Sonos PlayBase TV Sound Stand Announced - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Sonos PlayBase TV Sound Stand Announced

There's a new TV sound stand in town, the Sonos Playbase. It's classic Sonos, big on minimalism and multi-room wireless audio capabilities, but maybe not so feature-laden in terms of inputs or support for audio formats. Anyhow, it exists, it ships April 4, and it costs $700. Click the following link to read more: https://www.avsforum.com/sonos-playba...and-announced/

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post #2 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 06:54 AM
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Mark: Pretty clear you are not a Sonos fan. I think their target market is nothing like the typical AVSer.

That said, while I have a full blown home theater, I also have the Sonos Soundbar and the Wireless Sub that is an option to go with it. It is located in our family room along with a 75 inch TV that my wife and I watch Netflix and Amazon movies on as well as regular TV shows. In a nutshell, we love it. We also have it integrated with Amazon music.

The setup is easy and they even have their own version of a room correction system that you run using an iPhone. And I am not bothered by lack of a precise "image" but do love the huge soundstage it can provide on occasion. We have thought about adding two side surround speakers to go with it, but probably won't due to the spaciousness that the Sounbar alone provides. Accurate? Probably not. Fun, functional, easy to use? Absolutely.
Best on the market? Depends on your requirements.

Clearly not for everyone but it sure works for us.

As to the product you reviewed? Targeting a product specifically for those home owners who use their TV's on a stand, I do find that odd. The existing Soundbar would perform just fine in that environment.
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post #3 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by audioguy View Post
Mark: Pretty clear you are not a Sonos fan. I think their target market is nothing like the typical AVSer.

That said, while I have a full blown home theater, I also have the Sonos Soundbar and the Wireless Sub that is an option to go with it. It is located in our family room along with a 75 inch TV that my wife and I watch Netflix and Amazon movies on as well as regular TV shows. In a nutshell, we love it. We also have it integrated with Amazon music.

The setup is easy and they even have their own version of a room correction system that you run using an iPhone. And I am not bothered by lack of a precise "image" but do love the huge soundstage it can provide on occasion. We have thought about adding two side surround speakers to go with it, but probably won't due to the spaciousness that the Sounbar alone provides. Accurate? Probably not. Fun, functional, easy to use? Absolutely.
Best on the market? Depends on your requirements.

Clearly not for everyone but it sure works for us.

As to the product you reviewed? Targeting a product specifically for those home owners who use their TV's on a stand, I do find that odd. The existing Soundbar would perform just fine in that environment.
That's not a fair statement. I have Sonos in my home and really enjoy the Play:5 speaker—I gave it a glowing review. I also think the Sonos Sub is very clever design, the Play:1 is a good value, and that the company's software is reliable and intuitive.

I also think it's 2017 and therefore a $700 TV sound stand should—at the minimum—handle HDMI.

I did not get to review the PlayBase. At best I'd call it a "first look."

What I'm not a fan of is Sonos hyping this device as a home theater solution at the expense of poking fun at AV enthusiasts and the gear they use. I'm here to advocate for calling it what it is, a well-built plastic sound stand for medium-sized TVs.

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post #4 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
What I'm not a fan of is Sonos hyping this device as a home theater solution at the expense of poking fun at AV enthusiasts and the gear they use. I'm here to advocate for calling it what it is, a well-built plastic sound stand for medium-sized TVs.
Fair enough. And I would agree with the above.
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post #5 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
There's a new TV sound stand in town, the Sonos Playbase. It's classic Sonos, big on minimalism and multi-room wireless audio capabilities, but maybe not so feature-laden in terms of inputs or support for audio formats. Anyhow, it exists, it ships April 4, and it costs $700. Click the following link to read more: https://www.avsforum.com/sonos-playba...and-announced/
Interesting and nice to see another alternative on the market, especially from Sonos who makes great sound products. For those looking for simple and great sounding audio beyond what their TVs can provide and simple setup...this should be cool.

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post #6 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 08:47 AM
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And just like the Playbar, no support for DTS. I've just about had it with them and may switch to the Bose 300 or see what the Sony HT-ST5000 is like.

Quote from Sonos:

"For home entertainment, DTS content is only found on physical media such as DVD, Blu-ray and Laserdisc – no video streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu support DTS. Sonos is focused on modern listeners who predominantly stream and because most physical discs encode DTS at bitrates substantially similar to Dolby Digital, we have decided to not support DTS on PLAYBASE as we don’t believe it offers a better listening experience for the majority of owners."

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post #7 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HarpuaFSB View Post
And just like the Playbar, no support for DTS. I've just about had it with them and may switch to the Bose 300 or see what the Sony HT-ST5000 is like.

Quote from Sonos:

"For home entertainment, DTS content is only found on physical media such as DVD, Blu-ray and Laserdisc – no video streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu support DTS. Sonos is focused on modern listeners who predominantly stream and because most physical discs encode DTS at bitrates substantially similar to Dolby Digital, we have decided to not support DTS on PLAYBASE as we don’t believe it offers a better listening experience for the majority of owners."

What I get from that is Sonos is not thinking about the viewing experience of those owners... i.e. what sort of visual fidelity even HD Blu-ray gets you verus streaming, not to mention the glory of Ultra HD Blu-ray. I mean really, the fact that the word "listener" is used to describe someone watching Netflix is... never mind.

You know, while I was there, the editor of one major AV publication noted to me (as an aside) that Sonos started designing this thing before Atmos for the home even existed, or Google Cast (which Vizio uses), or DTS Play-Fi, or... ah, forget it. I'm cool.

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post #8 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 10:17 AM
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Sonos is just going after the mainstream and making it easy. Discs are dead to the average consumer, most do not have DVD/Blu-ray/UHD players and the ones that do ask them the last time they used it. IME as an installer except for people that are enthusiasts most do not use discs or care about higher end surround sound, nor do they want speakers all over the place. They want half way decent sound and ease of use. The optical cable solves that problem and keeps the system from being obsolete every time HDMI comes out with a new version and much of your equipment needs to be replaced to get the latest and greatest.
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post #9 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 10:40 AM
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Mark, I don't think I've read an article this derogatory from you. When I read "Sponsored" in the byline, I expected a glorified press release, but that's not what you delivered. Thank you for calling it like you saw, ahem, heard it.
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post #10 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pattycake View Post
Mark, I don't think I've read an article this derogatory from you. When I read "Sponsored" in the byline, I expected a glorified press release, but that's not what you delivered. Thank you for calling it like you saw, ahem, heard it.
That was my mistake, but I fixed it.

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post #11 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 11:34 AM
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Playbase = Offbase

I own eleven Sonos devices, including a series of connect:amps, connect 5's connect 3's and a Playbar. Its love the platform, but its darn pricey compared to the competition. I adopted it because I was able to pick everything up gently-used for a fraction retail. The problem with their current Playbar is that the only input is optical. The one fix every Playbar owner I've ever encountered wanted was HDMI. 1st reason- most tv's won't pass 5.1 across the optical connection, so the sound quality is never what it could be, and that also makes a wireless surround system via adding more sonos speakers and a sonos sub pointless. On top of that, Netflix and other streamers have switched to from DD to DD+ which also isn't supported by the Playbar. I've yet to find a way to convert DD+ to DD and get it to the playbar. If Sonos is positioning this as a device for millenial streamers who don't use physical media, why use an optical cable? Aesthetics? Unless they have a magic formula for getting DD+ to pass through TVs and out the optical connection, this seems to be a missed opportunity for Sonos. Lastly, how many people are spending $700 on a 'sound bar' to sit under a 32"- 48" TV? I doubt many 'small' tv buyers are looking to spend up to twice what their TV costs on better sound. As infrequently as Sonos launches new products, I certainly hoped that they'd use that time to listen to their own enthusiastic user community.
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post #12 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Ellebob View Post
Sonos is just going after the mainstream and making it easy. Discs are dead to the average consumer, most do not have DVD/Blu-ray/UHD players and the ones that do ask them the last time they used it. IME as an installer except for people that are enthusiasts most do not use discs or care about higher end surround sound, nor do they want speakers all over the place. They want half way decent sound and ease of use. The optical cable solves that problem and keeps the system from being obsolete every time HDMI comes out with a new version and much of your equipment needs to be replaced to get the latest and greatest.
I think this is a valid point, but agree with the reviewer's perception that Sonos sees itself as the "right" higher end solution and that anything else is just unnecessary complexity. This is also borne out in the Sonos forums on its explanation as to why they don't support hi-res audio---which basically amounts to "there is not really a sonic difference that people can hear (and those who claim to are dreaming), therefore it is a waste of time supporting it".

Coming from someone who is a fan of Sonos with a lot of their gear AND has a higher-end theater, I'd rather they accept who they are and not arrogantly tell us AVS'ers we are wrong. Just my $0.02.
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post #13 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 03:42 PM
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somebody needs to make a soundbase that can be used as a center channel hooked to an avr with delay settings,just saying
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post #14 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 05:58 PM
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I have the PlayBar and Sub hooked up to my TV in living room and I have an almost completed theater room. The PlayBar and Sub combo is impressive for what it is. The price was much higher than I wanted to spend for a soundbar/sub combo without HDMI's and DTS decoding but I'm happy with it because it was easy to set and my wife can operate it effortlessly. She even bought a Play1 for her office, set it up on her own and is very happy with it.
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post #15 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 06:04 PM
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I'm Sonos fan and owner few Sonos product and I love them. When we talking HT or music then I love more what I have and I'm not looking to downsize it or swap it. Call me old school but disk are disk. So I make technologie compromise and I have both systems around house.
I believe new Sonos PlayBase TV Sound Stand will be great choice for many people with Smaller TV and who looking for better sound then Tv's can offer or want to get 5.1

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Why doesn't someone manufacture a TV with Good Sound built in. This is yet another hardware that does something very minimal in our already crowded Setups.
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post #17 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 06:13 PM
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I have a sonos 5.1 which I love but If they ever do upgrade that bar It better have DTS, DD+ and more than one input. They could just do a HDMI in for audio only
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post #18 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by magikfriend View Post
Why doesn't someone manufacture a TV with Good Sound built in. This is yet another hardware that does something very minimal in our already crowded Setups.
Sony has done it with some of their models, but people complained about the speakers sticking out from the sides. LG does it with their top-end OLEDs, and there are complaints about paying for a built-in soundbar that will never be used. Vizio tried it with their R-Series, and again a lot of people wondered why they had to pay for speakers they'd never use.

I think the problem with all of that is companies keep trying to put nice TV speakers on their flagship products, and the people who buy those products are the ones who are most likely to have much better sound systems than even the better-than-average TV speakers they're including. What they should be doing is putting nice TV speakers on their mid-range and budget offerings.
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post #19 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellebob View Post
Sonos is just going after the mainstream and making it easy. Discs are dead to the average consumer, most do not have DVD/Blu-ray/UHD players and the ones that do ask them the last time they used it. IME as an installer except for people that are enthusiasts most do not use discs or care about higher end surround sound, nor do they want speakers all over the place. They want half way decent sound and ease of use. The optical cable solves that problem and keeps the system from being obsolete every time HDMI comes out with a new version and much of your equipment needs to be replaced to get the latest and greatest.
An HDMI connection should be at the minimum. Hell, I have a 9 year old Sony LCD and Marantz receiver both with HDMI 1.3, and they are still humming along with cable TV and bluray player. 9 years and they are still not obsolete as I get a great 1080P picture and HD sound. While it's true, it's not 4K, but it still looks and sounds good 9 years later. When I replace the TV with 4K, at least I know I got close to 10 years of use and the TV will be relegated to bedroom duty.
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post #20 of 37 Old 03-07-2017, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by TuteTibiImperes View Post
Sony has done it with some of their models, but people complained about the speakers sticking out from the sides. LG does it with their top-end OLEDs, and there are complaints about paying for a built-in soundbar that will never be used. Vizio tried it with their R-Series, and again a lot of people wondered why they had to pay for speakers they'd never use.

I think the problem with all of that is companies keep trying to put nice TV speakers on their flagship products, and the people who buy those products are the ones who are most likely to have much better sound systems than even the better-than-average TV speakers they're including. What they should be doing is putting nice TV speakers on their mid-range and budget offerings.

The only TV I can think of with a decent built in sound is the Bose TV, it is not mid range though. But it fits the argument that it caters to a specific buyer. I agree that Mid range / Budget offerings should have decent speakers, a good center channel for dialogues at minimum . I don't get it when manufacturers package a "Bass Boost" & "Surround " sound on them. These should be kept off always.
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post #21 of 37 Old 03-08-2017, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by perma View Post
I own eleven Sonos devices, including a series of connect:amps, connect 5's connect 3's and a Playbar. Its love the platform, but its darn pricey compared to the competition. I adopted it because I was able to pick everything up gently-used for a fraction retail. The problem with their current Playbar is that the only input is optical. The one fix every Playbar owner I've ever encountered wanted was HDMI. 1st reason- most tv's won't pass 5.1 across the optical connection, so the sound quality is never what it could be, and that also makes a wireless surround system via adding more sonos speakers and a sonos sub pointless. On top of that, Netflix and other streamers have switched to from DD to DD+ which also isn't supported by the Playbar. I've yet to find a way to convert DD+ to DD and get it to the playbar. If Sonos is positioning this as a device for millenial streamers who don't use physical media, why use an optical cable? Aesthetics? Unless they have a magic formula for getting DD+ to pass through TVs and out the optical connection, this seems to be a missed opportunity for Sonos. Lastly, how many people are spending $700 on a 'sound bar' to sit under a 32"- 48" TV? I doubt many 'small' tv buyers are looking to spend up to twice what their TV costs on better sound. As infrequently as Sonos launches new products, I certainly hoped that they'd use that time to listen to their own enthusiastic user community.
I would say that was true a few years ago. I think pretty much every 4K TV, 2015 or later, can pass 5.1 over optical. In other words if you have bought a new TV 55" + in the last couple of years it probably featured that technology.

Sonos sounds shockingly good for what it us. The soundbar, sub, and wireless rears are generally cheaper and easier to set up than a full blown 5.1 with AVR, wires, blu-ray player, etc.

This new playbase seems like a really odd product. Personally, I would chose the playbar over the playbase being they are the same price.

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Originally Posted by TuteTibiImperes View Post
Sony has done it with some of their models, but people complained about the speakers sticking out from the sides. LG does it with their top-end OLEDs, and there are complaints about paying for a built-in soundbar that will never be used. Vizio tried it with their R-Series, and again a lot of people wondered why they had to pay for speakers they'd never use.

I think the problem with all of that is companies keep trying to put nice TV speakers on their flagship products, and the people who buy those products are the ones who are most likely to have much better sound systems than even the better-than-average TV speakers they're including. What they should be doing is putting nice TV speakers on their mid-range and budget offerings.
I did love the Sony TVs with the speakers on the side. You could also pair a wireless sub to work with them. I had one in a living room for a while and it was perfect. You nailed it though. Most of the people buying these really expensive TVs are also looking into better sound options.
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post #23 of 37 Old 03-08-2017, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Ellebob View Post
Sonos is just going after the mainstream and making it easy. Discs are dead to the average consumer, most do not have DVD/Blu-ray/UHD players and the ones that do ask them the last time they used it. IME as an installer except for people that are enthusiasts most do not use discs or care about higher end surround sound, nor do they want speakers all over the place. They want half way decent sound and ease of use. The optical cable solves that problem and keeps the system from being obsolete every time HDMI comes out with a new version and much of your equipment needs to be replaced to get the latest and greatest.
Mostly agree because an average consumer wants to it simple and yes streaming is more easy for them even with the streaming they having more quality if you compare dvds vs 1080p or 4k streaming. Those people not willing/using discs anymore and waf factors there is a demand for those products and some people using them as an alternative way at some other room where a home theater system not really required.
Fine but I think the problem is the price. 700$ is to much for this product. At 700$ an HDMI connection should be exist and DTS support necessary. What if someone decided play a movie with dts sound using tv's internal player? Or maybe a cheap bluray player connection?
For me it deserves no more than 250$.
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post #24 of 37 Old 03-08-2017, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Mostly agree because an average consumer wants to it simple and yes streaming is more easy for them even with the streaming they having more quality if you compare dvds vs 1080p or 4k streaming. Those people not willing/using discs anymore and waf factors there is a demand for those products and some people using them as an alternative way at some other room where a home theater system not really required.
Fine but I think the problem is the price. 700$ is to much for this product. At 700$ an HDMI connection should be exist and DTS support necessary. What if someone decided play a movie with dts sound using tv's internal player? Or maybe a cheap bluray player connection?
For me it deserves no more than 250$.
$250 would not be consistent with its build quality or audio capability. If I sound critical about the lack of HDMI, it's because I think the hardware is up to snuff in terms of being a premium audio device. I simply wish it supported proper cinematic audio, which is what you get on disc. Sonos ignoring the wishes of physical media fans hastens Blu-ray's demise and with the current state of things in both HD and UHD streaming, that would be a setback for anyone who appreciates the audio and fidelity contained within a high-level TV or Hollywood production.

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post #25 of 37 Old 03-08-2017, 09:05 AM
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$250 would not be consistent with its build quality or audio capability. If I sound critical about the lack of HDMI, it's because I think the hardware is up to snuff in terms of being a premium audio device. I simply wish it supported proper cinematic audio, which is what you get on disc. Sonos ignoring the wishes of physical media fans hastens Blu-ray's demise and with the current state of things in both HD and UHD streaming, that would be a setback for anyone who appreciates the audio and fidelity contained within a high-level TV or Hollywood production.
The line of people I always see at the Redbox kiosk when I stop by CVS leads me to believe that Sonos' views about the demise of physical media may be a bit premature, even for the general public who doesn't tend to care about these things as much as we do.

Then again, maybe they're still renting DVDs for all I know...
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post #26 of 37 Old 03-08-2017, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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The line of people I always see at the Redbox kiosk when I stop by CVS leads me to believe that Sonos' views about the demise of physical media may be a bit premature, even for the general public who doesn't tend to care about these things as much as we do.

Then again, maybe they're still renting DVDs for all I know...
Another big hint... Walmart still deigns to put buckets of Blu-rays near the registers in its stores. That's precious real estate in the world of retail, and Walmart even owns Vudu so if there was no market for discs I don't think it would put those discs where they are. Same for Best Buy, really.

That's why my complaints regarding Sonos are really couched in context... For TV audio and for streaming music, it's great. It's only the home theater-related issues that cause me to be at all critical of Sonos' approach.

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Last edited by imagic; 03-08-2017 at 09:12 AM.
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post #27 of 37 Old 03-08-2017, 12:07 PM
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I would also think people mostly with 49" or smaller TVs have them in bedrooms and may not even care about audio that much. The playbase probably cost more than the TV. Obviously people's theater rooms or living room audio system can easily exceed the cost of the TV, but this seems like a weird market to go after.
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post #28 of 37 Old 03-08-2017, 05:35 PM
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If I was setting up a soundbase system, I think I would still go with the Atlantic Technology 3.1 HSB with a cheap Audyssey based receiver.

I do understand the appeal of a Sonos system, and I agree that the Play 5's are impressive. I also love that when using the Sonos software that everything turns on automatically and is level matched across your whole house system. If I didn't already have so many speakers and systems, I may have gone with Sonos for my current whole house system (Chromcast Audio won out as I could just plug then into my existing systems for much cheaper than the Sonos connect). If you look at how many threads there are out on the web asking about when Sonos will update their Playbar with HDMI and DTS, I think everyone just got their answer. Not going to happen!

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post #29 of 37 Old 03-09-2017, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick V View Post
If I was setting up a soundbase system, I think I would still go with the Atlantic Technology 3.1 HSB with a cheap Audyssey based receiver.

I do understand the appeal of a Sonos system, and I agree that the Play 5's are impressive. I also love that when using the Sonos software that everything turns on automatically and is level matched across your whole house system. If I didn't already have so many speakers and systems, I may have gone with Sonos for my current whole house system (Chromcast Audio won out as I could just plug then into my existing systems for much cheaper than the Sonos connect). If you look at how many threads there are out on the web asking about when Sonos will update their Playbar with HDMI and DTS, I think everyone just got their answer. Not going to happen!
A solution more like Sonos, I think, would be through something like the Connect to be updated or supplemented. There would need to be two additions: (1) HDMI connections, and (2) the programming and processing for adding atmos or other systems.

DTS poses a second set of issues. Is it even available for Sonos to license without wrecking the Sonos business model? After all, Play-fi is a competitor.
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post #30 of 37 Old 03-13-2017, 08:52 AM
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This product might be better suited to sit under a large monitor in a PC desktop setup. How would the Playbase work at a short near field distance?
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