Support for BBC Radio HLS Streams

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Userlevel 7
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Thanks for checking back so regularly guys, we appreciate you being so engaged. We're working to get the on demand HLS content ready for radio streams right now. Development is still on track and we'll let everyone know when there's more details to share. Also, we'll let you know if there are any opportunities for beta testing this before it's fully released as well.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Requests for a good working version of BBC listen again have been around for more than 3 years, whether HLS streams or what preceded HLS. For me and many others the TuneIn version was patchy with regards to what it listed and whether when listed a particular stream would work.
I came to Sonos more than 6 years ago from Squeezebox and one of the limitations of Sonos over Squeezebox then, and I believe even now was the interface into and the reliability of how the BBC iPlayer streams worked. Lots of other aspects of Sonos made it a much better choice over Squeezebox, and I get round the BBC iPlayer problem using Airplay or Chromecast.

Ahh well yes, therein does lie a different story you're right.

When the BBC changed to streaming their radio channels using HLS essentially breaking them for those of us listening via Sonos. Somebody at Sonos/BBC dropped the ball and I believe Sonos were also somewhat taken aback at the level of upset this caused (This is my own opinion and may or may not be correct!).
Sonos eventually were able to fix the issue for streaming (live) radio stations but not for listen again content. There were hints earlier last year that the work Sonos was doing with the BBC might, I say might, lead to some king of Iplayer Radio integration but it became clear last year (this year?) that the first fix for BBC listen again would be to repair the play via Tunein - I don't know when this will happen but we know it is being worked on,so fingers crossed.

Now this is what I alluded to at the start - the integration of podcasts into Sonos is clunky at best. Honestly I don't know if that is Sonos' fault or the fact that nobody has written their own API to allow podcast integration - I suspect there isn't much money in it is the bottom line. So podcast experience is nowhere near as satisfying as it could or even should be.

However, for this 51 year old Sonos is actually some kind of voodoo magic - when I were a lad when Top of the pops came on us lads at the Boarding School who were into Duran Duran , Blondie or such like would all crowd into the TV room at 7:30 pm (right in the middle of prep so a treat!). Because if you missed it that was it. You would never see it again.

Let us not forget how amazingly lucky and privileged we all are.
Userlevel 7
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Where most competing systems require you to leave a server running even to access your local library. And there are probably a dozen people here who would walk someone through step by step setting up. Or wait for Sonos to finish implementation.
Userlevel 7
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Just wanted to ad that my experience of listening to BBC radio stations via TuneIn on Sonos is becoming much worse. For instance I am currently listening to 5 Live and in the last 90 minutes it has dropped out 3 times.

I regularly listen to BBC radio and my enjoyment of my Sonos equipment (Spent ~£2,000) is being seriously hampered and I am beginning to become an unhappy bunny.

Please, Sonos, add my name to your list of unhappy customers and also please ensure that whichever digits are stuck they are extracted as soon as is possible. There has, already, been more than enough time for the might of the Sonos, Tunein and BBC technical departments to have found AND implemented a solution to this debacle by now.

Userlevel 7
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Your right Stuart they do get mixed in with a lot of other stuff when it comes to solutions.

There are 3 solutions that don't require line-in that I know of:

1) If your using an apple device you can install AirSonos (windows/others) or SonoAir (mac) on your computer at home and it will give you airplay on your Sonos speakers. Then you can use your BBC iplayer app on your apple device to play to Sonos.
2) You can install Logitech Media Server (LMS) on a computer, nas, etc. at home. You can then install plugins for Logitech Media Server that will allow it to play to Sonos (and it includes a BBC iplayer application to get recorded content).
3) You can install minimserver on a computer in your home and it will transcode the HLS streams and allow you to add new streams in your Sonos app that will play of your BBC stations. This has advantage of giving you station to play in Sonos app but doesn't give you recorded content like iplayers.

If you want to try one of these solutions as an interim fix until we get the next Sonos firmware you can always drop me a PM and I can try to get you going in right direction on the option you want to try.
Userlevel 2
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FYI the AirAudio Android app needs you to be rooted.... and I haven't (yet) rooted my new phone .....
Userlevel 1
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Real looking forward to this development.
Userlevel 3
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"Due to rights restrictions this part of the program is unavailable"

BBC Radio for on TuneIn at 22:30 BST today 8th September.

When will this problem be solved - I have suffered months of appalling service - it's time for Sonos and/or the BBC to sort this.

No more procrastination - DO IT.
Userlevel 5
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Can I just remind Sonos that this problem is not fixed, despite the thread being fairly quiet recently. Currently the BBC Radio 4 service is dire, many many dropouts over the last couple of days (only with the BBC radio service) - and yes, I have tried deleting favourites and restarting etc... - this is still an ongoing problem, and if you are working with the BBC and Tunein (and this did seem to result in a period of slightly better service) then can I encourage you to look at this again in the absence of a more permanent solution.

I've been watching the various forum threads regarding the loss of the previous BBC streams, and like many others have found myself frustrated by the many factors that seem to be stalling everything (it seems the BBC also weren't overly helpful by not notifying Sonos in advance to help them prepare). Hopefully it seems a solution is imminent. Can you confirm that it will incorporate local streams again (currently I can't listen to most sport on Sonos because it is the international stream)? I am also hoping that unlocking this new HLS format will also allow Sonos to work with the BBC to create a solution that will allow us to stream catch-up radio content like we can on all our other non-Sonos devices.
I have also experienced drop outs to the point of BBC Radio being unusable over the past two weeks. I have removed the stations from my favourites and added them back but no improvement.
Userlevel 1
Thanks for the updates Ryan S. It's been a loooong time coming. When I first got my Sonos system over 3 years ago. The BBC support was ok and when ever anyone asked me about Sonos I told them how good the system System is and that they should get one. Which a few did. Over the past year I have been telling people to stay clear of Sonos until they sort BBC listen again services. As most people wanted to be listen to their favourite radio programme at other than their live broadcast. I really hope hope Sonos sorts this out and it goes back to becoming a brilliant product. At present its very below par
After 9 months of trouble-free BBC streaming, it is happening again whenever we try to listen to BBC Radio 4. Drop outs can last 30 to 45 seconds. When I collocated my Bose SoundTouch 20 to sit alongside my Playbar, the BBC stream to the Soundtouch is uninterrupted. This is not a wifi issue. Report No: 6426522
Userlevel 5
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Continuing dropouts are still a regular occurrence. Ryan, are your technical staff still working with BBC and Tunein? Can you ask them to do what they can to improve the existing service, as it has recently (over the last week or two) worsened considerably. Seems to be much worse in the morning, often starting to drop out at 7am, and from then on I am having to restart the stream multiple times. Really this is making listening to the BBC via Sonos impractical. Please try and find some way of improving the existing service as you move towards beta test of the new HLS streams.

This is a work around for the problem provided by Withanee on another thread. It worked for me
There is an alternative to using Tunein to connect to the radio station - you can set up any (compatible) internet radio stream as a custom radio station in Sonos. You need to use the desktop Sonos controller (not phone or tablet app) then Manage>Add Radio Station...> then enter the URL for the stream and give it a name. It will then appear as a station under Radio>My Radio Stations>. This method has one big advantage over using the Tunein directory service - for stations with multiple streams at different bit rates, Tunein tells Sonos to use the first playable stream that it comes across, even if that's the lowest bitrate stream! So, before the recent BBC radio omnishambles, I used this method to make sure I always connected to the 128mbps AAC streams - Tunein often served up the 48kbps ones! The only downside is you lose the station logo and "what's playing" text.
This url is to a playlist which redirects to the BBC mp3 audio stream itself (which has a much longer URL...). To find similar urls for other channels, go here , go to the mp3 list and hover your mouse over the "128kpbs" button to display the url Copy that into Sonos (most are obvious, eg replacing "bbradio4fm" with "bbcradio4lw", etc.

I've been on to support via phone this morning as I've been having a nightmare with Radio 2 constantly dropping out. They explained that having previously provided a fix for the BBC streams, BBC have modified them AGAIN requiring a further fix which is being worked on. They've got me to update the diagnostic levels on my system & requested after playing the stream again I submit a further diagnostic when the dropouts occur.

Ten minutes after rebooting system & restarting streams I was still getting dropouts on Radio 2 when I found this thread. I've just added the URL for Radio 2 into my radio stations in the desktop app & it's now seems to be working a treat! So glad I found this as my score on Ken Bruce's Popmaster was going down the pan as I was missing most of the questions.
Userlevel 7
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I wasn't aware that the BBC had made any recent changes. If they have that hasn't been mentioned by Sonos in these threads.

Sonos - Is this true?

BTW John Boy1970. I've heard some feeble excuses for poor Popmaster scores in my time but this one takes the biscuit. I bet the dog also ate your homework eh?!
Userlevel 4
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Although I don't think the bandwidth required for inet radio is significant.

Correct. It really shouldn't strain your internet bandwidth unless you are on a very slow connection. What is much more important is that your broadband connnection is stable, and not dropping/re-syncing; that might not be so noticeable when downloading files or browsing the internet etc, but as streaming (or radio in particular) is a real-time activity, disconnects will quickly cause the stream buffers to run dry and the stream to dropout.

Having said all that, if the stream source itself is flaky, it doesn't matter how good or bad your broadband connection is. The BBC mp3 streams are known to be unreliable (at source) and prone to glitching. The standard advice is that if you have saved the radio channel you are listening to as a favourite in Sonos, go back to the Radio by Tunein list and search for the station again, then re-save as a favourite if you like. This forces the system to choose the 'best' stream for the station from the several options available.

Hopefully this will be a thing of the past when we eventually get the promised Sonos update to allow direct access to the BBC's more stable and higher fidelity HLS streams.
RYAN - I like many people in the UK with a Sonos system generally listen to the BBC. I have tracked this post for six months, and as someone with more than one Sonos Sytem, I find it difficult to believe how long it is taking to sort this out - that is to stream BBC HLS. I think early on you mentioned that you already streamed something similar to HLS, so how hard can it be. Many of my firends have bought Sonos on the back of my installed systems but at present I have started to recommend the competition. I think the userbase deserves a proper timetable and your product should currently carry a warning label pre sale about the issues with the BBC.
Userlevel 7
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I didn't take it as Sonos criticism Stuart.

But I think it would be the exact time to introduce new firmware and promote its improvements at same time as new hardware. Doesn't apple do that every single year with their new product introduction and new ios.

Seems if in fact we are getting some new hardware there would be new software coming out at the same time to support it.

I would say we know at least one thing with the leaks we have all seen and confirmation from Sonos Store in Europe that Play:5 replacement is pending. They will most likely have a Play:5 replacement announced at CEDIA. With that announcement at a minimum the current public beta will have to go final. Even if only the current public beta went final...that would at least then open the door for a new public beta with other features.

I am saying this based off all public knowledge known and that would include the fact that the current beta has been renamed 6.0. We can't possibly believe going from 5.4 minor release to 6.0 major release means adding Spotify improvements (as is only change in public beta). Therefore, yes I expect something much more and it to be released with the hardware announced at CEDIA.

Of course Sonos keeps things so close to their vest I could very well be wrong.

**Note - this is pure speculation on my part and I have no idea as to Sonos' actual software release schedule.

They have not stated it is not in any form of beta just that they are testing it (internally). We just know it is not in the current public beta - which frankly is just there to keep the new Spotify improvements in testing and not have those that were testing it in the prior public beta left out.
Userlevel 7
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The HLS streams sound great Stuart - you are going to be happy.
Badge +18
You will still dismiss the iOS update. You will need to update from desktop or android. I asked about this and was told as long as hardware gets the update then current iOS 5.4 will show hls streams.

Good news - the next beta update has changes which improve the behavior when running an older iOS version from the firmware on the players. The app runs in a limited compatibility mode but you'll no longer need to regularly dismiss the update prompt as before.
Thanks so much for this update. It is much appreciated. Just another vote for a clarification about the iplayer / listen again streams. 
Miracles do happen!!! Managed to have breakfast today without having to reboot Radio BBC 4 three times......also audio quality much better Fingers crossed 🆒
Userlevel 7
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Did you enroll in the public or the private beta - check again. Login your Sonos account. Goto options at top right and go down to beta. There should be a way to enroll in PUBLIC beta right there.
Legend thanks Chris, Ill look into it 🙂