How to Do Surround Sound w/ Projector the Right Way?!

I'm dying to get a Sonos surround sound setup going, but my media room has a projector at the back of the room. From my understanding, I'll need to run an optical cable from the back of the room to the PlayBar up front which I'm really not thrilled about. I love the idea of going wireless, but having to run a 50 foot optical cable along my wall in order to go wireless seems a little like defeating the whole point, yea?

Please tell me there's a better way to do this...wouldn't it make so much sense to have other devices capable of accepting the optical connection? It would be way easier in a projector setup to run an optical cable to either the sub or rear speakers which could be placed near the source. With a projector, the only speaker that kind of HAS to be wireless is the soundbar. Has Sonos given any thought to this?

Best answer by Matt R 8 June 2017, 16:23

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10 replies

Hi HowardRoarkMG, Welcome to the community

You are correct when it comes to projectors it does become an issue with running an optical cable as the optical input is nowhere near actual image/picture. The other scenario is to have the playbar connected direct to the source and have the source located at the opposite end to the projector, but then you need to run the HDMI connection across the room. There is a little more to it then just adding an optical input to the sub or the rear speakers as it also needs the processing hardware for the Dolby encoded signal. It is however a great idea for future products, we'll be sure to pass the feedback onto the product development team and thanks for the feedback.
There are wireless HDMI extenders, but I don't know how the arrival time would work out with audio and video. You would probably have to play with the audio delay feature in the Playbar room settings of the Sonos app. Good Luck!
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Seems to me there is no elegant way to wirelessly operate a projector/sonos setup without a TV. It's just not possible without either running an optical cable from source to playbar, or moving the source to the playbar and running an HDMI cable back to the projector. Either way you need an ugly cable across the room. Annoying!

It's not 5.1, but using airplay to a simple stereo speaker works well. But no fancy Sonos until they figure this one out.
I'd agree that there's no elegant way to do this. However, since I don't consider Sonos to be an TV centric company, but an audio company with a minor foray into TV stuff, I don't consider this as a deal breaker for Sonos. The simple fact is that there's no company out there that has the ideal solution for every situation. If that were the case, there'd only be one company, and no competition. But we're fortunate to have choice in our systems. Yes, I do love the two 5.1 systems I have set up for my TVs, but mostly because they're convenient and attached to my whole home music system. If I were to build a home, rather than buy one already created, I'd likely wire it properly for my own purposes, and have a separate (and hidden in a well ventilated cabinet) A/V receiver that handled something more than just Dolby Digital. But I haven't amassed enough money for that yet, so I'm pretty damn happy with the "no speaker wire" solution that Sonos has provided. Sure, there's things I'd change if I were running the company, but honestly, they're profitable as it is right now, and their focus appears to remain music, not speakers supporting screen watching (TV/media of other types). I get it.

For your purposes, I'd heartily recommend looking at other solutions. I think you'd be unhappy if you were to attempt to force a solution using Sonos. Wish it wasn't so, but I'm a fan of using the right tool for the situation.
Userlevel 1
Agree, although the playbase is a dedicated TV-centric product...
Sure is, as is their Playbar. But if you look at all their marketing, they proclaim to be a whole home music system, first and foremost. I don't consider either of those two products to be their main focus, I consider the Play:1, Play:3, Play:5 and SUB to be where the most of their attention lies.
I'm currently attempting to figure out this whole process. I really only want ONE system, and I'm willing to invest heavily into that one system provided it plays my music, and when I want to watch a movie projected as a 12 foot image on my wall, I'd like to harness the same audio system. My projector works great and from a image size standpoint cannot be beat. I chromecast from my android device to a chromecast dongle plugged into the hdmi port of my projector, and since my projector supports bluetooth, I pair it with bluetooth speaker. My BT speaker is not home theatre quality or even stereo, hence the need to seek out an alternate to Sonos unless I can incorporate my Sonos into this system. I'd buy more sonos product and support Sonos were they to make their products Chromecast compatible so I can generically cast to sonos speakers without having to use Sono's interface.
Here is a theoretical model for you, in the sense that I have never tried it and I don't even have a projector! Anyone think this will work? Or can see a way to modify it so it will? Assumption: required sources a Blu-Ray Player and cable box.

One end of room: screen, Playbar, cable box, BR, HDMI switch/extractor with optical out, wireless HDMI transmitter

Other end of room: Projector, wireless HDMI receiver, Sonos rear speakers

Connections, screen end. HDMI cable box to switch input, HDMI BR to switch input. Optical out from switch to Playbar, HDMI transmitter in HDMI output on switch.

Connection projector end: HDMI receiver to projector HDMI input.

Who knows,,,?
The projector is set up in a room with the speaker for better sound surrounding.

What I did to pair my Epson projector to my floor standing speakers powered by Sonos Connect:Amp:

Connect AppleTV 3 to my projector via HDMI for streaming content

Connect AppleTV 2 (the older generations have optical audio input) to my Connect:Amp using a Digital to Analog Audio Converter

The newer AppleTV sends the audio to my older generation AppleTV, which acts as a receiver. I have to select the older AppleTV as the audio source whenever I boot up the system which sucks, but it works for me without having cables draped across my living room.