Computer as Sonos Audio Source

  • 19 September 2012
  • 527 replies
  • 155298 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.

527 replies

I agree with so many here. I am a new owner of a Sonos Bridge, Play:1, and Play:3 and am trying to decide whether to keep them. My primary use case for getting a Sonos system was to wirelessly redirect the audio from a Windows laptop to the Sonos speakers. I can partially achieve this goal if listening to local radio stations or media libraries supported by the Sonos controller app. However, there are scenarios where usage would be simpler or I'd have more control (e.g., auto playlists, equalization controls) just using native apps (e.g., Spotify, Windows Media Player). For those cases, I don't want to be constrained by the current limited functionality of the Sonos controller app.

Ideally, Sonos would add a "Use this computer as source" option in Controller, or at least make it simpler to redirect my local audio to the Bridge. There are numerous workarounds that folks have found to do this, but even the relatively cleaner solutions still seem like too much extra work and cost. For example, one workaround could be to use Airfoil for Windows to redirect laptop audio to an Apple TV, from which you use a converter to change digital audio to analog audio, and then use that as a source to Sonos Connect, from which audio gets converted back to digital for wireless delivery to Sonos speakers. Achievable? Yes. Cost-effective? At ~$500, not so much. Technical kludginess: High. 

If Sonos would make it easy to get other audio sources into their system without needing to buy a Connect (and third-party hardware for wireless sourcing) for each new Line In input, I'd not only keep my new Sonos speakers, I'd gladly jump in deeper and outfit more areas of my house with Sonos. If necessary, I'd even buy more Bridge-like devices (assuming similar or smaller sizing and pricing) to act as wired or wireless Line In devices.

I can only agree - I love the Sonos sound and the general concept - but I really need to be able to stream directly from my devices. I do not want to connect my wireless tablet or wireless laptop by a cable to a connect - this is just non sense. If I'm watching the new music videos on youtube or playing a musical dvd in my laptop, it is simply a MUST that such a function is integrated. Huge drawback - and so long it is not solved I do not feel worth to spend this amount of money into GREAT speaker, which I can only use for HALF of my everyday needs..
Badge
I agree with so many here. I am a new owner of a Sonos Bridge, Play:1, and Play:3 and am trying to decide whether to keep them. My primary use case for getting a Sonos system was to wirelessly redirect the audio from a Windows laptop to the Sonos speakers. I can partially achieve this goal if listening to local radio stations or media libraries supported by the Sonos controller app. However, there are scenarios where usage would be simpler or I'd have more control (e.g., auto playlists, equalization controls) just using native apps (e.g., Spotify, Windows Media Player). For those cases, I don't want to be constrained by the current limited functionality of the Sonos controller app.

Ideally, Sonos would add a "Use this computer as source" option in Controller, or at least make it simpler to redirect my local audio to the Bridge. There are numerous workarounds that folks have found to do this, but even the relatively cleaner solutions still seem like too much extra work and cost. For example, one workaround could be to use Airfoil for Windows to redirect laptop audio to an Apple TV, from which you use a converter to change digital audio to analog audio, and then use that as a source to Sonos Connect, from which audio gets converted back to digital for wireless delivery to Sonos speakers. Achievable? Yes. Cost-effective? At ~$500, not so much. Technical kludginess: High. 

If Sonos would make it easy to get other audio sources into their system without needing to buy a Connect (and third-party hardware for wireless sourcing) for each new Line In input, I'd not only keep my new Sonos speakers, I'd gladly jump in deeper and outfit more areas of my house with Sonos. If necessary, I'd even buy more Bridge-like devices (assuming similar or smaller sizing and pricing) to act as wired or wireless Line In devices.

@Ren,

Thanks so much for sharing your trials, observations, and recommendation. Similarly, I have also looked at combinations of audio bridging software, virtual sound cards, external streaming services, and local streaming server software. Although I could invest many hours to make such a convoluted workaround work, the effort and the solution caveats would effectively negate one of my primary reasons for getting Sonos, which was the promised ease of use for me and my family to share various audio sources throughout the house.

It's unfortunate that Sonos does not seem to be listening. I checked their Jobs page to see if there were any long-standing vacancies that might explain the apparent lack of customer interaction and focus, but did not see any that seemed applicable to addressing this long-term customer frustration. Too bad - I know several great digital media executives who would likely be passionate about taking on such a role in early 2014.

@enjules,

It seems we are in violent agreement. Even if just audio-only inputs were accessible wirelessly from a laptop, I'd be much happier. If videos could be made to work wirelessly without sync issues between the video and audio (equivalent to the capability today with a hardwired connection to a Connect device and Audio Compression turned off), that would be a huge plus, and would provide a graceful solution to many of the requests for YouTube support. 

It might be that Sonos needs to update their vision beyond "fill every home with music and make listening a valued experience again." One could argue that Sonos has a much broader opportunity here, still fully within the scope of their 2002 goal "to reinvent home audio for the digital age." With simple "Use this computer as the source input" capabilities, the Sonos solution set would be much better aligned, and up to date, with other audio technologies available to consumers today.
I agree with so many here. I am a new owner of a Sonos Bridge, Play:1, and Play:3 and am trying to decide whether to keep them. My primary use case for getting a Sonos system was to wirelessly redirect the audio from a Windows laptop to the Sonos speakers. I can partially achieve this goal if listening to local radio stations or media libraries supported by the Sonos controller app. However, there are scenarios where usage would be simpler or I'd have more control (e.g., auto playlists, equalization controls) just using native apps (e.g., Spotify, Windows Media Player). For those cases, I don't want to be constrained by the current limited functionality of the Sonos controller app.

Ideally, Sonos would add a "Use this computer as source" option in Controller, or at least make it simpler to redirect my local audio to the Bridge. There are numerous workarounds that folks have found to do this, but even the relatively cleaner solutions still seem like too much extra work and cost. For example, one workaround could be to use Airfoil for Windows to redirect laptop audio to an Apple TV, from which you use a converter to change digital audio to analog audio, and then use that as a source to Sonos Connect, from which audio gets converted back to digital for wireless delivery to Sonos speakers. Achievable? Yes. Cost-effective? At ~$500, not so much. Technical kludginess: High. 

If Sonos would make it easy to get other audio sources into their system without needing to buy a Connect (and third-party hardware for wireless sourcing) for each new Line In input, I'd not only keep my new Sonos speakers, I'd gladly jump in deeper and outfit more areas of my house with Sonos. If necessary, I'd even buy more Bridge-like devices (assuming similar or smaller sizing and pricing) to act as wired or wireless Line In devices.

@redmontChris. Great discussion 😉.
Maybe I have an issue in understanding here. Of course I would like to have a synched video/ youtube with the sound (Therefore lag free pc/ tablet etc. audio "Streaming" output).
As obviously lag free audio output is possible with a connect, where is the bottleneck of a lag free audio playback from a computer/ wireless laptop? Thinking it through, does the lag occur because the laptop is in the Wifi network, whereas the sonos devices are in the sonos network? Could'nt the laptop act as a "simulated" sonos speaker?
What solution are you suggesting then?
I would say the "easiest" solution you are suggesting is then to embed a "video" player in the sonos apps - which would ensure a synched playback of the video/sound - but still needs a substantial development from the app (as example integration of the standard sites such as vimeo, youtube and "device videos" such as currently "device music" etc.). Probably would keep the system "closed" in the sonos sense. (but require all codecs, youtube licensing etc..)
--> Howerver, this still limits it to the services offered. I could not use my music maker on the computer to output over sonos speakers. Or more importantly for people gaming, a lag free audio output from a game..
I agree with so many here. I am a new owner of a Sonos Bridge, Play:1, and Play:3 and am trying to decide whether to keep them. My primary use case for getting a Sonos system was to wirelessly redirect the audio from a Windows laptop to the Sonos speakers. I can partially achieve this goal if listening to local radio stations or media libraries supported by the Sonos controller app. However, there are scenarios where usage would be simpler or I'd have more control (e.g., auto playlists, equalization controls) just using native apps (e.g., Spotify, Windows Media Player). For those cases, I don't want to be constrained by the current limited functionality of the Sonos controller app.

Ideally, Sonos would add a "Use this computer as source" option in Controller, or at least make it simpler to redirect my local audio to the Bridge. There are numerous workarounds that folks have found to do this, but even the relatively cleaner solutions still seem like too much extra work and cost. For example, one workaround could be to use Airfoil for Windows to redirect laptop audio to an Apple TV, from which you use a converter to change digital audio to analog audio, and then use that as a source to Sonos Connect, from which audio gets converted back to digital for wireless delivery to Sonos speakers. Achievable? Yes. Cost-effective? At ~$500, not so much. Technical kludginess: High. 

If Sonos would make it easy to get other audio sources into their system without needing to buy a Connect (and third-party hardware for wireless sourcing) for each new Line In input, I'd not only keep my new Sonos speakers, I'd gladly jump in deeper and outfit more areas of my house with Sonos. If necessary, I'd even buy more Bridge-like devices (assuming similar or smaller sizing and pricing) to act as wired or wireless Line In devices.

I am so happy I found this thread, saved me a lot of pain and money.  While this system(s) look great it is not practical when it's main usage would be to stream audio from my PC or tablet while watching a video source; youtube, netflix, mediaplayer, etc.  I hope sonos adopts a similar mechanism to the many bluetooth products out there that can simply play anything.  I realize this is a little bit of an apple to oranges comparison, but a bummer it is not supported.
Even if Sonos implement this feature, there will be a very noticeable delay between audio out on the pc and what comes out of the Sonos speakers. For all use cases where you want to have audio through Sonos and video on Desktop in sync this will not work. Just forget it.
Why is this working with simple Bluetooth-Speakers without a noticable delay?
And the Sonos Playbar?
Stream all the music on earth??? False advertising for sure.

What is the problem with implementing 

"You CAN stream any online audio stream." No. Youtube?!
Userlevel 2
Stream all the music on earth??? False advertising for sure.

What is the problem with implementing 

Youtube is not an "audio" stream.  It's a video website.

#JustSaying
Just to reiterate the need for what should be simple - "You CAN stream any online audio stream."

I came to this thread by looking at how to play music that a friend put into a dropbox folder ... which I don't want to download or add to my library. If that's not an online audio stream, then it's at least an obvious audio source that sonos should have no issue working with.

Of course, synced playback with video should also be possible by a modern system, but let's start with the basics.
Userlevel 2
Just to reiterate the need for what should be simple - "You CAN stream any online audio stream."

I came to this thread by looking at how to play music that a friend put into a dropbox folder ... which I don't want to download or add to my library. If that's not an online audio stream, then it's at least an obvious audio source that sonos should have no issue working with.

Of course, synced playback with video should also be possible by a modern system, but let's start with the basics.

Buy a Connect.... you are messing with the business model now!

I can stream EVERYTHING from my computer.  iTunes, Youtube, ANYTHING on my computer.  Why?  Because I understand the business model and spent the money to be able to do it.

If SONOS spend their time and money making the computer a source BEFORE they fix issues like lack of security for those of us who have 9 zones and counting, I'd be very disappointed.  This is a greedy request for those who WON'T go out and invest in the business model as it stands.

It's the people asking for this, with only one or two SONOS zones in their house, that end up saying "i'm not buying anymore until you do this."... Then go, you're not a committed user anyway then!
Just to reiterate the need for what should be simple - "You CAN stream any online audio stream."

I came to this thread by looking at how to play music that a friend put into a dropbox folder ... which I don't want to download or add to my library. If that's not an online audio stream, then it's at least an obvious audio source that sonos should have no issue working with.

Of course, synced playback with video should also be possible by a modern system, but let's start with the basics.

Are you telling me to drag around a connect with my tablet? I might just about be willing to do that if it didn't also mean that I'd need a power chord at all times. I'm really not understanding the logic ... or amount of aggression ... here.
Userlevel 2
Just to reiterate the need for what should be simple - "You CAN stream any online audio stream."

I came to this thread by looking at how to play music that a friend put into a dropbox folder ... which I don't want to download or add to my library. If that's not an online audio stream, then it's at least an obvious audio source that sonos should have no issue working with.

Of course, synced playback with video should also be possible by a modern system, but let's start with the basics.

No agression whatsoever, just don't understand your lack of logic.  The business model is set.  If SONOS decide to allow your tablet, my laptop, the neighbour's PC, your cousin's internet fridge all just become part of the network because you don't want to download a simple song onto your computer, then why should I pay for a connect for my 7.2 home theatre system, just because it's not a 'computer' and only an audio source?

If anything, you should be asking for a "dongle" sized connect to be created and sold to use with your tablet, otherwise you might as well ask SONOS to just make their tech free.

I see your "desire" but I think you fail to see the illogical business model precedence you are looking to create.
Just to reiterate the need for what should be simple - "You CAN stream any online audio stream."

I came to this thread by looking at how to play music that a friend put into a dropbox folder ... which I don't want to download or add to my library. If that's not an online audio stream, then it's at least an obvious audio source that sonos should have no issue working with.

Of course, synced playback with video should also be possible by a modern system, but let's start with the basics.

So please just explain this: What is the quickest way to play an audio file on the internet on a sonos system? This is assuming the file is not on one of the sonos streaming sources and our computer isn't physically connected to the sonos system. 
Just to reiterate the need for what should be simple - "You CAN stream any online audio stream."

I came to this thread by looking at how to play music that a friend put into a dropbox folder ... which I don't want to download or add to my library. If that's not an online audio stream, then it's at least an obvious audio source that sonos should have no issue working with.

Of course, synced playback with video should also be possible by a modern system, but let's start with the basics.

I partly understand Marc Webbs request. However, even if you look at it that way, I'm currently very hesitant because there is NO WAY other than a Playbar to have a digital line in. As long as the connect has no digital line in, the promoted  "digital age" is not really so true. If not going the route to support direct input as suggested, than at least add a digital line in to the connect.
To solve the Wireless issue, a connect with a bluetooth option would be fine and totally in the suggested Business Model: But then please use bluetooth 4.0 with an accurate connection speed/ good quality sound.
What I certainly don't want is a bluetooth adapter to a connect with analog Input - I can directly take the tablet speakers then which have about the same quality in the end 🙂 😞. And a again - I watch music videos on my tablet/ laptop regularly while sitting on the couch. And its just sad that I cannot use the high quality speakers which would be available..
Userlevel 2
Just to reiterate the need for what should be simple - "You CAN stream any online audio stream."

I came to this thread by looking at how to play music that a friend put into a dropbox folder ... which I don't want to download or add to my library. If that's not an online audio stream, then it's at least an obvious audio source that sonos should have no issue working with.

Of course, synced playback with video should also be possible by a modern system, but let's start with the basics.

I think 'ejules' has hit the money on the head.  Improving the capability of the components that already exist "within" the set business model is what I think this site is about, as opposed to asking for things for free.

As stated before, I don't have the issue that 'most' people are referring to because a) I will put the music onto my computer to listen to it if I REALLY must hear that song and b) I use a playbar as my PC speaker (now that's an awesome PC speaker, just saying!)

For me, I'd just prefer a bit more control over the PlayBar, because at the moment it is ONLY designed for TV so it took a bit of fiddling around to set it up for use with the PC.
Just to reiterate the need for what should be simple - "You CAN stream any online audio stream."

I came to this thread by looking at how to play music that a friend put into a dropbox folder ... which I don't want to download or add to my library. If that's not an online audio stream, then it's at least an obvious audio source that sonos should have no issue working with.

Of course, synced playback with video should also be possible by a modern system, but let's start with the basics.

i have a playbar...and it is in another room...i also have 2 bridges, 3 play5, 3 play 3's...and having a playbar as a line in is not the solution.  I also have 5 macbooks in the house, 3 ipads and everyone wants to stream what they are watching to their respective zones....that is the issue.  It is not about being cheap, anyone can spend money - it is about a company making a promise and not fully following up on it.  If SONOS is not interested in what the customer base wants, they need to shut down this thread and this group.  
Just to reiterate the need for what should be simple - "You CAN stream any online audio stream."

I came to this thread by looking at how to play music that a friend put into a dropbox folder ... which I don't want to download or add to my library. If that's not an online audio stream, then it's at least an obvious audio source that sonos should have no issue working with.

Of course, synced playback with video should also be possible by a modern system, but let's start with the basics.

Great point Michel.  In this business model you would need to go buy 8 Connects so you can stream the audio from your laptops and iPads!  That seems pretty ridiculous and Sonos needs to come up with some kind of solution.  Here's from the Sonos homepage:

Simple to Expand - Build a house of sound, one room at a time.  Play different music in any room or the same song everywhere in perfect sync.  You can use Sonos to control your existing system.  Wirelessly, of course.

I can understand not supporting synched wireless streaming with your wireless device, but the promise and business model says I can play my music (say from online services like bandcamp or youtube) with my existing system (pc or iPad) wirelessly.   How is this messing with their promise and business model?
Userlevel 2
Just to reiterate the need for what should be simple - "You CAN stream any online audio stream."

I came to this thread by looking at how to play music that a friend put into a dropbox folder ... which I don't want to download or add to my library. If that's not an online audio stream, then it's at least an obvious audio source that sonos should have no issue working with.

Of course, synced playback with video should also be possible by a modern system, but let's start with the basics.

WOW!!! I'm amazed!

I didn't realise that people on this forum owned things like bandcamp and youtube.

So for you Alex, it MUST be wrong, because youtube is YOUR music, you own it.

For me, the business model is accurate, because youtube doesn't belong to me and is therefore not MY music.  Only that which I have legitimately purchased and or imported into iTunes is accessible for me, and that is a legitimate control of MY existing music on MY existing system.

Apologies, I didn't realise people here owned websites that SONOS does not!
Just to reiterate the need for what should be simple - "You CAN stream any online audio stream."

I came to this thread by looking at how to play music that a friend put into a dropbox folder ... which I don't want to download or add to my library. If that's not an online audio stream, then it's at least an obvious audio source that sonos should have no issue working with.

Of course, synced playback with video should also be possible by a modern system, but let's start with the basics.

Marc Webb, I pay to watch movies and content on youtube.  I own it, it is mine.  It is legitimately purchased, I can listen to it on any device that supports the service.  I am confused by your response.  Alex and Michel's response seems reasonable.  What do you mean by "Apologies, I didn't realise people here owned websites that SONOS does not!"?

I would love to stream one of these movies or tv series audio over the system wirelessly. That doesn't seem to be a stretch based on the wording in their marketing material they offer or more importantly the purpose of this thread to request this feature, as it is not available at this time.  I think it would awesome and offer huge value to a large number of users if they could provide this feature.
Userlevel 2
Just to reiterate the need for what should be simple - "You CAN stream any online audio stream."

I came to this thread by looking at how to play music that a friend put into a dropbox folder ... which I don't want to download or add to my library. If that's not an online audio stream, then it's at least an obvious audio source that sonos should have no issue working with.

Of course, synced playback with video should also be possible by a modern system, but let's start with the basics.

You are well outside the intent of the system.... it is not designed for your streamed content for movies etc.  It is for audio services, majority of which SONOS deliberately creates native application for...

Proof that you are outside of the intent, is that NONE of your requests have been responded to by SONOS, none of your requests have a work around for which you are happy, and none of you seem to read your own comments...

you said "movies or tv series"... pretty sure neither of those are written anywhere in SONOS' own information regarding use and capability of the systems, excepting perhaps a playbar connected TO at television.

THAT, my friends, is my point here.  If you want native video apps, that's one thing, but to ask for anything else just seems a bit out there.
Just to reiterate the need for what should be simple - "You CAN stream any online audio stream."

I came to this thread by looking at how to play music that a friend put into a dropbox folder ... which I don't want to download or add to my library. If that's not an online audio stream, then it's at least an obvious audio source that sonos should have no issue working with.

Of course, synced playback with video should also be possible by a modern system, but let's start with the basics.

I could think of a mid way solution. Why not sell this functionality? Like a "Virtual connect" app/ PC app (As a pay as per device sheme)? Would be in the bm an extend current functionalities.. (apart from the "should it be able to do that" discussion it would still be a nice development, and as lin-in already exists, it is certainly not something that could not be considered)..
Just to reiterate the need for what should be simple - "You CAN stream any online audio stream."

I came to this thread by looking at how to play music that a friend put into a dropbox folder ... which I don't want to download or add to my library. If that's not an online audio stream, then it's at least an obvious audio source that sonos should have no issue working with.

Of course, synced playback with video should also be possible by a modern system, but let's start with the basics.

the solution is limited that is for sure. I just want to stream all the audio that comes from my laptop/ipad/iphone to a wireless speaker that i paid $300 for.  As it turns out, i can play a radio station but not youtube or DVD that is running on the laptop.  similar to posts above, but the message needs to show the amount of users it impacting.  This marc guy seems nice.
Okay I have read all the comments and I honestly have to say that Marc does have a point. I just did not read thoroughly through the description of what this sound system is capable of doing. I also thought that I could use it for my computer. I for example have my tv attached as a third monitor to my computer, hence all the audio for a movie played on that third monitor/TV goes through the computer. Could I get that audio on multiple sonos speakers by adding a playbar to my 2 play3's? Maybe Marc you could answer that question for me. Because that way the issue is more or less resolved. 

Thanks!
K.
Userlevel 1
Hey folks, I like all the activity on this thread and have asked Sonos to respond via Twitter, where I have had limited success before. If you're inclined feel free to also tweet at them: @sonos and @SonosSupport, or simply retweet my request:

http://twitter.com/renprovey/status/419158222206152704

It has been over a year since they last commented and I hope they might have an update. Hopefully, they can provide us information in regards to if they feel this is a priority.
If you have the Playbar attached to your TV (or any source with optical audio out), you can stream your television audio as a source to the rest of your SONOS system via the Playbar. It accomplishes this via fiber optic audio signal from your television. This means that anything you want to play on your TV (via Roku, or Apple TV or Chromecast....whatever) can play to the rest of your SONOS speakers in the house.

I honestly think that SONOS probably would give us the streaming feature if they could offer it without losing sound quality. I went out and got bluetooth speakers for that purpose.

When you're playing content from an online service that has developed an app for the SONOS system with the SONOS sdk, you're not playing it from the Internet through your computer. You're accessing that service directly via the SONOS bridge. That's how they keep the sound quality where it should be.

I hope that explains why (and hopefully not sounding as much like a douchebag as Marc Webb) most likely a streaming from laptop to SONOS feature is probably not coming anytime soon. If they did, you'd be disappointed with the lag and probably complain about the sound quality.
Clearly not sounding as douche as Marc - not at all actually.  To your point though, I appreciate that Sonos would want to preserve sound quality...but can't I make that MY choice?  The bluetooth speakers, do defeat the purpose of one system for all audio.  Added to the aggravating factor of the limited functionality....is getting to be equalized by the silence of Sonos dev team for their customers ....the technology is one thing but this says a lot about the company!