Meet Sonos Beam


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Available on July 17th, Sonos Beam is the all-new smart speaker for your living room. Sonos Beam is everything you know to expect from a Sonos home theater speaker, now with voice control. Amazon Alexa comes built-in and support for multiple voice assistants, including Google Assistant, is coming in the future. Experience incredible sound while streaming music, watching TV and movies, enjoying podcasts and audiobooks, or playing video games.



Sonos Beam delivers rich, room-filling sound as the center of your home theater. You can make a surround sound setup with a pair of Sonos Ones, Play:1, Play:3, or Play:5 for rear speakers with the Beam, and even add a SUB for the full 5.1 surround sound experience to shake the house.

Seamless Design



The Sonos Beam comes in white or black to complement your home, and the curved silhouette quietly blends into its surroundings. With a low profile and compact size, Beam was designed to fit on credenzas or under wall mounted TVs, providing versatility. At only 25.6 inches long, Sonos Beam won’t hang off furniture, block the TV or overwhelm your space.

Every acoustic component is custom-designed by Sonos and tuned for immersive sound to fill the entire room. The Beam has four full-range woofers and a tweeter to ensure you’ll hear the true playback of mid-range vocals, plus deep, rich bass. Powered by five Class-D digital amplifiers perfectly tuned to match the speaker drivers and acoustic architecture. Three passive radiators will make deep, warm bass fill the room. Beam plays Dolby Digital 5.1 over HDMI-ARC, or PCM stereo sound.

Ready for Voice control



Sonos Beam will support Amazon Alexa in the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and soon in France, with support for Google Assistant coming this year. If you’re in another country, Beam is future-ready for when Sonos and a voice service launch together in your region.


On top of the Alexa control already available for Sonos devices, you can use Beam with the latest Alexa-enabled video streaming devices such as Fire TV to unlock more hands-free control. You can find, launch and control video streaming content using your voice and even change channels within supported apps. Just say:  

“Alexa, turn on the TV”
“Alexa, find adventure movies on Netflix”
“Alexa, play Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu”
“Alexa, open ESPN”
“Alexa, pause.”

Some more details on Sonos Beam:
  • Simple to set-up. Plug Sonos Beam into power and then connect it to your TV using the HDMI cord. That’s it.
  • Control your way. Control Sonos Beam with your voice, the Sonos app, your existing TV remote, your favorite music service’s app, and soon, AirPlay. Capacitive touch controls for volume up/down, previous/next track, play/pause, add to group, microphone mute. LED indicates status, mute status and voice feedback.
  • Smart voice recognition. A five far-field microphone array used for advanced beamforming and multichannel echo cancellation makes sure you’re heard, even when the music is blasting, even when playing with a full 5.1 listening experience.
  • Optimized for your listening. From within the Sonos App, tap Speech Enhancement so you never miss a word, or Night Sound to amplify quiet noises and reduce loud ones so you can enjoy late night TV without waking the entire house.
  • Tune with Trueplay. Trueplay analyzes all the acoustic factors in your room—size, layout, décor and speaker placement—and tunes Beam to sound its absolute best.
  • Low profile and compact size. The dimensions are 25.625 x 3.94 x 2.70 in. (651 x 100 x 68.5 mm) and it weighs 6.2 lbs (2.8 kg).



Pre-order today on Sonos.com in stunning black or white for $399 US (€449 EUR, €449).

For more details, check out our blog post on the Sonos Beam here.

306 replies

I find it quite telling that there aren’t many “take my money now” or “pre-ordered” replies on the companies own Grand Release thread.

It's fairly clear you've not been around here that much.

Pretty much every product that Sonos has launched in the last 5 years or so has been met with a certain amount of disdain on these forums. And that's largely because Sonos tend to launch products that aren't particularly exciting or revolutionary. They are not "shiny".

But, over time, the shallow give-me-all-the-latest-trendy-technology-just-for-the-sake-of-it types (you know, the sort who think that Dolby Atmos in a one-piece soundbar is a good thing) drift away, and it turns out that Sonos have been selling bucket loads to normal people who find that the Sonos products fit their needs very well.

Because Sonos are, and always have been, in for the long-haul. More specifically, I mean they have always aimed to release products that have aren't inherently disposable, like so much of today's technology is. They aim to release products that will not only be usable, but, supported, "current" and active use in a decade's time. That's pretty much unheard of in today's market.

I put the word "current" because a small fringe of society will interpret that as having the latest trendy, news-making technical whizz-bangs. That's not what I mean. By "current" I mean stuff that's actually useful and applicable to a significant proportion of consumers (for argument's sake, let's put that at 30% of users or more). Stuff that's actually survived the early adoption curves and has become mainstream. Dolby Atmos, as an example, has not been implemented in 30% or more of homes. I would be surprised if it's in more than 1%.

Some consumer tech companies like to chase the latest and greatest partly because their company strategy is based on backing multiple horses, and partly because it's based on rapidly obsoleting products and replacing them with new ones. Shiny new technology is fun, makes news headlines, and gets geeks excited, but it rarely makes for great products that are supported (e.g. with upgrades) for more than a few years. It's not particularly good for consumers.

So Sonos's latest product doesn't deliver what you wanted. Well, that's a shame but, frankly, noone cares including, I suspect, Sonos. If you don't want what the BEAM has to offer then it's simply that you aren't in their target market. Tweakers and trend-followers have been asking for specific high-end capabilities from Sonos for years. Sonos has gone from strength to strength specifically by not being distracted by these niches and short-term trends, and by waiting to see what actually works.

It's not particularly sexy, but it does result in great products which fulfil what the vast majority of people want and need, and which continue being supported, upgraded and useful many years after you purchased them. That's something you can't say about pretty much any other digital audio vendor around.

Most of the other vendors have a track record of abandoning major product lines after a few years, leaving their customers stranded. Comparably, many of us are actively and seamlessly using Sonos equipment we purchased more than 13 years ago and which is still supported (e.g. with upgrades) today.

Cheers,

Keith
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So, I signed up to make a comment, because I'm annoyed as many of the other posters are. I love Sonos for streaming (it's all over my house), and would LIKE to utilize it in my home theater to replace an aging wired system. However, Sonos can't seem to figure this out?!!? It's 2018 Sonos, you are not a 'baby' cutting-edge company anymore; you have a ton of competitors now (with deeper pockets) and you have many consumers (like myself) that have bought into your eco-system, but now we WANT MORE! Its fine to release incremental products to your 'general' (and new) customers to try to gain market share, but wake up! You have customers with entire eco-systems that WANT to do MORE with their Sonos products, but can't. How long do you think that is going to last before they move on and buy other products instead? That's what's going to happen in this house.
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Here's a "take my money now" post - this is exactly what I want.
Something simple, to replace my TV speakers that SUCK, without huge hassle and can group/sync with my other rooms when I'm playing music, for a cheaper price than the playbar... This sounds great!
Hopefully the sound quality is on par for the price/size, anything better than a play:1 will convince me to buy two of these things as soon as I get a chance to hear it.
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Busiest thread on here for ages and the tone for a ‘flagship’ release event (as in hype not status if product), is a letdown and falls flat. That’s got to send a message to management. I wonder if they are just severely lacking in vision or whether they’ve simply decided to invest as little as possible into R&D, sweat their current patents and try to spin a few more also ran speakers repackaging same old into different form factors? I bet the press who attended this event must have been giggling. I hope most walked there. Can you imagine the fury at having paid for a taxi to travel for such an uninnovative backwards looking product?

Hay folks, here’s a cheaper soundbar, does not sound as good as our flagship, does not give you modern audio options, but you can talk to it and it’ll tidy your remote table.

They might as well have saved on the R&D and just cut the old playbar by £200 😉
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Time to ditch all my Sonos gear. I invested heavily as a HT solution and not having antiquated, let alone modern, audio codecs is a slap in the face. Especially since the hardware can handle it. They market themselves as a premium product then cheaps out on licensing costs. I cannot think of a $300, let alone $1500+, system that cannot perform these simple tasks.

They effectively have 3 soundbar solutions that no one who knows anything about home theater wants or needs. If the plan is to stick-to-music then stick to music.
Am I the only one who couldn’t care less about DTS or Atmos? My old DVD player gathers dust, never did make the move to Blueray, because, let’s face it, streaming is SO much simpler. Same with music, I don’t bother with CDs anymore (though I still enjoy spinning LPs, lol).

Maybe if I were a fan of the noisy action movies that I HATE in theaters (only see during the annoying trailers) because they are simply far too loud, and have no substance. As a fan of great dialog, which is delivered just fine in stereo or Dolby, I just don’t care. I suspect there are many others who agree. Certainly don’t need 9.1 channels for streaming The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, or watching Masterpiece Theatre or Doc Martin OTA.
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I find it quite telling that there aren’t many “take my money now” or “pre-ordered” replies on the companies own Grand Release thread. I’m not sure the given reactions were expected by Sonos. They appear so far behind the current trend of what’s expected they’re just ploughing on ignorantly. As usual Sonos doesn’t and it seems never will actually listen to what their current customers actually want. Shame really but I’m sure they know best.
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[quote=ryan_29]I find it quite telling that there aren’t many “take my money now” or “pre-ordered” replies on the companies own Grand Release thread.

It's fairly clear you've not been around here that much.

Pretty much every product that Sonos has launched in the last 5 years or so has been met with a certain amount of disdain on these forums. And that's largely because Sonos tend to launch products that aren't particularly exciting or revolutionary. They are not "shiny".

But, over time, the shallow give-me-all-the-latest-trendy-technology-just-for-the-sake-of-it types (you know, the sort who think that Dolby Atmos in a one-piece soundbar is a good thing) drift away, and it turns out that Sonos have been selling bucket loads to normal people who find that the Sonos products fit their needs very well.

Because Sonos are, and always have been, in for the long-haul. More specifically, I mean they have always aimed to release products that have aren't inherently disposable, like so much of today's technology is. They aim to release products that will not only be usable, but, supported, "current" and active use in a decade's time. That's pretty much unheard of in today's market.

I put the word "current" because a small fringe of society will interpret that as having the latest trendy, news-making technical whizz-bangs. That's not what I mean. By "current" I mean stuff that's actually useful and applicable to a significant proportion of consumers (for argument's sake, let's put that at 30% of users or more). Stuff that's actually survived the early adoption curves and has become mainstream. Dolby Atmos, as an example, has not been implemented in 30% or more of homes. I would be surprised if it's in more than 1%.

Some consumer tech companies like to chase the latest and greatest partly because their company strategy is based on backing multiple horses, and partly because it's based on rapidly obsoleting products and replacing them with new ones. Shiny new technology is fun, makes news headlines, and gets geeks excited, but it rarely makes for great products that are supported (e.g. with upgrades) for more than a few years. It's not particularly good for consumers.

So Sonos's latest product doesn't deliver what you wanted. Well, that's a shame but, frankly, noone cares including, I suspect, Sonos. If you don't want what the BEAM has to offer then it's simply that you aren't in their target market. Tweakers and trend-followers have been asking for specific high-end capabilities from Sonos for years. Sonos has gone from strength to strength specifically by not being distracted by these niches and short-term trends, and by waiting to see what actually works.

It's not particularly sexy, but it does result in great products which fulfil what the vast majority of people want and need, and which continue being supported, upgraded and useful many years after you purchased them. That's something you can't say about pretty much any other digital audio vendor around.

Most of the other vendors have a track record of abandoning major product lines after a few years, leaving their customers stranded. Comparably, many of us are actively and seamlessly using Sonos equipment we purchased more than 13 years ago and which is still supported (e.g. with upgrades) today.

Cheers,

Keith


I appreciate the thoughtful response ... even if I don't particularly agree with every point.

It's true that many people here complaining (myself included) are not the target market for the Beam. However, all the 'geeks' and 'trend followers' you are referring to (the 1%), are the folks who are typically at the forefront of what will become mainstream technology (I was one of those idiots with a brand new DVD player and you couldn't even rent a DVD!). Haha! So, that being said, I don't think it's too crazy for Sonos to listen to these boards and maybe adopt some of their requests. How could it possibly hurt? Where is the downside?

As for their company strategy, I'm sorry, if it was working so fantastically giving the mass consumers what they wanted, the company wouldn't be laying off folks and they wouldn't be struggling to stay relevant when the competition is starting to seriously heat up. Google, Apple, and Amazon are literally in their 'audio' infancy. When they start 'growing up,' it's going to get even uglier for Sonos (unless, of course, their strategy is to get bought out after IPO). Which leads me back to my point, why alienate (current and future) customers by not incorporating current codecs or allow for a traditional 5.1 (or 7.1) setups? Now THAT would be a differentiator from their competitors! I like Sonos - I want to see them survive, grow, and be successful. However, I don't think they have been nearly aggressive enough in R&D and product development. IF providing HDMI in a mini-playbar that can talk to 3 digital assistants in 2018 is their ground-breaking disruptor that's going to propel their revenue model - well FWIW, I think they are in big trouble.
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What an absolute waste of time. I was convinced sonos had finally resolved the headache of the playbar dts compatibility issues by adding HDMI but no; voice control and the ability to switch off your tv from the sound bar! Such a missed opportunity. For me I might sell up my equipment and move onto better things. I’ve had my ‘5.1’ home theatre setup for 5 years now and it’s behind the times. I want to experience Dolby Atmos with my 4k gear. For such an innovative company they sure are pig headed about the future.

Too many points to go over here although I do get your overall point. DTS implementation is neither new or shiney, short term, trendy or sexy. It’s the norm. Almost every blu ray carries a dts track.


DTS, I get your point, I do think that is still a glaring omission, but there seems to be no reason that existing hardware can't support it with a future update. Unlike voice assistant support, which is hardware dependent, DTS is independent of new hardware like BEAM.

DTS it's not a feature that requires new hardware to enable it, so it's simply irrational for people to have expected that DTS support would magically come with the launch of a new hardware product.

It's also not a "missed opportunity" as the opportunity has nothing to do with the launch of BEAM and is, in fact, still there.

but as a home theatre one stop shop it’s lacking and has been for years.


Correct. It also makes a poor toaster oven.

At no point have I seen Sonos claim to be, or express a desire to be either a toaster oven manufacturer or a "home theatre one stop shop". Full-on Home Theatre is a very complex and relatively unstable market with lots of support issues and a very demanding audience. I can see why Sonos don't want to be everything to everyone in that market.

And, frankly, it's become a niche market in home AV. I honestly don't think I've been to a home with a full-blown home theatre setup in the last decade. On the other hand plenty of my friends and family (including some recovering audiophiles and geeks) have got rid of the multitude of boxes and gadgets that were necessary 10 years ago and have a simple sound bar type setup, maybe with some discrete satellite surround speakers.

Most people have moved past the multitude of cables and the orchestration of switching required by these systems (I recall hours of programming and debugging a Phillips Pronto to make sure things would switch in the correct sequence to allow seamless switching between sources).

Besides, most of that functionality is now embedded into the TV via optical and HDMI-ARC. Yes, it's not a complete solution (optical doesn't support many audio codecs, and HDMI-ARC support for many is still spotty) but the number of people who actually care about that is close to zero.

If you do care, then you aren't Sonos's target market.

Things like multiple HDMI and source switching and Dolby Atmos are things that most people don't need.

DTS, I would love to see supported but I honestly don't see that many people complaining compared with the typical AV or vendor forum. As ever, on these forums there's a lot of posts made by a relatively small number of people.

I'm sure Sonos have the stats on DTS market share, and will consider adding it if it looks to become more prevalent an issue (which it may do now HDMI-ARC support is here; most modern TVs downsampled DTS to stereo on optical output so it was a bit moot).

Sonos's approach, to let the TV do the heavy lifting as regards source management, is the best approach for the majority of the market.

Yes simplicity is the aim, but the only way to make it completely seamless is to support every codec and every variant out there including the niche ones. In this day and age and with a product range like Sonos's that's not a viable approach. In a well engineered product, every feature (e.g. codec) has to justify it's presence.

As I said, long term support is their aim and adding features willy-nilly without the market demand just causes support and upgrade issues down the line.

And anyone who thinks Sonos are in trouble for catering to what the majority of the market actually needs and uses, really aught to think again.

Cheers,

Keith
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My main disappointment is that no one from Sonos got on these forums several weeks ago and knocked the DTS, Atmos, etc. rumours on the head. May have saved a lot of angst and dissatisfaction with what the actual announcement was.

Funny how when you hear a rumour you tell yourself not to get too carried away, to wait until the actual news is official, but you still can’t help but get excited and then when the day arrives and what was rumoured is missing, well you kinda just want to unleash!

The person earlier in this thread that said it’s like being a kid at Xmas and getting a toy but not the toy you were expecting/wanting, that sums it up perfectly :)

Anyway won’t stop me from continuing to love this company and buying their products. I was one of the first Sonos customers in Australia 13yrs ago and the gear I bought then (besides the 2 controllers, cutting edge at the time, clumsy and prehistoric by today’s standards) is still working perfectly now (2 Connect Amps, 2 Connects).

The products and software updates that have followed over the years have been brilliant. Long live the king!

But there are some glaring omissions. Omitting hdmi connectivity is just crazy if the aim is simplicity. It is the main connection mechanism on almost all equiplent. How do you connect an AppleTv 4k to a sonos device without adding extra complexity and devices?


The BEAM has HDMI connectivity.

The original Sonos concept was niche and cutting edge 10 years ago.


Actually it wasn't. It wasn't the first home streamer on the block by a long way. Nor was it the only multi-room streaming system. I know this because I was research other systems as early as 2001, and was even considering developing and marketing my own.

What made Sonos different was that it was the best executed.

A huge part of this was focus: they focussed on a core product set designed for a specific market and didn't get distracted by trying to be everything to everyone, or by trying to create dozens of different product variations or incorporate features that weren't important to the core product and the experience they were trying to offer.

For instance, I remember as early as 2007 some people were saying that Sonos would fail because they didn't have an iPod dock on every player. Similarly people have said the same about Bluetooth. I could probably go back through forum archives and find a dozen or more now-forgotten features which people once said were "must haves" with warnings of dire consequences to Sonos's sales if they weren't implemented.

Sonos also attempted to be "open" and agnostic in as much as they didn't try to create their own ecosystem and force users into it.

The problem is people get hung up with technology, feature, and labels/brands, when those things do not equate to or even strongly correlate with success. If your product/sale strategy hinges on your supporting a very specific capability, then you've probably got it completely wrong.

Today, they are still the overall best and leader IMHO, but that edge is being eroded daily.


Daily? Really? Sorry, but I don't see it.

Yes, other products are coming onto the market, but it's a big and growing market. I remember some conversations with a Sonos employee several years ago at the time when Linksys/Cisco launched their streaming system (one of many in the market that were branded as "Sonos killers" but eventually disappeared leaving their owners stranded). At that time, many people in Sonos were hoping their competitor was successful as competition is good for expanding markets. Being second or third in a market of $2-3 Billion can be better than being number one in a market of $200 million.

And I don't see too many real signs of Sonos losing much traction in the market, especially as pretty much every article or review of competitors streaming systems mentions Sonos and almost all paint Sonos in a positive light.

The multi room market and connected speaker market is exploding and the technology to enable it going mainstram. Eventually a player or standards based ecosystem will emerge...


I'm not sure that will happen. The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. Unless someone with the clout of the EU decides to intervene and regulate (and the EU only tends to do that where there's a clear consumer interest) then I can't see there ever being One Standard To Rule Them All.

But even if it does, it's not the technology that makes the product great.

...which will mean Sonos’ key capability - scalablikity and relative simplicity will evaporate as a market edge.


Will it? Why?

As I've said before, it's not just technology that makes products good and people buy them. Yes Sonos has some specific technology that works well, but it's not unique. People have had similar technology and have tried and failed to make "Sonos killers" for over a decade and have failed, because it's not about the technology, it's about execution, and Sonos has shown they have the ability to surprise people (including me) with their execution and ability to pivot into new products at the right time in the market.

People think Apple invented the iPod, the Smartphone, modern video conferencing (Facetime) and other things. The reality is Apple have hardly invented anything, ever. They are, instead, very good at taking existing technology and combining/packaging it into a products and branding that appeals to people. Sonos is doing a similar thing.

This will happen quicker if there are major imediments to being able to connect the equipment to mainstram standards.


Agreed, but there aren't any such impediments. There really aren't.

The vast majority of people with a modern TV can connect their Sonos equipment to their TV and it will work. They are the people who define the market. A handful of people with unusual setups which don't work well with Sonos are not the market.

And when new standards come out, or existing standards prove their worth and gain market support (as HDMI-ARC has now done) then Sonos will release new products or software updates to cater for those. That's what they've always done, and they're pretty damn good at it.

Cheers,

Keith

If the playbar is going to be redesign down the line and maintain then750 or higher price tag. It would most certainly need Atmos Support to keep in line with all the Atmos sound bars on the market. If it does not. Sonos will might as well get out of the HT business. All the steaming boxes will eventually support Atmos. And not supporting that with the big price tag will leave it serverly handicapped.


I can see Sonos releasing a device with Atmos support if and when it makes sense, i.e. if it becomes something that a double-digit percentage of the markets expects and demands.

Be aware that may never happen. Yes Atmos support may become common, but the number of people who actually care about it enough to have it influence their buying decisions may remain low.

The trouble with audio is that the high-end stuff generally only makes sense in high-end setups. Vendors and the industry in general will try to convince us otherwise, but how many soundbars on the market will offer Atmos technically, but, inpractice, will sound no better than a similar soundbar with Dolby digital surround (or even, in a lot of homes, simple stereo).

My educated guess is most of them.

At the moment Atmos is the trendy name in home theatre audio, but how long it will be when the majority of people realise it's actually not significantly better for them than what was before.

Because the reality is most people have weird shaped rooms with odd reflections, and stuff like vaulted ceilings which can't be easily tamed into a high-end surround system befitting the Atmos name with a simple sound bar device even if you throw lots of Maths and Physics theory at it.

And most people don't want to be messing around installing speakers or dealing with acoustic treatments. They just want their TV to sound better than the crappy speakers it came with, so they'll just buy a soundbar type device and plonk it down in front of their TV. In this market, how it looks and secondary features (like Alexa, Airplay support) are probably as important to most most people than absolute sound quality. Possibly more so.

I strongly suspect that Atmos will eventually become ubiquitous on most home theatre devices. I also strongly suspect that most people won't actually care.

I also fully expect that a lot of Atmos-in-name-only devices making bold, but unfulfilled, promises will appear on the market. Eventually Atmos will just become another one of the plethora of logos that appear on the side of the packaging that only the audio geeks read or care about.

Cheers,

Keith
As I said (and the crux of my post, which you seem to have missed) is that there is a HUUGE difference between Atmos being commonplace on products, and people caring about it.

"Mainstream" means that people care enough about it to influence their buying decisions longer term.

And the reality is that the "Atmos" logo on a typical sound bar is likely to be pure hype: A soundbar solution is unlikely to deliver any significant improvements over other soundbar based surround like Dolby Digital. Why? Because Physics.

The same Physics that means that, whilst it may be possible to tune a soundbar "to sound good" in most rooms, making it sound good and making it in any way live up to the Atmos specifications to the extent it's significantly better than existing surround sound standards like Dolby Digital is unlikely to happen without requiring additional speakers.

I speak as an Electronics Engineer with some training in acoustics.

Frankly, Atmos is the industry hype at the moment. But most people will simply not understand what it is or care about it. I bet if you stopped 100 people in the street, 99 of them wouldn't even recognise the name. Most people don't even know the difference between Dolby Digital and DTS after more than a decade of these technologies being ubiquitous in consumer products.

The people who do care about it will mostly be smart enough to realise that you need a proper surround installation to benefit properly from it. They won't be expecting to magically get full Atmos benefits from a standalone sound bar.

Now if people were asking for Atmos support from an AV Receiver type system, then I could understand this. That makes sense. Sonos doesn't currently make one of those and, frankly, they are unlikely to IMO.

So as far as I'm concerned, Atmos support in a soundbar solution is pretty pointless: outside of the industry and a niche of enthusiasts almost no one cares about it and it's unlikely to ever be beneficial in the sort of products that most people want (like sound bars).

Beam is aimed at that the 99% of people who really don't know what Atmos is yet alone care about it. That's unlikely to change any time soon. If it does, Atmos support could probably be added with a software update.

Cheers,

Keith
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The Beam was installed in my store yesterday. All I have to say is Kudos to the Sonos engineering team. The Beam's audio signature is exactly inline with the Playbar and the Playbase. In my initial listening the biggest difference I could tell was the louder playback of the larger units. If you have a small area the Beam is going to sound great and it's small form factor is a BIG plus.

Thoughts on Atmos:

While Atmos is a nice thought the reality is most people upgrading their sound simply want better sound than what their TV can manage. The people that care about Atmos already know they need to wire up the height channels and do a little sweat equity to deliver the results they want. Atmos soundbars are in this weird area where they are too expensive for the average consumer and not good enough for the audiophile.

Looking forward to sprinkling some Beams around my home.
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Whyyyy!!!! I was REALLY looking forward to today’s announcement... especially given it was following the Apple keynote (hoping for a little collaboration perhaps).

I have HEAVILY invested in the Sonos ecosystem over the last few years with multiple speakers including play:1s, Play:5 (Gen 2), playbar, sub, etc. and that’s without entering the hardware controller discussion (which isn’t the point of this comment).

I was desperately hoping that today would finally bring a soundbar that works with and connects to the other equipment I have. Literally everything else in my very modest home theatre supports Dolby Atmos. WHY WON’T SONOS DO THE SAME?!

The new beam has HDMI which as cited as the reason for not including DTS or other Dolby support for the playbar (optical isn’t sufficient bandwidth I believe), and yet still we’re limited to 5.1 pcm ob this new product!

What’s wrong with grouping a playbar, sub and the required number of Sonos One speakers to achieve the ideal Atmos setup? I can group this number of speakers together now to play something from Spotify with no issue at all.

I’m VERY FAST starting to believe that Sonos aren’t interested in home theatre (just the music streaming market); but in that case; don’t release products for “home theatre” that aren’t fit for that purpose!

Very disappointed again, as with the lack of airplay 2 support on a soundbar that cost me £649 less than a year ago...
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@Ryan S, what are the chances of Sonos supporting other audio codecs namely DTS for Beam considering it has HDMI?
95% of my movies are all DTS... So more support would mean more compatibility and more people would like this.

I see Bose has Dolby and DTS on their soundbar.


Hi, Sonos Beam was designed to be used with the most popular streaming services, none of which support DTS. This is the same reason we do not support DTS on the Playbar or Playbase. If you want to watch DTS-encoded audio content with Sonos Beam, it's possible to transcode DTS to Dolby Digital using a variety of Blu-ray players or modern game consoles. Beam plays Dolby Digital 5.1, so if you're getting Dolby Atmos or other Dolby Digital compatible signals, your TV should automatically send Dolby Digital 5.1 to Beam as requested via an HDMI-ARC handshake.
Can you guys please stop with this rubbish? Sonos make fantastic products, but just admit the truth, You have left DTS out due to it being a cost issue. No-one would cripple a great product and cop so much backlash from people on this forum, not to mention it being mentioned in almost every review, if there wasn't a cost issue in doing it. There are workarounds sure, but they nearly all fly in the face of the simplicity buying sonos is meant to achieve. Ditto to the massive oversight on having no HDMI in on the Beam, meaning you lose a valuable HDMI Port on the TV to only audio.


It's not rubbish. If certain people are not the target audience for Beam then how is that the fault of Sonos? You can't make a product that's perfect for everyone. At the end of the day you're paying £400 for a TV soundbar, smart speaker and music streamer for almost every service imaginable.

It's not intended for people who want an absolute cutting edge home cinema experience. It's intended for people on a limited budget who want one great speaker that has them covered for all needs.
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I find it quite telling that there aren’t many “take my money now” or “pre-ordered” replies on the companies own Grand Release thread.

It's fairly clear you've not been around here that much.

Pretty much every product that Sonos has launched in the last 5 years or so has been met with a certain amount of disdain on these forums. And that's largely because Sonos tend to launch products that aren't particularly exciting or revolutionary. They are not "shiny".

But, over time, the shallow give-me-all-the-latest-trendy-technology-just-for-the-sake-of-it types (you know, the sort who think that Dolby Atmos in a one-piece soundbar is a good thing) drift away, and it turns out that Sonos have been selling bucket loads to normal people who find that the Sonos products fit their needs very well.

Because Sonos are, and always have been, in for the long-haul. More specifically, I mean they have always aimed to release products that have aren't inherently disposable, like so much of today's technology is. They aim to release products that will not only be usable, but, supported, "current" and active use in a decade's time. That's pretty much unheard of in today's market.

I put the word "current" because a small fringe of society will interpret that as having the latest trendy, news-making technical whizz-bangs. That's not what I mean. By "current" I mean stuff that's actually useful and applicable to a significant proportion of consumers (for argument's sake, let's put that at 30% of users or more). Stuff that's actually survived the early adoption curves and has become mainstream. Dolby Atmos, as an example, has not been implemented in 30% or more of homes. I would be surprised if it's in more than 1%.

Some consumer tech companies like to chase the latest and greatest partly because their company strategy is based on backing multiple horses, and partly because it's based on rapidly obsoleting products and replacing them with new ones. Shiny new technology is fun, makes news headlines, and gets geeks excited, but it rarely makes for great products that are supported (e.g. with upgrades) for more than a few years. It's not particularly good for consumers.

So Sonos's latest product doesn't deliver what you wanted. Well, that's a shame but, frankly, noone cares including, I suspect, Sonos. If you don't want what the BEAM has to offer then it's simply that you aren't in their target market. Tweakers and trend-followers have been asking for specific high-end capabilities from Sonos for years. Sonos has gone from strength to strength specifically by not being distracted by these niches and short-term trends, and by waiting to see what actually works.

It's not particularly sexy, but it does result in great products which fulfil what the vast majority of people want and need, and which continue being supported, upgraded and useful many years after you purchased them. That's something you can't say about pretty much any other digital audio vendor around.

Most of the other vendors have a track record of abandoning major product lines after a few years, leaving their customers stranded. Comparably, many of us are actively and seamlessly using Sonos equipment we purchased more than 13 years ago and which is still supported (e.g. with upgrades) today.

Cheers,

Keith


Too many points to go over here although I do get your overall point. DTS implementation is neither new or shiney, short term, trendy or sexy. It’s the norm. Almost every blu ray carries a dts track.
As a music streaming system Sonos is very good at what it does; but as a home theatre one stop shop it’s lacking and has been for years. It’s not about Dolby Atmos (though it would’ve been nice to see) it’s about simplicity. How many threads and questions are raised on these forums alone by consumers trying to suss out a work around to get sound from their blu ray player?
The playbar is still the flagship but won’t support AirPlay2 so it is potentially at risk of becoming obsolete on that front.

I guess the bottom line is that The Sonos Playbar is in need of an overhaul and a lot of existing customers like me we’re hoping this latest addition (with HDMI) would be it. And it isn’t.
If the Beam is "ideal" for smaller/mid-sized rooms while Playbar and Playbase work better in large rooms, what size room is considered small or mid sized?
I have been a long time Sonos owner and a member of this forum. Just logging in to echo the other comments voicing disappointment with this announcement, particularly with the lack of evolution in supporting more Home Theater audio codecs.

With the AppleTV 4K now supporting Atmos, and with Apple's promise to retroactively upgrade existing titles with Atmos sound tracks, Sonos can no longer claim that Dolby Digital 5.1 is sufficient for their target audience which comprises people who primarily stream media. It may have worked in justifying the lack of support for DTS (since very few streaming services stream DTS tracks), but it objectively doesn't hold water for Atmos any longer.

Sonos charges a premium for their products. As such their buyers are likely to be customers who by other premium priced products, and that would include the Apple TV. I can't see how they can keep their target customers happy any longer with their current product lineup.

Not to mention that they are being commoditized by technologies like AirPlay2. For instance, if an Airplay2 compatible wireless Atmos enabled home theater system was announced tomorrow by some other manufacturer, it would be a very attractive option for a lot of existing Sonos customers I would imagine. The switching cost would be negligible, because all AirPlay2 speakers look the same to an Apple device. One no longer needs the Sonos app. So you can have a wireless home theater from company X, and wireless speakers from company Y, and they will all look the same from Spotify or Apple Music, etc. No Sonos app required

In other words, Sonos' moat seems to be crumbling now that companies like Apple are going to increasingly own the end user experience through technologies like Airplay. I would think that, realizing this, Sonos would focus on solving the hard problems in a simple and elegant manner (like for instance doing Atmos really well with upward firing speakers, potentially leveraging TruePlay to tune the 360 degree acoustics). But they seem to be happy to be commoditized. Bizarre and disappointing to say the least.
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Too many points to go over here although I do get your overall point. DTS implementation is neither new or shiney, short term, trendy or sexy. It’s the norm. Almost every blu ray carries a dts track.


DTS, I get your point, I do think that is still a glaring omission, but there seems to be no reason that existing hardware can't support it with a future update. Unlike voice assistant support, which is hardware dependent, DTS is independent of new hardware like BEAM.

DTS it's not a feature that requires new hardware to enable it, so it's simply irrational for people to have expected that DTS support would magically come with the launch of a new hardware product.

It's also not a "missed opportunity" as the opportunity has nothing to do with the launch of BEAM and is, in fact, still there.

but as a home theatre one stop shop it’s lacking and has been for years.


Correct. It also makes a poor toaster oven.

At no point have I seen Sonos claim to be, or express a desire to be either a toaster oven manufacturer or a "home theatre one stop shop". Full-on Home Theatre is a very complex and relatively unstable market with lots of support issues and a very demanding audience. I can see why Sonos don't want to be everything to everyone in that market.

And, frankly, it's become a niche market in home AV. I honestly don't think I've been to a home with a full-blown home theatre setup in the last decade. On the other hand plenty of my friends and family (including some recovering audiophiles and geeks) have got rid of the multitude of boxes and gadgets that were necessary 10 years ago and have a simple sound bar type setup, maybe with some discrete satellite surround speakers.

Most people have moved past the multitude of cables and the orchestration of switching required by these systems (I recall hours of programming and debugging a Phillips Pronto to make sure things would switch in the correct sequence to allow seamless switching between sources).

Besides, most of that functionality is now embedded into the TV via optical and HDMI-ARC. Yes, it's not a complete solution (optical doesn't support many audio codecs, and HDMI-ARC support for many is still spotty) but the number of people who actually care about that is close to zero.

If you do care, then you aren't Sonos's target market.

Things like multiple HDMI and source switching and Dolby Atmos are things that most people don't need.

DTS, I would love to see supported but I honestly don't see that many people complaining compared with the typical AV or vendor forum. As ever, on these forums there's a lot of posts made by a relatively small number of people.

I'm sure Sonos have the stats on DTS market share, and will consider adding it if it looks to become more prevalent an issue (which it may do now HDMI-ARC support is here; most modern TVs downsampled DTS to stereo on optical output so it was a bit moot).

Sonos's approach, to let the TV do the heavy lifting as regards source management, is the best approach for the majority of the market.

Yes simplicity is the aim, but the only way to make it completely seamless is to support every codec and every variant out there including the niche ones. In this day and age and with a product range like Sonos's that's not a viable approach. In a well engineered product, every feature (e.g. codec) has to justify it's presence.

As I said, long term support is their aim and adding features willy-nilly without the market demand just causes support and upgrade issues down the line.

And anyone who thinks Sonos are in trouble for catering to what the majority of the market actually needs and uses, really aught to think again.

Cheers,

Keith


Well thought out and written and the conclusion may well be correct.

But there are some glaring omissions. Omitting hdmi connectivity is just crazy if the aim is simplicity. It is the main connection mechanism on almost all equiplent. How do you connect an AppleTv 4k to a sonos device without adding extra complexity and devices? I’ve been down the very niche HT route (it took a crane to make my last HT), but I moved house ditched the warehouse of disks, racks of kit and associated expense. and wanted a simpler, more accessible solution.

I could peronally care less about atmos if it was truly going to remain a niche, but Apple will soon make it accessible to the mainstream. So not even having a route to connect a £100 mass consumer device to another cheapish mass consumer device without introducing an intermetiary device and hiding behind the banner of keeping things simple is facile. There are plenty of vendors beinging good quality wireless HT systems to the market which all support these ‘standards’,

I bought into Sonos on the basis of music firstly, but then was so impressed with the quality (it is rather good consodering how cheap the kit is) and the flexibility is fantastix. So many services - and occasioanl network jitters aside it performa very well in that regard. But the issue arises when you want Sonos in you main TV room / lounge for music but also need something that can play well with movies.

I accepted the Sonos legacy as it was. I was under no illusion that it would change for historic kit. But figured it would inevitably change as the industry moved on. Not being able to hear Blu rays or streaming services at the best quality available - all of which are mass market and not niche is frustrating for many. Years ago it would have cost the price of a small car to have hi def HT and all the bells and whistles. But now that price point has plummeted with large 4k TVs, cheap streaming aeevices are affordable audio components.

Bottom line I oersonally backed the wrong horse. And I can’t blame Sonos for that. I can express my frustration and disaapointment, but caveat emptor.

Luckily now Airplay 2 is on the horizon, so hopefully that will go some way to adress the issue. If it works well, then in theory at least it should remove the controller app and need for the HT kit to be sonos simply to maintain whole house audio. If each zonos AP2 capable zone is simply another AP2 ‘speaker’ then hopefully getting a Sonos system to play in sync with a non Sonos HT setup. If that pans out then who cares what limitations Sonos HT has? There will be a way to get a better HT as well as maintain a single source for whole house audio without having two systems in a lounge. Bottom line that’s all I personally care about.

Maintains the investment in legacy sonos kit and adresses the technology and performance gap in HT. win win for the consumer, but a loss for Sonos as they will lose out on sales to those customers and dilute brand loyalty. They may attract a much larger number of customers. But reduce the number of customers who buy LOTS of sonos Kit. The ofher vendors WILL catch up in this market. Their whole house aspect and scalability will improve. So where will Sonos be then? Competing with Apple, Amazon and Google at the lower end of the mass market being nothing much to everyone?

The original Sonos concept was niche and cutting edge 10 years ago. Today, they are still the overall best and leader IMHO, but that edge is being eroded daily. The multi room market and connected speaker market is exploding and the technology to enable it going mainstram. Eventually a player or standards based ecosystem will emerge which will mean Sonos’ key capability - scalablikity and relative simplicity will evaporate as a market edge. This will happen quicker if there are major imediments to being able to connect the equipment to mainstram standards.

I’ll probably lose no more sleep over it than a sonos exec will over my personal predicament or that of my fellow ‘wingers’. Only thing I’ll lose is a bit of time reseaching an alternative solution and a few quid. No great shakes in the grand scheme of things.

I’d be interested if there’s a thread that any if the others consodering replacing a sonos 5.1 setup - what they are considering. Cheers!
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I may have missed it, but has anyone complained about the lack of woofers in the Beam yet? I mean, even if it had atmos, it wouldn't be able to do it allthat well, right?

My point is that this clearly wasn't meant as an upgrade to the playbar or to pull in audiophiles. I agree that it's frustrating when rumors get you believing your dream product is arriving soon, but this is not it. This is designed for the folks that want a cheaper playbar with good sound and ease of use. Probably not for the main tv of a larger home. Personally, I'm thinking of putting one in the bedroom.

I don't know, but wonder if Sonos wants to leave the high end HT market to others. They seem to want to be more of a partner to them, handling streaming and control while Onkyo and others deal with the codecs and 9 + speakers. I wonder if this designed more to serve the crowd who are looking at a homepod or google max. To me anyway, this is a better deal as it does a lot of what they do plus work through the tv.
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Richer sounds advert says:-
"cinema-quality sound with whatever you're watching"
Oh dear, some more disappointed 4k disc owners going to get caught out with DTS and no sound at all, still they will be able to watch fantastic images ;O)
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Does it support full channel stereo with HDMI-ARC input?
The Beam will play stereo PCM, multiple channels beyond that won't be played. With HDMI-ARC, a handshake with your TV will assure that Dolby Digital 5.1 is sent for the best sound when your source is in Dolby Digital Plus or Dolby Atmos.

So can we finally add four Sonos Speakers and a sub to get "real" 5.1 audio? For example the Beam as Center, two Play 5s as L/R and two Play 1s as Rear L/R?
Not yet, but that would be awesome wouldn't it? I'll make sure the request is heard but I don't have any specifics to share. Beam will play a full 5.1 signal, even when solo, but when used with surround speakers the outer facing woofers will make a wide sound stage to get you those great sounds from the side.

Posts already being removed from this thread?
Just the spam filter hard at work. I've reclaimed your post.
Is hdmi-arc common on bedroom tv's?
It's pretty common on most TVs these days.

So disappointed in not having Google Assistant or even mentioning that it's planned. I don't use Alexa and I'm not going to switch.
It's planned, it's on the way. We haven't shared the date yet but development is ongoing. It's mentioned above in the post in the second sentence: Amazon Alexa comes built-in and support for multiple voice assistants, including Google Assistant, is coming in the future
Nobody ever cited lack of HDMI as the reason for no DTS. DTS preceded HDMI; optical out has more than sufficient bandwidth for standard DTS and handled it just fine. Matter of fact, optical has more than sufficient bandwidth for any codec out there, even 7.1 channel lossless DTS-HD and Atmos. It's just that the manufacturers prefered HDMI because it has integrated DRM, whereas optical does not, so the advanced codecs are limited to HDMI.

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