Sonos and Tivo – A Match Made in Heaven!

– By Michael Fehmers

Remember that sound your TiVo used to make? Blip.. Blip… Blip.. Such fond memories. Did you know that TiVo still exists and is better than ever? You can actually SAVE money on your cable bill by switching to TiVo but more on that later.

Let’s discuss Sonos first. Is there a better music source out there? Better Interface? Better integration with your own music? Better speaker options?

The limitation for larger homes has always been that Sonos ‘doesn’t integrate’ with Crestron, Savant, Control4, etc. It still doesn’t (well), but we at Haustech believe that we have the solution in the form of the new Sonos AMP.

Traditional home systems have utilized a format where all equipment is centrally located and audio / video is distributed over matrix style devices so that your video can match your audio coming out of your architectural speakers. For this convenience you pay a PREMIUM.

An 8×8 video matrix system can easily get into the tens of thousands if you are to utilize new video over IP technologies for getting 4K ultra-high resolution video to the TVs around your house. Combining the cost of an audio distribution system with the control system (like Savant, Creston, Control4) is no doubt an expensive undertaking.

Here is a less expensive, simpler and more reliable option that I lay out for you. Note that this is for new construction/remodel where walls are open but can also be worked for retrofit applications.

For AUDIO ONLY locations:

  1. Decide on a centralized place to house Sonos AMPs. This will most often be the location where your network modem and your network switch (for distributing data to all the Sonos Amps and Wi-Fi access points) will reside.
  2. Decide whether you want in-wall / in-ceiling / or surface mount speakers.
  3. Run speaker wire from here to your centralized Sonos AMP hub.

For VIDEO (TV) locations:

  1. To every TV location decide on a place to store a small amount of equipment. It will need to be accessible either:
    • Behind TV which is mounted on an articulating arm.
    • Below TV in cabinet.
    • In a recessed box flush with the wall – there are many options available.
  2. Have (3) HDMI video cables running to the TV for Sonos ARC return / TiVo / 3rd source like AppleTV or gaming system.
  3. Decide whether you want in-wall / in-ceiling / or surface mount speakers.
  4. Run speaker wire from here to your local Sonos AMP storage area.

The reason for an extra HDMI video cable to the TV is because the new Sonos AMP has a feature called ARC return. It essentially extracts the audio from the TV and whatever it is you are seeing on the screen you will hear over your Sonos AMP. No more wondering whether the AMP is turned on or whether the surround receiver went to the correct input. What you see is what you get. Plus, even better, you are now able to watch one thing (the game for example) and listen to music simultaneously!

When you get these audio-only Sonos zones and video going through Sonos AMPs for viewing and listening, everything is just SIMPLE. You want to hear music – you go to the Sonos app and play something. All areas respond. When you want to watch TV, you pick up your TiVo remote and go. The beauty of TiVo is this – not only does it have best in class interface and app which allows for remote viewing of live TV, but also it has amazing voice features where you can search for anything you want. Additionally, it has all the apps you need built into the unit like Netflix, HBOGo, Prime Video, Hulu, YouTube etc.

Long story short – get your TiVo back! All TVs share the same content (singe DVR with 6 tuners) with best in class interface. One source for everything and it sounds great.

Want surround sound? Add a second Sonos AMP in the room desired and run it to some surround speakers for a full surround sound setup.  Add a Sonos Subwoofer for that extra bass if that’s the call!

Now, back to how you can save money with TiVo. Did you know that your cable company charges your for DVR service? Often $15-20 per month per each DVR. This can easily add up to $50 per month in recurring fees. With TiVo that fee gets cut down to $2.50 for a cable card.  Although there are up-front costs (equipment and license) for TiVo that can be very quickly made up by savings made on your cable bill. In my personal experience, it has taken 9 months to cover the costs accrued before I started making money by switching to TiVo but I’ve never looked back.

You want to learn more about this solution for your home?  Call us at Haustech:  (877) 797-HAUS