Service News

Information: BBC on TuneIn

  • 4 October 2019
  • 19 replies
  • 1864 views
Information: BBC on TuneIn
Userlevel 7
Badge +20

Due to changes brought about by the BBC, your experience in listening to live radio via your Sonos system may be affected. In August, the BBC issued a public statement regarding the removal of BBC Live radio streams via TuneIn. 

An excerpt from the statement: 
 “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.
 
TuneIn have started to implement the changes imposed by the BBC. Whilst these live stations have been removed from TuneIn’s website, they have not removed them from Sonos and also do not have any plans to do so. You are still able to play BBC Radio stations via TuneIn on Sonos. That is to say, if you go to TuneIn in the Sonos app, you can play without issue.

If you are attempting to initiate playback from one room to another room via Alexa, this will not work. This is because BBC Live Radio stations are no longer available via TuneIn on Alexa. You can work around this Alexa targeting issue by Grouping in the Sonos app, i.e. grouping the desired speaker with the Sonos voice enabled speaker. 

For example: 
Where you may have had a Sonos One in your kitchen and a PLAY:5 in your living room, you were previously able to say, “Alexa, play BBC Radio One in the living room.”
Now, you would have to go about this as follows:
1) Group the living room device to the kitchen in your controller app.
2) Issue the voice command, “Alexa, play BBC Radio One.” 
Please note that the above workaround will not work for Amazon Voice enabled Devices (Echo Dot etc.). Amazon First party devices are no longer able to target BBC radio Playback to other Rooms/speakers, irrespective of whether they are Amazon Speakers or Sonos Speakers. Alexa Groups will also not workaround this issue.

Why is there a difference between playing via Alexa on a voice enabled speaker vs. sending it to another speaker? We have been running multiple tests, our assessment thus far as follows:
The BBC live stations were accessible through TuneIn which is a service (and as such, supports multiroom). However, now BBC radio playback via Alexa is skill-based: Skills cannot perform multi-room commands in the same way that a service can.

In our tests, Google Assistant appears to be unaffected. You are still able to command BBC radio playback via Google Assistant on Sonos and on Google Devices. These can successfully target playback to other rooms, from both Sonos and Google Voice enabled devices. 

We will, of course, keep you updated with any further information. 




 


19 replies

Thanks for clarification Edward.

IFTTT can be used to give commands to an Alexa device such ss a Dot, to play BBC radio through a Sonos speaker. This works pretty well if you only listen to a couple of BBC stations in one or two rooms.
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
Thanks for clarification Edward.

IFTTT can be used to give commands to an Alexa device such ss a Dot, to play BBC radio through a Sonos speaker. This works pretty well if you only listen to a couple of BBC stations in one or two rooms.


You're welcome, John! Thank you for the heads-up, I will pass that on. We are trying to learn all that we can and gather as many user experiences as possible at the moment.
Userlevel 1
Badge +1
The Smarthings integration specifies one of the Sonos favourites - so adding invocation of Sonos favourites to the Alexa skill might work but maybe tricky by voice command.

The BBC change precipitated the problem but from a user perspective its the capability of invoking BBC stations on Sonos from an Echo (which has a been fundamental capability of our devices since purchase) that we want restoring.

Please talk to Amazon.
I've created a petition at Change.org about the BBC removing TuneIn radio streams – please sign and share.

https://www.change.org/p/bbc-restore-bbc-radio-streams-to-tunein
To use Alexa to play BBC radio on Sonos using IFTTT 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'.

To use Alexa to play BBC radio on Sonos using IFTTT you need ...

Thank you so much for this... it's a patch for BBC madness ... not ideal but just about workable

To use Alexa to play BBC radio on Sonos using IFTTT you need ...

Thank you so much for this... it's a patch for BBC madness ... not ideal but just about workable

Yes certainly far from ideal. For someone who only has one speaker, or who is happy always to play on all their speakers or a semi-permanent group, the instructions can reduce to 'Alexa, trigger radio four' etc. Which works quite well. Not so good for other users but after the one time set up it shouldn't be too bad.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
The Smarthings integration specifies one of the Sonos favourites - so adding invocation of Sonos favourites to the Alexa skill might work but maybe tricky by voice command.


I have not tested this specifically with Smartthings, But I have done something similar with Lutron and Yonomi several times before. It's the same principle as IFTTT using a 3rd party smart hub/app as a go between Sonos and Alexa. The applet/routine/whatever is created in the smart tool, discovered as a routine by Alexa, and then executable as a routine by voice.
Thanks Danny that's interesting. I'm still not sure I understand why the IFTTT method works. I guess the request for the station comes from Sonos rather than Alexa, and so works as the BBC still supports Sonos??

I thought I might have to put in a streaming URL to bypass tunein completely but that wasn't necessary.
Badge
Can anyone explain why the BBC skill doesn’t support Alexa groups and preferred speakers as this would surely resolve the problems? Is this also maybe for data collection reasons?

Thought I’d ask here as getting an answer from the BBC seems unlikely.
Can anyone explain why the BBC skill doesn’t support Alexa groups and preferred speakers as this would surely resolve the problems? Is this also maybe for data collection reasons?

Thought I’d ask here as getting an answer from the BBC seems unlikely.

For Amazon Skills to play audio on Sonos devices they need to be made compatible with third party (Sonos) devices, until that is done they will only play their audio on Amazon Alexa products.

Some skills do support Sonos, but not the BBC skill at the moment unfortunately.

I have personally given written feedback to the BBC via the Skill feedback-link itself, asking for it to support playback on Sonos.

Just have to keep banging that drum in the hope someone may sit up and listen.
Userlevel 1
Badge +1
I would suggest now to focus on persuading BBC to reverse their decision using the complaint channels posted by users on https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/entries/45fa0731-189c-43eb-8e4f-3071b8384895

They went ahead with the change without the technical ability to reproduce what the Alexa/Tunein/Sonos integration could do nor the means/willingness to engage with Amazon to achieve it.

Perhaps Sonos might be able to enhance their Alexa skill to invoke Tunein stations or favorites directly just like their app can, they already know we want something along those lines by the number of postings here.
To use Alexa to play BBC radio on Sonos using IFTTT you need ...

Thank you for this . A fairly easy work around (I only use Sonos in one room). The BBC is unbelievable. Should never have happened.
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
Painful. Well done, BBC, for fouling up something that was working very well.
Userlevel 1
Badge +1
The BBC have posted a third blog https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/entries/ba37d6b5-59fd-470d-9da2-dec1b45b8bd5

This suggests that routines will become able to trigger skills (like the BBC skill) based on Alarms etc but I can't see mention of anything to restore Sonos speaker output.
Userlevel 6
Badge +5
Just a quick heads up for those not reading the blogs over in BBC land

The BBC Radio 4 program, Feedback, will be discussing the removal of BBC streams for UK TuneIn users and have invited contact.

Please, if you are affected by this, send an email to feedback@bbc.co.uk with details of how this change has impacted your listening to BBC Radio using Sonos with Alexa.

The program will be broadcast on 18th October 16:30 UK time so get your emails in early for a good chance of consideration.

JulesP has posted an update covering this to his petition at change.org which stands at over 1000 signatories at this point:

https://www.change.org/p/bbc-restore-bbc-radio-streams-to-tunein/u/25183421

for the BBC blogs and associated comments, see the following:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/entries/37e4e3f6-fbd2-4c14-8d72-7f7139641582

https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/entries/45fa0731-189c-43eb-8e4f-3071b8384895

https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/entries/ba37d6b5-59fd-470d-9da2-dec1b45b8bd5
Userlevel 6
Badge +5

Apologies in advance for effectively bumping this topic - but I’m prepared to take a rap on the knuckles for this one.

Please see my previous post and, if you have in any way been affected by the BBC’s fall out with TuneIn, please check out the BBC blogs, sign the petiton and perhaps, most importantly, get an email off to feedback@bbc.co.uk as this topic will be discussed on BBC Radio 4 this Friday @ 16:30 UK time.

Thanks all…..

To use Alexa to play BBC radio on Sonos using IFTTT 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.
If you haven't used IFTTT before, download the IFTTT app and link your Sonos and Alexa accounts to it.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Make sure you tap the 'Finish' button to save the applet.
  4. To play BBC Radio 6 Music in the kitchen, say 'Alexa, trigger kitchen radio 6'.

I followed those steps and it worked well.  However I don’t seem able to create more than one such applet.  

All I seem to be able to do is edit or delete the one I created.  Can anyone advise on how to create a second or third IFTTT applet to do this?

Hit the '+' sign in top right of the 'My applets' screen to create a new applet.

Reply