Open up a new world of audio you can bounce around your home
- Last Updated May 13, 2021
Sonos speakers are great but it can also be incredibly annoying that you can’t play your own music through many of them easily and have to use Sonos’s own curated app to listen to services through.
In the main this is fine but one thing that has been highlighted during all our lockdowns is that we haven’t really been able to listen to many of the shows, DJs, and events broadcast live on YouTube through our expensive speaker solution.
This has led me to jerry-rigging laptops to Bluetooth speakers through into the garden just to listen to live broadcasts. It’s 2020, life shouldn’t be like that, I want to stream the audio to my Sonos: Play 1 speaker setup through my house.
With a little bit of know-how though you can trick your Sonos into playing whatever your PC is playing and beam it magically to anywhere in your home.
First, you are going to need a great little piece of Windows software called Stream What you Hear – go and download and install that for starters.
Once it has installed itself it will make a new home for yourself in your taskbars apps section.
Find it and right-click on it. From here you may have to do one of two things. The easiest way to get it working is if you select the Stream To > option and simply select any devices that are shown there. As you can see from the image it can see my Sonos speakers as well as my TV and my Xbox One. Tick the ones you need and it will instantly start broadcasting the audio from your PC to your selections.
So make sure you have whatever DJ set or something that you want to listen to playing on YouTube and check it is going through your sound system. Result!
Should you Sonos devices not be shown there is a further step you can do you achieve the same end product.
Select Tools and then HTTP Live Streaming. A box will appear with a local URL in it. Copy that URL now.
Now open the Sonos app on your PC ( download it here if you don’t have it already but you should have). Select Manage from the top menu and then Add Radio Station. Paste in the URL and give your new stream a name. That’s that done. For good measure select Update Music Library Now.
Now go to the Sonos app on your phone. Select the Radio service (which may be listed as Radio by TuneIn depending on your location. And then within My Radio Stations, you will find the stream you just created and can broadcast to your heart’s content.
It really does open up a new way to use your Sonos ecosystem as there have been so many great live events during the pandemic. You can even record the stream to your Hard Drive on your PC for later listening too which can also come in really handy.
If Sonos’ ecosystem isn’t for you though, it might be worth checking out these other great speakers.
The Sonos media controller app on Windows is almost perfect, but it does have limitations. For example, it has a pesky 65,000-song limit, and despite an abundance of streaming services, you can’t stream things like YouTube and sporting events.
Fortunately, there is a pretty handy app that lets you work around the Sonos controller’s few limitations. Stream What You Hear (SWYH) is a simple open source application that runs in your Windows taskbar, allowing you to hear anything playing through your desktop PC on your Sonos device.
This means if you use another music application to handle a massive library of MP3s, or have a lot of YouTube playlists, or you just want to listen to the ball game around the house, you can with Sonos and Stream What You Hear.
Step One: Set up Stream What You Hear
Before we dive in, we should point out that there is one notable drawback to Stream What You Hear: lag. No matter what you play, there will be about a two-second delay.
This means that videos won’t sync with audio, and media controls won’t respond instantly. It’s not a huge deal, but it might take a little getting used to (and it means you can’t watch YouTube videos, only listen to the audio from them).
To set everything up, make sure you’re running the Sonos media controller software for Windows. You also need to download, install, and run the SWYH app. Additionally, if you don’t have it already, you will need the .NET Framework 4.0.
Once SWYH is installed and running, right-click on its taskbar icon and click “Settings”.
Whenever you start or restart SWYH, it will use a different port for HTTP live streaming. To work around this, you can force it to use a specific port.
Check the box next to “Use specific HTTP port”. The default port is 5901, so you can leave it like that, provided you haven’t configured another program to use that port already. Click “OK” when you’re done.
Click “Yes” to restart SWYH and save the new settings.
Once restarted, again right-click on the taskbar icon and then Tools > HTTP Live Streaming.
Note, the HTTP live streaming URI (or URL) and click “Copy”, then close the URI box.
Finally, right-click the taskbar icon once more and then “Stream to” and select your Sonos player.
As long as your Sonos device or devices are powered on and set up, you should see them in the Stream to menu.
Step Two: Set up the Sonos Media Controller
You’re only halfway finished. In order to stream what you hear, you need to add an HTTP streaming station to your Sonos media controller.
In the Sonos media controller, click Manage > Add Radio Station.
In the Add a Radio Station dialog, paste the URL you copied from SWYH a few steps ago into the Streaming URL box, give your station a name, and click “OK” when you’re finished.
Next, click “Radio by TuneIn” in the Sonos application under Select a Music Source.
Next, click “My Radio Stations”.
In the My Radio Stations menu, you can either double-click on your new station, or right-click and click “Play Now”.
From that same context menu, you can add your new station to Sonos Favorites for quick and easy access.
Your new station will show as Now Playing.
At this point, you can play anything on your Windows desktop using your favorite media player or website. As long as you have the SWYH app running and Sonos media controller tuned to your SWYH station, everything will play through your Sonos devices.
Obviously, this isn’t ideal for movies due to the lag, but it otherwise works great for listening to music that won’t play using the Sonos application.
If you’ve ever wanted to listen to podcasts on your Sonos speakers, then there are actually several ways to stream them, be it from the Internet, your computer, or from a mobile device such as a phone or tablet.
The Sonos system has a lot of versatility and functionality. Setting it up is a virtual cinch and from there, you can do a number of cool things with including adding streaming music services and using it as a sleep timer or alarm. Podcasts are no different.
Stream Podcasts Directly from the Internet
If you want to stream podcasts from the Internet, then look no further than the Sonos software.
First, click on the “Radio by TuneIn” in the music sources.
Select “Talk” from resulting list, and then “Podcasts”.
You can add choose any podcast available from the selections, then click on the little arrow to the right of your selection and then you can play it, add it to your favorites, as well as check out any information and options available on it.
The number of podcasts out there is relatively vast, and there’s a chance you may not see your favorite podcast in the TuneIn selections. In such a case, you can try Stitcher or Spreaker, which are streaming services you can add. Note that you may have to create accounts for these streaming services in order to use them.
If these options really don’t appeal to you, then you can also stream podcasts from your computer.
Stream Podcasts from Your Computer
If you prefer to download the podcast files to your computer, using a program like iTunes or MediaMonkey, then you’ll have to share the folder to where you save your podcasts. To do this, open the Sonos desktop app on your computer. Click “Manage”, and then “Music Library Settings”.
The Manage menu is the same whether it’s on PC or Mac
On the Preferences screen, you will need to add the location to where you want to save your podcasts. On a Mac, click the “+” symbol or on a PC, click “Add”.
If your podcasts reside in your default music folder, then leave this option as is. If they’re saved in another location, then browse to it and select that location.
Your podcasts will be listed in the app under Music Library > Artist. Depending on whether a podcast supplies any metadata, you may also see them under Music Library > Genre > Podcasts.
Unfortunately, every time you add new podcasts, you will need to re-index your music library. To do this, click “Manage” and then “Update Music Library Now”.
Stream Podcasts from Your Phone or Tablet
If you want to stream podcasts from your mobile device, you can do that too.
Your iPhone or iPad come preinstalled with a Podcast app, so when you subscribe to and download new episodes, they will be available in the Sonos app automatically. Simply tap open the music menu, then “On this IPhone”.
Now tap open “Podcasts”.
All your downloaded podcasts will be available here so you can easily stream them to your Sonos player or players.
Finally, let’s turn to Android and show you how to do this from that platform.
On Android, you will need to download podcasts to the “Podcasts” folder of your root directory. How do you do this? It’s pretty easy, but not altogether convenient. Let’s show you how.
On most Android devices, anything you download is automatically saved to the Downloads location, which means you have to copy or move any podcasts from that folder to the Podcasts folder (if they aren’t saved to it already).
One way to do this is to use a file management tool (there are many available from the Play Store). In this case we’re using the popular app Astro. We’ll select our podcast, which we’ve just downloaded, and move it.
Here, you see the Podcasts directory in the root location of our Android device’s storage system to where we’ll move our podcast files.
Once moved there (you should probably download and move all your podcasts at once, rather than one at a time), you can now find them on your Sonos app.
Open the Music menu and select “On this Mobile Device”.
Then select “Podcasts” from the choices.
And, you should now be able to see and play any podcasts on your Android device.
It’s not as easy as on the iPhone or iPad, but once you get the hang of it, you should have no troubles.
There are of course, other simpler ways to listen to podcasts on your Android device, but in order to send that audio to your Sonos player, you’ll have to jump through some hoops. Overall however, the simplest way is to listen to them directly from the Sonos app itself.