Better Sonos Connect/Hub desperately needed

  • 24 January 2017
  • 3 replies

I'm looking for excuses to spend lots of money buying Sonos equipment throughout my house.

I'm really disappointed in the available components for integrating with a TV setup for home theater:

1. There's the Connect:AMP, which is good for connecting to existing speakers. Though I want to ditch all other speakers and just have Sonos gear for simplicity. Also the AMP only has a single RCA in... no modern Smart TV has RCA audio out, making it impossible to connect without some other 3rd party component like a DAC.

2. There's the simpler Connect, which crazily enough also only has RCA inputs... how do you get an external 5.1 or other HD audio signal in??

3. The only remaining option is the Playbar, which sounds good at first since it has an Optical in. But also does not support HD audio, only the older Dolby Digital 5.1. Also, many TVs are not able to export a 5.1 audio signal over the optical out connection... so you're back to 2.0 stereo.. even if you buy additional Play 1/3.

Why not have the Connect take a HDMI input, that supports recent HD audio codecs, and that could connect to the Playbar via Optical (or just wireless)?

For the supposed leader in the industry, it's crazy that this is not supported in 2017...

The only other options are to use a 3rd party receiver to try and plug these gaps, or just look at competing ecosystems.

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3 replies

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If you're looking to use Sonos with your TV, Playbar is the only option. If, however, you need (a) support for HD audio codecs and/or (b) 5.1 sound and don't have and are not willing to buy a TV that will output 5.1 over optical, it's not going to be for you. Won't rehash the arguments on either side of the topic as they're covered ad nauseam on here. Suffice it to say that plenty of people agree with you, but many others have gotten it to work well enough either through indifference towards sound shortcomings or having the right equipment to eliminate all issues but for the HD audio one.
I know there are workarounds that involve buying additional equipment. But the whole attraction to Sonos is simplicity.

I've had full HD 5.1 surround sound systems in the past, with dedicated receivers, external DACs, etc. It was fun for a while, but then life changed and now I appreciate simplicity over all that mess. I down-sized to a good 2.1 system for a while, which did the trick. But I now want multi-room audio options, with flexibility of future growth as well.

Sonos ticks the multi-room boxes pretty well, but still kinda sucks for Home-theatre due to these limitations. I can just suck it up and buy a Playbar now, and hope that in a few years there will be a newer Sonos product that will meet my needs. Or I can take a closer look at the many competing multi-room systems springing up, which are a lot more future proof and actually support all the HD codecs and have proper Home-theatre integration in mind.

Sosos is of-course free to do whatever they want. But I think it's a mistake not plugging this gap. It may seem minor, but if it pushes me away to another ecosystem, that's thousands of my dollars they'll be missing out on, and potentially thousands from other customers in the growing whole-house streaming market.
I'd certainly agree. I'm just not in the know as to how many resources Sonos has, and what they're dedicated to in terms of product development. For all I know, they're weeks away from announcing/shipping something that would solve this issue. On the other hand, they could be years away. It's something I have to live with, and make similar choices as you are. Fortunately, for now, I'm OK, but eventually, I would love to start expanding.