questions related to proposed multi theatre setup

  • 17 June 2019
  • 5 replies

Hi there, thanks in advance for any help or advice.

my setup will include two main areas. An indoor living room and an outdoor projector/ theatre.

the living room is only 10 to 15 meters from the outdoor projector and theatre location. I intend to have all my living room components work outside as well as in the living room.

after looking into Sonos all day yesterday, this is what I have come up with:

living room -





I intend to input all my components into a 6 to 2 hdmi switch, with one output going to tv and the other to a wireless hdmi sender for outdoor projector. This should sort out the visual aspect and allow me to switch video depending on whether I’m watching inside or outside. However, as the devices need to pass through the tv first before the Playbar or Sonos Amp,I’m not sure if this is an ideal fix as I would need to have the tv on to pass the sound even if watching on the outdoor projector.

i also have my living room audio covered with the Sonos config above. My next challenge is audio for outside.

outside -





apologies for writing it out this way, it just helps me to clarify everything.

so, questions relating to this setup are, I will have all the components in a large tv unit in the living room which I intend to share to both sound areas. The Bose outdoor speakers will be wired to the Sonos Amp. My understanding is that if there is an hdmi plugged into the Sonos Amp from the TV I’ll achieve a phantom center channel on the front Bose speakers outside. With that in mind, knowing that i only have one hdmi arc output in the tv, should this connect to the Playbar in living room for 5.1 or the Sonos Amp for outside 5.1? Would an hdmi splitter allow me to output hdmi arc to the Playbar and Sonos Amp? Would there be sound degradation doing this? Is there another solution to allow me to run two 5.1 systems off one tv?

Also, will my tv need to be turned on with this setup when watching on the projector outside in order to pass the audio? Will I be able to group both 5.1 instances separately so I’m not playing the same source in both areas at the same time?

is there a more practical way for me to achieve what I’m trying to achieve with Sonos?

sorry for such a long post and all the questions, just really want to make sure I get this right

thank you

5 replies

I've responded in your other thread.
Thanks Bruce, the first thread was before I did my research and this is more related to setup
OK, a few changes, so let me work through your post.

1) The devices don't have to go through the TV first. Assuming you have a specific type of HDMI switch, you can pull an optical connection off of it, and let the video continue along another HDMI cable to the TV/projector. I've not done any investigation to see if that option is available with two HDMI outputs, however. Would seem odd that it wouldn't, but I'd consider that, at the least. The problem would be that if you're watching TV outside, I'm not sure how you would get the audio outside, without the delay issue.

Hmmm. That being said, I have no idea if those devices remove the audio from the HDMI stream, or just duplicate it. If they duplicate, you could conceivably still use a Beam outside connected to an HDMI-ARC port to get audio. Or may just another switch box, to pull the audio out a second time.

2) What are Sonos outdoor eave speakers? I'm not familiar with that. Perhaps they're a Sonance speaker of some type? You're going to need another Sonos Amp to power those speakers, I suspect.

3) How wed are you to the idea of a single HDMI input on all of these devices? Life would be much easier ( for me, at least) if you didn't really need to have any single device running both TV/projectors.

4) The input on the Sonos Amp needs to be from an HDMI-ARC device, not a simple HDMI signal. So if the BenQ doesn't do an HDMI-ARC output, you're going to have more trouble.

A brief explanation of what HDMI-ARC is. Basically, a device (the TV set, or the projector) takes the audio input from pins 1 and 2 (as an example, I haven't checked to see what pins audio really is on) and "reflects" the audio back out the HDMI-ARC port on pins 5 and 6, which the connected device to the HDMI-ARC port accepts. So, you can't plug in an HDMI cable from a source like a cable box or DVD player into a speaker, and have it work, it must go to a device (the TV) and then that device reflects the audio back out through the HDMI-ARC port. So any signal coming in to the TV (on HDMI, I don't think it would work with a component input) would then be reflected....which means all the HDMI ports would send the signal back out the HDMI-ARC port to the speaker.

5) I've never looked at any splitters, but an HDMI signal is supposed to be at X voltage, so if you were splitting that signal, the spltter would need to be powered so it could maintain the appropriate voltage on both outputs. Since it's a digital signal, and not an analog signal, there should be no loss.

There's no simple way to run two 5.1 systems off of one TV. As I suggested above, if you were to consider each TV's input separately, you'd be in a much easier state. Of course, I'm not an A/V installer, I don't have access to professional equipment, it's possible if you were to go to an installer, they could do all of this for you for a fee. You're getting free advice, worth every penny you've paid for it.
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A few things that hopefully add to what Bruce is saying. First the biggest concerns I have about your plan is the use of a projector outside and wireless HDMI.

The projector adds complications as they aren't that great with Sonos. Sonos HT products work best with TVs that can pass through audio well, and projectors don't do that well. Since the the projector is always in a different location than where you want the audio to come from, you're going to have longer wires to deal with as well in most most cases. They don't produce their own video content, so you're always going to have to use an external source, unlike modern smart TVs that can stream content on their own. Lastly, the require the location to be dark, so you won't want find the video that useful outside during the day time.

A smart TV solves almost all these problems, so I'd strongly consider a TV outside instead of a projector if at all possible. I personally didn't want to leave a TV outside, and didn't want to commit to placing the TV in a single location, so I bought a TV cart that I roll outside when I want it and place where I want at that time.

As far as wireless HDMI, from what I've read, they don't do well when transmitting through walls and such. It also creates another wireless signal in your home, so you've increased the possibility of wireless interference. If you can use HDMI wire, I definitely would. You'll already be doing some wiring for you speakers and possibly electrical, so I would plan on wiring HDMI between your indoor and outdoor screens as well.

To give a little more info about my setup...I have a normal 5.1 setup in my living room. The playbar connected to the TV by optical and all that. I have an HDMI splitter (powered) that take the cable TV input and splits it into two, one for the indoor TV and one for outdoor. Because I have a single story home, and the indoor TV is mounted on the wall, it wasn't that challenging to wire a long lead HDMI cable between the the two locations. I put an HDMI wall plate on the outside to keep it clean. So with the TV outside, I can watch cable in sync with the TV or stream content with the smart TV.

As far as audio goes, the outdoor TV had HDMI-ARC, so I connected that to a Sonos amp. The amp is actually located in the master bedroom closet. Again, wasn't that hard to wire together with a long lead HDMI cable. So when I want to watch TV in both locations, I have the playbar and the Sonos amp playing seperately (not grouped) in the Sonos app. It's the HDMI cable for video that keeps everything in sync, not Sonos. If I'm playing music, then yes, I group the two rooms together, but not for TV content.
thanks to you both for taking the time to respond however, maybe I didn't explain myself well enough.

The projector can be hardwired that's fine.

The living room will be the hub for all my devices, passing through the tv to either the Sonos amp or playbar.

The playbar will have two rear Sonos play 1s attached and a sub so I assume it would make the most sense to pass to the player from TV

The big questions is the Sonos amp which will be sitting right next to the playbar will be connected with wires to the outdoor front speakers, then I would like to group two rear sonance eave speakers with the wired front speakers, hoping for surround.

Ideally, id would love to be able to be able to run HDMI to both the Sonos amp and the Sonos playbar. however, as the tv only has 1 output, I was hoping an hdmi switch between the tv and the Sonos amp and the playbar could be a solution. wherein, depending on whether I am outside or inside, I could hdmi switch the cable running from the TV between the two.

I have attached a guide of what I am thinking of, hopefully it makes it clearer and hopefully there is a way to do this!

thanks again