back to article Sonos and I: How home media playback just gets SO FRUSTRATING

Going through the installation of a couple of Sonos Play:1 speakers in a cottage lacking any form of Hi-Fi or video storage/playing devices got me thinking about just much existing Hi-Fi, TV and DVD systems suck - big time. My house has multiple variously incompatible devices stuck in time warps of point functionality. The …

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  1. lee harvey osmond

    If you think Chris Mellor is being over the top about TV sound ...

    ... does your computer have a fancy sound system capable of bass tones?

    It does? Head to iPlayer, find an episode of Dad's Army, and play the first minute or so, so you can listen to the theme tune.

    What is that you are hearing? Is it a part for an upright bass that you've never noticed before? That's because your TV's speakers aren't up to it, nor all your previous TVs, all the way back to when Dad's Army first aired.

  2. fajensen Silver badge

    Aaand: If you want to get TeeVee, these days it is distributed via IP - which will need another box and a remote for that box (and the box requires a cable to the broadband modem) -> The Reason I do not have TV, I don't want another poxy box + zapper + cabling.

    I want one TV, that displayeth moving pictures, one set of wireless speakers to handle the sound and one remote-app to rule them all!

  3. I'm Brian and so's my wife

    With Christmas so close I'm seriously tempted...

    I ummed & ahhed last year, then finally plumped for a Play 3 because it came with a bridge and 6 months' Napster included in the price. It really is an amazing product and I'm seriously tempted to add another component this Christmas.

    It connected to my NAS with ease and since the bridge can connect to your router, you can listen to radio on t'interwebs and also search for podcasts. They really are class products!

  4. Richard 22

    Remote apps

    I like the concept of apps acting as remote control for everything, except in general they suck.

    First problem - an app for each box, each with it's own UI, is almost as annoying as a remote control for each box. Finding the correct app to do the right thing often takes longer than reaching for the table and picking up the correct remote control (particularly for commonly used devices).

    Second problem - the apps take too long to connect. And sometimes they don't connect, for no apparent reason. The sky+ app and my onkyo receiver app have both these issues occasionally. When they are connected and working, great (though switching to the right bit of the interface is often a pain) - I generally use the Onkyo app for browsing spotify rather than having to turn the TV on to do it, but for all other features I use the Onkyo physical remote (it helps that this also acts as a universal remote for the TV and sky box).

    In general remote apps are a useful addition to the physical remote, but one which gets used far less (at least in my house).

    I went with the cheap remote speakers option (£80 UHF speakers) rather than Sonos - and they work remarkably well, and have a better usable range than Wi-fi or bluetooth. I use them for zone 2 on my amp rather than as rear speakers - I doubt they sound anywhere near as good as my wired remote speakers (or the Play:1).

    1. dan1980

      Re: Remote apps

      With you there - when the phone's ringing or your partner is yelling at you to turn it down, a standard, 'always-on' infrared remote is the way to go.

      I've also yet to find an 'app' with the required features that is even close to usable without having to look at the blasted thing. The raised, tactile nature of a conventional remote means that, after a short while, most people can operate the thing without really looking, save for when you first pick it up and position your hand. Even then, most well-designed remotes are contoured so your hand generally slips into the same position each time.

      And, while remotes can (and do) end up down the back of the couch, I don't think I've had to search the house for one, finding it in the bathroom or under the bedspread or in my partner's bag. That's because it's not overly useful in any of those places. A tablet/smart-phone, however, is far more likely to go walking. So, either buy a dedicated device for the system or be prepared to argue about whether changing tracks is more important than an Angry Birds high score. Even then, if you have it controlling multiple devices in multiple rooms, you may have to choose between the ability to pause your movie in the lounge or you partner's ability to change the radio station in the bedroom. A device in each room is a very nice solution but far from cheap!

      Sure you might say that most people have a smart phone these days but, even imagining that that is the case, you end up with an angry wife, unable to call you because you left your phone in the study again after using it to cue up the ultimate Smiths playlist.

      Of course, a 'smart' device can do much more and generally with a much richer (or even customisable) interface and a WLAN-capable device has the advantage of being useful from locations without line-of-sight; something quite handy with multi-room systems like the Sonos.

  5. Timo

    great article

    It is pretty surprising that all of the sources are set up to play through the crappiest speakers in the house.

    I think someone has figured out how to take audio into a Raspberry Pi, grab it and stream it across a network. It isn't going to be compatible with your Sonos setup but will be cheap at the tradeoff that you will probably have hours of "enjoyment" tinkering with it.

    I've been searching for a cheap alternative to the Sonos setup, and think there may be a solution in a Raspberry Pi, with open source slimplayer/squeezebox clients. Server may not be as beautiful but it is possible to sync clients together.

    1. Billy 8

      Re: great article

      I picked up an airport express recently as it supports being a wireless client for airplay streams. Has an analogue audio out so I could plug it into my existing hifi. Happily controlling from an android remote-control app and there are Linux tools if you want to integrate an Rpi too. Cost about 70 quid, but really saved me a load of hassle - ymmv :-)

    2. APJ
      Happy

      Re: great article

      The Squeezebox doesn't get much of a mention these days as Logitech appear to have destroyed it. I have half a dozen or so SB devices scattered around the house as well as software players on phones and laptops. Has been an amazing multi-room system for the past (getting on for) 10 years. I still have two of the original SLiMP3 players, though they can't handle Spotify, sadly. But Slimserver still performs extremely well and has absolutely brilliant 3rd party support for iPlayer, Spotify, Last.fm, Deezer, Pandora, etc.

      The SlimServer was my first exposure to the possibilities of Open Source, and although it's now suffering a little from feature bloat, it's a tremendous piece of kit. At one time I had it integrated over xPL to HomeSeer so that a SliMP3 player could route IR commands to the SB Server which would control the house lights and alarm system over X10. Ah, the days before the kids arrived...

      1. petur
        Thumb Up

        Re: great article

        +1 for SqueezeBox... I bought quite a bit of reserve when they announced the end, and prices were already falling, so it was dirt cheap compared to Sonos.

        And since Squeeze was the only real competitor for Sonos, I'm not surprised to read this article on El Reg. No other choice.

        And while I'm at it, here's a big F.Y. Logitech. Bunch of idiots!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          F.Y. Logitech

          From me too.

          Brilliant product, decently priced and well loved by an enthusiastic customer base. Chopped. Because Logitech bosses' brains weren't big enough for it, so they threw it away. All they can understand is keyboards and mice, and even then they'd better not be connected to or with anything Linux. Oh dear me, no.

          Bastards.

          Been buying them up at good prices, petur? Good for you. Good investment! Wish I had a couple of spares.

          1. Burb

            Re: F.Y. Logitech

            And another one from me.

            Note that Squeezebox is not dead by a long shot. The software is open source and there are various options for creating new players such as installing a player app on a smartphone (Squeezeplay + SqueezeCommander on Android, or iPeng on the iPhone). As suggested above, it is possible to get working a player based on a Raspberry Pi. However, probably the most interesting thing on the horizon is something called Community Squeeze, which is "a project to produce an audiophile quality Squeezebox compatible music player". This has made huge progress just in the last few months.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Community Squeeze, etc

              Yes, indeed. Very promising.

  6. AMB-York Silver badge

    Wouldn't it be easier

    To just use a PC/Mac connected to manage everythin?

    I have a £150 Windows PC connected to an amplifier with decent speakers. Same PC connects to a projector for films. Can control over whatever method I prefer.

    Speaker cables are run along the skirting boards - plenty of easy ways to hide them.

    I'd like to go wireless for the HDMI connection, just not got round to it yet.

  7. This Side Up

    Sorry, but...

    Why do you need a separate sound system for your tv. I don't have a main tv for this reason. I use a smart HD HDD recorder and an HD monitor. The sound output goes into my hi-fi system and the HDMI outout goes to the monitor. That's all I need.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Sorry, but...

      While I would in no way recommend the device in the article my TV is in a place suitable for viewing and my audio system for listening to music is in a different place - to use it for TV audio would not be nice -especially as the screen would probably resonate at moderate volume.

  8. Canopus

    Nice.... but not quite there yet !

    Sorry to be a spoilsport but I assume that Sonos speakers ...for all their pricey greatness are still not fully wireless speakers...

    They need some form of power source and - as I doubt they provide high power sound with two AAA batteries - they need some form of messy cabled wired mains connection....

    The Sonos website artfully avoids the question and shows us carefully oriented shots of speakers in designer living rooms seemingly not connected to anything.... a bit misleading no?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice.... but not quite there yet !

      There's also no mention of the word 'mono' on the play 1..

      1. Dapprman

        Re: Nice.... but not quite there yet !

        To the two above

        1. Power supply - Sonos units all plug in to the mains - which is a shame as it'd be nice to have a fully portable unit to take out in to the garden.

        2. Mono - nope all devices are at least stereo, however with the Play series you can use a pair as 'stero' speakers - i.e. one covering left and one covering right.

  9. Florence

    I bought this for £18 in 2009: http://www.play.com/PC/PCs/4-/5180776/-/Product.html

    and while it certainly won't solve the TV issues, it's an easy and CHEAP way of streaming music from the computer onto decent speakers.

    I really would have expected to see better and cheaper solutions than Sonos by now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But that doesn't let you sync music between rooms, or (alternatively) play different music in different rooms, control the various rooms from your phone, tablet etc. It's nothing like the Sonos system. That's essentially just a cable from the soundcard in your pc to speakers, except the cable is a wifi connection. Sonos is much more than that (as are similar systems like the Squeezeboxs I use in the house)

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        I've always found that having more than one music player/clock radio/tranny assists greatly with the 'playing something different in a different room' scenario. I didn't realise that it was an issue in these days of cheap leccytronics.

        Must be just me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Ha.

          And a clock radio streams your music from your itunes library / mp3 folder on your NAS, stream spotify, napster, deezer, sync them together, or don't, let you control them from your phone etc etc, do they?

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            This is what is known as a first world problem.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              So is your fridge, washing machine or boiler breaking down. Not sure what point you're trying to make.

  10. bed

    Indeed, Sorry But…

    Indeed, Sorry But…

    I have wondered why people persist in the plethora of devices. As “This Side Up” notes, one suitably equipped PC can do the lot: TV (freesat and/or or freeview), DVD, streaming video and audio, ripped video and audio, etc. And, at the same time, you can read el-reg and heat the room with the video projector.

    1. Mike Brown

      Re: Indeed, Sorry But…

      No it cant. No PC is going to be able to replace a top end amp. Yes freeview is easy. A blu ray player is easy to fit. But you need that big black box to get the best from DTS HD.

      1. bed

        Re: Indeed, Sorry But…

        Aplogies, the need for an ampifier (and loudspeakers) was assumed. And a TOS link I suppose (for listening to pron maybe?)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Less lazy shopping would have fixed this.

    You bought Sonos, because that's all you knew, it's the classic "iPhone factor", did you even look at alternatives like the excellent Creative D5xm Signature Series? Bet not.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Less lazy shopping would have fixed this.

      So either you work for Creative or you don't get what the "Post anonymously" box is for. Here's a clue, it's not just so you can be rude.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Less lazy shopping would have fixed this.

      I'm confused - you're comapring a wireless speaker system with an audio streaming system

  12. rosmi

    good sound is hard

    you've hit your head on a big nail.

    When I upgraded my TV this year, I dumped my 7.1 system and bought a zvox box to sit under the TV. The sound is pretty good, required one cable to hook to the TV for sound out and the system learns other remotes (so the cable box remote now turns on and off the tv and the volume buttons control the zvox box). The TV has four hdmi inputs so I use it as the switch between cable/games/media computer/bluray.

    The zvox isn't perfect... 7.1 surround isn't supported on Blu-ray for example(so I use stereo) but its a much simpler setup that other members in the family can actually figure out and use.

    Two things that are cool about the zvox are it has remote buttons for output leveling (no more super loud commercials) and dialogue enhancement. It also has a couple of extra buttons for surround fx, bass/treble,

    btw I'm not associated with zvox in anyway... just bought their product.

  13. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    uses a smart phone ... as the remote control unit.

    Seems a lousy idea to me. What are you going to do when the smartphone is ringing? The sound needs to be turned off or the volume needs to be reduced, but the phone call pushes the response/reject screen on top f whatever the phone was doing. Fiddling with the bloody phone to adjust the volume or mute while it is ringing is the last thing that I want to do.

    I have all the sound in the living room go through one high quality receiver/amplifier that is connected to a good speaker set. The receiver has a remote which I use to adjust the sound regardless of the source of the signal. I definitely don't want a bunch of stupid apps on my smartphone for that. Moreover, the remote has a multitude of options and settings related to sound that no 3rd party ersatz is likely to match.

    1. Vince

      Re: uses a smart phone ... as the remote control unit.

      Dunno how the Sonos does it, but the Squeezebox stuff handles that - if my phone rings, it pauses the music and when we're done it plays again. You can even tell it not to play again if the call went on for more than 'x' time.

      Long live my discontinued squeezebox.

  14. Bobthe2nd

    Relax

    Relax and just buy a Synology (NAS) a PS3 and an Amp... Synology will stream music, video, photos via DLNA to the PS3 which you fibre into your amp.. that pretty much covers everything except MKV

    What more do you need?

    1. Scott Bartlett

      Re: Relax

      ... money to pay for all the electric that lot will consume?

    2. Shugyosha

      Re: Relax

      "Relax and just buy a Synology (NAS) a PS3 and an Amp"

      I used to do this (but with a Lacie NAS - RIP) and it wasn't a bad setup, considering everything I needed to do it was already in place anyway, but it's not a great setup:

      1 - The PS3 doesn't have a great system for navigating your music. I had 600+ albums on my NAS and the PS3 presented them to me all in one big long list. There were then delays when scrolling through that list.

      2 - Does the PS3 still leave a gap of something like 5 secs after playing a track, while it caches the next? Not great when the tracks are supposed to blend into each other.

  15. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Wireless - not.

    "These are square tower enclosures, about six inches high"

    A 6" tower? Making a mountain out of a mole hill I think.

    My old CRT TV would let me disconnect the built in speakers, and plug in a decent pair of book shelf speakers. That was fine for watching TV. But the new LCD has only got a digital out so I need something more complex, have to turn on the receiver...

    My TV room in my older house only has two power outlets. One behind the TV stand and the other on the other side of the room. So wireless speakers are out, I'll take speaker wire over extension cords any day.

  16. Ceilidhman

    Already available

    Dead easy one. RPi with Openelec at the TV running sound over bluetooth to amp-mounted receiver. The XBMC or Yatse app for phones and tablet is your remote. All works really well and cost £25 in total. Job done

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Already available

      No idea why anyone would down vote you, as it is a sensible solution. I have openelec on two mini PCs (atom ion chipset) , connected to amps and TV, just for that. Completely independent music and video on each room. An Android remote controls each using the wifi, switching between media centres without any issue. Surely it is flexible enough and cheap enough?

      Or is that the problem, that it won't be in the same price range as the monster cables? :D

  17. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Problems with your speaker system?

    Have you tried throwing money at over priced tat and then having a rant at the intertubes because it doesn't work as you want?

    You want a receiver and speakers. You bought an amp. It's a damn fancy amp, granted, but it is not a receiver. Your main complaint here is that TV speakers are rubbish, your Sonos speakers are awesome, but there is no way to connect the two. As far as I can work out, the Sonos system can't take any audio input at all - it's an amp that you can only use for streaming stuff from your phone, using their app.

    If you had a receiver, you would plug your video and audio sources in to the receiver. You plug your TV into the receiver. You plug the speakers in to the receiver with wire. You hide the wire under skirting boards, carpets or floorboards, or pin to the walls and paint. Sound goes to speakers, video goes to TV.

    A bargain receiver costs about £100, bargain speaker set around the same, add in any streaming device you like - well, any that provide an audio out option...

  18. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Conectivity

    We won't get decent connectivity of 'anything to anything' and control of 'everything through anything' until there's (1) a standard, and (2) everyone adopts that standard. And it means being prepared to upgrade to product which supports the standard as it won't be a retrofit option for everything. It's a story as old as the hills.

    Ironically Sonos appear to use their own proprietary protocols as does everyone else. The best most of us can do is buy as much from one manufacturer as possible and hope they meet our needs and have done a decent job in what they provide. That is rather limiting and the antithesis of the 'separates' concept most techno-geeks prefer.

    It is possible to have control of everything from a single smart phone with some hardware hacking but not without 'rolling your own' or paying someone to do tha. It's a lot of effort and cost, renders warranty void or means unsightly wired IR modules stuck on equipment, or buying custom product. Routing and converting signals is equally a challenge but can be done. There is no elegant, simple, cheap solution at present.

    CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) is making things better and easier and is probably a part of the solution but not everything supports CEC. I suspect we will only get a solution by pushing for one, encouraging all players to get on the same sheet. I don't know anyone who doesn't get frustrated with having a dozen remote controls, needing multiple controls for even simple setups, but manufacturers don't seem to care beyond promoting 'buy our integrated system' which is most likely incompatible with everyone else's.

  19. deive
    Coat

    "receive the sounds they are going to play by a proprietary Sonos Wi-Fi network"

    This may be a start, but the first thing that needs to happen is a standard so that all the gear can interoperate!

    http://xkcd.com/927/ - standard XKCD reference for my own post!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    First world problems

    But it's nice to know you have a nice cottage ;)

    wireless audio for music is fine but in a wireless setup for video, latency and sync become more of a problem (especially for multi channel surround) No one likes audio that's out of sync with the video.

    1. axe75

      Re: First world problems

      ^ this.

      I bought 2 x Sonos 5's. They were superb for music (barring occasional loss of signal due to interference from other networks in the apartment block). They even had analog line in.

      The problem came with attempting to route tv signal through them using audio out from the led tv. The Sonos system has a slight delay activating it's network among the devices when sound is sent to it. Not a problem with music, but results in issues with video sound sync. Ended up selling them and went for a Bose box which has the tv plugged in via optical. I wonder how they resolved it with their Sonos soundbar.

      1. deadmonkey

        Re: First world problems

        Most of his solution jars with anything I would want to do, but I'm pretty sure my TV has a latency tweak to cater for your issue.

    2. Zyraki

      Re: First world problems

      The Sonos Playbar's controls within the Sonos App has settings that enable you to adjust the latency between the Video and sound signals.

      I have the PlayBar and two Play3's running at home, and have never experienced any issue with the Video and sound going out of sync.

      They really are amazing bits of kit, but the price is eyewatering!

  21. Scott Bartlett

    Quality? Really?

    The author wrote (about the Play 1's) - "the sound quality is simply amazing, with crystal-clear trebles, sumptuously smooth mid-range tones and solid base."

    I helped install a couple of Play 3's for someone a couple weeks back (installation rating - yeah, pretty easy) —which I presume are supposed to be better than the Play 1's — but I have to say... well, I'm just hoping the owner doesn't read this, but I wouldn't buy them. Not even at well under half the price. I would put them as close to the statement above as Voyager 1 is to me right about now. My old analogue speakers (not expensive or high-end even over a decade ago) and cheapo amp knock seven bells out of those Sonos units. Pity, I was really keen on the idea for a moment...

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: Quality? Really?

      Not sure what was wrong with the pair you set up Scott, but my Play 3 has the best sound I've had in anything even remotely resembling the same size. My old 6 foot stacks had nothing on the Play 3 which is barely 10cm tall.

      I could not be happier with my Play 3. Only thing that I do find annoying is that there's no easy way to get PC Audio to play through the system (at least not without a particularly annoying delay). Although my neighbours are probably happy about this as the sound of my gaming coming from the Play 3 rather then my PC speakers might be a bit more substantial...

  22. Stacy

    Is it that hard?

    I want back ground music. Turn in TV, connect to my server, listen to music. And yes, for background music the sound from a my Philips TV is fine - it even has a built in bass speaker in the stand to fill the sound out. Great? No. But fine for background.

    Easy, better quality music. Same as above, but turn on the amplifier as well.

    Great quality: either turn on laptop and listen to FLAC files via the amplifier or just play the CD on the BluRay. Either via the digital or stereo connection to the amplifier, not via the TV.

    Where is the problem - all my kit talks to each other, either digitally or using analogue signals (without everything being routed via the TV). Even my old cheap and nasty DVD player that we got for the bedroom had audio out on it so that you could listen to audio directly from it...

    I'm not getting this article. The author has equipment he isn't happy with because they don't communicate. And now it's obvious, because he bought a new way of playing music. That doesn't connect with the rest either...

    That XKCD link is so appropriate! :)

  23. RonWheeler

    Pre-ducted skirting board

    For the money spent of the wireless speakers you could get pre-grooved skirting boards that could hide all your cables.

    And they can look good too, not just plastic tat.

    For example.http://www.wood-floor.co.uk/accessories_doors/skirting.shtml

  24. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

    I'm considering the connector from here...

    http://www.teufelaudio.com/de/raumfeld-audio-streaming/streaming-produkte.html

    My main concern is getting the sound into the HiFi... then if I want I could expand this to other rooms with the 350 eur sets.

  25. Dan Paul

    Simple fix.. get a Networked A/V receiver

    I have a Yamaha Network Receiver RX-V773

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882115377

    This is the "Hub" for all of my entertainment/audio/video equipment.

    It has Airplay, WIFI, every hardwired input and output you could ever need including 5 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs, Android and IOS apps that control it via wifi. It has Pandora,Internet Radio, etc built in. I have decent 7.1 surround with Polk Audio speakers and 2 powered subwoofers. Distortion is reasonable at 0.09 THD for 95 Watts RMS.

    I connect all of my PC, DVD/Blue Ray player/ Galaxy S4 phone/ etc to it with conventional and some wireless communications and for the princely sum of less than $500 USD it solve all of the problems you pose. It will also stream audio and video from any DLNA device like a NAS or PC and has a USB connector as well for other storage like thumb drives or mass storage/ MP3 players. The only disadvantage is that it has a fairly limited number of codecs for direct play from storage.

    There is not one bit of delay between the TV and the speaker like there is with wireless. And you can get wireless amps to drive wired speakers but you will have to live with ridiculous delays in lip-synching picture to sound and there is almost nothing you can do about it.

  26. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Does your TV not have audio out connectors?

    First... your TV probably has audio out connectors. Why don't they just make a little box that takes that and pipes it -- wirelessly -- to the speakers? I do realize it's not as cool as being 100% wireless, but it does make the wires like a foot long rather than running wherever to the speakers. Even if a TV has wifi, I do not expect it to support proprietary wifi systems... these speakers are, after all, proprietary. I do, however, expect it to have speaker out jacks.

    Secondly... I don't know why you are having problems with products that send video and audio to the TV? 1) just run the audio cables somewhere else, or 2) run the audio out from the TV to wherever you want the noise to go. (See paragraph above.) Given how ugly things tend to get when wifi is kludged into an otherwise wifi-less product, I for sure would not want wifi support grafted onto most of the stuff I have that makes noise.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Does your TV not have audio out connectors?

      Of course his TV has audio out, his issue is that his "amp" has no audio in. He likes that his speakers "look cool", are wireless, can be moved around the house and be arranged in to zones, but dislikes that he can only use them to stream content from the internet.

  27. Zacherynuk

    I am a big fan of sonos - the biggest annoyance is it's total reliance on upnp and hence broadcast zones.

  28. DiViDeD Silver badge

    Curmudgeon Much?

    This magical streaming of music to every corner of the house seems to have passed me by. I have 'reasonable' TVs in the bedrooms attached to mid quality sound systems, allowing guests to listen to radio, TV, Foxtel, CD or anything on the media server which feeds to a little box to the optical input of the sound systems (data travels along the mains cables from the central server).

    Then I have the Denon Home Theatre amp in the main TV room. All HDMI outputs go to the TV (a not particularly new, smart or clever LG plasma) which has a single switched optical out audio out to the Denon. Switch the TV input and the sound source switches so I don't need a dedicated channel for each device. PLUS I can plug in a USB storage device and have the sound auto directed to the Home Theatre.

    The TV room is for TV, so the two exposed cables for the rear speakers simply hide under the skirting cover.

    Suits me, and has done for many years.

    And if anyone asks me why they can't watch the Optus Direct box (don't ask!) in their bedrooms when they have pretty much everything else in the house to choose from, I simply offer to arrange the house so that they can wash and slice vegetables while sitting on the toilet. Usually quiets em down

    ;o)

    YMMV of course, but if someone could explain why they'd want to be able to listen to a TV programme they can't see while on the loo, praps you could enlighten me as to what I've been missing all this time

  29. Blacklight
    Go

    DIY!

    We recently had the lounge redone, inc new carpets. This let me hide and trunk my surround cables nicely.

    On the remote side, I'd previously used Philips Pronto RU990 and Marantz TSU9000 remotes (IR & RF 433Mhz) to drive most devices.

    But I've now amended that, and gone with OpenRemote on my Android devices. I can design the GUI on line, build the logic myself and run the server on my little NAS. And it works. Although it is beta and can do odd things.

    A cheap (sub £150) Onkyo network enabled A/V receiver let's me power on the TV and PS3 (via HDMI) and, more importantly, control the PS3 via HDMI entirely - no more IR/Bluetooth or proprietary remote. And the Onkyo is DNLA enabled, so it can play NAS stored tunes, or indeed (if I use the Onkyo app) play anything on the Android devices.

    Throw in a comparatively cheap LightwaveRF controller and some a relays and the lights (or in my case, heating) are in the game. I've also gone nuts with Philips Hue and OpenRemote is doing the lot.

    Have a look, it's quite nice :)

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Banging on about the virtues of wireless speakers, like 5 years after they have been available (not nec. this kit)? Where have you been? Tech journos? useless!

    I can access my PC via my smartphone and play music to my wireless speaker from the media centre, no streaming from the smartphone so my battery lasts longer. My original wired kit, (which I think had far superior sound quality) stays in place. Once installed, you can't see the wires.

    This kit is definitely for the "haven't got a clue" generation of iSomething owners.

    I can feel the shame emanating from vulture central from here.

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