Troubleshooting Play-Fi Surround

If instead of having peformance issues like stuttering or drop-outs, you're having an issue hearing the correct audio or any audio at all from the Surround Left and Right speakers in a Play-Fi Surround configuration, you can run through the following steps to troubleshoot. You should ensure:

  1. That you performed a Surround Sound Set-Up as described here. If you just paired to the speakers in the normal Play-Fi group mode, then this will not enable Play-Fi Surround.
  2. The Play-Fi Surround Master is set to the correct input to capture audio. Refer to your manufacturer for more information on the specific product's input configuration.
  3. The source content you're playing is 5.1 surround. If it's mono or stereo, you may not hear anything from the surround channels.
  4. The source device you're playing from is 5.1 surround capable. Some TVs or devices are not capable of outputting a 5.1 audio signal, even if the content you're playing is.
  5. The digital output is configured to a format the Play-Fi Surround Master supports. Some content types and/or Play-Fi Surround Masters may only support a DTS signal or only a Dolby signal, and if not configured properly, it's possible that no audio may be heard.

Once you've solved for all the above cases, if you still have problems, run a 5.1 call-out track, like those found on DTS demo discs. This will send a discrete audio call-out to each speaker in the Play-Fi Surround configuration, and if all can be heard from the proper position, then everything is fine.

If audio is heard on the Play-Fi Surround Master, but not the Surround Left and/or Right, try:

It's also possible (though mostly unlikely) that the home network enviroment is so crowded that absolutely no audio can get through to the Surround Left and Right speakers, in which case you may want to read our entry on Improving Surround Performance. Don't forget that the Play-Fi Surround configuration should be done in the same room, and moving the Surround Left and Right to a separate room from the Play-Fi Surround Master could also result in unexpected behavior.

Improving Play-Fi Surround Performance

All you need to do to improve your Play-Fi Surround experience if you have dropouts or stuttering is to do one of the following after resetting everything to an out-of-box state (check with your manufacturer to see how this is done):

Either of those will almost certainly eliminate any trouble you're having. If you'd like to know more, read on:

Here's Why

Play-Fi Surround is a very convenient way to enjoy a true 5.1 audio/video experience, and we've built it (with our product partners) to be a robust platform through which you can enjoy endless hours of content without audio stutters or drop-outs. With that in mind, there are external elements that can degrade the experience through what is known as wireless interference.

When Play-Fi Surround is configured, it establishes a direct wireless link between your Play-Fi Surround Master, and one or two other Play-Fi products. This wireless link uses the same connection method the sound bar uses to join your home network, whether that's 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi or 5 GHz Wi-Fi. Essentially, it cuts out the router from the equation to ensure swift and reliable delivery of surround audio, and because the products will be in the same room, it means the signal quality will provide the best data speed and throughput.

Direct Connection

What does all this mean? It means the only thing that will dampen the experience is wireless interference. Currently most wireless interference happens over the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band. You can learn more about all the things that may interfere with your wireless signal here. So if you want to improve your Play-Fi Surround experience, you should connect the Play-Fi Surround Master to 5 GHz or wire it via Ethernet.

5 GHz

Most routers today are dual band, and it's likely yours is too. Some routers are configured to have a different name for the 5 GHz band. This will look like you have two networks when you're looking at the available Wi-Fi broadcasts on your phone or computer. For example, if your network name is "Home", you may see another network named "Home-5", "Home-5G", or something similar. Even though these networks have different names, they actually route everything together, so really it's all just one network. Sometimes the 5 GHz band will have the same name as the 2.4 GHz band. In this case, Play-Fi products will automatically try to connect over 5 GHz if it exists, and if the connection is preferable to 2.4 GHz. You can see how the Play-Fi product is connected in the About screen of the app.

The difference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz? 5 GHz is generally faster and has less interference, though it has shorter range. But range doesn't matter in the Play-Fi Surround environment, since all the products are in the same room, so it's pretty much always better to configure over 5 GHz to get rid of interference that can ruin the experience. In some cases it can improve the general Play-Fi multi-room experience as well, but consider your overall environment. Sometimes more range is better. You can read more about the difference between the two bands here.

Ethernet

If you don't have a dual-band router, and don't want to or can't obtain one at this time (we highly recommend getting one as they are better for Wi-Fi in general), then you can wire your Play-Fi sound bar to the router using Ethernet. If the sound bar does not have an Ethernet port, you can get a USB-Ethernet adapter for it, like the one here. Once the sound bar is wired, it will automatically create a 5 GHz link on its own with the surround left and right products during surround setup, since, as we know now, it will almost always be the better choice at this point in time.

Products that Support Play-Fi Surround

There are two elements of product required for Play-Fi Surround. They are the concepts of the Master and its Surrounds. In order to have Play-Fi Surround, you need at least one product that can be the Master, and you need two to act in Surround as Left and Right respectively. Any Play-Fi product can act as Surround Left or Right, but the Master has special requirements, and is limited to select products.

For a Play-Fi product to qualify as a Play-Fi Surround Master, it must:

Play-Fi does not limit this functionality to product type, so as long as the product supports the above, it can be a Play-Fi Surround Master. Speak with your product manufacturer to find out if your Play-Fi product supports the Play-Fi Surround feature, or if one is coming soon, either via an update or hardware revision.

Welcome to the Play-Fi Knowledge Base

If you're looking for the latest help information on DTS Play-Fi, you can find it all on our main page here.

You can also search for topics using the search bar to the right.

Editing Play-Fi Surround Configuration

If you need to make adjustments to your Play-Fi Surround configuration in order to improve your 5.1 surround listening experience, the app can take care of it. No need to reconfigure or run through setup again.

Go back to the Surround Sound option in the Settings menu, and you'll see your already-configured Play-Fi Surround group. Tapping on it will open its Edit page.

At a glance, you'll be able to read the current settings for the Play-Fi Surround configuration, and you'll also be able to adjust the master audio level, which controls the audio output level of the whole group (this can also be done using the physical buttons or remote of the Play-Fi Surround Master).

The Edit buttons for each section will allow you to adjust the distance settings for each product in the group and the relative volume (aka "Trim") of the Surround Left and Surround Right products. If you're playing content through the Play-Fi Surround grouping at the time, changing these settings will take place immediately and won't interrupt playback, so you'll be able to fine tune on the fly.

Removing Play-Fi Surround Configuration

If movie night is done, and you'd like to use the configured Surround Left and Right Play-Fi speakers as regular multi-room products again, then no problem!

Before moving the speakers, go back to the Surround Sound option in Settings. Now you'll see your configured Play-Fi Surround group(s) in the list, and tapping on the Options button to the right of it, will open the Options pop-up.

Selecting Delete will inititate the deletion process. The app handles the whole thing for you. No need to manually set up any speakers again.

After the app gives the all-clear, you're free to use the Play-Fi speakers again or move them to another location in the house, where they will automatically connect to the home network if in range.

Set-Up Play-Fi Surround

Play-Fi supports the ability to set up a 5.1 surround-capable Play-Fi audio piece in a Wireless Surround configuration. We call it: Play-Fi Surround, and setting it up is simple.

After you've connected at least one Play-Fi Surround Master (such as a Play-Fi sound bar, like the Polk Omni SB1+) to your wireless network and your TV, connected at least two Play-Fi products of any kind to your wireless network, and brought the products' firmware and software up to date, simply tap on the Settings icon on the main page of the app, and navigate to the Surround Sound option. This will open the settings page for Play-Fi Surround, and since we haven't set up Play-Fi Surround yet, it will prompt us to do so by tapping on the + button down in the lower right.

Surround Set-Up will begin and the app will preface with some information and instructions. Once you proceed, the app will detect if there are products available on the network that can support Play-Fi Surround, or if there are products that need an update from the manufacturer to enable support.

The guided setup will talk you through picking the speaker for the correct placement and setting the distance (this and other settings can be adjusted later after setup is complete.) This process is the same for all three speaker placements but the Front psotion must be a Play-Fi Surround Master.

After you've picked every position and set the distance, the app will automatically conigure everything as needed wirelessly. This can take about 60 seconds or so, and once completed, the app will notify you.

You're all set! Be sure to set the Play-Fi Surround Master to the desired input source, and then go ahead and play some 5.1 Surround content to test it out. Play-Fi Surround is a true 5.1 surround experience, so if your Play-Fi Surround Master is connected to something that sends a 5.1 audio signal supported by it (this will vary by input and manufacturer), then the connected surround speakers will in fact render discrete Surround Left and Surround Right channels.

If you have any trouble with audio output or performance, please refer to those respectivly linked articles.

Service Announcements - Missing Sources in the iOS app

If you're having an issue where certain key music sources are missing from your list in a Play-Fi app, rest assured that this is simply a small error in the database difference introduced from the in-store update. To bring back the missing music services, simply uninstall the app, and reinstall it.

If you have additional trouble beyond this, please contact Play-Fi Support from the main FAQ page.

DTS Play-Fi Technical Support

Email support@play-fi.com.

Wren Sound Customer Support

If you have a Play-Fi product from Wren Sound that has an issue that is not addressed here, or you wish to talk to one of their representatives, click on this link to go to their Support Service page.

Polk Audio Customer Support

If you have a Play-Fi product from Polk Audio that has an issue that is not addressed here, or wish to talk to one of their representatives, click on this link to go to their Preferred Service page.

Phorus Customer Support

If you have a Play-Fi product from Phorus that has an issue that is not addressed here, or you wish to talk to one of their representatives, click on this link to go to their Support Service page.

Paradigm Customer Support

If you have a Play-Fi product from Paradigm that has an issue that is not addressed here, or wish to talk to one of their representatives, click on this link to go to their Wireless Speaker support page.

MartinLogan Customer Support

If you have a Play-Fi product from MartinLogan that has an issue that is not addressed here, or wish to talk to one of their representatives, click on this link to go to their Wireless Speaker support page.

Klipsch Customer Support

Visit the Klipsch Stream Support page to view frequently asked questions and scroll down to the bottom of the page to find a list of compatible Wi-Fi routers, tested and certified by Klipsch.  Should you wish to talk with a Klipsch Stream support representative, open a customer support ticket on the Klispch Product Support page

Definitive Technology Customer Support

If you have a Play-Fi product from Definitive Technology that has an issue that is not addressed here, or you wish to talk to one of their representatives, click on this link to go to their Aficionado Service page.

Arcam Customer Support

If you have a Play-Fi product from Arcam that has an issue that is not addressed here, or wish to talk to one of their representatives, click on this link to go to their Technical Support page.

How do I use AirPlay with a Play-Fi Product?

Using AirPlay with a Play-Fi product works exactly the same as any other AirPlay speaker. Once the speaker is on your network, any app or operating system that has AirPlay audio output controls will automatically discover the speaker and add it to the list of available AirPlay devices. It'll even have the same name it has in the Play-Fi app. No additional setup required.

Do all Play-Fi products support AirPlay streaming?

AirPlay is an optional feature for our brand partners, so this capability is not available on all Play-Fi products. Please check with your manufacturer to see if AirPlay is included with your model.

Anthem Customer Support

If you have a Play-Fi product from Anthem that has an issue that is not addressed here, or wish to talk to one of their representatives, click on this link to go to their Technical Support page.

I can’t find my speakers in Spotify Connect

For Spotify Premium subscribers, your Play-Fi products should appear when you click on the Connect icon in the Spotify app.  

If the speaker does not appear on the list, try the following:
 

Can I stream Spotify in multiple rooms?

Yes. To do so, you must first create a Spotify Group within the Play-Fi app. Spotify Groups are different from normal Play-Fi groups in that they specifically group speakers together for viewing within the Spotify app. This is so that normal grouping and zoning functions remain modular within the Play-Fi streaming system.

Spotify Create Group

From the Play-Fi Control screen of the Play-Fi app (left), tap the Settings button to open the pop-up menu, and select Spotify Groups, which we’ve circled here. This option allows you to edit or create Spotify Groups. After you've elected to create a new group and given it a name (we called ours "Downstairs" in the example) you can then pick from any of your Play-Fi products to be added to this group (right). Any speakers that can't be joined in a Spotify Group will be greyed out. Once you’re satisfied, head to the Spotify app to start streaming.

Spotify Remote

If you want control the volume of individual Play-Fi products within the Spotify Group after you’ve started your stream, head back to the Play-Fi app, and your Spotify Group will automatically populate a module on the Play-Fi Control screen.

How do I use Spotify Connect?

Spotify is now available on all Play-Fi audio products, but the way it works is different from the other streaming services. Instead of Spotify living in the Play-Fi app, the Play-Fi product itself communicates directly with Spotify. To enable this feature, simply download the latest version of a Play-Fi app, and allow it to update your Play-Fi product.

Once you're all updated and ready to go, open up your Spotify app, start playing something, and then, on the Now Playing screen, press the Spotify Connect button, which we’ve circled below:

Spotify connect button

You'll then be able to see all the Spotify enabled devices on the network, including your Play-Fi products that have been configured as Spotify Groups, wireless stereo pairs, or just individuals.  The selected products are now tied to your Spotify Premium account, and as long as the product can communicate with the Internet, you can play to it from your Spotify app. 

Why is music from the server displayed in alphabetical order?

Some Media Server applications do not send complete metadata (such as album, artist and genre) when queried by a DLNA app like Play-Fi.  Without this information, the app creates an alphabetical list based on information that is available, such as the song tile.  The recommended software solutions avoid this problem, allowing your music to be grouped logically.

Supported Media Servers

The Play-Fi app is capable of recognizing any Media Server or NAS (Network Attached Storage device) that is broadcasting over your home network, so long as it is set up for open access utilizing standard DLNA profile and protocol [Click to learn what DLNA means]  Some DLNA servers that make use of advanced streaming conversion or protection will not be compatible with Play-Fi. 

All of the currently supported Play-Fi file formats can be played from a compatible media server.

Recommended Media Server Software

The Media Server Software we have tested and recommend for use with Play-Fi on a connected Media server are: 

These programs are full featured, robust, stable, and low-impact, and work well with our Play-Fi apps and products.  This list is not exhaustive, and most media server interfaces with good DLNA implementations should work just fine, and those with options to change profiles should be set to the Generic Profile when interacting over Play-Fi.

Required Network Settings to use Play-Fi on your PC

Play-Fi will only work on Wi-Fi networks that are set up as a "Home network" or a "Work network" on your PC, since these provide higher security settings than “Public” Wi-Fi networks. If your PC is connected to a "Public" Wi-Fi network, Play-Fi products will not be detected. 

To check your network's settings go to the desktop, right click the network symbol in the taskbar (usually the lower right corner of the screen), and then click 'Open Network and Sharing Center'.

If the current network is set to "Public" (#1 in the image below) then select the link "Public Network (#2 below) and change the setting to "Home" or "Work".

How do I upgrade to Play-Fi HD?

Head to our store and purchase an upgrade license key. An e-mail with the key will be sent to you immediately, generally within 20 minutes.

You must install the basic Windows software first.  Run the applet, pair to a speaker, and then select the upgrade option.  Copy the code from the email, and then paste, including dashes, into the field.

If you cannot find the e-mail with your license key, please contact support@play-fi.com, and we will resend your key.  If you have any trouble with the upgrade, you can also contact us and we will be happy to help.

What is the difference between Play-Fi and Play-Fi HD?

The standard version of the Play-Fi Windows app:

The premium version of the Windows app, Play-Fi HD:

Both versions are compatible with the full line of Play-Fi Products.

How do I download the Windows App?

You can find the download on this page.

How do playlists work? Can I use playlists from other apps, like iTunes?

For Android, playlists in the Play-Fi app use the standard Android playlist structure, shared by many popular music apps.  Some music apps, like Google Play, use non-standard formats, so those playlists will not be visible in our app.  You can also create new playlists from your stored music content right within the app.

For iOS, the app will display and use existing iTunes playlists. If you can't find your songs, be sure the music is stored on your mobile device and that they're not just stored in the cloud.

Is there a difference between the iOS app and the Android app?

For the most part, the apps are work exactly the same way, although they are styled to fit with the look of each operating system. They have the same multi-room, multi-zone and stereo streaming features, and let you control all your Play-Fi products. Plus, the apps are interoperable, so you can use Play-Fi on iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and Windows with the same set of speakers on the same home network.
There are the few differences between the apps:

Does it matter which Play-Fi App I use?

No.  All Play-Fi apps work interchangeably with all Play-Fi products.  The differences between the apps are mostly in the color schemes, fonts and logos.  Feel free to use the Play-Fi app that you like best.

Advanced: Optimizing your router configuration for Play-Fi ahead of time

Most modern routers are already set up to work really well with streaming products like Play-Fi, but even with current routers, there are some things you can check to make sure you get the best possible Play-Fi experience before setting up your speakers.  

  1. Select the best Wi-Fi channel for your network. 
  2. Enable Quality of Service (QoS) features like Wireless Multimedia Extensions (WMM)
  3. If using advanced DHCP assignments or port-forwarding , allow exceptions for Play-Fi
  4. Double-check to be sure your router is assigning network access and that UPnP and DHCP are enabled.

Use of these configuration features will be covered by your router’s manual or in online support tools, or you can always get in touch with customer support for help.

Set-Up using a Web Browser

If set-up using other methods does not work, or if you need advanced options like Static IP configuration, Play-Fi products support configuration through a direct connection using a web browser.

To start, be sure the speaker is in set-up mode, and then follow these directions:

  1. Using a PC or Mac, use your Wi-Fi to connect directly to the Play-Fi product as if it were a wireless network. It will be broadcasting under a name like “PlayFi2Device000xxxx” or something similar.
    1. After connecting, your PC may indicate there is no Internet access anymore, and this is normal.
  2. Open any web browser and type into the address bar: 192.168.0.1/index.html
  3. Hit “Enter” or your browser’s “Go” button.
  4. You should now be on the Play-Fi configuration screen.
  5. Select “Set Up” and follow the prompts

Browser Set-up

 

This page also has additional options for a network-based update as well as special configurations for Play-Fi products that include AirPlay. You can access and make use of these options once the Play-Fi product is configured on the network by typing the IP address it was assigned by the router into the address bar of your web browser.

Putting the speakers into Set-Up mode

Play-Fi devices have two set-up modes: Standard and WPS. 
When you first bring your Play-Fi product home, it will automatically go into standard set up mode.  If you need to set up your speaker again, in another location or on a different network, you can easily re-enable set up mode.

How do I set up my Play-Fi System?

It's really simple! 

  1. Plug in your Play-Fi product and turn it on.  In some cases, the product will power on automatically when you plug it in.   The Wi-Fi indicator light should be pulsing slowly and steadily.
  2. If your Play-Fi product does not have its own audio output, you may want to go ahead and connect it to your AVR or speaker before proceeding with set up.
  3. Download one of the free Play-Fi apps from the Google Play store, Amazon app marketplace, or Apple App Store, or download the Play-Fi Windows PC software.


     
  4. iOS users:  Open the Wi-Fi settings menu on your phone or tablet.  Select “Play-Fi Device” from the available options, and then open the Play-Fi app.
  5. Android and Windows users:  Simply open and run the app.  
  6. From here, the software will find your new speakers and connect them to the Wi-Fi network for you.  You will type in your network password once, and the app will do the rest.


     
  7. During installation, the app will look for and install updates for the Play-Fi products.  These product updates add a few minutes to the installation time.
  8. Once network set up and speaker updates are completed, you can select a name for your new speaker(s) and start enjoying the music!

Will Play-Fi work with Wi-Fi range extenders and repeaters?

Yes. To get optimal performance, ensure that the DHCP server is properly configured, and that each extender/repeater is set up as an access point that does not overlap with the Wi-Fi channel.  Information on these settings can be found in the owner’s manual of your router, or their online support tools. You can also contact customer support for guidance.

Can I stream video and hear the audio on my Play-Fi product?

With the Play-FI Android, iOS, and Kindle Fire apps, no.  The apps are built to support streaming audio only.  

With the Play-Fi Driver for Windows, you can stream any audio at all from the PC to your Play-Fi products, including video content. It also offers a Video mode, which allows you to sync the audio from any video, whether from a movie file or YouTube, to any one Play-Fi product on your network.

Using the Play-Fi enabled products from Hewlett-Packard, you can enjoy a video on your tablet and stream the audio to your speakers with excellent synchronization.

If your Play-Fi product is AirPlay enabled, you can stream audio from videos to your speakers that way.  For more on AirPlay streaming with your Play-Fi product, click here.

Stream a “Line-In” audio input

Certain Play-Fi products have the capability to capture audio from one of their on-board audio inputs and then redistribute it through a Play-Fi group. We call this Line-In Streaming, and speakers paired together streaming from Line-In are called a Line-In Zone.

To initiate a Line-In Zone, simply tap on the Add Zone button—which is the little + icon at the top of the main Play-Fi Control screen—then select the Line-In option. If your network has a Play-Fi product that supports Line-In Streaming, the Line-In Zone Module will display and list the products you can pick to lead the zone.

After selecting the product, if it has more than one audio input, you'll be able to select which one you'd like as the source, and then you'll be able to select the additional Play-Fi products to join to the Line-In Zone.

Once everything is up and running, you can close the app or leave the network, and the Line-In Zone will continue to run so long as there is content being played on the input.

Critical Listening Mode

Play-Fi will normally play back all files it supports in their native formats and encoding. High resolution files are a special case, and though they are not transcoded, they are down-sampled to CD quality to maintain stream and network performance.

For those who wish to hear high resolution audio as originally intended, Critical Listening mode will enable native rendering of high resolution files up to 24/192, with no down-sampling or network synchronization adjustment. In this way, audio files retain their original audio integrity.

Since the high resolution audio files are not down-sampled in this mode, they will remain exceptionally large. We support all modes over standard Wi-Fi, including Critical Listening, but a wired connection may improve the experience for those with network issues.

Enabling Critical Listening Mode

Before selecting a Play-Fi product, tap the Hi-Res button in the top bar of the zone module. This will change the list to display the Play-Fi products that are compatible with this mode. Most Play-Fi products support Critical Listening, but if you’d like to know more about your product, contact info for your brand may be found on the main Knowledge Base page.

Critical Listening

Select your single product of choice, and then play from your desired source for the truest audio reproduction over Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

Multi-zone Streaming

Play-Fi supports streaming different audio to different rooms or zones, directly from your Play-Fi app.  So, for example, you can send Pandora downstairs for a dinner party, and keep Radio Disney playing upstairs for the kids.

To set up a new zone, simply open up the Play-Fi Control screen by pressing the Play-Fi button in the app.  

You will see the currently playing Play-Fi products and what they are playing in a Zone module. To add another Zone, simply press the Plus icon in the top right of the screen, which we’ve pointed out for you here.

Multi-zone menu

A new Zone module will be created allowing you to pick you Group or individual Play-Fi product, and then you can select your audio source. Once configured, you can press the Play-Fi button to return to the Play-Fi Control screen, where you can easily manage each Zone.

You can have up to four zones at once, and each zone can include up to 16 speakers.  Each zone does have to play from a different music source or server

Stereo pair set up

Play-Fi allows you to configure two speakers into a stereo pair by selecting one to play Left channel audio, and the other to play Right channel audio.  Play-Fi will then synchronize the audio into a single stereo stream, wirelessly.

stereo set up

To set this up, press the Play-Fi button to go to the Play-Fi control screen if you’re not already there. Tap on the Settings button to open up the menu, and choose Stereo Setup, which we’ve highlighted in this example. You will then choose a Left speaker, and a Right speaker, and finally, you will give the paired speakers a new shared name, like “Den” or “Polk Stereo” as in this case.  Once paired, the stereo pair will appear as a single speaker in the Play-Fi network, for all users and devices.

Adding speakers and creating speaker groups

At any time when using the Play-Fi app, or from the Play-Fi applet in Windows, if you want to add more speakers, just press the Play-Fi icon.  In the apps, the icon is in the bottom right side of the screen, and in Windows, it appears in as a system icon in the lower bar.  

This will open the Play-Fi Control screen.  

On this screen, you can see the speakers tied to each source and adjust their volume individually or all together. Pressing the Add/Remove button will expand the speaker list to all of those on your network, and allow you to make any changes you like to the current set of active speakers.

 

If you really like this set of speakers, you can make them into a preset Group, so that you can easily select them for playback, or even have them automatically connect when you launch the app. To do this, just select the “Save as Group?” option at the bottom. You’ll give them a name and be all set. If you ever want to make or edit groups outside of playback, just hit the Settings button on the Play-Fi Control screen, and select the Speaker Groups.

Supported Audio Formats and File Quality

Play-Fi streams audio directly from source devices to the speakers, and supports a wide variety of streaming formats and audio quality levels.

Supported File Formats

File Quality

How many Play-Fi products can I have on my network?

Background Information on Common Wi-Fi Problems

Why older routers, 802.11g and lower routers, and routers from ISPs are problematic

Many routers and wireless gateways provided by ISPs are older and lower quality than more modern networking gear.  Play-Fi is not especially demanding in terms of bandwidth, but it does require reliable transmit speed and quality signal.  Older routers often lack newer media streaming optimization features and the speed and range enhancements that current routers have.  Routers five years old or older are also known to become slower and less reliable as they age.  

Play-Fi will work on most 802.11g routers, but performance may not be the best. 802.11g does not support many optimizing features that were introduced in 802.11n. 802.11n routers also offer greatly improved speeds, and this can dramatically help not only Play-Fi, but also your daily network performance.  Due to its limited range and speed, Play-Fi Streaming over 802.11b is limited to a single speaker. 

Interference issues: areas with many wireless networks nearby, or with many other wireless devices in use

Using Play-Fi products in environments with many wireless networks operating at once, like an apartment building or crowded neighborhood, can be a challenge, because it is likely that these networks are causing interference with each other.

wifi analyzer

To check for this, if you are using Android, you can download and run an app like Wi-Fi Analyzer.  The app will show which broadcast channels are busy, and can help you choose a less cluttered one.  If the area is very crowded, switching to a router with 5GHz capabilities will make a big difference.   

Interference can also come from devices that don’t connect to your network, but are still emitting wireless signals.  Microwaves are one example, but wireless home phone systems and Bluetooth headphones and handsets also may cause trouble.  If your home has a lot of these devices, moving to a dual band router and using Play-Fi with the 5GHz band will be a major improvement.  Note that older Play-Fi products, like the Phorus PS1 Speaker, Phorus PR1 Receiver, and the Wren V5PF are only compatible with 2.4Ghz.

You can find instructions for changing the channel in your router owner’s manual, and a list of our recommended router specifications and models here.

Detailed information on the various 802.11 standards, 2.4 Ghz vs. 5Ghz streaming, and the impact of speed and bandwidth on network performance is available in our Wi-Fi Technology Glossary, here.

Why can’t the app find my music?

If the Play-Fi app is unable to find tracks that you've downloaded to your phone, tablet or a networked media server, check the list of supported file formats first.  If your music is in an unsupported format, it will simply not appear in the library.

If you've confirmed that the missing files should be supported, but you still can't see them:
Android 

For iOS

For Media Servers

Play-Fi App stops suddenly while playing

The majority of the time, this occurs when something else is happening on your smartphone or tablet outside of the Play-Fi app. For instance, the app may crash if:

To avoid further crashes, try plugging in your device and closing or killing other memory-intensive background applications.  Then, restart the app and enjoy the music.

If the app continues to crash after you take these steps with your device, please contact customer support for help.

Play-Fi Devices Lost

If you see this message, it could mean one or more things:

Start by confirming that your router is connecting to other networked devices (like your phone or laptop) and that Wi-Fi is working in your house.  Next, double check that you and your phone (the source of the music) are still in normal Wi-Fi range, and that the speaker is in range, too. Check the speakers for power, and to see the state of the Wi-Fi light.

If everything looks OK, and you’re not sure why you might be having issues, take a look at our Connectivity Issues guide to help walk you through optimizing your network performance.  

You can also contact Customer Support anytime for assistance.

Play-Fi Device Update Failed

A Play-Fi device update can fail because the Wi-Fi connection between the Play-Fi device, Play-Fi app, and router was interrupted, either because of heavy network traffic, an obscured signal, or wireless interference. If the update fails repeatedly (the “Try Again” option doesn’t work after 5 or more attempts), try:

  1. Closing out the Play-Fi app completely (or restart the phone/tablet), and then reopening it to try again.
  2. Moving your Play-Fi product and device near your Wi-Fi router, and try the update again.

If this does not help, you will need to perform a Manual Update. Contact customer support for assistance.

Play-Fi Device not Discovered After Set-Up

The final step during Play-Fi Set-Up is for the app to search for and find the new products connected to the Wi-Fi network.  If it is unable to find the product at this step, one of two things has occurred.  

  1. It’s possible the password was inadvertently entered incorrectly.  Choose “Settings > Add Play-Fi Device to run set up again, with the correct password, using the option to show the password so that you can verify the entry.   
  2. Double check that your phone or tablet is connected to the same network you used to set up the Play-Fi product.
  3. If using a Samsung phone, go to the Advanced Wi-Fi settings in your phone and disable "Smart Network Switch" (or similar settings), then try setup again.
  4. Close the app, and restart it.
  5. Exit the app, put the Speaker back into Set-Up mode, and set it up again using the Browser Setup Method.
  6. If this does not work, check our other article to troubleshoot based on indicator light behavior.

No Play-Fi Devices Detected

If you can’t see or access your speakers within the Play-Fi app during normal use, try the following steps (skip to the next paragraph if you are setting up a Play-Fi product).

  1. Turn the Wi-Fi setting off and then back on.  If that doesn't work try #2.
  2. Power the Play-Fi produc(s) off and then back on.  If that doesn't work try #3.
  3. Reboot your router.

If you still can’t see or access your speakers within the Play-Fi app, or your setting up a Play-Fi product, check the status of the Wi-Fi light.  Based on what that light is doing, there are several ways to get the speaker up and running again.  If using a Windows PC to stream, see here for some additional steps you can take if these suggestions don’t help.

Wi-Fi Light Solid
This indicates the Play-Fi product has the network setup information, and is connected to the network. If the product isn’t found in the app, try the following:

  1. Try closing the Play-Fi app and reopening it, or restarting your phone, tablet, PC.
  2. Double-check that your phone, tablet or PC is connected to the same network as the speaker, so they can see each other.
  3. Exit the app, put the Speaker back into Set-Up mode, and set it up again using the Browser Setup Method.
  4. Be sure that you have broadcast forwarding and media sharing enabled on your router / access point (If you aren’t sure how to do this, contact customer support for help).
  5. Check our Incompatible Router List to see if your model (or similar model) is on the list and what the recommended solution is.
  6. Contact customer support if none of these steps fix the issue.

Wi-Fi Light Blinking
This indicates the Play-Fi product has the network setup information, and is attempting to connect but failing. To correct this, try the following:

  1. Move the Play-Fi product closer to the router / access point.
  2. Exit the app, put the Speaker back into Set-Up mode, and set it up again using the Browser Setup Method.
  3. Be sure you are not trying to use an Office or Corporate guest network.
  4. Verify that your network is not set to deny unauthorized MAC IDs, or that it has a frequent lease refresh (if you’re not sure what these are, then you can contact customer support).
  5. Be sure the router is not set to Wi-Fi channels outside of your region (if you’re not sure what these are, then you can contact customer support).
  6. Try a Manual Update.
  7. Check our Incompatible Router List to see if your model (or similar model) is on the list and what the recommended solution is.
  8. Contact customer support if none of these steps fix the issue.

Wi-Fi Light Pulsing
This indicates the Play-Fi product has returned to Set-Up mode, and will need to be set up again. Before running Set-Up again:

  1. Double-check the password you entered was correct.
  2. Power cycle the Play-Fi product (turn it off and then on again).
  3. Move the Play-Fi product closer to the router / access point.

Run Set-Up again using the Browser Setup Method. If the Play-Fi product is still in Set-Up mode:

  1. Be sure you are not trying to use an Office or Corporate guest network.
  2. Check our Incompatible Router List to see if your model (or similar model) is present and if there is a solution.
  3. Contact customer support if none of these steps fix the issue.

Wi-Fi Light Off
This indicates the Play-Fi product is no longer attempting to use Wi-Fi. If your Play-Fi product is in this state, try the following:

  1. Check that the Play-Fi product is not connected via Ethernet (The Wi-Fi light is always off if Ethernet is used).
  2. Power cycle the Play-Fi product (turn it off and then on again).
  3. Try a Manual Update.
  4. Contact Customer Support.

If the Play-Fi product is connected via Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi, you will not be able to use the Wi-Fi light to diagnose the problem.  In this instance, try each of the following:

  1. Try closing the Play-Fi app and reopening it, or restarting your phone, tablet, or PC and then reopening the app.
  2. Double-check that your phone/tablet/PC is connected to the same network as the speaker. 
  3. Be sure you are not trying to use an Office or Corporate guest network.
  4. If it’s your personal network, be sure that you have broadcast forwarding and media sharing enabled on your router / access point (if you’re not sure what these are, contact customer support).
  5. Check our Incompatible Router List to see if your model (or similar model) is present and if there is a solution.
  6. If using a Windows PC to stream, check the steps in the next section.
  7. Contact customer support if none of these steps fix the issue.

If you lose speakers while using the Play-Fi app for Windows PC, try solving the issue based on the status of the Play-Fi product Wi-Fi light.  If that dos not help, try the following: 

  1. Change your network type from “Public” to “Home” or “Work”.
  2. Enable Network Sharing.
  3. Right click the Play-Fi app shortcut, and elect to run it in Administrator mode.
  4. Ensure DTS Play-Fi is allowed in your Firewall.
  5. Disable any antivirus or security software blocks against DTS Play-Fi.

How to do a Manual Play-Fi Product Update

A manual update is a way of delivering updated software directly to your Play-Fi product using the USB port, rather than wirelessly via the Play-Fi app.  This update software is only for the embedded Play-Fi software of the product. If you need update files for your Brand’s utility software or firmware, then please reach out to your respective brand’s support group. You can find links to the various Play-Fi partners on the main Knowledge Base directory.

You should only use this if you are having trouble with a first time setup or a new over-the-air update. If you are having another issue, please be sure to run through the other troubleshooting steps first, prior to taking this step. If you have any issues with this update, or need a walkthrough, please contact support@play-fi.com.

Certain Phorus PS1 Speakers and Wren V5PFs may need special service or updates prior to performing this operation. If you have one of these products and are having update difficulty, please refer to the Phorus or Wren support pages, respectively.

 

This is what you’ll need to update:

 

Here's a link to the update files: Download Here

Open the zip archive and extract the “phorus” folder to the main directory (root) of the USB Flash drive. Do not change the name of that folder or any of the files therein.

Instructions:

  1. Unplug the Play-Fi product from power
    • If using a Polk Omni S2 Rechargeable, hold the Polk button until the Wi-Fi light on the back turns off (roughly 3 seconds)
  2. Insert the USB flash drive into the back of the unpowered Play-Fi product
  3. Plug the Play-Fi product back into power, which should make the product light up (some also make a startup tone)
    • Definitive Technology products (except for the sound bars): Hold Volume Minus until the product makes a tone and restarts
    • MartinLogan Motion Vision X: Hold Volume Minus and Volume Plus for 5 seconds and the display will indicate Updating
    • MartinLogan Crescendo X: Hold the Mute and Source buttons for 5 seconds, and the front LED will turn Red to indicate Update Mode
  4. After a short period of time you may hear another tone from the speaker, and this indicates the process has started
    • Some Polk and Definitive Technology products don’t make update tones
  5. After about 3-5 minutes or so--and several interspersed tones and restarts--eventually the product's Wi-Fi light will enter a Double-Blink pattern (the WPS pattern), which is distinct from the pulsing or fast blinking patterns
    • Most Play-Fi products (apart from certain Polk and Definitive Technology models) also repeat a tone endlessly every 5 seconds upon completion
  6. Unplug the Play-Fi product from power
    • If using a Polk Omni S2 Rechargeable, hold the Polk button until the Wi-Fi light on the back turns off (roughly 3 seconds)
  7. Remove the USB drive
  8. Plug the Play-Fi product back into power

The product should now return to the network and be updated for full playback and feature support.

Recommended Routers and Network Specifications

Play-Fi is compatible with all routers that are Wi-Fi certified and meet Wi-Fi standards. Uncertified routers may cause problems for your Play-Fi products.  A list of known problematic routers is here.

Recommended Specifications
While all certified routers should work, for the optimal Play-Fi streaming experience, we recommend using a router that is rated at least “N600”.   This designation means the router supports 802.11n dual band with a speed of 300Mbps on each band. You’ll see the rating “N600” in the router name, or on the front of the box.

N600 Router

These are the detailed N600 specifications you should look for:

LAN Ports:

Antenna:

Memory:

Operating Frequency:

Data Rate:

Please note that these are recommendations and not requirements. Play-Fi does work with routers with lower performance specifications, and the experience may be acceptable or good.  However, using a router with these performance levels will dramatically reduce the chances that your network set up will interfere with the enjoyment of your Play-Fi products.

Examples of Routers that meet this specification: 

This series of routers has reliable and consistent performance in our internal testing and strong customer reviews. We’ve organized them in a “Good, Better, Best” format:

Router Description Type of Home Where to Buy
ASUS RT-N56U This router meets the recommended specs, is low-cost, and is superb for providing a quality Play-Fi experience Apartment or Condo

Amazon
Best Buy
Fry's
Others

ASUS RT-N66U This router exceeds the recommended specs, provides faster speeds and greater ranges, and provides a superior Play-Fi experience 1-2 Story Home or Ranch Home Amazon
Best Buy
Fry's
Others
ASUS RT-AC68U This router greatly exceeds the recommended specs, provides incredible speed and range, has the newest Wi-Fi standard, and provides one of the best Play-Fi experiences. Large, Multistory Home Amazon
Best Buy
Fry's
Others

Incompatible Network Set-Ups

Play-Fi is not compatible with Office or Guest networks

Play-Fi products are built to deliver a wonderful audio listening experience at home, on a personal Wi-Fi network.  Offices and other corporate networks like hotels, airports, and areas with “guest” Wi-Fi networks are almost always set up to disable media streaming products. This is done for security reasons, and to preserve bandwidth.  Regardless of the reason, these environments are not suitable for use of your Play-Fi products.  

If for some reason you do need to use your Play-Fi products in an office environment, work with your IT department or network administrator on set up.


Some Routers and Access Points do not work well with Play-Fi products

Our team is constantly testing for Wi-Fi compatibility.  This table shows a list of Wi-Fi hardware that can cause issues for your Play-Fi products, along with our suggested solutions for the problem.

Make Model Problem Solution
Actiontec

GT724WGR
M1000
C1000
PK5000

Your Play-Fi product may not connect to the network, or it may connect, but not be visible to your Play-Fi software.  This is due to the router not assigning an IP address. Performing set-up using the Browser Method will allow your speakers to be discovered on the network.
Apple AirPort Express, Extreme, and Time Capsule AirPort routers do not always make use of the best network sharing properties, and sometimes don’t handle media streaming the way certified routers do.  This can lead to a poor Play-Fi streaming experience. Use another Wi-Fi access point instead, like one of these recommended options.
Belkin F6D4230-4 V3
F5D7234-4 v4
The Wi-Fi network may fail to forward broadcasts from one device to another. This can cause connection and performance issues for Play-Fi products.  Performing set-up using the Browser Method may resolve the issue. Otherwise, use another Wi-Fi access point, like one of these recommended options.
Linksys E800 This router is not 802.11n certified, and when WMM (an advanced media management mode) is enabled, performance of Play-Fi products can be impaired. Disable WMM, and performance should improve. You will find instructions for how to do this in the router’s user manual or in their online support tools.
Motorola SBG6580 Your Play-Fi product may connect, but the Wi-Fi network may fail to forward broadcasts, making it difficult for your speakers to be discovered and used.   Performing set-up using the Browser Method should resolve the issue.
Netgear WNDR3400
WNDR4200
These routers have an isolation mode.  If this mode is enabled, the router is not forwarding broadcasts between devices. Your Play-Fi product may connect, but it will be difficult for your speakers to be discovered and used.  Disable isolation mode in the router settings, and the Play-Fi devices will now be discoverable You will find instructions on how to disable isolation mode in the router user manual or in their online support tools.
TP-Link TL-WR841N Certain streaming services in your Play-Fi app may not work.   Update the app to the latest version and the issue should be resolved.

If you are experiencing one of the issues listed above, but with a different router model, often the related solution listed here will resolve the problem for you.  You can always contact customer support for help and suggestions on Wi-Fi networking issues.  

For a general performance improvement suggestions, click here.

Connectivity issues and recommended solutions

Sometimes connectivity issues on your Wi-Fi network can cause problems with the performance of Play-Fi products.  These include dropouts, when audio playback is interrupted in one or more rooms during a song, stuttering, when a song has small skips while you are listening to it, and lost connections, where a speaker is completely disconnected from the streaming group.

In most instances, these issues are each caused by your Wi-Fi set up, and can be easily fixed with a simple upgrade to your network.  Not only will your Play-Fi products work better, your overall experience with Wi-Fi at home should improve quite a bit. 

Here are some specific conditions to check for if you are experiencing connectivity issues:

Older routers; crowded network conditions:

We recommend upgrading to a new router/access point, with 802.11n dual band wireless.  The upgrade will improve the performance of all of your streaming activities, not just Play-Fi.  Click here for a list of specifications and routers we recommend.

Large streaming range or difficult streaming environment:

Be sure you have a top quality router, as suggested above.  Plus, we recommend adding one or more additional wireless access points to your network.  This will extend the range and reliability of your Wi-Fi at home.

Building materials that hinder Wi-Fi:

These materials may be interfering with the Wi-Fi signal getting to the speaker, causing dropouts.  Try moving the speaker a few feet away from the area.

Wireless network extenders aren’t working:

We recommend wiring the extended access points to your main router. 

Competing audio products disrupting the network:  

We recommend disconnecting or unplugging it when your Play-Fi products are in use.   Some of these products (like those from Sonos and Samsung) use hubs and network extenders that are not Wi-Fi certified. These products may disrupt normal Wi-Fi traffic even when they are not active. 

If you are curious about why these conditions cause problems for your Wi-Fi performance, click here for more details.  You can also reach out to customer support for help.