Home Theater and Television Recommendation Megathread


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Looking for information on Sonos home theater setups? Find answers about surround sound, Dolby Digital, TV recommendations, and all the rest to get the best possible theater experience on Sonos here. We’ll keep this thread up to date with your recommendations for TVs and other devices as well.

How to get the most out of this thread:


Read through the starter posts to get caught up on the basics including what to get and how to get set up. If you’re looking for something specific, check out all of the content below. If you have a question not covered in the starting posts or covered in one of our FAQs feel free to ask. Please see the posting guidelines below for getting the best help.

This thread isn’t intended for troubleshooting problems so those posts may be moved to a new thread if posted here.

Posting guidelines


What are you looking for? Describe your question the best you can.
Include all the details you can about your current setup or what you’re planning to do.
The following are great pieces of information to include as well:
TV model:
Peripherals (what sources of audio/video you’re using):
What Sonos components do you have or are you looking to get?
Description of how your home theater is connected:


Contents: Looking for something specific?


Community Recommendations for TVs, Blu-ray players, and HDMI switches
Questions about peripherals such as the Apple TV

What is the best Sonos home theater experience?


The Sonos home theater experience starts with Beam, Playbar, or Playbase and gets amped up with a SUB and surround speakers. The best experience you can have is when the players are getting a Dolby Digital 5.1 signal and the surrounds are properly configured. You can use your remote control or your voice to adjust the volume of the speakers. And when you go to play music, you should get the sound you want to hear from all of your speakers.

The Basics of Sonos 5.1


A Beam, Playbar, or Playbase is the center of our home theater experience. Picking the right one will depend on your room’s layout, and what you’re looking to use.

On size, Playbar and Playbase are larger than Beam. You can use the Playbase below your TV, or wall mount a Playbar above or below the TV. Beam is a more compact speaker and can fit almost anywhere.

Playbar and Playbase have more drivers and produce louder sound with more width and bass than Beam. Beam is optimized for small to mid-sized rooms, whereas Playbar and Playbase are capable of filling large spaces.
Sonos Beam is the first Sonos speaker for home theater that supports voice control, but you can use Sonos Ones as surrounds with a Playbase or Playbar to bring some voice control to the setup. Beam also uses HDMI-ARC to connect to your television and supports CEC to work with your existing remote, while the other two use Digital Optical connections.

Playbase and Beam both support AirPlay 2. In order to get Airplay 2 with your Playbar, you'll need to have an AirPlay 2 compatible Sonos player in a separate room (not bonded as surrounds) that you group with your Playbar.

For steps on setting up a Playbar or Playbase, please see the directions here. We also have all the requirements you might need to know about listed here.

You can use a pair of Play:1, Sonos One, Play:3, or Play:5 gen2 units as rear surround speakers. The Connect:Amp can also be bonded as surround speakers with by following the directions here. Don’t forget the Sub, which can be tucked into corners, placed under a seat, or made a room decoration for some deep glass rattling bass.

Choosing which speakers are the correct surrounds to use with your Beam, Playbar, or Playbase depends on your home and what size room you’re looking to fill. Usually the Play:1s work great, but if you’ve got a large room in need of filling Play:3 or Play:5 gen2s may be needed. Take a look here for details on setting up surround sound for Sonos, which includes where to put your surrounds.

Make sure you don’t hang your Playbar upside down accidentally.

TV Basics


Your TV should have the onboard speakers turned off, and the audio settings set to pass Dolby Digital 5.1 to the optical output if possible. For more on selecting a TV please see here.

Checking Surround Sound


Standard configuration for Sonos home theater has the TV wired to the Playbar or Playbase with an optical connection, or HDMI-ARC to your Beam. Now it gets a little more technical, but stick with us. First, you need a source that is playing the Dolby Digital 5.1 format. Which is then being passed to the Sonos home theater device.

For the standard setup, your TV should pass Dolby Digital 5.1 to your Sonos over optical when you’re watching something with that format. If your TV is doing this you’re all set.

So how do you check that you’re getting 5.1 on Sonos? The system will tell you what’s playing under the About Sonos screen from any controller. Check under the name of the Beam, Playbar, or Playbase within Settings > About my Sonos System. If the line “Audio In:” shows “Dolby Digital 5.1” you’ll know you’re done. If it shows Stereo PCM there’s a few things to check out.

Getting Dolby Digital to Sonos


There’s a series or things to check if you’re seeing Stereo instead of Dolby Digital. First off, is the starting audio format in Dolby Digital? Where is the audio you’re trying to play coming from? Are you sure that it’s in Dolby Digital 5.1?

Next, you’ll need to check that every device touching that audio source is capable of passing it as well untouched. If it’s a cable box passing the signal over HDMI to your TV for example, make sure your TV is capable of sending Dolby Digital from HDMI over the optical. For the Beam, the TV should automatically convert a Dolby signal to Dolby Digital 5.1 as Beam will use a handshake over HDMI-ARC to request the right format. Dolby Atmos or Dolby Digital Plus are compatible with Dolby Digital 5.1.

Note: In some TV manuals you may see a line that Dolby Digital is only passed for “Over the Air” sources which are the built in apps on the TV and doesn’t include HDMI sources.

If one of your devices doesn’t pass Dolby Digital 5.1 through, you may want to consider using a non-standard setup. The community has recommendations for HDMI switchers which can receive all of your HDMI devices and pass the audio to a Playbar or Playbase through optical, while sending the video to the TV through HDMI.

Audio Formats


You might encounter the following sound formats from most home theater devices: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS, and Stereo PCM. The Playbar is compatible with all of these audio formats except for DTS and Dolby Digital Plus.

Dolby Digital is our 5.1 surround sound format for the Playbar. If your TV delivers a Dolby Digital format to the Playbar or Playbase, you’ll be getting surround sound.

The Stereo/PCM format will be decoded into a left front and right front channels and we’ll make a matrixed center, right rear, left rear, and subwoofer channel from the audio signal to play out of all players.

DTS is an audio format most commonly found on Blu-ray discs. It’s uncommon for this format to reach the Playbar as it would need to be passed unaltered through the player into the TV, and then back out through optical to Sonos. If this happens, the Playbar or Playbase will not play any audio as DTS is not a supported format. Please see below on transcoding a DTS signal.

Transcoding a DTS signal


Sonos home theater devices do not support the DTS format. If you watch to a lot of Blu-ray discs or are getting DTS-encoded audio passed through to Sonos, there are some suggestions you can work with. You’ll need to use a device in the middle which can transcode that audio to a different signal. Ideally, you’ll want to get it into Dolby Digital 5.1.

Certain Blu-ray players are capable of converting DTS to Dolby Digital output during playback already. Examples of models capable of this are the Samsung BD-F6500, Samsung BD-F5900, and Samsung BD-F5700. The easiest solution if your only DTS source is from these discs is to check if your Blu-ray player can support on the fly conversion. If it doesn’t, you might consider picking up one that does.

Some gaming systems can also do this transcoding, such as the Xbox One and the PlayStation4 both can. Directions for setting this up for each device is linked to their names.

Note that even when converting from DTS, the television still must be capable of passing Dolby Digital signal to the Beam, Playbar, or Playbase or the end result will be stereo PCM. The community has recommended using HDMI switchers instead if the TV isn’t capable of supporting Dolby Digital. See some of those recommendations and more here.

Choosing a Television Set


Choosing a TV can be tricky, there are a lot of options and you just want something that will work. For TVs to work best with Sonos, the most important thing is for them to be able to pass Dolby Digital audio from both HDMI and over the air sources to the optical connection. It’s also best if you have an IR remote control for the volume commands, universal remotes work great, but more on that in a bit.

There is a great list of TVs here made by the community of TVs they’ve used before. We don’t recommend any particular TV brand ourselves as many work great, but we’ll highlight some of the most popular community recommendations below, to see them  click here.

When you’re setting up that TV, you can check under Audio Settings to make sure it is set to pass Dolby Digital through the optical connection if that’s an option.

If your TV doesn’t have enough HDMI ports for your sources, doesn’t have an Optical output, or doesn’t pass Dolby Digital from HDMI or over the air sources you may consider using an HDMI Switch or Optical Converter for the HDMI signals. This is a device that you can wire your sources into, and it’ll have an audio output for the Playbar with an HDMI output for the TV to get video from. We have some community recommended devices listed here.

Remote controls


The Playbar has an infrared sensor which can read signals from most TV remotes. It doesn’t support Bluetooth or RF commands, though your remote might also have an IR blaster which can be placed in front of the Playbar’s receiver. The remote setup guides you through the process of teaching your Playbar to recognize your remote. This can be found under Room Settings > Playbar > TV Settings > Remote Setup.

How to remove on-screen volume messages


During setup, you’ll want to turn the onboard speakers for the TV off so you don’t get any strange echoes. Some TVs will display a notification on the screen when they register the volume commands and the built-in speakers are off.

If you are getting this message there are a couple things you can do to prevent this. Here’s a page with some suggestions for getting around this notification message.

Generally, the way to go if the TV doesn’t have a setting to turn off the message is to program a universal remote with different commands for the volume. The TV won’t recognize these as commands for the volume, but the Sonos home theater device will. Volume changes, no on-screen message.

Another way around this, which works with a lot of TVs, uses the TV’s headphone jack if it has one. Most TVs will mute their speaker output when the headphone jack is engaged. Plug anything into that port and leave the TV’s speakers turned on within the settings. You won’t hear anything from them, but you won’t get an error on screen either. What you plug in doesn’t need to have a pair of headphones on them. You can cut off the end of a plug from anything, even if it doesn’t work.

Advanced Audio Playback Options


Within the Sonos Controller, you can find some advanced playback settings for Sonos home theater. There are two playback modes that can be toggled from the playing screen which can be useful: Night Sound and Speech Enhancement.

Speech Enhancement makes TV dialog easier to hear. Touch the icon on your Sonos controller’s Now Playing screen to turn this setting on or off.

Night Sound adjusts the audio when you need things a little quieter, it still maintains proper balance and range. At lower volumes, quiet sounds are enhanced and the intensity of loud sounds is reduced. Touch the icon on your Sonos controller’s Now Playing screen to turn this setting on or off.

Inside your Room Settings for the Beam, Playbar, or Playbase are two additional options.
Music playback which allows you to choose between two settings for the surround speakers:
1. Ambient: Default option; subtle, ambient sound.

2. Full: Enables louder, full range stereo sound.

Selecting Full has the surround speakers playing stereo along with the center home theater device when you have a music source playing, this has no effect when playing TV.

TV Dialog
Audio Delay (Lip Sync) is used to increase or decrease the sound delay if the video is behind the audio.

248 replies

Philips 55pus7600/12 passes DD 5.1 through optical. Confirmed.

Hi Lieven,

I cant confirm. I've got the 55pus7600/12 and a playbar but cannot get any 5.1 signal into the playbar, no matter what input I give it through the pus7600 (TV, youtube, USB). The sonos app always tells me that Audio in is Stereo. In the TV I have disabled the internal speakers and activated Multichannel. Can you please tell me what I have done wrong or how you got 5.1 into the playbar through the pus7600?

Cheers,

bube


Well, I was wrong. It can indeed pass through 5.1. However, my problem was that I have not found any material that actually got 5.1 through to my playbar and the playbar being able to read it as such. It worked with some movies via USB. So, yes, it can pass through 5.1. BUT, honestly, finding 5.1 stuff that the playbar can read is really difficult these day. Netflix uses DD+ which the playbar cannot read = Stereo output. Google Play movies codes the 5.1 into HC-AAC which the playbar cannot read = Stereo output. I can only get a stereo signal from youtube. I am not sure if this is an Android TV problem or whatever. Anyway, it seems to me that all the streaming services (=the future) are not compatible with the playbar as it is right now.

So..., Eternity, i would recommend you to do a thourough research concerning the playbar and if it can actally do the stuff you want it to do.
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Surprised the Samsung UN55JU7100 is on this list. While it does pass the 5.1 signal, I have terrible audio drops with the setup. So much so, I had to integrate an HDMI switcher. Not ideal and not as smooth, but no other choice.
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Surprised the Samsung UN55JU7100 is on this list. While it does pass the 5.1 signal, I have terrible audio drops with the setup. So much so, I had to integrate an HDMI switcher. Not ideal and not as smooth, but no other choice.

The TV does meet the criteria and so was recommended by the community, however we identified a recurring issue with the TV as you pointed out. We have a thread on that issue here which I made sure to add as a note on the line for those TVs. We're hoping this issue can be resolved and are working with Samsung.
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Hi All

Has anybody had any success with the LG 42LM760T, I know its getting on a bit now but it does say DD on the DTV sound setting.

Any help would be appreciated.

Derek
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SONY BRAVIA KDL50W755C

I just purchased this TV and can confirm that it passes DD5.1 from HDMI connected devices to the Playbar via the optical out. N.b. the TV should be set to use an external audio source in "Auto 1" mode.
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Philips 55pus7600/12 passes DD 5.1 through optical. Confirmed.

Hi Lieven,

I cant confirm. I've got the 55pus7600/12 and a playbar but cannot get any 5.1 signal into the playbar, no matter what input I give it through the pus7600 (TV, youtube, USB). The sonos app always tells me that Audio in is Stereo. In the TV I have disabled the internal speakers and activated Multichannel. Can you please tell me what I have done wrong or how you got 5.1 into the playbar through the pus7600?

Cheers,

bube


Well, I was wrong. It can indeed pass through 5.1. However, my problem was that I have not found any material that actually got 5.1 through to my playbar and the playbar being able to read it as such. It worked with some movies via USB. So, yes, it can pass through 5.1. BUT, honestly, finding 5.1 stuff that the playbar can read is really difficult these day. Netflix uses DD+ which the playbar cannot read = Stereo output. Google Play movies codes the 5.1 into HC-AAC which the playbar cannot read = Stereo output. I can only get a stereo signal from youtube. I am not sure if this is an Android TV problem or whatever. Anyway, it seems to me that all the streaming services (=the future) are not compatible with the playbar as it is right now.

So..., Eternity, i would recommend you to do a thourough research concerning the playbar and if it can actally do the stuff you want it to do.


My Netflix delivers Dolby Digital 5.1, so it is Playbar compatible. Perhaps it depends upon the platform you are using to access Netflix?
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SONY BRAVIA KDL50W755C

I just purchased this TV and can confirm that it passes DD5.1 from HDMI connected devices to the Playbar via the optical out. N.b. the TV should be set to use an external audio source in "Auto 1" mode.


Thanks for sharing! I'lll get it added to the list. Does the TV show any sort of popup or error message when adjusting the volume?
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My Netflix delivers Dolby Digital 5.1, so it is Playbar compatible. Perhaps it depends upon the platform you are using to access Netflix?

Strictly speaking Dolby Digital Plus is backwards compatible with DD5.1, and devices that can receive it should be capable of converting the DD+ signal to DD5.1. The PLAYBAR can do this DD+ to DD5.1 conversion, however, no optical connection can physically pass a DD+ signal properly. The optical port can't process the data fast enough if it starts sending it at a certain rate. Some devices will try to force DD+ through the optical and it'll fail out eventually. Most devices will be able to convert it the signal to DD5.1 and send it to the PLAYBAR, which will work great. Netflix usually works really well.
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SONY BRAVIA KDL50W755C

I just purchased this TV and can confirm that it passes DD5.1 from HDMI connected devices to the Playbar via the optical out. N.b. the TV should be set to use an external audio source in "Auto 1" mode.


Thanks for sharing! I'lll get it added to the list. Does the TV show any sort of popup or error message when adjusting the volume?


Yes. The TV will either show a notification ("TV Volume is Fixed") or a volume slider, depending upon whether the "audio out" is selected to be "fixed" or "variable", respectively. The notifications only appear for a few seconds.

For what it's worth, I understand that this TV is exactly the same as the already-recommended Sony KDL 50W808C, save for that it doesn't have 3D. Likewise, I understand that the other size panels in both these ranges will function the same.

Finally, note that Sony customer service were unable to confirm over the phone that this TV could handle 5.1 as hdmi passthrough. The retailer (Richer Sounds) was also unable to confirm this (in fact, they claimed that Sonos could only function as a stereo set up!). So I had to purchase the set and check for myself.
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LG 2016 UH8500 and UH9500 models pass DD through optical. I have the 60UH8500 and it works. Couldn't find it in the manual because it's only a few useless pages.

From Crutchfield:
optical digital audio output (can pass Dolby®️ Digital/DTS multichannel or 2-channel audio from connected sources)
I can confirm that the Samsung UE48JU7000 TV will pass DD 5.1 through optical from all sources (PS4, Apple TV, Blu-Ray etc.).

I can also confirm that the Samsung UBD-K8500 UHD Blu-Ray player will transcode DTS (and Dolby Atmos) to DD 5.1 on the fly. I've tested it with both HD and UHD Blu-Ray discs.
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Thanks wrx09mb and Lobstonicus, I've updated the list to include your entries too. Thanks for letting us all know!
I can also now confirm that the Samsung UE55KS8000 TV also passes DD5.1 through optical from all sources.
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I can also now confirm that the Samsung UE55KS8000 TV also passes DD5.1 through optical from all sources.

Great, thanks!
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Lobstonicus referring to the Samsung Ks8500 DVD what do you mean by 5.1 on the fly and are there particular settings I need to use to achieve this? Many thanks
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What he means is if he plays a Blu-Ray in his Blu-Ray player that has a DTS soundtrack he has a setting that will decode that audio signal into DD5.1 onto the HDMI output.
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Thanks do you or he know the setting. I have just purchased this DVD player plus a Samsung Ks 8000 tv and I am looking forward to ditching my optical switcher and multiple optical leads
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Hi all

I can confirm that KD49X8307C Sony works fine. Being as it's an android tv, if you load kodi onto it and access you tube via kodi (not via the app on the tv) you can also get the 5.1 content ..............in 5.1 :-)

Cheers

Nik
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I can confirm that the Samsung UE55KS9000 (Series 9) also passes 5.1 through optical for all sources. Tested with Apple TV, PS4, broadcast TV, Netflix, Plex.

Caveat: it comes with two remote controls (regular + smart) and annoyingly you can only teach the Playbar about one of them, because they cannot generate the same IR volume signals (I've had this confirmed by Samsung tech support). Workaround, until either Sonos or Samsung give us a solution: buy another regular IR remote, which is a pity because the new Samsung smart remote is cleverly source-sensitive.
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I can confirm that the Samsung UE55KS9000 (Series 9) also passes 5.1 through optical for all sources. Tested with Apple TV, PS4, broadcast TV, Netflix, Plex.

Caveat: it comes with two remote controls (regular + smart) and annoyingly you can only teach the Playbar about one of them, because they cannot generate the same IR volume signals (I've had this confirmed by Samsung tech support). Workaround, until either Sonos or Samsung give us a solution: buy another regular IR remote, which is a pity because the new Samsung smart remote is cleverly source-sensitive.


Thanks, we'll add it to the list.
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Just ordered the LG49UH661V and was thinking of getting the playbar too

Anyone know if this tv works ok ?
SONY KDL-75 W855c works with optical.
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Hi just bought the sonos 3.1 system. Was wondering my LG smart tv UH680T will it pass thru 5.1 optical system to playbar. Thanks.
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Can anyone confirm if the LG 65" E6 OLED passes through DD 5.1 to the Playbar from other components?

Also I'm considering buying the Oppo Bluray player 103 or 105 ... or maybe the new HDR one coming out later this month. Does anyone have experience with the Oppo 103/105 in terms of it converting DTS to DD 5.1 for Blurays that don't have DD 5.1 audio (I'm thinking there aren't too many but I'm sure my collection has a few).

Please and thanks!
Help.... Hope you add the feature for 'all stereo sound option for PlayBar & Play/Surround Speakers for TV. Most of the time, the Surround is useless and have to crank up the Playbar for the voice aspect of the shows. I disabled my surround, as most programs don't use it and I would rather have the voice/narrative aspect of the shows coming through the speakers - then group them. Unfortunately, having drop-outs consistently and hoping that SONOS adds that option. According to the Tech Support Rep, it a questions/feature that many would like and hope it gets incorporated in a future software release.
Thanks!!

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