My Letter to Sonos Management


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I just sent this letter to Sonos Management. I recommend people do this in addition to voting on the DTS poll.

Dear Sonos,

I called your customer hotline earlier today to discuss an issue, that mostly likely has been well played out, over lack of DTS support. As a customer who recently spent $1,998 buying your 5.1 home theater set up, I wanted to hear directly from you guys why 30 movies that I own are essentially coasters now.

The gentleman I spoke to was extremely nice and helpful so this has nothing to do with him. It is your approved talking points on DTS that I take issue with.

First of all, you never want to tell a customer that they should help be part of making a stink on the DTS issue to help finally get it resolved. It would be like calling the White House to complain about Obamacare to be told that if I help make a stink, I can help be part of fixing it. That is just silly. And also, I support Obamacare like I do your products. I like your products. I just don't like your corporate decision about DTS.

Second, I don't like being told that DTS is really expensive to support its codec. I don't know if you have checked around lately, but Sonos is a luxury product. At least 30% more than comparable products. If we as customers can fund your products, you need to be able to fund its DTS capabilities.

Third, saying that at the time of launch no TVs supported DTS makes no sense now. You probably know this but there are less than a few handful of TVs that support Dolby and yet customers own non-DD supported TVs (me included). There are HDMI switches, AV receivers, certain Blu-Ray players, Toslink switches, and direct connection from a Blu Ray player or cable box that can get around this. The TV talking point needs to really be updated.

Fourth, you are essentially forcing customers to now avoid DTS movies. My daughter wants me to buy her Princess Bride on Blu Ray and I won't because it is DTS. George Lucas movies are DTS only. Bourne Trilogy. The list goes on. We are losing out as content consumers.

Lastly, you are losing the PR battle and it doesn't have to be that way. The threads on DTS are pretty ruthless and yet you guys ignore them - rather than keeping customers up to date on the issue. There is a customer poll on supporting DTS, with over 1,000 votes, and yet you have not commented on the "under consideration" decision in over 2 months. There are people returning the Playbar and yet you guys don't intervene. It almost seems like you guys are deliberately torpedo'ing this product for no reason.

Recommendation: Please just update the DTS poll thread. If it is still under consideration - say so. If you guys are genuinely trying to add DTS (even if it takes a while longer), say so. If you aren't going to ever support DTS, say so. Customers have invested in your company and products, don't do us a disservice by ignoring the issue.

Thank you,
A genuinely loyal customer.

116 replies

Userlevel 2
Yes, you're right. Awesome statement!
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Update to my letter. I received back a quick response from management that DTS support is still "under consideration" and that they hope to possibly see traction one way or another in the next few weeks. I figure any update is better than no update at all.
Userlevel 2
Thank you for sending that letter. I should do the same.

The bottom line for me is coming down to this: I will not buy the Playbar until it supports DTS.

Sonos is expensive kit. It's like buying a Mac, you go into it knowing there are WAY cheaper alternatives out there. Alternative soundbars can be had for as little as $99 for a reasonably decent, well-rated Vizio, all the way up to prices directly comparable to Sonos for Polk, Yamaha, Bose, etc. sub+soundbar solutions.

Why should I pay a premium for Playbar? Because it's Sonos, of course, it will be more than just a TV soundbar, it'll be part of the Sonos system. That's all great and I'm willing to pay a premium for it. But all of this keeping in mind that as a premium, luxury product, I don't need this at all.

But if lack of DTS support is going to force me to change my habits -- change the movies I buy or watch, for example, or buy extra hardware to add to my minimalist living room setup for the express purpose of downconverting DTS to DD -- well, it just reminds me again that the Sonos is luxury kit and, y'know, do I really need this after all? Too many compromises and I'm starting to feel like maybe I'll just go back to something cheaper.

The bottom line is Sonos is going to lose sales if they don't make a decision one way or another.
Userlevel 1
No way ... soundbar doesn't support DTS ?

It never even occurred to me that that could be the case ... I would have bet money that, of course, without question it supports DTS.

I'm glad I stumbled in here to discuss other, unrelated, Sonos issues ... I was going to buy a soundbar after the new year...
I am with you 100%.

Over the last 2 years I have invested heavily in 2 play 5's, 2 play 3's then playbar, sub and last week added my first play 1. I love the streaming aspect of sonos and my family happily use the system every day.

The problem is the additional cost of the 5.1 element does not justify the functionality. This is advertised as "your perfect home theatre system", "immersive 5.1 sound" and the best line "the power to play anything"!

I have a large blu ray collection and we regularly watch movies so the lack of DTS support is a serious issue for me. If I had known about this before my purchase, even though I am a huge fan of sonos I'm not sure if I would have gone ahead.

I believe the advertising is misleading. It should clearly state that the 5.1 surround sound is Dolby Digital and that DTS is currently not supported.

Once I set up my home theatre system and realised there was a DTS problem I considered returning the full 5.1 setup, however I did have DD coming through from my Sky HD box and it sounded fantastic so I stuck with it in the hope sonos would address the omission of DTS support.

I had a £250 LG 5.1 system and I hate to say it but as things stand I would rather have kept it in my living room for TV and movies and carried on with my play 5's and play 3's for streaming music in other rooms in the house. The £250 LG genuinely did produce "immersive 5.1 sound" and had "the power to play anything"!

I regularly follow the forums especially the DTS thread. Since the redesign I must say that has not been easy. Can we please have a sort button or a way to jump to the most recent post?

Anyway the complete silence from Sonos on the DTS subject is becoming as annoying as the silence from my expensive home theatre system when I try to play a blu ray.

An update from Sonos is long overdue. If it's not possible please have the decency to inform your customer base so we can make a decision on the way forward. If you are working on a solution at least change the subject to planned as it has been under consideration for a year!
Update to my letter. I received back a quick response from management that DTS support is still "under consideration" and that they hope to possibly see traction one way or another in the next few weeks. I figure any update is better than no update at all.

Hi,

Love your letter, and I 100% agree!

Who gave you this reply? Just someone from customer service?
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The person I heard back from was a rep for "the Playbar Team."

New issue at least for me. First time I have ever driven to Redbox and driven away empty handed. Man of Steel - DTS. We're the Millers - DTS. Turbo for my kids - DTS. I haven't seen the Hobbit movie either - DTS.

I wonder if sending letters to Redbox, CNET, Lucas Studios and some other notable companies sharing our plight might help kick up a little more support? I just think the Poll is going nowhere.

What are some other opinions out there?
Userlevel 1
I just think the Poll is going nowhere. What are some other opinions out there?

I think you're certainly wasting your time here if you think Sonos are reading this. This isn't an official channel to communicate with Sonos, that would be ask.sonos.com. You need to make your opinion felt over there.
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the_hlc,

My question was already asked so I don't need to use ask.sonos.com. This forum, regardless of who from Sonos reads it, is used by actual users or potential buyers.

I am wondering if the smart and savvy community on this forum has additional ideas on extra ways to gain traction on this unfortunate issue.

It seems like the current trend is DTS audio so our new and fancy product is essentially obsolete. Or am I wrong?
Userlevel 2
jgaepi, I'm not sure why you would spend $1,998 and not be aware that the Playbar does not support DTS. Did you research the product before purchasing it? If DTS is a such a major need for you, perhaps you should have purchased another product that offers DTS. I too have a Playbar and hope some day DTS is supported. If not, I can't complain, as I knew before I made my purchase that DTS was not supported.
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I am not dumb. Maybe a bit naive.

I read CNET, Engadget, PCMag and some other online reviews. What I didn't fully understand was the extent of DTS exclusive movies. Why would a movie be DTS in English and Dolby in Thai and 6 other languages? On second thought, don't answer that question.

All the reviews downplayed the issue over DTS. I have never had to inspect a movie before over DTS or DD sound. I have owned Onkyo and Denon receivers (plug and play). DD and DTS sound the same to me. Get my drift?

The worst thing you can do is point fingers at a fellow customer who paid good money for a quality product.
Userlevel 7
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Regarding the redesigned ask sonos, there is a quicker way to get to the latest 'support for DTS' comments without having to scroll/click 50+ times !!

Click on the 'support' link above and in the middle of the page are some embedded parts of the ask sonos site. Click on 'share an idea' and you see the DTS topic currently second one down. Click on it to open in a smaller window and you will find >> button to go directly to the last page.
Excellent letter - let's hope this gets a sensible (read tangible!) response from Sonos.

As I've said elsewhere, IMHO DTS omission was a crazy decision by Sonos and the lack of communication from them as to whether they will support it almost soap opera-esque...

Given the plethora of cheap devices out there that support DTS (e.g. Yamaha YAS101 - £149, not suggesting it is any good BTW!), there really is no excuse for Sonos to not have included DTS support from day 1.
Thanks for the letter! I agree 100%.
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By the way, for those of you who are interested in taking the DTS request one step further than just voting on the DTS poll, consider sending Sonos Management a (polite) letter expressing your need for the company to add DTS support. Anything helps.

[email]CustServMgmt@sonos.com[/email]
Userlevel 2
As I am looking to add to my system this Christmas, I have recently come to learn that the playbar does not support DTS.

So I will not be purchasing one definitely. Currently I am using a Bose 3-2-1 system that is about 10 years old. It supports DTS.

If what people say about Sonos "not reading these threads" is true then I seriously disappointed with their logic.

Have a look at the threads Sonos, your .ask site sucks because its full of the same noob questions.
Userlevel 2
I can't believe I've just spent £600 and I may not be able to watch movies in my collection! I haven't set my playbar up yet- can someone confirm the DTS issue effects people with just a playbar and sub setup.
Thanks
I'm afraid so, it doesn't matter what speakers you have, a DTS signal from a Blu-ray player etc. will always be "unsupported" and you will hear deafening silence.

If you hook the Playbar up to the TV, you should get either a stereo or Dolby signal, as TVs don't tend to pass through DTS signals ... yet.
Userlevel 2
I'm afraid so, it doesn't matter what speakers you have, a DTS signal from a Blu-ray player etc. will always be "unsupported" and you will hear deafening silence.

If you hook the Playbar up to the TV, you should get either a stereo or Dolby signal, as TVs don't tend to pass through DTS signals ... yet.


So will the tv send a stereo signal to the playbar if the Blu-Ray is DTS or is it the case any DVD with DTS will just be silent.
Sorry for the noob questions-just trying to get my head around it
So will the tv send a stereo signal to the playbar if the Blu-Ray is DTS or is it the case any DVD with DTS will just be silent.


Depending on your TV it is very likely that it gets reduced to a simple stereo signal. There will be sound. But stereo only.
Userlevel 1
So will the tv send a stereo signal to the playbar if the Blu-Ray is DTS or is it the case any DVD with DTS will just be silent.
Sorry for the noob questions-just trying to get my head around it


That depends entirely on the tv and how it handles dts. I'm not aware of any that will pass through dts. I would expect the tv and blu-ray player to negotiate with each other through hdmi and the tv would tell the bdp what formats it can support, so the bdp will probably send down-mixed stereo, which is what will then be passed through to the Playbar.
Userlevel 2
Depending on your TV it is very likely that it gets reduced to a simple stereo signal. There will be sound. But stereo only.

Thanks very much guys! That clears that up- at least I will be getting some sound through.. I suppose it's more of a problem for people with the 5.1 setup. I've got a samsung 6300 led tv so not sure what that will be sending through the optical- I'm still debating if I'm going to connect the optical straight to the tv or buy a splitter if some sort to connect the sky hd, Blu ray and Xbox one.
As far as I know the Samsung TVs are likely to downgrade their sound output via optical out to stereo. I highly recommend to connect you Sky box, etc. via an optical switch. This way you get Dolby Digital to your playbar. You'll definitely hear the difference.
jgaepi, I'm not sure why you would spend $1,998 and not be aware that the Playbar does not support DTS. Did you research the product before purchasing it? If DTS is a such a major need for you, perhaps you should have purchased another product that offers DTS. I too have a Playbar and hope some day DTS is supported. If not, I can't complain, as I knew before I made my purchase that DTS was not supported.
bunk42, I do not agree with your statement. While I respect your serious and thorough pre-purchasing research (and personally, I did the same), you are implying that Playbar buyers should be documented and aware that the Playbar does not support DTS.
Let me give a few reasons why I think it's quite the contrary:
- A majority of the Playbar reviews don't even mention the lack of DTS support
- The supported configuration is the Playbar hooked up to your TV. Almost all TVs will not pass through DTS. Most TV manuals will not specify if they do or not. Most TV manuals will not even specify if they pass through Dolby Digital 5.1 through the optical. While that acutally kind of eliminates the need for DTS support, even if the Playbar supported DTS, most customers would still have a problem, having to find another way to connect the Playbar than the standard supported one if they want anything else than stereo and virtual surround.
- Sonos aims at simplicity. Simplicity is a quality that should please non-techies. Non-techies will not necessarily enquire about DD, DD.51, DTS and so on.
- Soundbars costing less than 200$ already support DTS. A standard customer, especially "non-techies", should be able to assume that at 3.5 times that price, you can actually hear the sound from more than 80% of Blu Rays around. The contrary, while true, just seems so improbable....

So while I agree that these kinds of pitfalls exist everywhere, we should not blame customers for not doing the research (especially given the statements above), but Sonos for not making it clear. Sonos made it simple for them by only supporting the direct connection to the TV. But the result is the input from the Playbar being stereo in more than 80% of the cases instead of 5.1. A lot of customers will probably not even be aware of the difference and that's actually fine. But some will be strongly disappointed in the product.

In my personal setup, I just loooove the 5.1 sound that the Sonos gear offers me. But I'm just happy I own mostly DD5.1 DVDs....
I just got my PLAYBAR delivered and set up yesterday. I knew about the DTS limitations. What I'm on unclear on is - does it also not support DD TrueHD? I have a concert Blu-Ray that you can choose audio in either 2.0 LPCM or True HD. For either one, the PLAYBAR shows it is receiving Stereo.

I have the PB connected to TV optical out. My TV does support 5.1 out on the optical (works fine for some Netflix movies via Apple TV thru the TV). Is the issue here that the TV can't handle the TrueHD and is downgrading it to stereo, same as it would with DTS? And if yes, I guess my solution would be to get one of the switches people are using, which presumably would pass the TrueHD to the PLAYBAR intact, and then the PLAYBAR would downgrade it to "regular" 5.1?

I admit I'm torn on the PLAYBAR. It's certainly better than what we've been using which is just the TV speakers. If I look at it from that perspective, it does the job, along with simplifying things in the living room. But like many others, for the price, I feel a bit cheated that it can't handle formats that much cheaper products can. I think the alternative would be some other soundbar with a CONNECT, but that brings its own complications - namely the need to toggle between inputs and multiple wires running to the soundbar.

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