Question

Why does half my stereo pair keep dropping out?



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After several talks with Sonos support, we discovered the root of the problem - for me, anyway.

I had switched channels and everything, but that didn't make a difference - the right speaker kept dropping out intermittently.

Sonos support eventually asked what my PLAY:5s were standing on. If they are standing on metal (or even glass) shelves or wall mounts, there will be trouble! The transmitter/antenna/whatever that is used for stereo pairing is in the bottom of the PLAY:5, and a metal shelf will mess up the signal.
So, I simply put the speakers onto wooden shelves instead. I didn't change anything else, and it has worked perfectly ever since.

I asked the support guy why this isn't mentioned anywhere since it's apparently a well-known issue. He didn't know.


I can believe that metal shelving might cause difficulties for Sonos wireless communication, but if the implication is that there is some sort of separate aerial used only for stereo pairing then I think that is not true. I am happy to be corrected if mistaken.
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After several talks with Sonos support, we discovered the root of the problem - for me, anyway.

I had switched channels and everything, but that didn't make a difference - the right speaker kept dropping out intermittently.

Sonos support eventually asked what my PLAY:5s were standing on. If they are standing on metal (or even glass) shelves or wall mounts, there will be trouble! The transmitter/antenna/whatever that is used for stereo pairing is in the bottom of the PLAY:5, and a metal shelf will mess up the signal.
So, I simply put the speakers onto wooden shelves instead. I didn't change anything else, and it has worked perfectly ever since.

I asked the support guy why this isn't mentioned anywhere since it's apparently a well-known issue. He didn't know.


Since I last posted saying that my Play 5's were behaving, I can report I have had no further dropouts. I solved my issue by plugging in the right speaker to an ethernet cable. Both my speakers on wooden shelves for what it's worth.
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I have the same issue, diagnostics code 4553409 if anyone from Sonos can help me with that. I get it running and it works and then the next morning I play some music and it stops working. Unfortunately plugging in an Ethernet cable isn't an option for me but all of the other devices in my house play find individually.

I am assuming that wiring one speaker to the other is of no value unless one of them is connected to the network and from the sounds of it connecting one to the network is sufficient to resolve the problem for many people so if I could do that I might not have the issue in the first place.

Right now I rebooted the right speaker and its running again, I did actually connect them together with a cable (sounds crazy but it can't really get worse) to see if it ends up making any difference. Actually, if I recall, the Ethernet ports do actually provide network access when on SonosNet so perhaps its not as crazy as it sounds... will see.
@John B - nope no implication that Sonos is using any separate hardware for stereo pairing. Actually, my Play 5 isn't in a stereo pair config, rather I'm using the 5's auxiliary to broadcast the sound from my TV to my stereo-paired set of 1s on the sides of my sofa. The 1s are where the dropouts were occurring, not the 5.
Armed with Svende's info, I seem to have solved the dropouts on my other speakers receiving the broadcast from the Play 5's aux input. I looked up a teardown of a Play 5 online that confirmed the location of the antenna as flat (horizontal) along the very bottom plastic panel of the device. Not surprising then that my heavy steel shelving causes problems. What a bummer!

My solution? Switching to wifi mode and letting my Airport Extreme handle communication for the four Sonos speakers in my small apartment. This seems to have done the trick. No dropouts for more than a week! Seems silly not to take advantage of SonosNet, but like I said my current apartment is very small.

Out of curiosity more than anything I also looked up a teardown of the playbar. Looks like that antenna is vertically mounted on one end of the device. Not sure if that would help in my case (logically it could), but I'm fairly pleased with my setup now so I'd rather avoid the hassle of switching.
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I have the same issue, diagnostics code 4553409 if anyone from Sonos can help me with that. I get it running and it works and then the next morning I play some music and it stops working. Unfortunately plugging in an Ethernet cable isn't an option for me but all of the other devices in my house play find individually.

I am assuming that wiring one speaker to the other is of no value unless one of them is connected to the network and from the sounds of it connecting one to the network is sufficient to resolve the problem for many people so if I could do that I might not have the issue in the first place.

Right now I rebooted the right speaker and its running again, I did actually connect them together with a cable (sounds crazy but it can't really get worse) to see if it ends up making any difference. Actually, if I recall, the Ethernet ports do actually provide network access when on SonosNet so perhaps its not as crazy as it sounds... will see.

Just to report back I have now been running for a solid week of playback with no stereo pair drop outs after simply wiring the left and right speakers together through the Ethernet ports. The pair is using SonosNet (must be since there is no wired connection to the network itself) and this seems to have resolved my issue. I had thought it a long shot and didn't see any suggestions on the forum that this approach might work however it seems to have for me, just in case anyone else is having the same problem and wants to try. For some I suspect it is easier to reach one speaker from the other than to reach their router from either.
My Play5 stereo pair is rock solid for music streamed from my media PC or Internet services. It's streaming a line-in source (my TV) connected to one of the play5s that gives me the speaker drop out issue.
Thanks JB.  The lag from TV through Line in to Sonos is so bad we don't use the volume from the TV.  The TV has an adjustment to advance the audio close enough for me, but the Sonos speakers still lag behind the TV speakers.  I've wondered for over a Year if the Play-Bar would really be better or more of the same.

The line in speaker dropping out is also something I've lived with since I've had the system, and I've given up getting it fixed.  (stumbled across this thread looking for a similar issue with wired PC speakers).

Sonos is such an incredible product, but they make it so hard to recommend them to anyone.  (single point volume control? !/?111?!!!)
My Play5 stereo pair is rock solid for music streamed from my media PC or Internet services. It's streaming a line-in source (my TV) connected to one of the play5s that gives me the speaker drop out issue.
Hi Aaron.  The one thing I'd add is that the lag is not really a fault but a design feature that allows Sonos to sync music in a multiroom environment.  Playbar excepted, Sonos just isn't designed to work with video.  I have no sync issues with the Playbar.
My Play5 stereo pair is rock solid for music streamed from my media PC or Internet services. It's streaming a line-in source (my TV) connected to one of the play5s that gives me the speaker drop out issue.
Lag is one thing I have not experienced (with my TV broadcasting through the aux-in on a Play 5 to my other speakers). What a bummer!
My Play5 stereo pair is rock solid for music streamed from my media PC or Internet services. It's streaming a line-in source (my TV) connected to one of the play5s that gives me the speaker drop out issue.
Hi wesww. Do you mean no lag between video and sound or no lag between the Play 5 and other speakers? I would not expect there to be a sync issue between the speakers.
My Play5 stereo pair is rock solid for music streamed from my media PC or Internet services. It's streaming a line-in source (my TV) connected to one of the play5s that gives me the speaker drop out issue.
Neither, actually. I've never experienced lag between the video I'm watching and the sound I hear, or between any of the speakers. It might help that my apartment is pretty small, so my four Sonos speakers are all pretty much within throwing distance of each other. Not that I throw my speakers around the house, but maybe I would if the sound started lagging.
My Play5 stereo pair is rock solid for music streamed from my media PC or Internet services. It's streaming a line-in source (my TV) connected to one of the play5s that gives me the speaker drop out issue.
I
My Play5 stereo pair is rock solid for music streamed from my media PC or Internet services. It's streaming a line-in source (my TV) connected to one of the play5s that gives me the speaker drop out issue.
Sorry wesww,, previous post failed due to insertion of a smiley, it seems. I don't think the room size has anything to do with it!.  I'm glad it's OK for you. The lag I got was small, but perceptible enough on lip sync to be irritating.
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Hello Everyone, 

There have been a few people who have posted recently expressing continued problems with maintaining connection between their stereo pair units, specifically the PLAY:5s. While some have tried a few of the troubleshooting steps listed in this thread, others have yet to and are still having problems. It's good practice to go through all avenues to ensure that there is not a larger issue occurring I'll list possible steps to try to see if we can improve the connection between the bonded pairs. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when one experiences connection or bonding issues. Keeping in mind that ideal setup for stereo pair units for sound and connection is between 8-12 feet.-  

Wireless interference can a play a big role in connection issues between bonded units and connection to other Sonos' units in general. Ways to combat this are: 
  • Set your home’s wireless network to a set channel opposite of your Sonos system. Traditionally wireless router's are set to “Auto channel" which means that they constantly be changing their wireless channels. By setting the channel (to: 1, 6 or 11), you'll ensure that your wireless units do not conflict.
Some third party devices cause conflict with Sonos such as DECT cordless phones. or 2.4 ghz units (baby monitors, cordless phones, and other streaming devices etc). The Sonos system works on a 2.4 ghz frequency and any device on this frequency has the potential to conflict. Making small changes can help ensure you do not run into issues.
  • 2.4ghz routers- most routers function on a 2.4ghz frequency. Ensuring that your wired unit is about 3-5 feet away from your router will help combat interference issues.  
  • 2.4 ghz cordless phones and DECT phones- 2.4ghz phones are usually the older frequency phones yet are still prevalent. Separating those phones and Sonos by at least 5 feet will help with interference issues. With DECT phones, creating a bit more of a distance between them (about 8-10 feet will ensure that these units do not conflict with one another).  
  • Other third party devices- sometimes creating a distance between Sonos and those units (baby monitors, wireless devices) is sufficient enough to maintain and stop interference. If there is a wireless device or third party device like this that is close to Sonos, try moving it or disabling power to test to see if it may be a culprit.
Home materials can potentially inhibit or interfere with the connection between units.  
  • Granite, Metal, or Glass- granite releases a small amount of radioactivity, that depending on the makeup of that particular piece of granite, can emit large amounts of interference.(NOTE: every piece of granite is different so this can vary.) Metal can deflect and inhibit connection to the system as well as to another bonded pair. The PLAY:5 antenna is located in the bottom of the base,. When placed on these surfaces can cause connection issues. If you are unsure of the surface make up, you can try placing a book between the unit and the surface as a test. Another test would be to move the units to another location in the room to see if you are able to maintain connection. If moved and the connection is maintained, there may be another factor at play. Potentially a third party device or something within the structural makeup that is interfering. Glass can also deflect and/or inhibit connection as well. Moving the device within line of site may help strengthen the connection to the next available unit. 
For those who have tried the above steps and are still having problems, please reply to this comment. Please list the steps you have gone through along with a diagnostic number after you experience the issue in your response. I’ll be happy to create a incident number for you so that one of our technicians can take a deeper look at your setup. You are also welcome to contact us directly by phone, here is our contact info[/url]

Thanks
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Hi Dominique,

Thanks for your reply. 

Let me ask some follow up questions:
I thought that the idea behind the SONOS concept was to create a separate network especially for your audio streaming. Isn't that why I have a Boost and previously a Bridge ? So what 'disappoints' me is that we - your customers - invest in technology that should (according to your own website) do the following:

BOOSTUnparalleled wireless reliability or create a Home Theater setup
  • No skips, delays or drops – even in homes with wireless problems
  • Comparable broadcast strength to expensive enterprise-grade routers
  • Offers complete, 360-degree signals through walls and ceilings
  • Neutralises network interference from other wireless devices

It seems to me that these guarantees would ensure that if we use a boost, none of the problems we have should ever occur. Based on these claims on your own site, you can no longer point to wireless interference as an acceptable cause... Would you agree ?

I feel a bit cheated that last time the suggestion I got from your support department in NL was to invest in a boost, while in fact I don't need one at all (or a bridge), as my house is equipped with the newest routers and super-fast wireless internet.

Why provide a 'Line in' setting on the PLAY5s if they can't be used 'reliably' as you state ? Your suggestion to use compression for TV is not an option, because - as you know - it 'un-syncs' sound from movie. Again, SONOS should be great for use with the TV as per your website:
If you're looking for surround sound, you can use two PLAY:1s or two PLAY:3s as wireless rear surrounds.
Do I now feel safe to invest in a PLAYBAR ? Not really...

My current situation is that for a few days it worked and then dropouts started again intermittently and without any link to any other device or process that I activated. It remains limited to the Line-in usage. I experimented with the channels and the Line-in settings.

For the heck of it: 4637100 and 4637101

If you really want to experiment I can also unwire the two PLAY5s.... :-)

Cheers,
Henk
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I recently purchased two Sonos 1's for a stereo pair had the same problem of the stereo pair dropping out and the occasional drop out. The was without significant wireless interference but not the best reception and via a high end Cisco WLAN (controller & AP) that provides very good error correction in order to maintain connections.

I solved this by getting a Sonos boost and creating a mesh network, I separated the boost from the main AP (via home plugs) and had to play around with the WLAN channels to get a perfect setup (home WLAN on 1, Sonos on 11). I've also connected the speakers via ethernet cable - I haven't removed this to test.

I believe there is so much wireless interference these days it's virtually impossible to get away from it. The addition of 5ghz would be a huge plus to Sonos...
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Hi Dominique,

Thanks for your reply. 

Let me ask some follow up questions:
I thought that the idea behind the SONOS concept was to create a separate network especially for your audio streaming. Isn't that why I have a Boost and previously a Bridge ? So what 'disappoints' me is that we - your customers - invest in technology that should (according to your own website) do the following:

BOOSTUnparalleled wireless reliability or create a Home Theater setup
  • No skips, delays or drops – even in homes with wireless problems
  • Comparable broadcast strength to expensive enterprise-grade routers
  • Offers complete, 360-degree signals through walls and ceilings
  • Neutralises network interference from other wireless devices

It seems to me that these guarantees would ensure that if we use a boost, none of the problems we have should ever occur. Based on these claims on your own site, you can no longer point to wireless interference as an acceptable cause... Would you agree ?

I feel a bit cheated that last time the suggestion I got from your support department in NL was to invest in a boost, while in fact I don't need one at all (or a bridge), as my house is equipped with the newest routers and super-fast wireless internet.

Why provide a 'Line in' setting on the PLAY5s if they can't be used 'reliably' as you state ? Your suggestion to use compression for TV is not an option, because - as you know - it 'un-syncs' sound from movie. Again, SONOS should be great for use with the TV as per your website:
If you're looking for surround sound, you can use two PLAY:1s or two PLAY:3s as wireless rear surrounds.
Do I now feel safe to invest in a PLAYBAR ? Not really...

My current situation is that for a few days it worked and then dropouts started again intermittently and without any link to any other device or process that I activated. It remains limited to the Line-in usage. I experimented with the channels and the Line-in settings.

For the heck of it: 4637100 and 4637101

If you really want to experiment I can also unwire the two PLAY5s.... :-)

Cheers,
Henk

Hi Dominique,

I have provided 4 incidents in this thread alone. I did not keep the incident report numbers from over a year ago.

As Robin below also states: it works as long as the speakers are wired. This is however not as advertised. IMHO it is a problem related to use of the Line In (by the way, tested the line in on both PLAY5s and it makes no difference) combined with uncompressed audio via wireless that - even in a meshed setup - suffers from connection losses.

During the problem the 'unwired' speaker sounds like a headphone with a faulty wire, if that makes sense. It cracks and drops out intermittently (let's call it fluttering) and sometimes it loses the connection completely for a couple of seconds.

I have switched my channels around, changed my line-in input level, changed positions of the speakers and the boost, but it keeps happening. 

I don't doubt that as Robin says we cannot avoid wireless interference, but SONOS claims that the BOOST:
Neutralises network interference from other wireless devices
So for the time being I am going to keep SONOS to that promise. 🙂 I would like my entire setup to be free of wires. 

So how do you want to proceed ?

Regards,
Henk
Adding my 10 cents. 

I have a Play 5 pair and from time to time I suffer from the same issue, i.e. the right speaker goes silent and needs restart. I feel that it happens when I put my iPhone charging at the same shelf as the speaker. I am not going to wire the speakers as I purchased wireless system to avoid additional cables. 

The issues used to happen frequently before when I the system was linked using the Bridge. Now the issue happens less frequently since the speakers are connected through main wireless router. I live in a flat in the city, that means the wireless noise is high.

Now the most important part. I was checking the network connectivity when the issue happened. The unit was reachable using 'ping' with low latency. That means there could have been network failure, but the OS recovered from it and responded. IMHO the issue is Sonos firmware that gets lost when the network link drops.

I am pragmatic and I can take the fact, that there are issues when the network is bad, as the cost of the business. I would have no issues if there would be 5 second silence due to the network recovery. But I should not have to restart the unit to get it running.
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Hi Dominique,

Thanks for your reply. 

Let me ask some follow up questions:
I thought that the idea behind the SONOS concept was to create a separate network especially for your audio streaming. Isn't that why I have a Boost and previously a Bridge ? So what 'disappoints' me is that we - your customers - invest in technology that should (according to your own website) do the following:

BOOSTUnparalleled wireless reliability or create a Home Theater setup
  • No skips, delays or drops – even in homes with wireless problems
  • Comparable broadcast strength to expensive enterprise-grade routers
  • Offers complete, 360-degree signals through walls and ceilings
  • Neutralises network interference from other wireless devices

It seems to me that these guarantees would ensure that if we use a boost, none of the problems we have should ever occur. Based on these claims on your own site, you can no longer point to wireless interference as an acceptable cause... Would you agree ?

I feel a bit cheated that last time the suggestion I got from your support department in NL was to invest in a boost, while in fact I don't need one at all (or a bridge), as my house is equipped with the newest routers and super-fast wireless internet.

Why provide a 'Line in' setting on the PLAY5s if they can't be used 'reliably' as you state ? Your suggestion to use compression for TV is not an option, because - as you know - it 'un-syncs' sound from movie. Again, SONOS should be great for use with the TV as per your website:
If you're looking for surround sound, you can use two PLAY:1s or two PLAY:3s as wireless rear surrounds.
Do I now feel safe to invest in a PLAYBAR ? Not really...

My current situation is that for a few days it worked and then dropouts started again intermittently and without any link to any other device or process that I activated. It remains limited to the Line-in usage. I experimented with the channels and the Line-in settings.

For the heck of it: 4637100 and 4637101

If you really want to experiment I can also unwire the two PLAY5s.... :-)

Cheers,
Henk

Henk,

I assume you have checked that your home network and Sonos mesh network are on separate channels (1,6 or 11)? I had to go through various incarnations of changing the channels to get it just right. Used inSSIDer to check coverage and interference.

I'd say the statement "Neutralises network interference from other wireless devices" is a marketing tag line that the technical department curse on a daily basis, but I guess you know that by now 😉
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I've removed the wired connection between my two Sonos Play1's and kept them in stereo, I will report back....
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Hi Dominique,

Thanks for your reply. 

Let me ask some follow up questions:
I thought that the idea behind the SONOS concept was to create a separate network especially for your audio streaming. Isn't that why I have a Boost and previously a Bridge ? So what 'disappoints' me is that we - your customers - invest in technology that should (according to your own website) do the following:

BOOSTUnparalleled wireless reliability or create a Home Theater setup
  • No skips, delays or drops – even in homes with wireless problems
  • Comparable broadcast strength to expensive enterprise-grade routers
  • Offers complete, 360-degree signals through walls and ceilings
  • Neutralises network interference from other wireless devices

It seems to me that these guarantees would ensure that if we use a boost, none of the problems we have should ever occur. Based on these claims on your own site, you can no longer point to wireless interference as an acceptable cause... Would you agree ?

I feel a bit cheated that last time the suggestion I got from your support department in NL was to invest in a boost, while in fact I don't need one at all (or a bridge), as my house is equipped with the newest routers and super-fast wireless internet.

Why provide a 'Line in' setting on the PLAY5s if they can't be used 'reliably' as you state ? Your suggestion to use compression for TV is not an option, because - as you know - it 'un-syncs' sound from movie. Again, SONOS should be great for use with the TV as per your website:
If you're looking for surround sound, you can use two PLAY:1s or two PLAY:3s as wireless rear surrounds.
Do I now feel safe to invest in a PLAYBAR ? Not really...

My current situation is that for a few days it worked and then dropouts started again intermittently and without any link to any other device or process that I activated. It remains limited to the Line-in usage. I experimented with the channels and the Line-in settings.

For the heck of it: 4637100 and 4637101

If you really want to experiment I can also unwire the two PLAY5s.... :-)

Cheers,
Henk

Hi Robin,

Yep. Checked and double checked. However, I have around 20 wireless networks around me (neighbours etc.) of which at least 9 have full bars...

I was aware of that problem and was kinda hoping (based on the hoopla about the Sonos quality online and the statements they make themselves) that the Boost (and before the other one) did indeed create a network that wasn't troubled by interference and that this was indeed the unique selling proposition from SONOS.

If I wanted a wired setup I would have bought something cheaper and better...

My setup is now 11 for router and 1 for SONOS. I'll switch it around to see if it makes a difference. 🙂
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Hi Dominique,

Thanks for your reply. 

Let me ask some follow up questions:
I thought that the idea behind the SONOS concept was to create a separate network especially for your audio streaming. Isn't that why I have a Boost and previously a Bridge ? So what 'disappoints' me is that we - your customers - invest in technology that should (according to your own website) do the following:

BOOSTUnparalleled wireless reliability or create a Home Theater setup
  • No skips, delays or drops – even in homes with wireless problems
  • Comparable broadcast strength to expensive enterprise-grade routers
  • Offers complete, 360-degree signals through walls and ceilings
  • Neutralises network interference from other wireless devices

It seems to me that these guarantees would ensure that if we use a boost, none of the problems we have should ever occur. Based on these claims on your own site, you can no longer point to wireless interference as an acceptable cause... Would you agree ?

I feel a bit cheated that last time the suggestion I got from your support department in NL was to invest in a boost, while in fact I don't need one at all (or a bridge), as my house is equipped with the newest routers and super-fast wireless internet.

Why provide a 'Line in' setting on the PLAY5s if they can't be used 'reliably' as you state ? Your suggestion to use compression for TV is not an option, because - as you know - it 'un-syncs' sound from movie. Again, SONOS should be great for use with the TV as per your website:
If you're looking for surround sound, you can use two PLAY:1s or two PLAY:3s as wireless rear surrounds.
Do I now feel safe to invest in a PLAYBAR ? Not really...

My current situation is that for a few days it worked and then dropouts started again intermittently and without any link to any other device or process that I activated. It remains limited to the Line-in usage. I experimented with the channels and the Line-in settings.

For the heck of it: 4637100 and 4637101

If you really want to experiment I can also unwire the two PLAY5s.... :-)

Cheers,
Henk

Totally take your point and I'd expect the same, mighty claims are made that need to be backed up.
Badge
Hi Dominique,

Thanks for your reply. 

Let me ask some follow up questions:
I thought that the idea behind the SONOS concept was to create a separate network especially for your audio streaming. Isn't that why I have a Boost and previously a Bridge ? So what 'disappoints' me is that we - your customers - invest in technology that should (according to your own website) do the following:

BOOSTUnparalleled wireless reliability or create a Home Theater setup
  • No skips, delays or drops – even in homes with wireless problems
  • Comparable broadcast strength to expensive enterprise-grade routers
  • Offers complete, 360-degree signals through walls and ceilings
  • Neutralises network interference from other wireless devices

It seems to me that these guarantees would ensure that if we use a boost, none of the problems we have should ever occur. Based on these claims on your own site, you can no longer point to wireless interference as an acceptable cause... Would you agree ?

I feel a bit cheated that last time the suggestion I got from your support department in NL was to invest in a boost, while in fact I don't need one at all (or a bridge), as my house is equipped with the newest routers and super-fast wireless internet.

Why provide a 'Line in' setting on the PLAY5s if they can't be used 'reliably' as you state ? Your suggestion to use compression for TV is not an option, because - as you know - it 'un-syncs' sound from movie. Again, SONOS should be great for use with the TV as per your website:
If you're looking for surround sound, you can use two PLAY:1s or two PLAY:3s as wireless rear surrounds.
Do I now feel safe to invest in a PLAYBAR ? Not really...

My current situation is that for a few days it worked and then dropouts started again intermittently and without any link to any other device or process that I activated. It remains limited to the Line-in usage. I experimented with the channels and the Line-in settings.

For the heck of it: 4637100 and 4637101

If you really want to experiment I can also unwire the two PLAY5s.... :-)

Cheers,
Henk

That's all I'm saying... Separating sales and delivery is not always a good thing. :-)

I am more than willing to help them in a well thought through end user test. However, what I expect from them is to contact some of the more advanced users (like you and I) with several test scenario's on which we will then report. A structured approach and not an individual one. 

I hope that by pointing out that they can't keep pointing to network interference as a cause (due to their own claims), I motivate them to go beyond the MS approach to solving your problems... 
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I've removed the wired connection between my two Sonos Play1's and kept them in stereo, I will report back....
I'll do the same...

Back in 10. 🙂
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Ok. I removed the cables and it all works.

Diagnostics using Spotify (no line in) : 4648800
Diagnostics using TV Line In on PLAY5: 4648806

Now, remember that I claim that it will take a while for problems to start... So for SONOS: please wait until I post again, which will probably be in a few hours or days (adding to my idea that it is a firmware problem)...