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.

233 replies

Userlevel 3
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To make a TV recommendation:
LG C9 2019 OLED
Does it pass Dolby Digital 5.1 from external components and over the air sources? YES
Does it have a pop-up on screen when the volume is adjusted? YES

To get the remote working, I had to go into the device connector and select soundbar, then select sonos and that's it - the magic remote controls the Playbar's sound. It passes through Dolby Digital 5.1 from my PS4 and Netflix no problem

The only sad part is this TV supports native Dolby Atmos and Sonos can't use it, all the Dolby Atmos settings are greyed out, it's painful to see 😞
Userlevel 1
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Good afternoon
I currently have a newer model Sony bluray player and it doesn't convert DTS to Dolby digital, I have to change the sound output to PCM everytime to get sound in stereo mode in Beam and play 1s which is not ideal.
I am looking to purchase a 4k Bluray player and wanted to ask is buying a Samsung UHD bluray player the one and only option to convert then ??
Thanks
Userlevel 2
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I'm going to add up what I've learned:

LG OLED55C8PUA
Kodi / Librelec source
Playbar

I can confirm my LG TV does pass through Dolby 5.1 when Optical is set to 'Auto' and not PCM (which is stereo) out of the box. I did not have to do anything special. When I play a DD 5.1, or even a DTS movie, the Sonos app says the source for the playbar is 5.1.

I've read where you must go into the LG Service Menu to change the optical signal to AC3 BUT have found this is NOT necessary. I did not have to get a service technician to come out or risk doing this myself, as discussed on the web.

I'm thrilled with the sound, now. The LG's speakers are in the back of the TV and sound horrible!
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Here’s a helpful guide that covers newer TVs that pass Dolby Digital:

https://www.maketecheasier.com/dts-vs-dolby-digital/
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Just picked up a SONY 75" costco special, Model KD-75X780F/C. Getting 5.1 via the optical cable with no issues.
Userlevel 7
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Bitstream should be fine, that's the option to get you Dolby to the HDMI. If there aren't any other audio-based settings, I'd recommend contacting Panasonic to see if there's an update available or if they have any suggestions for what might be causing the audio channel to be delayed. The Beam will be playing the audio as soon as it's received over HDMI, and it's working fine for the stereo audio. So it's something delaying the 5.1 signal, likely due to processing at the TV side.

If you're getting a delay on the audio coming from the TV to the Beam over the HDMI, it's likely because there's some processing on the audio channels that's happening before it hits the Beam. Does the TV have any audio settings that could be adding some processing like a 5.1 up-mix. Is that 5.1 audio toggle you're using telling the TV to convert the audio stream in some way or is it passing a Dolby 5.1 signal directly?


No, only relevant options I could find are the setting to put it to bitstream or PCM (or auto). As far as I understand that one I have to set it to bitstream to get Dolby 5.1. Other than that I couldn't find any relevant settings that might influence this.
Userlevel 7
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Thanks AjTrek. I don't think it will. The only detail on the specs is that it uses Dolby Digital Plus, which I know the Beam doesn't like.
If you're using HDMI-Arc, the Beam will automatically ask the TV or connected device to convert the Dolby Digital Plus to Dolby Digital 5.1, which is fully compatible by Dolby specs. You may be best off asking Panasonic directly to make sure their TV can handle this, but it should be capable.


I have a beam grouped with two Play:1's. The beam is connected via HDMI ARC to a Panasonic TX-50DXW784. The TV is again connected to a setup box and an Apple TV 4k. For both the Apple TV and setup box everyting works fine as long as the sound is set to stereo on the setup box or Apple TV, however when I set it to 5.1 a delay is introduced. Any good ideas/advice about how to deal with this?
If you're getting a delay on the audio coming from the TV to the Beam over the HDMI, it's likely because there's some processing on the audio channels that's happening before it hits the Beam. Does the TV have any audio settings that could be adding some processing like a 5.1 up-mix. Is that 5.1 audio toggle you're using telling the TV to convert the audio stream in some way or is it passing a Dolby 5.1 signal directly?
I have a beam grouped with two Play:1's. The beam is connected via HDMI ARC to a Panasonic TX-50DXW784. The TV is again connected to a setup box and an Apple TV 4k. For both the Apple TV and setup box everyting works fine as long as the sound is set to stereo on the setup box or Apple TV, however when I set it to 5.1 a delay is introduced. Any good ideas/advice about how to deal with this?
Thanks AjTrek. I don't think it will. The only detail on the specs is that it uses Dolby Digital Plus, which I know the Beam doesn't like.
Userlevel 7
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Hi Prospective buyer

Ideally you would connect the Beam HDMI_ARC port to the HDMI_ARC port of your Samsung TV. The other option is to use the Optical adapter between the Beam HDMI_ARC port and the Optical port of your Samsung TV. In either scenario you'd connect the Panasonic to an available HDMI port on your Samsung.

The Beam will accept 2Ch or DD5.1 that is sent to it. Your Panasonic audio specs under Dolby Digital/TrueHD will process those signals encoded on a DVD or Blu-Ray disc. The question is will your Samsung take the information sent from the Panasonic and send it to the Beam as Stereo or DD5.1. So you really need to determine how your Samsung will send the audio.

Cheers!
Reading back over the last page. This detail about the Panasonic DMP-BDT180EB described above may also be relevant:
Dolby Digital/ TrueHD yes Decode (2ch) and Bitstream Output
Dolby Digital Plus yes Decode (2ch) and Bitstream Output
DTS-HD Master Audio / DTS-HD High Resolution Audio yes Decode and Bitstream Output

Thanks again.
Hi. Long time lurker, first time poster. Thakns for everyone's help so far. I am planning to get a Beam to go with my Samsung Frame TV. I have followed the Blu-ray threads with interest because I don't want to have to buy a new player to play old discs when I mostly stream content. My Panasonic DMP-BDT180EB (specs here: https://www.panasonic.com/uk/consumer/home-entertainment/blu-ray-and-dvd/dmp-bdt180eb.specs.html), has the following mentions of 5.1:
FLAC yes (192kHz/24bit (5.1ch))
DSD (DFF,DSF) yes (2.8MHz(2ch/ 5.1ch), 5.6MHz(2ch only))
Does this mean it will, or will not work with the Beam? Thanks in advance.
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So I read the other day in What HiFi that both Oppo and Samsung are stopping the production of Blu Ray players in the near future. Where does that leave buyers looking for players that can transcode DTS to Dolby Digital ?
While older models will still be available that can do this, another option will be certain game consoles that can do the conversion for you.
Userlevel 3
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So I read the other day in What HiFi that both Oppo and Samsung are stopping the production of Blu Ray players in the near future. Where does that leave buyers looking for players that can transcode DTS to Dolby Digital ?
After taking advantage of the latest Sonos sale I setup a Playbase / Sub / and a set of One's for my home theater. My LG OLED65B7A passes the audio correctly but the LG UP 870 4K blu ray player I was using didn't transcode DTS. After allot of searching as I didn't see any exact matches on a good 4K Blu-ray player that does transcode, I landed on the Samsung UBD M7500. Changed the sound out to transcode HDMI to Dolby Digital. Works perfectly and sounds so much better than a PCM stream for movies that have DTS encoding.
I can confirm that the LG OLED65B8PUA passes DD 5.1 through HDMI to optical. An Apple TV 3rd gen failed initially (even though Apple specs say it will pass it). I swapped it out for an ATV 4K and that works just fine. TV looks great, and now it sounds great!
I was able to get Dolby Digital 5.1 on a Beam from a Chromecast TV connected to an old Samsung TV (UE40D6510, dating back to 2011) by way of this EDID feeder:

kwmobile HDMI EDID manager feeder
http://amzn.eu/d/7niLIHT

Before I used the EDID feeder, the Beam was only recognizing the audio from the Chromecast as stereo (PCM).
By using the EDID manager set as 1080p/5.1, the audio from the Chromecast was finally recognized as DD 5.1.
The Beam is connected to the TV via HDMI ARC. The Chromecast is connected to the EDID feeder, which in turn is connected to the TV via HDMI. For testing, I played a movie (with DD 5.1 audio) from Google Play to the Chromecast. The same movie, when played from Youtube instead of Google Play, only gives stereo audio.

Hope this can help.
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I recently became the happy owner of a Sonos Beam and wanted to share with you a fine HDMI audio extractor that I use with it to acces the full 5.1 capabilities that I now have combined with my play 1’s.
My samsung tv is a bit older and only outputs stereo over optical. The extractor I use is by AGPTEK, model number HDSW0003M1. I bought it on Amazon Germany, it ran me about 32 euro’s. My LG blu-ray player and Apple TV are both hooked up to the HDMI inputs, the Beam is connected to the optical output of the extractor and the tv to the HDMI output of the extractor. The blu-ray player outputs exactly what I select on the disc, it doesn’t have any on the fly downmix or conversion capabilities. The Apple TV is set to automatic audio output, so I didn’t force Dolby digital 5.1 output in the settings. The extractor converts, as far as I was able to test, every Dolby surround variant (True HD, etc) except DTS. For that I will upgrade my blu-ray player in the future.
Everything works fine, very happy with it. It comes with a basic remote but also has buttons on the front if you want to keep it out of view, which I do because of the row of bright LED’s.
Userlevel 3
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Anyone use the Sony A8F OLED?
Does it pass through Dolby Digital for Sonos 5.1?
HDMI Switch Recommendation with UK availability.

Hi all, I've just bought the following HDMI switch and it looks like it will do the job of getting AC3 5.1 to the PlayBar from all sources consistently.

It's the snappily named 'FiveHome 3 In 1 Out HDMI Audio Extractor Splitter with Remote' and I got it from Amazon.co.uk (link below).

It's a 3 way switch with ARC, EDID overwrite and SPDIF out with auto channel switching. I'm running it with a Virgin Media Tivo V6 box and a PS4 Pro into a Panasonic TX40-CX680B TV.

I'm getting 4k @ 50Hz from the Tivo and 4k @ 60Hz from the PS4, DD 2.0 from the Tivo (haven't found a 5.1 broadcast yet) and DD5.1 from the PS4 and all the TV apps that will support it.

Automatic input switching seems to work well, if a little bit slow but it comes with a remote if necessary.

I've only had it a couple of days so it's too early to comment about reliability but functionally it seems to be all there. I've tried several of these over the last few months and they've all had various issues, but so far this seems to do the job.

I'll report back if there are any problems and if anyone has any questions, fire away!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B076XV1LVS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Does anyone know if the Samsung bd-j5500 supports dts to DD on the fly and compatible with the playbar?
Many thanks
Userlevel 1
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Hi,
Sonos user for a long time, I recently bought a Beam, and I'm looking for a cheap blu ray player capable to transcode "everything" to AC3.
i've seen the recommanded List but I'm looking for a second hand player, and I'll not have much choices, or budget (75€ max)



I looked at a "compatible" samsung player user guide, and saw that the wanted feature is the "Bitstream (Re-encoded Dolby Digital) " choice under audio settings.

Will all samsung player with this setting be fully compliant to transcode at least DTS and DTS-HD to AC3 to HDMI output (I'll use an HDMI audio extractor as my 2014 Samsung TV don't have 5.1 passthrough through HDMI) ?
Or the behaviour can depends on the model ?

If I have to buy a new one, I'll give a try to the BD-J5500. Any confirmation about is compatibility ?

Thanks


Can you find a Samsung BD-H6500 second hand as this player definitely converts bitstream on the fly once you amend some of the settings.?A cheaper option would be the Sony BDP S4100 which I also use as mine is DVD playback is region-free. The Samsung is the better player overall though out of the two in my opinion. The Sony's styling is also rather unusual....
No, the two systems are incompatible. Sonos only offers a 5.1 system with their own soundbars, the Beam, the PLAYBASE, or the PLAYBAR. They don't offer a solution that uses 6 separate speakers.
I have a new Yamaha Adventage receiver and am looking to go wireless with Sonos. Sonos appears to be the best in wireless music. However, my interest is home theatre. Am I able to connect Sonos home theatre or just piece speakers together like the One’s or the Beam with the sub to create an awesome and loud home theatre experience with my Yamaha receiver? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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