Dolby Atmos

  • 13 April 2018
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66 replies

Userlevel 3
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The vast majority of them wouldn't know a codec if it jumped up and bit them, and I don't say that in a disparaging way, it's just a fact.

We're talking well over a grand for a full 5.1 setup here. Not only do the vast majority not know about codecs, at this pricepoint they expect not to need to know, or care. And if Sonos doesn't care, well, it doesn't say much about Sonos.

I make my own peace with all this because I don't need DTS, DD+, Atmos etc - I transcode all my disks. I knew the features of the product before I bought it.
That said, I'd welcome them very much. I'm baffled by the ambivalence of the community when we see our peers get frustrated with the lack of codecs. Would you not like to see new features supported?
A "home cinema" product must support codecs, it's a given. I think Sonos know this. If there was a technical reason why they couldn't they'd just come out and say it. Otherwise it has to be in the pipe somewhere.

We're talking well over a grand for a full 5.1 setup here. Not only do the vast majority not know about codecs, at this pricepoint they expect not to need to know, or care.


I agree with this to a point. People at this pricepoint often don't want to have to think about it. At the same time, there are people who do care about codecs and might be willing to shell out for it...hence again why Sonos is asking. To find out what the current market looks like.


And if Sonos doesn't care, well, it doesn't say much about Sonos.


Who's saying they don't care? They have stated in the past that the majority of customers who buy Sonos stream and therefore are covered by the codecs they provide. They are asking questions to find out what the market wants now. That to me is evidence that they are interested in giving customers what they want. It just doesn't mean the market wants what you assume it does.


I make my own peace with all this because I don't need DTS, DD+, Atmos etc - I transcode all my disks. I knew the features of the product before I bought it.
That said, I'd welcome them very much. I'm baffled by the ambivalence of the community when we see our peers get frustrated with the lack of codecs. Would you not like to see new features supported?


Yes I would. Does it mean I would trade out my playbar for a new one? Maybe, not sure. Will I switch to another vendor? Nope. Will making atmos speakers justify the cost and turn a profit? I have no idea. It's not ambivalence you're seeing, it's people trying to look at the matter objectively, from the perspective of the individual, overall consumers, and the company.


A "home cinema" product must support codecs, it's a given. I think Sonos know this. If there was a technical reason why they couldn't they'd just come out and say it. Otherwise it has to be in the pipe somewhere.


Sonos does support a 5.1 codec, that is all they have to support, and that support alone has sold lots of products. There doesn't need to be a technical reason for not supporting more, nor do they need to give consumers any reasons why they only support DD 5.1 (and they did give a reason anyway). Your conclusion that Atmos must be in the pipeline isn't based on the facts, but on your own your own personal wish that it is.

Nothing wrong with wanting Sonos to do Atmos, just doesn't mean that they are developing it.

Probably also worth pointing out that what you're perceiving as ambivalence has developed from experience of seeing features requests for years that people are sure every body would want that would be an easy no brainer for Sonos to do with no down side...and being completing wrong in their bold predictions. You learn to just wait and see.
This: It's not ambivalence you're seeing, it's people trying to look at the matter objectively, from the perspective of the individual, overall consumers, and the company.

Would I be happy if Sonos were to consider more codecs? Absolutely. I've made that fairly clear in hundreds of posts. Does it make financial sense for Sonos, in whatever fashion it needs to? No idea. I, too, have made peace with the way things are right now, but that doesn't mean I don't expect future changes. I don't expect Sonos to stand still. Like melvimbe (shoot, he wrote pretty much exactly what I would have), I want Sonos to be financially successful moving forward, and continue to support the investment I have, and will make, in their hardware. And no, I don't expect all of the hardware to be fully upgradeable, much like I have learned to live with the fact that I needed a Sonos One for AirPlay 2, and my PLAY:1s won't function with that feature as a receiver.

The thing I keep trying to help people understand is that these decisions come at a cost to Sonos. Either in terms of new licensing agreements with people who "own" the codec, or in the requirement for new hardware...or in the simple fact that some of the "older" equipment in use by many, many people out there will have to stop being functional at some time. I'm confident that Sonos is doing everything possible to forestall that day, but it will come, just like it has with the CR100 and the Dock.
Userlevel 3
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I was asked Sonos for DTS support for the Sonos Playbar from the beginning years ago.... Now after all these years there is still no DTS support ???Sonos says add 2x Play1 and Sub for 5.1 surround its not without the DTS support?
Now Dolby Atmos is coming it would not supported too for my Sonos Playbar?
I spend 2000 euro on Sonos Equipment.
Its a shame!! We want the full surround experience!!!?

Sonos now start listening to your loyal customers like myself!
I’ve asked for DTS support for years! And many customers did that too ????
Now if you would do something back for your loyal customers give us the full
Dolby Atmos support! Its 2019 Sonos start listening !and support Dolby Atmos for the Sonos Playbar. Then we all will be happy again with our expensive Sonos Home Cinema!!! It needs to be done come on wake up!!!!
Dolby Atmos through Optical is not possible. Dolby formats are backward compatible though, the TV set should pass Atmos downsized to Dolby Digital to the Playbar.
Userlevel 2
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I do believe Sonos will have to address Dolby Atmos somehow, I can't be dogmatic about that but I work in retail and sale electronics ( including Sonos ) and while it's true most don't really know about codecs you would be surprised how many people are asking about Dolby Atmos now because it's marketed so heavily.
Userlevel 3
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Where is the big Boss from Sonos are you reading this ? Give us Dolby Atmos support for the Sonos Playbar!!

Start listening to your loyal customers.
Userlevel 7
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Um, the Playbar only has optical input: you cannot pass Atmos over optical. "You canna defy the laws of physics Jim".
Userlevel 4
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I really hope that Sonos see the light and add Atmos and DD+ to the Beam and the next version of the Playbar along with DTS. The current capability of the Sonos soundbars is hardly ‘home cinema’.
I really hope that Sonos see the light and add Atmos and DD+ to the Beam and the next version of the Playbar along with DTS. The current capability of the Sonos soundbars is hardly ‘home cinema’.

On the Atmos side of things, I don't see them adding to the Beam. A playbar 2.0 makes a lot more sense. Customers who care about Atmos are likely going to want the bigger/better playbar and want upwards firing speakers built it. Perhaps they could make separate upwards firing speakers that work with the beam and playbar 2.0, but that presuambly will put additional strain on the stability of wireless network. I'm sure there's some existing customers who will feel slightly cheated if their existing beam doesn't get upgraded but that's going to happen if playbar 2.0 has any features that the beam doesn't have.

Totally guessing here, could be completely wrong.

Personally, I'm not sure if I would want Sonos to introduce Atmos hardware. It seems too much of a departure from their core business to me. In my mind, Sonos is a music system. It's nice to have 5.1 HT integration, and it would be great if they were to support codecs like DTS and Atmos, albeit downmixed (preferably downmixed by the Sonos hardware itself), so the integration would be seamless, but I would not care for Sonos investing time and money in creating products for a market segment that is not theirs.


I get what you're saying, but you could make the arguement that if Sonos hadn't branched off from it's core of multiroom music, and included HT integration and voice control, than they would be out of business by now. Companies do need to expand and grow but make sure that they expand in the right directions, both in customer interest and in their ability to still deliever sold products.

I think they have the ability to deliver Atmos hardware, I just don't know if there is enough interest. A personally hope that interest is rising as that means more toys to buy, and hopeful the industry consolidates to a single codec, or family of codecs. A lot of that depends on whether Atmos sounds good in a typical home environment, not just in a dedicated home theatre room. If it's easy to use and sounds better than what they currently have, I think it will sell. That's really the reason soundbars gained popularity in the first place, over traditional systems.

A part of me is also wondering if Sonos needs to move towards Atmos in order to stay ahead of the competition, of competition is Amazon and Google. Right now Sonos has the advantage in speaker quality and HT presenses, but that gape could quickly close.

Then again, maybe Atmos is a move in the wrong direction and they should be moving elsewhere. Making decisions like this is part of the reason CEOs make good money.

I get what you're saying, but you could make the arguement that if Sonos hadn't branched off from it's core of multiroom music, and included HT integration and voice control, than they would be out of business by now. Companies do need to expand and grow but make sure that they expand in the right directions, both in customer interest and in their ability to still deliever sold products.

Fair point. This also made me think about D&M, who've come from the other side, moving into multiroom with Heos, from a background of HiFi and A/V, so maybe it's not such a stretch as my gut initially told me. I do still think that there are various levels of integration, and that Sonos might not need to go all the way. I also think the smart speaker trend seems a more natural evolution for Sonos than high end HT.


Then again, maybe Atmos is a move in the wrong direction and they should be moving elsewhere. Making decisions like this is part of the reason CEOs make good money.

They undoubtedly have bigger concerns than people shouting on community boards.
Userlevel 3
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Dolby formats are backward compatible though, the TV set should pass Atmos downsized to Dolby Digital to the Playbar.

This. There's no point in adding Atmos support unless Sonos releases some form of upfiring or ceiling mounted speakers. Current Playbase and Playbar users will never be able to use the codec anyway due to their optical only input.

In the meantime, an Atmos track should be automatically converted to Dolby 5.1 by your TV.
Assuming your TV is new enough to have that capability.
Userlevel 4
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Assuming your TV is new enough to have that capability.

And there is no lip syncing issues. My Panasonic is only in sync when 5.1 is played from internal apps. Sources from hdmi are unwatchable, so I feed everything into the beam directly. You are still relying on something to convert the Atmos soundtrack into 5.1 DD. In my case the Xbox or my Samsung uhd player. It would be so much better if the beam could just decode the Atmos by itself.
The good thing is most of the current 4k Blu Ray movies have Atmos now which on my set up (Playbar,sub and 2 ones) and a 4k LG blue ray player and LG 65" oled TV puts out an very good 5.1 soundtrack. No Atmos but very good 5.1....i can live with this and it's through the optical out from the TV to the Playbar.