How to: Cast Music to Sonos Speakers From Windows 10

Over the last few years, I’ve been merrily collecting Sonos wireless speakers for my home. PLAY:1, PLAY:3, PLAY:5, SUB, SOUNDBAR? I love them all. Hooked up to my music library, with Google Play Music in support, it’s the complete, whole home package.

Sonos owners will be all too familiar with the Sonos Controller apps, available for OS X, Windows, iOS and Android. They do a great job of helping users navigate through large music libraries and push selected tunes to selected speakers. I use the Sonos Controller on various platforms, and works really well.

But sometimes, when I’m browsing through my music library on a PC, I may stray across a track I haven’t heard in a while, and want to play it immediately. Forget opening up the Sonos Controller, searching for the track, choosing a speaker and streaming it – I want to play it now!

This tip may well be known to everyone apart from me, but I’m going to share it anyway!

This evening, I was editing some file names in my music library. The files themselves are stored on a QNAP NAS, but I was editing the file names over the network on an Intel NUC PC running Windows 10. I right clicked on a file and noticed the Cast to Device option.

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To be honest, I’ve never paid much attention to Windows’ media casting feature. It’s used to push media to DLNA devices – handy for connected TV playback, for example but I have my media streaming covered using other methods (like the Sonos Controller app!)

I’m not sure why I decided to rollover the option this time, but on doing so I noticed that my Sonos speakers were listed. Now, I’ve assumed for some time that Sonos had locked down their speakers really tightly – to the point where the Sonos Controller app was the only way to stream music to them.

But what the heck! I thought I’d see if Windows 10 could push music out to the Sonos speakers natively. Expecting to hear the familiar tone of a Windows error, rather than the new Suede album I’d selected for streaming, I was shocked to hear the popular beat combo rocking the Living Room!

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Of course, from a features perspective, casting from Windows to Sonos simply can’t match the Sonos Controller app, which remains my “go to” source for music library access.

But if you’re working in Windows File Explorer and you need to spin some tunes on Sonos sharpish, Windows 10’s Cast to Device is a really handy option.

8 comments

    1. You can queue up a playlist in a particular speaker and then go to the Sonos App and group that speaker with others.

      1. Same poster here (not sure why it posted anonymously). I’m curious to learn if anyone has figured out how to change the name so you can tell which PLAY:1 is which (I have several).

    1. I’m afraid that it will get converted on the way. DLNA protocol used by Cast To function is limited to specific formats only and if both endpoints do not agree upon the format, then the audio gets converted on the server end (Windows PC in this case) to the format acceptable to audio renderer device (Sonos PLAY in this case).

  1. The Cast functionality is available also from Windows Media Player, so you can control your media library from there.

  2. I would be so much easier and more useful if we could rename the speakers from the IP number, to a meaningful name. Is that possible? I would love to know!

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