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Can You Use a Remote to Control a Sonos Soundbar?

If you have a Sonos sound system, you may have already wondered if you can connect a universal remote to control it. Fortunately, this is something that Sonos has already provided a solution for. So if you have a Sonos system and don’t want to reach for the app every time you want to change the volume, there is hope.

You can use a universal remote or other TV remotes to control your Sonos soundbar. To do this, you will need to access the Sonos app on your smartphone or tablet. From there, setup is simple and can be done quickly.

You can use almost any TV remote or universal remote to control any Sonos soundbar. If you have your Sonos soundbar connected to your TV via HDMI ARC, then simply enable CEC on your TV. You can also go through the Remote Control Setup process inside of the Sonos App.

Sonos has become a prominent name in the home audio industry for reasons we’ve explained before. Their polished products and ingenious engineering have wowed everyday consumers and HiFi-heads alike. But with their sleek design comes a pitfall: no remote. So if you want to experience the convenience of using a universal remote to control your Sonos, it will need a little setup.

How To Connect a Remote Control to a Sonos Soundbar

If you are interested in using a universal remote to control your Sonos soundbar, there are options. First, you can use the setup process through the Sonos app. Second, you could rely on your HDMI CEC to provide the volume control. Either way you choose, you should be able to use a single remote to control your Sonos soundbar and other devices. If you choose to go with the first option, keep in mind that not all remotes will work with the Sonos.

For the most straightforward installation, make sure your device operates using IR (Infrared). Also, some remotes will need extra setup for operation. If you know that your remote control uses IR, you can follow the setup process in the Sonos app reasonably easily. If your remote does not, there are still options, and we will explore them in a later section.

Pairing an IR Universal Remote with Your Sonos Soundbar

Pairing an IR universal remote with your Sonos Soundbar isn’t all that complicated, in fact, it can be achieved by following just a few steps. The entire process might take you 60-seconds; learn how to do it with the short guide below:

  1. Open the Sonos app on your smartphone or tablet.
  2. Locate the Settings tab.
  3. Select the room your Sonos soundbar is located in.
  4. Tap TV.
  5. Navigate towards Remote Control Setup and click it.
  6. From here, you should follow the in-app instructions to move forward with the process.
  7. Test the connection by trying to change the volume with the newly connected remote.

Using HDMI-CEC

HDMI CEC Setting on TV - Smaller

If you have an HDMI-CEC enabled TV, you can set up your Sonos to receive your TV remote commands. This is a straightforward process and only includes a few steps:

  1. Turn on your TV and Sonos device.
  2. In your TV’s settings, find and enable CEC.
  3. To test, use your TV’s remote to try and change the volume.

What makes CEC so clever is that it also works with voice commands. For example, if you have a smartTV that has Amazon Alexa featured, like this Samsung 55 inch Crystal UHD (on Amazon), you can use the integrated smart system to control your Sonos. Sonos has tried to design a setup process that is easy to use and relatively intuitive. Just like their products, they want everything to be easy to use for consumers. While the setup is relatively pain-free, there is a chance you may run into some issues.

Troubleshooting

If you are running into issues, some solutions may help. Some have to do with the type of remote you are using, and some deal with snags in the setup process. One of the most ubiquitous problems is a blocked IR sensor. Since your Sonos and remote communicate through IR, you should be mindful that nothing is blocking the line of sight. Even a smudged glass door on your entertainment system could cause problems.

Another common issue is bad batteries. If this is the case, especially if you’re using older batteries, the problem may manifest itself through the emission of a weak IR signal. To fix this problem, you just have to get your hands on some new batteries. You could also be too far away. Not only can could your signal be blocked, but distance can also be an issue due to being too far from the receiver.

Clearly, the solution to being too far away is to get closer to the receiver. Other than the more-common sense reasons that I just mentioned, another common issue has to do with the infrared sensor and interferences. Other controllers and IR extenders also use the same signal, and they could be obstructing the path. These are just a few troublesome problems you could run into, although, Sonos has you covered with dedicated support page.

Problems with Specific Remotes

While IR interference and bad batteries will help you alleviate problems once you have your remote setup, some remotes need extra installation. The majority of these types of remotes don’t rely on IR to operate. They either use Bluetooth or RF signals to communicate. If this is the case, you will need to 1) use the remote’s settings to connect to your Sonos, or 2) make sure your TV’s firmware is up to date, and lastly, 3) just use CEC instead.

Some notable remotes that we know cause issues are from LG and Samsung. It’s worth mentioning that not all remotes from these companies will give your problems, however, just do a bit of research on the product and your needs before buying. If you are still in need of further instructions, consult your user’s manual.

Which Sonos Products will Work with a Remote

There are a lot of Sonos products that can work with a remote. Sonos has designed most of their product to be IR compatible. This means that, for the most part, if you have a Sonos product and an IR remote, you can connect the two. Here are a few that you could check out (all three links take you to Amazon): Sonos Playbase, Playbar, and Beam.

Keep in mind that the setup process for all of these products is going to be similar. This is because they all use the Sonos app for device management. Connecting your Sonos soundbar to a remote is a simple process. Sonos has designed their products to be easy to use and set up. As long as you have an IR based remote or can use HDMI-CEC, you should have no problems setting things up. With just a few simple steps, you can be controlling the volume with your remote in no time.