Integration at Last: Sonos Wireless Audio and Control4 Automation
A new software driver from UK-based Extra Vegetables allows a Sonos multiroom audio system to be operated via Control4 touchscreens, remote controls and a TV on-screen display
Control4 and Sonos lovers rejoice! Soon, you will be able to operate a Sonos multiroom audio system from a Control4 home automation system, including Control4 remote controls, touchscreens and TV interface.
Ordinarily, control of the popular wireless audio system is relegated to Sonos’s own single-purpose touchscreens – there are only two of them—and an iPhone interface.
“Sonos is the music streaming solution of choice for many home owners as it provides a convenient way to enjoy music in every room wirelessly,” says Vegetables spokesperson Jane Scotland. “However, up to now controlling a Sonos system and other entertainment equipment has meant juggling a Sonos controller and multiple remotes.”
With the Vegetables solution, users can employ a full range of Control4 interfaces to manage their Sonos music system. From a Control4 touchscreen, for example (the same touchscreen that controls the lights, thermostats and A/V gear), customers can browse through their Sonos music library, create song queues and distribute the tunes to any ZonePlayer on the network. They can also control the volume of the music in any zone.
There are limitations, however. Even with the Vegetables driver, the Sonos system still remains somewhat isolated. Only media from the Sonos database is played by the ZonePlayers. Similarly, the Sonos database is not made available to Control4 devices.
Control4/Sonos Driver: Behind the Scenes
Extra Vegetables isn’t the first company to tap into the Sonos ecosystem. In particular, there has been development around the Philips Pronto remote control, first from Australia’s AVD and then Philips itself.
But Scotland says Vegetables’ Control4 application is different from the Pronto implementation.
For starters, the “names” of each Sonos zone do not appear as IP addresses, rather something friendlier such as “bedroom” or “kitchen.”
“The dealer will have complete freedom on how the zones are named. This is quite important because Sonos uses DHCP and the IP addresses may change,” Scotland says. “There should be no confusion on what player you are controlling.”
In fact, says Scotland, there should be little confusion over the Sonos/Control4 integration, whether you’re a veteran user of either system or both of them.
“We will be implementing the Sonos style of music selection, so when you select a track you will have the option to insert it in the queue and play it now, add it to the end of the queue or clear the current queue and replace it with the current track,” she says. “You will also be able to set a default action rather than being asked each time.”
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at email@example.com
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