I quickly discovered I had made the right choice for a new soundbar as its audio quality is a huge improvement over my TV’s built-in speakers. When the wall mount arrived the next day, I was able to configure Alexa and ARC control with my Sony TV and an Amazon Fire Stick. This process is anything but easy and information on how to make it all work is severely lacking, so I wanted to share what I learned to hopefully make this go more smoothly for you.
Sony D series smart TV (most recent firmware)
Sonos Beam with two Play 1s in surround
Amazon Fire TV Stick (2nd gen, current)
First things first. After unboxing your Beam and plugging it in, open the Sonos app and configure it using the ARC option. It will then ask you to make sure it’s plugged into an ARC HDMI port. On my TV it is clearly labeled as input 3 with the Fire Stick in input 2. The next step is a little tricky. The Sonos app will tell you to enable CEC on your display with no explanation of what that is or how to find it in the menu. For my Sony TV, I had to go into the Home Settings menu, and find the Bravia Sync or External Inputs menu as most Sony sets call it. Once there, find and turn on the control settings (my TV had three control options for this input) for input 3 (or your ARC input) and it should identify the connected device as a Sonos Beam.
Next go back into the Sonos app and it will confirm CEC/ARC is working for the audio only, but no actual control will work yet as I quickly discovered. And unfortunately, that’s as far as the Sonos app will take you with ARC control. Now set up voice control if you haven’t already, just use the Sonos app and it will have you log into the Alexa app to get it working. Simple enough, but wait, there’s more. If you try asking Alexa to control something, she will tell you to download the Sonos Beam skill (there is no “Sonos Beam skill”, only a “Sonos skill” FYI) and then to discover devices. This is often a mistake as I had both the Sonos skill added and working and the Beam was already discovered. Here is the fix.
This allows you to keep talking to Alexa after saying your wake word (Alexa). So, you can say “Alexa, turn on the office on Netflix” and then say “turn up the volume” without having to say “Alexa” again.
The Alexa feature in your Sonos beam should now work as intended, but my setup will not allow me to power the TV on or off yet. I hope this will work in the future. There were also a few times Alexa didn’t respond with the right app after being asked to play a TV show.
I also had an issue with the optical audio on my Sonos Beam. Some movies on Netflix had audio that faded in and out at random times. I’ve submitted three diagnostics to Sonos and have been in contact with support but have since given up and switched to using the audio over HDMI. If I find a fix, I will let you know.
Hopefully, this little tutorial will help some of you get Alexa working with the Sonos Beam and Amazon Fire Stick. It’s not an intuitive process and it’s still very much a version 1.0 proposition. But we’re getting there! Good luck with your system and if you have questions, please leave them in the comments below.