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Using Sonos via Airplay from Mac for TV  

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DoItForMe.Solutions
(@doitforme-solutions)
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Joined: 5 months  ago
Posts: 8
September 13, 2018 2:03 EST AM  

Interesting MGG 726 discussion about Sonos as speakers for a Mac.

The issue that I think you were stumbling around is that Sonos only works as a wireless solution as a replacement for a traditional AVR (audio-video receiver) because it a closed system.

Sonos has as lot of clever engineering to equalize the delays inherent in running audio over multiple wireless links.

If you simply AirPlay (or AirPlay 2) from a Mac, this synchronization doesn't take place so it is possible to have the audio and video not in sync.

That is why the Apple HomePod or any other Airplay speaker cannot be used effectively to replace an AVR or the built-in speakers in modern TV's.

The Sonos soundbar (either the original Playbar/Playbase or the newer Beam) uses optical or HDMI ARC audio connection to the video source (usually your TV), and then handles all the synchronization with the other Sonos devices to have 5.1 surround sound that works.

AirPlay or AirPlay 2 from a Mac (or other computer) is fine for listening to music, but problematic for video.  Bear in mind that it might work under some conditions so YMMV but it is far from ideal solution.

There are a few AVR's that have released or plan to release Airplay 2 support and that list will grow.  If you have a traditional media room or home theater, then having an AVR with AirPlay 2 allows the most flexibility.

Sonos makes a device called "Connect" that works with AVR's but it does not support AirPlay 2.

The best solution right now is to use an old Apple Express Wi-Fi router with the newly released firmware that supports AirPlay 2.  This routers have a jack that supports analog output or optical output and used to cost $99.

This topic was modified 2 months  ago 2 times by DoItForMe.Solutions

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Dave Hamilton
(@davehamilton)
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Joined: 20 years  ago
Posts: 237
September 17, 2018 11:53 EST AM  
Posted by: DoItForMe.Solutions

If you simply AirPlay (or AirPlay 2) from a Mac, this synchronization doesn't take place so it is possible to have the audio and video not in sync.

That is why the Apple HomePod or any other Airplay speaker cannot be used effectively to replace an AVR or the built-in speakers in modern TV's.

I'm not sure this is correct now with AirPlay 2. @bryanchaffin has been using HomePod (and, at times, a pair of them) as sound for his Apple TV for months now with no sync issues whatsoever.

This was also my experience testing the HomePod here. 

It was also my experience streaming YouTube on my iPad using AirPlay 2-to-Sonos for audio. Zero visible latency. 

Either AirPlay 2 has no obvious latency (unlikely) or more likely AirPlay 2 tells the video playback engine to delay appropriately to sync.

But yeah, it works. No perceivable latency at all, using HomePod or Sonos.


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DoItForMe.Solutions
(@doitforme-solutions)
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Joined: 5 months  ago
Posts: 8
September 17, 2018 3:11 EST PM  

We are kinda saying the same thing.

If you are all Apple (only), then a HomePod can be used with an AppleTV for audio output.

The challenge, and primary need, is to provide the audio for an actual TV, not an Apple TV.

Traditionally, a TV either uses built-in speakers, is connected to an audio output device (like newer sound bars) via an optical audio output, or is connected to a stereo receiver (AVR) which provides multiple speaker outputs and additional inputs.

The new Sonos Beam uses HDMI/ARC output from an actual TV for the L,C,R speakers and then uses their proprietary wireless capability to "pair" or link to other Sonos speakers / subwoofer (or regular speakers wired to a Sonos Connect:AMP) to provide perfectly synchronized audio.

In this configuration, I would like to have the option to use a pair of Apple HomePods as the  surround speakers or alternate L/R speakers, but that is not possible.

The reason this is needed is because AppleTV is not yet "input 0".  There are other audio/video sources (Satellite boxes, UHD bluray, high-end digital jukeboxes) that are connected directly to a TV and do not "loop" their audio through an AppleTV box so for the near term, there is still a need for audio output systems configured for TV's.

The "all TV is an app" is not yet reality (if ever).

And just to clarify, Sonos is not an "audiophile" system.  It is a mid-range solution that trades audio quality/purist approach for pragmatic benefits (ease of use, app-based control, easy wireless installation options).

This post was modified 2 months  ago 4 times by DoItForMe.Solutions

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