Sonos Playbar Home Theater Entrant Detailed

Dave Zatz —  February 12, 2013 — 5 Comments

sonos-playbar

The Sonos Soundbar has arrived. Could it be the Sonos home theater solution we’ve been pining for? First uncovered via a FCC filing late last year, the Sonos Playbar is now ready for its closeup.

According to Heise Online, the Playbar consists of 9 speakers contained within about a 35″ long handsome enclosure. Of course the requisite wireless capabilities are included, but the Playbar incorporates optical connectivity to receive audio directly from a television or other video source. Related, as with some of our favorite compact audio solutions, Sonos will relay your remote IR commands through the Playbar and out the back… should the soundbar happen to obscure your televisions IR receiver. Further, it’s quite likely the Playbar will recognize your television remote volume controls. Additional details come to us via Sempre Audio, who have the Sonos Playbar clocking in at about 12 pounds and indicate it can be wirelessly paired with a Sonos Sub and Play:3 units for a true 5.1 home theater experience – although one wonders about latency (and breaking the bank).

sonos-playbar-rear

The Sonos Playbar will run 700 Euros when it’s released in March. The Sonos Sub also runs 700 Euros overseas, so it’s a safe bet the Playbar will land in the $700 – $800 range here in the US. Which puts the Playbar+Sub solution at the same price point as the Bose SR1. While we can’t yet compare audio quality, the Sonos Playbar should be significantly more versatile given its wireless capabilities, including music streaming. But we are a bit bummed Sonos didn’t incorporate HDMI-ARC.

5 responses to Sonos Playbar Home Theater Entrant Detailed

  1. So no HDMi and no HD audio decoding? Why do they keep putting out these soundbars without this capability?

    The only soundbar I found at a decent price that had several HDMI inputs and decoded all the adavanced audio codecs was a Sony 2.1 speaker bar(HT-CT550W). Just about every other speaker bar I ran into either didn’t have HDMI, or if it did, it only decoded legacy audio. Or it came with a built in BD player which did decode the advanced audio codecs, but it didn’t have any HDMI inputs which also made it useless. Since a BD player isn’t the only source I have the uses the advanced audio codecs.

  2. Coverage is starting to pop up in the US and our price is indeed $700.

  3. I’m currently using a Boston Acoustics TVee Model 20. My latest living room Samsung’s built in speakers are just too awful for words. The consequences of going for crazy thin I guess. Anyway, the thing I liked about this model was a) it can learn your existing remote codes and b) it doesn’t have a separate power control–it just senses the energy coming in and turns on.

    It has some SERIOUS issues though. First the sound isn’t that great. Second the IR sensitivity is pretty awful (claw off the IR filter and its better). Third, since I don’t have the TV mounted on the wall I used brackets to attach it to the TV and it ends up upside down (so the buttons are on the bottom) since it blocks the IR of the TV otherwise.

    As a result I’ll certainly take a look at this. Never bothered considering Sonos stuff before since they couldn’t deal with the TV. Don’t care about the HDMI in, I’ll just continue running a separate audio out of the TV and disabling the TV speakers like I do now.

  4. @Glenn – I just pre-ordered one of the Sonos Playbar’s. When you say that the sound isnt that great, How do you rank it against your Boston Acoustics TVee Model 20? i.e. is it not great compared to a full 5.1 setup or is it not great compared to other soundbars you have used?

    This is also my first Sonos device but my main reason for ordering it were 1. No receiver needed. 2. It can play music from all kinds of sources even with the TV turned off. 3. I can turn it into a full 5.1 setup by adding two play 3 speakers if I want to later on. Just reading your line “First the sound isn’t that great.” made me worry. And the problems with the IR Blaster are also worrying but I dont think I will cancel my pre-order because of these issues, just would love for you to add some more details if possible.

  5. @Ben – I think Glenn was talking about what he doesn’t like about his Boston Acoustics TVee unit.

    He said the buttons are on the bottom when he mounted his speaker. That’s why I think he is referring to the BA TVee. The Sonos buttons are on the sides.

    I’d give the Sonos a try. They have a 45-day return period.

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