Question

Why won't Sonos allow wireless audio streaming for movies from Mac/PC?

  • 25 November 2014
  • 37 replies
  • 41672 views

Userlevel 2
This has been a long requested feature for years. Why limit the listening experience to music only? I love the sound when pairing two Play Ones. I wanted to keep them, but the fact I couldn't also stream the sound of my movies from my MacBook was a deal breaker. Why would I want to invest hundreds or thousands on a system that's limited to music only. I have a MacBook Pro, and I watch plenty of movies. Why should I have to buy additional speakers from another company just to enjoy movies? No one should have to resort to buying a play5 only to plug it into an airport express through the auxport. No one wants any more wires sticking out of their speakers. Using the auxport defeats the purpose of a wireless solution. Why won't Sonos allow software driver based audio output through their PC/Mac controllers that will allow any app to stream audio. For example, I want to run VLC player or Divx movie player and have the audio stream through the Sonos system. Can we get an explanation as to why this hasn't come to fruition despite an overwhelming number of requests from your customer base? It's almost at 2015, and it has been ignored for years. If this was available, I would've kept the two Play Ones and purchased the sub too.

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37 replies

Userlevel 4
Badge +3
You might find some useful suggestions here.
Userlevel 2
I appreciate the link, but it doesn't help. I'm not interested in complicated or inconvenient work arounds. I'd like to know why Sonos isn't doing something about this. I'd like an explanation. Here's what I came up with for their reasons. I'm assuming they prefer to fine tune the sound of their speakers by also having a degree of control over fine-tuning the sources through their app. Having it be a blind output device on a Mac/PC, would remove that degree of optimal fine-tuning, as you could throw any app at it, and it may or may not sound optimal. But the I suppose my theory is challenged, because the Play 5 has an Aux-In, which makes it capable of being a blind output device.
Userlevel 4
Badge +3
I appreciate the link, but it doesn't help. I'm not interested in complicated or inconvenient work arounds. I'd like to know why Sonos isn't doing something about this. I'd like an explanation. Here's what I came up with for their reasons. I'm assuming they prefer to fine tune the sound of their speakers by also having a degree of control over fine-tuning the sources through their app. Having it be a blind output device on a Mac/PC, would remove that degree of optimal fine-tuning, as you could throw any app at it, and it may or may not sound optimal. But the I suppose my theory is challenged, because the Play 5 has an Aux-In, which makes it capable of being a blind output device.
As you are aware this isn't possible at the moment, please refer to our answer here. There's some good advice there as well. Otherwise I recommend you contribute to the conversation in the idea thread, hopefully it will be possible in the near future.
Userlevel 1
Hi User 529764, based on Sonos inaction on anything other than what suits them, a cynic might suggest that the reason is that they wouldn't make a buck out of this. I'd love Sonos to prove me wrong but, hey, we're only customers and have already bought all their hardware so we are no longer their market...
Hi there Mohammed H, Official Rep.

Both your answers are incredibly patronizing and smarmy - as well as totally unsatisfying and unhelpful, of which you are clearly aware.

Being arrogant utterly fails to conceal your company's indifference to YEARS of customer complaints and requests.
One possible reason is that streaming movies from a PC would result in the sound being out of sync with the video due to encoding and caching delays. The only reason a Playbar can handle movie audio is because of the special low latency link built into it. This could not be reproduced in a PC application without special hardware on the PC side to support it.
Irrelevant, streaming audio from a PC has been done over uPnP, why this isn't a supported feature is beyond me - and with an increasingly lucrative batch of alternative systems, Sonos need to stop sitting on their laurels and innovate for the first time in about 8 years; Bose, LG, Pure and HK are hot on their heels - Bose a serious contender for replacing the 2 x Connect, 2 x Play:3 and 1 x Play:1 in my house
Userlevel 2
Here's a solution I just tried, and found that actually works  for sound! (I'm assuming that the video and sound would be out of sync).

I would assume that SONOS might be able to offer a similar solution, unless (of course) licensing issues prevent them from doing it without permission from Apple.  (Don't know... just speculating here).

This software solution provides an "airplay" driver on your mac that points to one of your Sonos players.  Once it's installed, you use it with three simple steps.

Step 1)  Open a terminal prompt (command prompt) and type airsonos.  This starts the driver.
Don't close the session.  It's OK to minimize the window.

Step 2) You use the Mac's "System Preferences..." , "Sound" to select the sonos as the output for your sound.  Now, play some music on your mac, and turn up the volume, and the sound comes out of your Sonos" instead of your Mac.   No wires.  No hassle.

Step 3) Grin from ear to ear as any and all Mac sound streams wirelessly to your Sonos!

HERE'S HOW TO INSTALL THE DRIVERS, 
PLUS LINKS TO WHERE I FOUND THE SOLUTION.

(I can't take credit for creating it, but I'm so happy to have found it... thank you Stephen! ... that I'm willing to share it far and wide!)

airsonos a Node.js application, and it's free!   

You need to install the right version of Node.js (it's an older version),

and then you need to use npm (the Node package manager) which will download, compile and i

install airsonos.   It's all pretty easy.  You don't need more than basic computer skills to get it done.

-----------------------------

I found info here:  

 https://medium.com/@stephencwan/hacking-airplay-into-sonos-93a41a1fcfbb

and installation instructions here:

https://github.com/stephen/airsonos

IMPORTANT NOTE: It states it requires Node.js version v0.10.33 or greater.

I tried it with the current release of Node.js (v0.12.xx) and it wouldn't compile. 

When I downloaded and installed Node.js version v0.10.33, and then tried to install it everything worked!

Here are the brief instructions:

Step 1)

Download Node.js v0.10.33 from here: 

http://blog.nodejs.org/2014/10/23/node-v0-10-33-stable/

or use google to find it.

Step 2) Run the install (node-v0.10.33.pkg) to install Node.js

Step 3)  Open a terminal prompt, and at the command line type:

sudo npm install airsonos -g

This will cause the npm (the node package manager) to download, compile and install airsonos and the packages it requires.  It took about 5 or 10 minutes to complete.

Now it's installed!

To use it, it's two simple steps:

*** First) open a terminal and at the command prompt type:

  airsonos

./

You should see output similar to:

MacBook-Pro:~user$ airsonos 

Searching for Sonos devices on network...

Setting up AirSonos for Basement {192.168.0.10:1400}

Setting up AirSonos for Office {192.168.0.20:1400}

On my machine these messages were repeated several times.  

LEAVE THE TERMINAL WINDOW.  Don't close it, or kill the airsonos app.

It *IS* OK to minimize the window.

*** Second)

Go to system preferences... (under the apple menu), select "Sound" and for "Output" create one of the airsonos outputs.  For instance, in my situation I selected .

"Office (AirSonos)                  AirPlay".

Now play some music on your mac, turn up the volume on your mac, and listen the music come out through Sonos!

This is awesome.  You can now send steaming services to Sonos, you can output your itunes music to sonos.  Want to hear a playlist of songs from youtube... done,  amazon music prime... it now works!, etc, etc.

Many, many thanks to Stephen for creating this and sharing the info.

I didn't create any of this, I'm just sharing the information since I've wanted this feature for so long, I'm happy to finally find a quality solution that works!

-Phil
Irrelevant, streaming audio from a PC has been done over uPnP, why this isn't a supported feature is beyond me - and with an increasingly lucrative batch of alternative systems, Sonos need to stop sitting on their laurels and innovate for the first time in about 8 years; Bose, LG, Pure and HK are hot on their heels - Bose a serious contender for replacing the 2 x Connect, 2 x Play:3 and 1 x Play:1 in my house
Yeah, I agree. Beginning to hire/consult the Airsonos developer to make it an official APP 
Irrelevant, streaming audio from a PC has been done over uPnP, why this isn't a supported feature is beyond me - and with an increasingly lucrative batch of alternative systems, Sonos need to stop sitting on their laurels and innovate for the first time in about 8 years; Bose, LG, Pure and HK are hot on their heels - Bose a serious contender for replacing the 2 x Connect, 2 x Play:3 and 1 x Play:1 in my house
Airsonos is an unlicensed/uncertified hack that bypasses Apple's proprietary encryption. Since it's only one guy in his shed, Apple tolerates it. If Sonos were to adopt it officially, the lawsuit would be filed immediately.
Philip, thank you for sharing this! 😃
it's your Mac password !
thanks for the tricks
i works !!!
but the sound is really out of sync.....
shame

and with multiple Sonos the system get lost with speakers names... (i have 8 sonos speaker in the house)

we need an official support !!!
I am so annoyed about not being able to use my SONOS PLAY 3 as, you know, actual speakers, that I may spontaneously combust. Wish I'd never bought this. Hate Sonos so much right now.
It is also irritating that you have to update your music library to get your latest podcasts.

And my wife simply won't jump through the Sonos hoops to use our speakers. They sound great, but buying them was a big fat mistake. Why have speakers if the software inhibits their use?

The speakers would be SO MUCH BETTER if Sonos provided an extension that would allow us to stream any sounds our Mac or iPhone makes to the Bridge and thence to the speaker.

I will probably have to 'accidentally' drop the speakers into the toilet in order to buy some that are more user friendly.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
research your purchases and buy the proper product.
Charles Jones,

We each have our own idea about how systems should operate. Personally, I don't want my computer dealing with the low level details of playing music. I do software development and the computer might crash or otherwise be unavailable. With SONOS on the job, a computer is optional and the music continues if the computer crashes. (Actually, I have never connected a pair of speakers to my computer -- my computer is silent) Plus, I'm a speed freak. Playing music slows the computer. With respect to your "toilet" procedure, I would not even bother to remove the outer packaging from the common Bluetooth and similar speaker appliances before my trip to the bathroom because Bluetooth speakers are not appropriate for my use. But, Bluetooth speakers are very popular.

I think that you would better appreciate a Bluetooth type of product. However, the Bluetooth product does not provide a very good "whole house" experience. This is where SONOS shines.
There is no excuse for Sonos not listening to the wants and needs of their customer base. Lets also consider that this product range has barely improved over a number of years. I own a Play:1, and I would have brought at least another 6-8 units if I could use alternative software to play my music / films and sounds from my PC. Even the Sonos API is pathetic and doesn't expose very much. The Amp doesn't have a HDMI port, and I think this is deliberate.

The latency issue is true for filns but there would be so many work arounds for this (even freeware such as VLC has built in delay capabilities). Sonos have done well but they aren't Apple, give the customers better software support as at present it feels very beta instead of a product that's incrementally improving and driven by its customers.

I can't fault the build quality of my Sonos, but I suspect a company not remotely interested in us as consumers and for this I have recommended a number of people to consider alternatives such as Bose (which I am looking now myself).

Hardware - 9 out of 10
Software - 1 out of 10
Innovation / Customer experience - 0 out of 10
Recommend to a friend - 2 out of 10
Agree totally with cbruiners and buzz and ALL THE OTHERS - except I am also not a big fan of the Audio quality, if I am honest. Too muddy for me..
Chris, best of luck to you, Rising Star.
My Play1 Tone Limited edition Speakers and Bridge currently for sale on NYC Craigslist.
I'm over it.....and I'm out.....
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
If people are upset that Sonos doesn't do what they want then why not just sell up? On auction sites all Sonos systems sell for very close to new price, same can't be said for a lot of other systems.

Yes there are ideas I wish Sonos would adopt, HDMI input, Windows 10 Universal App to name just two but looking at recent releases they have clearly been concentration on the quality of what comes out of their equipment. Trueplay being a prime example.

So I and others will continue to request other features and improvements but throwing toys from a pram when these are not officially acknowledged rarely gets results in my experience with software developers. Persistent constructive evidence based requests can raise the priority though.
thanks bockersjv. could you suggest some of the auction sites you refer to? are there specialized ones besides ebay? many thanks. tdm
thanks bockersjv. could you suggest some of the auction sites you refer to? are there specialized ones besides ebay? many thanks. tdm

Let us know what you replace it with that provides you with everything you require.
My Play1 Tone Limited edition Speakers and Bridge currently for sale on NYC Craigslist.
I'm over it.....and I'm out.....


thanks bockersjv. could you suggest some of the auction sites you refer to? are there specialized ones besides ebay? many thanks. tdm

Anybody else confused? Why would totally disappointed michael be asking for auction sites when his Play:1s are already on Craigslist? And if he knows about e-bay, why put them on Craigslist? Curiouser and curiouser . . .
Let us know what you replace it with that provides you with everything you require.

I've asked this 100 times and never can seem to get an answer. 🙂
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Mike has been such a great contributor though in his 2 posts about selling his Sonos and bashing me.