Sonos should offer a BBC iPlayer Radio App in the controller

  • 25 September 2014
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297 replies

Wise comments Airgetlam, thanks for your input and insight, that is a very thoughtful analysis. It can also be that the BBC wants full and compete control over the look-and-feel of its presentation, preferring the iPlayer as the only UI. I'm not sure of the level of in app advertising or user "recommendations" in the iPlayer app, but that is certainly one area where the BBC may want total control, something they are not apt to get with the Sonos app. The lack of control over look-and-feel has certainly stalled services from integrating before. Of course this is not to discount your excellent post; just to show that there may be many and varied reasons why the BBC and Sonos have not collaborated, with the ones you listed probably very high on the list (legalities always are).
A further comment, with the caveat that I don't work for any of these companies, and am an outside observer.

Generally, when it's a large company, they tend to have to respect legal issues, such as streaming rights, etc, and not overstep the bounds of what the law says. Plugins written by a community often ignore those issues. So it's possible (and I've not looked in to it, so I really don't know) that there's a reason why BBC chooses not to support Sonos with a fix for this issue. Or, it's possible that there is a fix in the works, but it's lower priority than other issues for them, so it's taking longer than necessary.

In my past, I've had to deal with legal clearances on music, and I can assure you it's one of the most convoluted and arcane legal quagmire I've ever seen. I was a in a division of the rights holder, and still had to deal with 6 different lawyers on 8 tracks of music that I wanted to use. It strikes me that BBC may not have blanket approval from the individual holders of the copyright of the content they have beyond very specific distribution (i.e. over the air, and in some possibilities, their own player, but not rebroadcast on other systems). Getting rights to this kind of thing is a very complex legal issue, and if you've ever dealt with anything related to legal issues, you know it takes lots of time and monies to get things fixed.

But that's just a scenario I've given thought to in my own mind as to why it's been a problem for so long. It could be that they just don't care about their customers. But I have a hard time believing that, of either the BBC or Sonos. I'm certain that they "hear" us complaining, and want to or are working on a fix, if it's possible.

I've never found negativity to be helpful in getting a situation resolved. I know that when someone calls me "pathetic", there's not a rush of desire to assist them in resolving their issues. But that's me. There are many different types of motivation.

However, I would certainly be pleased if this were to get resolved. While I'm not a significant consumer of BBC material, being based here in the US, I will admit to some amount of angst over the multiple and repeated threads in this community. I just wish there were some way to be helpful. Instead, I write these lengthy replies, hoping to provide alternate perspectives.
Userlevel 7
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BBC can chose to be partner with new direct from their i player streaming. That would resolve BBC issue.
Userlevel 3
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Aurorob,

The plain and simple fact is that it isn't up to Sonos. It's entirely up to the BBC as to whether they "allow" or "support" Sonos in being a partner. I'm sure they're well aware of the large number of people who are unhappy, and are doing everything possible to resolve the issue, if it can be.


Then how come it works on Squeezebox systems, via plugins written by the community? Sonos have been aware of this problem for well over 6 years, and have done nothing about it. Pathetic.
Aurorob,

The plain and simple fact is that it isn't up to Sonos. It's entirely up to the BBC as to whether they "allow" or "support" Sonos in being a partner. I'm sure they're well aware of the large number of people who are unhappy, and are doing everything possible to resolve the issue, if it can be.
Dear Sonos,

Please note the strong demand for BBC iPlayer as a dedicated music service. The quality of programming is something you should want to be associated with and to me, with a focus on streaming, this is EXACTLY the partner you need.
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I don't forsee BBC doing a version of their iplayer app withing sonos. If they were it would have happened by now.

There may be hope in the August 30th press conference regarding voice control and 3rd party app support. I wouldn't be surprised to see some type of ability to stream direct from BBC app. Guessing here but if any third party should jump on Sonos it would be BBC with all the requests.
Thank you Stuart

I will have another go this evening - it appeared to be picking up obscure (for me anyway) variations of BBC Radio, that I had not heard of and only looked at local selection, as close to me as possible geographically.

Based on the amount of posts you have, you appear to be more knowledgeable in respect of Sonos - I have a new LG TV with same brand sound bar, and I wished to steam the sound to the rest of my system through the connect. The sound bar has two optical outputs, but appears to be able to use just one output at a time, as you have to select the output (although I don't have 2 cables) and have therefore connected via the line in with RCA, my TV appears to want to select either or for sound output and I do not want to lose the sound bar output, but still want to connect to Sonos - Is this a common issue
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In all seriousness and sarcasm parked this thread is about there being an iPlayer Radio service inside the Sonos controller in the same way as Spotify or Apple Music. There are 2 reasons people ask for this -1) The iPlayer radio is very well written, easy to use and works very well and 2) To gain access to the widest range of catch-up, listen again (podcast) content which is easy to find.

Now - In Sonos radio stations and podcasts are handled via TuneIn - If you search for BBC in TuneIn radio stations you should find all you could possibly ever want in terms of BBC radio stations (including the regional variations!).

If you aren't seeing them then either you're doing something wrong (hence my suggestion to borrow a 7 year old!) or there is something wrong with your set-up. You may find that in that case a call to Sonos support would get you up and running in no time
Thank you for your unwanted sarcasm.

The latest posts are just 4 days ago and no I have not read all 10 pages, but appears to be unresolved?

I was unable to locate them through Tunein and all the relevant searches lead to to this apparent unresolved issue.

Thank you again, all though at my age I suppose i should just stick to the Bakerlite.

Wife would be interested in Radio Wales and spot on for Radio 2 🙂
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Just spent £750 on a 'state of the art system' on 3 x play 1's and a connect and horrified to learn that I cannot stream from the BBC - The only station I listen to.

I was going to purchase the play-bar as it will not support running my current play-bar and the line in at the same time (or at least my new TV won't) and now wondering what the hell I have just purchased - I was not aware of the issue, considering the pre-purchase research! There is plenty of info out there in respect of quality and sound, but I never came across a string about BBC radio streaming.
Having just sent off all the packaging to the local recycler - I am now left with a product that cannot stream the only radio station I was ever likely to listen to.

One very disappointed new customer!


There are no threads about not being able to stream the BBC radio station (sic) because, err, well you can.

I suggest you borrow a 7 year old and ask them to get 6 Music up and running. While you're at it get them to play Radio 2 on the second Play 1 and if you're feeling really brave Radio Wales from the 3rd.
Just spent £750 on a 'state of the art system' on 3 x play 1's and a connect and horrified to learn that I cannot stream from the BBC - The only station I listen to.

I was going to purchase the play-bar as it will not support running my current play-bar and the line in at the same time (or at least my new TV won't) and now wondering what the hell I have just purchased - I was not aware of the issue, considering the pre-purchase research! There is plenty of info out there in respect of quality and sound, but I never came across a string about BBC radio streaming.
Having just sent off all the packaging to the local recycler - I am now left with a product that cannot stream the only radio station I was ever likely to listen to.

One very disappointed new customer!


You most certainly can stream from the BBC. Both the live stations and some (not all) Listen Again content is available in the Internet Radio (TuneIn) section of the sources menu.
Just spent £750 on a 'state of the art system' on 3 x play 1's and a connect and horrified to learn that I cannot stream from the BBC - The only station I listen to.

I was going to purchase the play-bar as it will not support running my current play-bar and the line in at the same time (or at least my new TV won't) and now wondering what the hell I have just purchased - I was not aware of the issue, considering the pre-purchase research! There is plenty of info out there in respect of quality and sound, but I never came across a string about BBC radio streaming.
Having just sent off all the packaging to the local recycler - I am now left with a product that cannot stream the only radio station I was ever likely to listen to.

One very disappointed new customer!
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I'm going to keep following this thread for updates, in the hope that the issue one day is resolved. Until then, the SONOS speaker goes in the storage cupboard.
Squeezebox had a plugin because an Open Source plugin doesn't have to worry about distribution and licensing rights. It's not on Squeezebox when they are not the ones putting out the plugin, which is a convenient way of skirting legalities. Sonos takes another route which is less law-skirting, in that it allows any service full access to its API to integrate into its app. Unfortunately, that requires the cooperation of the service itself. But it is far less susceptible to moves by the services to counter the law-skirters, such as what happened to the early Squeezebox Sirius plugin and the various other software that broke Apple's DRM.
Userlevel 6
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Sonos does have an open API, available to any and all music services to integrate their service for free. So far, the BBC has not done so. Sorry to ruin your insulting/whacky stupidity/cnspiracy heories, but facts have a way of doing this.

The Beeb seem to be very reluctant to 'market' the iPlayer outside their own remit (which is essentially restricted to the main consumer markets of PCs, tablets, and smartphones). In my view, they are ignoring a wide market of internet radio aficionados who prefer more 'informed' access via streamers and internet radios. Squeezebox has long had an iPlayer solution which fortunately seems prepared to tolerate. All the other solutions, such as Tunein, etc. are pale shadows of the iPlayer original.
Sonos does have an open API, available to any and all music services to integrate their service for free. So far, the BBC has not done so. Sorry to ruin your insulting/whacky stupidity/cnspiracy heories, but facts have a way of doing this.
Agreed on the need. I can only think of two reasons. The cock up and ghe conspiracy.
Cock up
This theory is based on the fact that the Sonos engineers aren't sufficiently educated to know of iPlayer's existante because it not trendy.
Conspiracy
This is based upon Silicon Valley wanting to avoid recognising other forms of ownership or contribution to basic capitalist subscription.

Both reflect badly on SONOS. Which is a pity because the product is very good.

Perhaps it should open its API so others can develop to SONOS. Or is it a little closed fruit like Apple.
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I rather think it's SONOS the company, rather than SONOS customers, who need to take a lead on this. it is, after all, their business and their financial venture, not ours. I don't believe I purchased shares when I purchased my speaker. Should SONOS wish to organise a petition to the BBC I would be more than happy to support it. However, SONOS must surely be aware that they will not retain any current customers who regularly use 'listen again' on BBC iplayer unless they deal with it themselves. If the issue is related to the BBC licence, then I guess there's no getting around it. I'm not screaming in the wind, just making sure SONOS are keeping tabs on this, their ongoing problem in customer retention. Feedback from customers is vital to any business. I am presuming here that SONOS monitor these fora. If not, then my feedback is indeed futile. In the meanwhile, I will have to purchase an alternative speaker that I *am* able to listen to my chosen audio on.
Whatever the source of the disappointment, it results the same thing: the SONOS is not currently for me and I'll have to go back to streaming iTunes via Airport. What a bummer - the sound quality is great, but if I can't use it as I need to then, sadly, it has to go.

In the years I've been using Sonos, the topic of who's responsible has come up many times. When the Music Partners program is explained, the default answer has almost always been (paraphrasing) "I don't care who is to blame (*AHEM * even though I came here to blame), I'm going to keep complaining here! (Or dump my gear on e-bay)". Only one time did a large contingent of posters say thanks for that answer and proceeded to organise a petition of the service provider to utilise the Sonos API.

That service provider was Google, who now has the best integration with Sonos that there is, including streaming from their own app. But hey, why try something which actually works when you can keep screaming at the wind?
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Whatever the source of the disappointment, it results the same thing: the SONOS is not currently for me and I'll have to go back to streaming iTunes via Airport. What a bummer - the sound quality is great, but if I can't use it as I need to then, sadly, it has to go.
Regardless of "the measures", the disappointment, the gnashing of teeth, etc., iPlayer is owned and controlled by the BBC. That means Sonos could not independently offer an iPlayer plugin even if they wanted. In addition, Sonos offers a free Music Partners API for any service in the world to use to integrate into Sonos. The only catch is the service has to want to do it and so far the BBC has declined. This should make it easy to decide where one should be posting their disappointment.
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Just look at the measures people are having to go to!!! https://anonadventure.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/bbc-iplayer-radio-podcasts-on-sonos/
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I am so frustrated. I listen to most of my radio shows over the weekend via BBC iplayer listen again, as I can't listen to them live. I'm now struggling to listen to Paul Morley's excellent Bowie doc on BBC 4 extra on my laptop internal speakers after trying and failing to find how to locate any 4 extra podcasts on SONOS. If I can't listen to the shows I missed via the iplayer, there is just no point me keeping this speaker, and no point AT ALL in extending my SONOS system.
BBC Radio is an immense body of audio pleasure, full of wit, intelligence, humour, argument, news, history, drama, literature....I can't imagine anything else close to it exists in the known Universe. I've always thought of it as "The Jewel in Britain's Crown". The arrival of podcasts has opened up another dimension. Like Dr. Who, you can travel back to events you missed or wish to savour again. Come on Sonos, like all the other people posting on this topic, give us better BBC Radio access, preferably the native app! I feel like screaming!! I'd like to buy another Sonos speaker but this unsatisfactory BBC Radio access issue stays my hand.