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AV Receivers

Onkyo now 'Works with Sonos' but you still need a Sonos Connect

Select Onkyo and Pioneer receivers will soon be controllable by the Sonos app, but it will cost you an extra $350 on top.

sonos-onkyo

Works with Sonos lets you control an Onkyo receiver via the Sonos Connect.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Onkyo has announced its receivers will soon be able to controlled directly via the Sonos app -- but only when connected to a Sonos Connect unit -- as part of the new "Works with Sonos" certification.

Onkyo says select receivers from both Onkyo and Pioneer connected via Sonos' dongle will act as if they were one unit, following a firmware update on June 6. The specific models will be announced in the coming weeks.

The ability to control the Sonos directly removes the step of having to change the Onkyo receiver's input independently and also potentially enables the "zone" to be controlled via Alexa.

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With a $350 ticket price for the Connect, however, this option is still out of the reach of most people -- especially when a Chromecast Audio dongle with much of the same functionality costs only $35. While Sonos' Playbar and Playbase alleviate AV compatibility a little, the company sorely needs an inexpensive dongle if it's to compete with Google's Chromecast built-in system.

For much of Sonos' history its system has been a walled garden. But in recent years the company has loosened its grip -- for example, Sonos will soon enable Apple AirPlay 2 support on the One, PlayBase and Play:5.

Meanwhile, Onkyo and Pioneer receivers from the past 18 months have offered the greatest support for third-party multiroom systems, with Play-Fi, Chromecast built in and Flare Connect.