Join Date: May 2007
Location: Malvern, Pa 19355
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Your first problem is going into a big box store. A custom a/v shop that specializes in this would be a lot more knowledgeable.
I tell all of my customers the same thing. There are a lot of so called "smart" devices on the market. You can get Pandora on; a new TV, Blu-Ray player, surround receiver, video game system, blu-ray player, sonos, etc... Which of those devices are easy to use and reliable? Not many. Which one of those devices provides the best experience? For a project like your I would recommend a Sonos Connect, a Sonos bridge, and a three zone receiver. Or multiple Sonos units and a single zone receiver (depending on your budget & your needs).
You could probably find a deal on a used, discontinued, or open box 3 zone receiver online or at a local retailer.
Out of all of the options that are available to you the TV/ARC is probably the worst. I'm not trying to insult you or anything, but if a customer asked me to do that the answer would be no. If they insisted on it I would walk away from the project. It's just a bad combination.
And yes you could also use a receiver w/built in apps to do this (wired not wireless connection for the receiver). I am not a huge fan of this and haven't recommended it in a couple years, but it would work.
Believe it or not I also never use the built in TV apps on any of my projects. I understand you bought the TV and it's "smart" and all, but I can't stand most TV apps. To me most of the TV's are "stupid", confusing, and slow and not smart. I usually use a Roku or Apple TV for streaming video. In my opinion they are more reliable (aren't slow or don't lock up), easier to use (using the Samsung app makes me want to punch someone), and provide a much better experience. All for another $50-$100.
Also put in a network switch and hard wire all of your equipment.
I get the whole budget thing, but if you spend a little more money & design the system correctly you will be a LOT happier.