via TuneIn on Sonos speakers – while we explore alternative options for enabling the playback of BBC radio on these devices in a way that ensures you get maximum value from your licence fee.


I don't have any more specific details to share regarding BBC right now, but I can say that we know how important keeping access to these stations is for listeners.
Its unclear to me too but threres more information here https://en.community.sonos.com/troubleshooting-228999/information-bbc-on-tunein-6830711
One or two posters with high post counts are happy that its nothing to do with Sonos - we're just being annoying to want the functionality restored.

I think that is a bit unfair. We would all like to see this functionality restored. What we do know is that this has been initiated by the BBC. We also know that Sonos can still play BBC radio using the Sonos app, which is better than it might have been. I suspect Sonos cannot do anything about this, but I don't know that for sure. Maybe there is something in the way that the IFTTT workaround works that gives a clue, but I just don't have the necessary depth of understanding of the relationship between Sonos, Alexa, TuneIn, the BBC and IFTTT. Does any of us?

Another thing I know - or think I know - is that Sonos has never used the TuneIn service proper. TuneIn just serves as a directory of URLs. Sonos says to TuneIn 'I want BBC radio 4', TuneIn says 'this is the URL you need', and Sonos goes direct to the URL, So perhaps the BBC recognises that as a Sonos request and allows it. Or maybe it cannot distinguish - it's just that requests from TuneIn simply cannot be made any more so any request is a legitimate request.

Now, if I had had to guess, I would have thought that a voice command to an Echo device would have ended up with a Sonos request to play a URL. But it now looks like that isn't so, and that Alexa's dependence on TuneIn is somehow the place it falls over, now the BBC has withdrawn from TuneIn.

So maybe things could be reconfigured in Sonos to get round this, in whatever way IFTTT gets round it. I plead ignorance on that.
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Its unclear to me too but threres more information here https://en.community.sonos.com/troubleshooting-228999/information-bbc-on-tunein-6830711
One or two posters with high post counts are happy that its nothing to do with Sonos - we're just being annoying to want the functionality restored.

This is nothing to do with Sonos in that they can do nothing to stop this. If you’re angry, like I am, over this then head over to the BBC and have your say. Lots of us are doing this and there are some very disgruntled listeners using a variety of devices. Sonos users are lucky so far.
So BBC radio 4 via tunein has today gone from my Multi room Sonos. Fortunately I have an echo dot in bedroom so can listen on that. But quality is poor. Other BBC stations I listen to are still available by tunein but no doubt they will also disappear soon.. Quite simply BBC sounds only radio stations do not work on multi rooms under Sonos.. Why do I have 2 Sonos plays in bedroom for great sound when I can’t listen to BBC music stations? I would have thought Sonos could have spoken to BBC to fix the issue with the corporation..
There is a IFTTT 'routine' called 'Play a favorite with Amazon Alexa' that works . Just connect it in the IFTTT app, fill in the gaps and away you go.

I can say "Alexa trigger radio two" now and it plays.

Frustrating that the BBC broke it in the first place though...
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Some more testing.

Asking sonos one to play radio 4 without specifying a speaker name works ok.

Asking it to play on a named speaker fails with I can't find a station named radio 4

Asking a echo to play on a named sonos speaker also fails.
Same issue as many. As of this morning I can no longer ask Alexa (via a Dot) to ‘Alexa, play BBC Radio 4 in Kitchen’. The kitchen being my Sonos Play 3. What it actually plays is ‘Four State Public Radio Pittsburgh’. I’ve put this post on the BBC Sounds page. I urge others to do so. BBC
Yeah I'm getting that one. It just isn't the same.....
Userlevel 1
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I can no longer command a BBC station onto my Sonos from Alexa.

Whether this is the fault of the Sonos skill, the tunein skill, or the bbc skill I'm not sure, but this change has been flagged for a month and despite all the negative feedback from users the BBC went ahead and Amazon/Tunein/Sonos have done nothing to mitigate the damage caused by the change.

Update on the BBC that they are investigating the issue I was having -   BBC Sounds intro plays, but then goes silent.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/help/issues/sonos-one-alexa

Yes - complete rubbish! I bought an echo show and echo dot to control my sonos system when sonos stopped supporting their hand held controllers. Now the whole set up is pointless. I can use BBC sounds to play the radio on the echo speaker but not link it to my sonos amplifiers and surround sound system (I have mainly the older sonos gadgets, as an early adopter). So now I have top of the range speakers that I can't listen to music via the radio on. Sonos tells me I can use the sonos controller app on my phone to still use Tunein - but they also told me less than 12 months ago to switch to using alexa to control my listening. What an absolute shambles and waste of money. I have complained via the BBC.
Nobody told you to switch to voice control. It was an extra option for control and has never done everything a controller could do. 'So now I have top of the range speakers that I can't listen to music via the radio on' is simply untrue.

I am annoyed at this change too, but hyperbole and factual inaccuracy don't help.
So now my Tune-In doesn't work which is ok I guess but the BBC skill is not working either.
So to get the bbc radio stations i have to use the sonos app and then select from my favourites which station I want which is still using Tune-In. Or use the BBC sounds app on my iphone and then airply to the sonos. So no more 'Alex, play...'
Userlevel 2
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The Beeb have shot themselves in the foot big time with this. I've discovered Radio Caroline and am loving it! Bye bye BBC.

To use Alexa to play BBC radio on Sonos... (but please bear in mind my earlier comment that 'It is a rather limited workaround but is OK for my use case') You need an applet for every room-station combination, which is tolerable for me as I only listen to a couple of BBC stations in a couple of rooms.

  1. If you haven't used IFTTT before, download the IFTTT app and link your Sonos and Alexa accounts to it.
  2. Add any BBC radio stations to which you want to listen to your Sonos Favourites. I think this needs a desktop controller, because of the dog's breakfast that is 'My Sonos' etc nowadays.
  3. Create an IFTTT applet where the Alexa trigger is (for example) 'kitchen radio 6', and the Sonos action is 'Play a favourite'. Choose BBC Radio 6 Music' to play in room Kitchen.
  4. Make sure you tap the 'Finish' button to save the applet.
  5. To play BBC Radio 6 Music in the kitchen, say 'Alexa, trigger kitchen radio 6'.
..... if you think it's worth it.
i have the same use case for bbc radio 6 music!!
ive tried this but in ifttt my sonos wont show any favourites even though they are in desktop controller and app, so im stuffed.

Do you get 'loading'' then a failure message? I had that at one point but it just seemed to resolve of its own accord. It might just be worth having another go tomorrow! Or maybe try playing direct from the Favourites for a few moments (not that I can offer any logic for that!)

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