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I don't even know what I want! I DO know my wife wants a simple interface


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I know this is an awful first post; I beg you all please to cut me some slack. I'm a 70 yo movie buff who loves Mahler, the Band, the Grateful Dead, and Lin Manuel Miranda. My home theater system is driving my wife crazy, and I need some help. I'm hoping to emerge from all of this with a Sonos surround system and one remote control sitting on our coffee table🆒

(Yesterday, all I knew about Sonos was that you could buy speakers from them at the Apple Retail Store, which substitutes for going to church for me)

Just two months ago, it was all so simple; Bose Lifestyle 35, Apple TV (4th gen), TiVo HD, a bunch of legacy stuff ("inherited" Denon DVD player, a VHS VCR with RCA video and R/L audio outputs, a rarely-connected Sony PS4 (I'd struggle with the HDMI inputs to the Base console when the grandkids came over and challenged me to video games I couldn't understand or when we'd watch one of our few BluRay movies). The Bose Remote controlled most of it (when we watched a DVD we had to use the Denon remote, which had so many buttons on it I just knew I didn't deserve it), and for some reason I couldn't figure out how to turn the TV off and on reliably from the Bose remote. As far as I knew, my only problem was that I'd run out of HDMI inputs.

Then, last year, we bought a (first generation) LG 65 inch 4K TV (LG 65HUH6150). Little did I know then: I hooked it up from cable/TiVo RF into the Bose Lifestyle console, then to HDMI out to one of the 3 HDMI inputs on the TV, not realizing the Lifestyle 35 doesn't preserve 4K video!)

Still, we thought we had a nice picture and nice audio. Then our TiVo got sick (power supply failure, it turns out). It began rebooting at more and more frequent intervals, forcing us to watch the little TiVo guy, Cary Grant, and accomplices wander through the increasingly boring cutesy TiVo "almost there…" setup video more and more often.

Others must have been taking the same DVR trip because TiVo sent us (unsolicited) an email offering to transfer our lifetime service package to a new TiVo (1 TB, 4K compatible Bolt). We jumped at the offer, then waited and waited for redemption while TiVo struggled to fulfill an avalanche of promotion-generated orders. We waited so long that the TiVo HD finally succumbed, and we were forced to buy another 500 GB Bolt with a promise from Best Buy that we could return it within 30 days. (We ended up keeping it for our bedroom TV).

While we waited, I discovered how I'd stupidly amputated my TV's ability to display 4K video at my Bose centerpiece. Meanwhile, we'd made more than a few pilgrimages to Best Buy and were seduced by just what we could get from our TV, so on impulse we disposed of our (antique but probably technically superb) Denon DVD player and sprang for an LG 4K Blu Ray DVD player.

It was then that I realized I'd have to use the TV as the centerpiece of our home theater system, relegating the Bose system to an audio out role. Suddenly we were limited to those 3 HDMI inputs and forced to juggle at least 5 remotes (two from LG alone!), and my wife rebelled. I managed to route the signals from the TiVo, LG 4K BluRay player, and Apple TV to the 3 HDMI inputs on the TV, with audio coming back to the Bose system by TosLink optical cable, and that's where we sit now. However, I learned that Bose has a new generation of Lifestyle systems, and (at least in their San Francisco showroom), the Lifestyle 650 system sounds delicious, AND it has 6 (six!) HDMI 2, HDCP 2.2 capable inputs! However, I've also discovered several "gotchas" as I've tried to leap forward two decades in my feeble understanding of home theater:

  1. It supports HD10 HDR video, but not Dolbyvision (Bose won't comment on whether this might be implemented in a firmware update)
  2. Although the remote can label a source as "VCR", the Bose console has no analog video inputs to make use of that label (I suspect there are precious few VHS VCRs blessed with digital outputs)
  3. The "source" designations on the remote are limited to a pre-defined set; for example, tthere's no way to label an input to the LifeStyle 650 as "Phono" (my wife, again, enlarging her collection of vinyl records that we've never played)
  4. It costs $4,000! $4,000!!!
  5. Even though Bose makes the wonderful QC35 noise canceling headphones, the Lifestyle console doesn't support "Bluetooth out"

Another pilgrmage to Best Buy, this time to the Magnolia Store-within-a-Store ( to talk to people who actually know something). I emerge, thinking I now know what I need: an audio system that consists of the Sonos Playbar, 4 Sonos Play:1s, and a Sonos Sub. Of course, they tell me I can't do this on my own; I'll need to pay them about $1500 to set up a (too difficult for me to configure, but "it just works" Steve Jobs, Jony Ives-ish lovely user interface) Savant remote.

At home, Googling leads me into a viper's nest of questions:
  1. Will my devices lose their 5.1 surround sound on their voyage from source to Sonos? (I'm confused about whether to blame the TV or Sonos for this).
  2. Will I be able (occasionally) to stream BlueTooth from my iPhone to the Sonos System? (I've paid Apple a LOT for all those Mahler Symphonies sitting in uncompressed format on my iPhone).
  3. Am I absolutely nuts to think that anyone can really make that Savant remote, with its huge majority of pejorative reviews, work? (Most of those reviews say that it's REALLY seductive, but then develops all kinds of problems actually fulfilling its promises). I'm not really anticipating knowledgeable input about that specific remote here, but perhaps some pointers towards single-remote peace in the home.
  4. Is there some other way to get a "single remote" experience (same question)
  5. What about HDR video? I think my current LG TV and 4K BluRay player support HD10, but for future-proofing, if I'm spending all this money I'd like to know that when I get my 4K HDR OLED TV that supports DolbyVision I'll be able to see and hear the benefits of that purchase
  6. How will I incorporate my legacy equipment (my wife again, wanting to watch those ancient VHS tapes, and me, wanting to plug in my 4K capable 2016 MacBook Pro, assuming I assemble the right "dongles" to do so). If someone chimes in with knowledge/guesses/wild speculation about whether Apple AirPlay might one day accomplish that I'd be grateful and not hold you to it
  7. Probably the same question: how will I get enough HDMI inputs? Do I need a receiver in here somewhere? Would the Sonos "Connect" have a role in this?

Much of my anxiety was generated by reading this:
http://www.bigpicturebigsound.com/How-to-Get-5-1-Dolby-Surround-Sound-from-a-SONOS-PlayBar.shtml

At heart, I'm not a techie. I'm a Mac guy: first purchase 1984, and I discovered long-shafted Torx drivers and risked my life inside that little box soldering on the motherboard within mm of the back end of its CRT, "protected" only by a feeble grounding strap, to cram a $2000 5 MB (that's right, MEGA, not tera- or even gigabyte) hard drive into it, but that was 33 years ago. I can no longer absorb all the new acronyms: PCM, DTS, ATSC currently mean nothing to me. Here's the scary part of the above blog post for me:



As a Mac guy, I'm seduced by style over geeky substance (but the substance has to be there, too). That's why I've been through 3 Bose Systems that make some of my friends (the same guys who think living room furniture pieces are accessories to refrigerator-sized speakers and McIntosh tube amplifiers that could retire their home heating systems) go into fits of derision. I THINK that's why I'm attracted to Sonos. But I KNOW that I'll be deep in doodoo if my wife can't go from MSNBC to an ABBA vinyl record to streaming Lifehouse from her iPhone without calling me away from the same patient 3 times in 5 minutes.

Thanks so much for reading. I'm sure I can make my subsequent posts WAY shorter by establishing this foundation.

:?

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25 replies

Unfortunately, Sonos is not going to solve your remote problem. Your interface is going to be exactly the same with or without Sonos. You need a Harmony Hub remote, which will control all your devices with simple commands like "Watch TV" or "Watch Apple TV". The remote knows the current configuration of your system, and it turns on/off devices and switches inputs accordingly to change from one viewing mode to another. I have two, and aside from initial programming, I have never touched any other remote for any of my devices.
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Oops; I edited out the stuff I wanted to quote. Here's the scary part of the linked blog post for me:

Most TVs can pass 5.1 channel Dolby Digital sound out of their fiberoptic digital outputs (and into the PlayBar) when you are watching TV using the set's built-in ATSC TV tuner, or when you are using the streaming apps (like Netflix, Vudu or Amazon Video) built into the TV itself. But if you're watching movies or shows from a cable box, Blu-ray or DVD player or external streaming box like a Roku, most TVs are unable to pass through a 5.1-channel Dolby Digital signal from the source device through the TV and out the fiberoptic port.
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Unfortunately, Sonos is not going to solve your remote problem. Your interface is going to be exactly the same with or without Sonos. You need a Harmony Hub remote, which will control all your devices with simple commands like "Watch TV" or "Watch Apple TV".

I appreciate your advice. I'm aware of Harmony, but I'm not sure of how difficult it will be for me to set one up, nor of how easily my spouse will understand using it.

However, the big issues for me are three in number:
  1. When I'm done buying a new sound system, will I really get surround sound from my TV, my DVR, my 4K BluRay player, my Apple TV, and the occasionally-plugged in (I should say, plugged in just where?) MacBook Pro?
  2. Will I be able to stream audio TO the home theater system, and occasionally LISTEN to BlueTooth headphones FROM the system
  3. Besides the Sonos System and SOME spouse-friendly, husband-programmable remote, what other hardware will I need to buy? A surround sound transcoder (sounds too techie); an A/V receiver (in order to get the VCR, phono, PS4, occasional MacBook Pro, and BlueTooth sources INTO the system), an HDMI splitter (and, if so, will the suggested remote(s) uncomplicated its usage

Thanks so much for your reply! You're obviously a veteran here!
You have a few questions here
Single remote: jgatie is correct, the Harmony remotes are excellent for controlling inputs to your TV and all the supporting gear. Most of them are RF though whereas Sonos runs on wifi. So I can not use the Harmony remote to control my Sonos music system that runs throughout my house. Its not an issue for me since when I watch TV (Bluray, etc.) I sit in front of a TV and want a remote. When I play music i can be on the patio, by the pool, in the garage, etc. so the phone based Sonos App is far better
HDMI inputs: with the harmony remote, you can buy a decent receiver that switches HDMI. You can switch at the TV level but they never have enough inputs so I always use my receiver
5.1 to Sonos should be solved if the source is a receiver. Buy the correct receiver though because Sonos products usually have a built in amp. You have to send a non-amplified source to Sonos, not treat them as speakers.
The iPhone app for Sonos is awesome!!! So easy my wife has NEVER asked me for help :)
I connect my MacBook to my receiver via Google Chromecast. $35 for HD and $69 for 4k. Its simple and hard to beat
Just a minor adjustment to what Abe_Forman has said...the newer versions of the Harmony remote system do in fact also control wifi sources.

I have a Harmony Elite in my home, and love it. Don't use it much for Sonos purposes, but it controls my lights (Philips Hue), and PS4 quite well, both are not InfraRed devices.
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You have a few questions here

I did start with an apology🆒

Single remote: jgatie is correct, the Harmony remotes are excellent for controlling inputs to your TV and all the supporting gear. Most of them are RF though whereas Sonos runs on wifi. So I can not use the Harmony remote to control my Sonos music system that runs throughout my house. Its not an issue for me since when I watch TV (Bluray, etc.) I sit in front of a TV and want a remote. When I play music i can be on the patio, by the pool, in the garage, etc. so the phone based Sonos App is far better


THANK YOU! I'm trying to learn from others' experiences. The guys at Magnolia dissed the Harmony remotes (and Bose) in favor of promoting their in-home setup charges and the stuff they actually sell. One of the sales staff was absolutely certain he could sell me "better" speakers than come with the latest Bose home theater systems even though he'd never heard of, let alone seen or heard their new Omni Jewel satellite speakers.

Perhaps I don't need front L and R satellite Play 1s for an impressive 5.1 surround sound/4K video experience. Perhaps I should buy those "extra 2" Play 1s anyway and put them in the upstairs bedroom when I want to take along my Mozart or Bach or the Beetles to a different part of the house!

HDMI inputs: with the harmony remote, you can buy a decent receiver that switches HDMI. You can switch at the TV level but they never have enough inputs so I always use my receiver
5.1 to Sonos should be solved if the source is a receiver. Buy the correct receiver though because Sonos products usually have a built in amp. You have to send a non-amplified source to Sonos, not treat them as speakers.


I really DO think I'm beginning to understand how (and why) this works. Any suggestions for that "correct" receiver?

The iPhone app for Sonos is awesome!!! So easy my wife has NEVER asked me for help :)
I connect my MacBook to my receiver via Google Chromecast. $35 for HD and $69 for 4k. Its simple and hard to beat


That may be the most important thing you've told me yet!

I really do apologize for my introductory novella. I hoped to put all those questions into context and win a bit of sympathy!
Just a minor adjustment to what Abe_Forman has said...the newer versions of the Harmony remote system do in fact also control wifi sources.

I have a Harmony Elite in my home, and love it. Don't use it much for Sonos purposes, but it controls my lights (Philips Hue), and PS4 quite well, both are not InfraRed devices.


That would be Abe_Froman. You know, the Sausage King of Chicago? Leather jacket, white t-shirt, sweater vest. Devastatingly handsome.
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HDMI inputs: with the harmony remote, you can buy a decent receiver that switches HDMI. You can switch at the TV level but they never have enough inputs so I always use my receiver
5.1 to Sonos should be solved if the source is a receiver.


Sorry, one more question: Am I correct that the overall architecture of this would be for cable R/F to come into my TiVo Bolt 4K DVR, go from there to the receiver, and from there (via HDMI ARC) to the television. that other A/V input sources would connect directly to the receiver by either HDMI or BlueTooth or analog, and that as long as the RECEIVER can handle the video and audio translations, I can (or will be able to, with the right additions to what I buy now) watch in 4K DolbyVision HDR and listen in Dolby 5.1 surround sound using the Sonos stuff I buy this week? AND that because the the television can send the audio from its own embedded apps back from the television to the receiver using that HDMI ARC channel, if there's 5.1 sound embedded in that Neflix stream the TV is processing, the 5.1 sound will come back to the Sonos system (via the receiver) as well?

In that scenario, is the final connection to the Sonos system a TOSLink digital audio cable?

(I know that for many community members my questions suggest the persistent 3-year old's repetitive "but WHY, Daddy" pelterings, but I'm hopeful that some other newbies might benefit from your considerate and informed replies as well. Thanks again).
My most sincere apologies, Abe_Froman....and no, I've not spent enough time in Chicago to know that reference.

jsrnephdoc, I don't think you want to have cable R/F coming into your TiVo? Doesn't the cable box provide an HDMI signal, that plugs in to the TiVo?

I'll leave the rest to Abe_Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago 🙂
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The TiVo box IS also the cable box. In order for it to work with the Cable provider, one installs a "Multicast cable card" into the TiVo and registers it with (in my case) Comcast. After that, Comcast pushes some code to it that enables the TiVo to decode the subscribed premium channels and Xfinity instant streaming stuff. So, the unfiltered r/f content is split and directed to the coax inputs of the cable modem and of the TiVo box.
Thanks, jgatie, I'd completely forgotten about that. Wow. Haven't seen that movie in about 20 years :)

Probably because of the pain caused to that Ferrari at the end of the movie.
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As the OP, I'd like to thank everyone who contributed and gave me an immersive introduction to a product line that's likely to join all the Apple stuff that litters my house within the next year or two. However, what I've realized by asking all my questions (and learning from your so-considerate answers) is that my most acute problem is what happens when there's no place to sit on our couch that's littered with remotes that my spouse sometimes comes close to throwing at me. This problem didn't exist until I redirected the viper's nest of cables lying behind my credenza in hopes of making use of the 4K capability of my television set. For the moment, that's limited more by the availability of content than by the equipment I have to watch (and listen) to it.

I've spent about $600 on it already (two new TiVos, a 4K Blu Ray player, a few "specimen" DVDs, and the result is 5.1 sound that I THINK now works better and the aforementioned remote disaster. The latter is my most critical problem. The thread title brings me back to reality. What I really need right now is for my spouse to be able to come in to the house after a hard day at work, sit down, and listen to the music she wants or watch the video she wants without needing two extra pairs of hands to juggle the remotes. You Tube, Kickstarter, and Magnolia/BestBuy tell me there are many "solutions" to this problem that offer to increase my investment and my wife's frustration but more likely worsen her frustration (Savant, NEEO, and SevenHugs, I'm talking about YOU) at a cost that can't currently be measured.

I've never taken on the challenge of programming a Logitech Harmony Remote, but at least I know who they are, and can see from amazon reviews that they have a fairly positive following. So, first things first: get my existing devices to work together by clicking on or talking to ONE magic wand, and THEN I can work on piping Mahler, David Bromberg, Les Mis, and Chris Botti throughout the house and outside to the barbecue (after all, my spouse is a vegetarian) via a growing ecosystem of Sonos products.

Thanks for putting up with all my questions; I'll continue hanging out here, because there seem to be nice people here paying attention to the stuff I'll be lusting after--oops, I meant improving my life with 🆒
I've found that the Harmony programming interface is pretty easy for basic operations, but has the complexity available for when you want to get into the minutiae. I tend not to do that, ever. But I do love my Harmony Elite. The hardest part wasn't the programming, it was figuring out where to put the little infrared sensors so they'd be seen by all of my devices 🙂
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Just ordered the Harmony Elite from amazon. Great package pricing available at Best Buy if you want to be seduced into the Alexa or Google ecosystems, but I'm a stubborn Apple guy (long ago Apple had a smart marketing guy named Guy Kawasaki working for them--believe it or not, he came to them from the jewelry marketing business!; his business card listed his job title as "Evangelist." His motto then was "Cut me: I bleed 6 colors").

Of course, today that would be Jony Ive, saying "Cut me: I bleed a barely discernible monochrome gray."

amazon prime delivery being what it is, I think my tomorrow is already scheduled for me 😃
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I'm going to start by laying out what I think would be an ideal setup for you (if you go the Sonos route, that is) and then will dig into some of the specifics of the questions you've laid out.

Audio: Sonos Playbar, 2 Play:1 surrounds and a Sub. There is no way to mix additional speakers into the Sonos Playbar setup (i.e. front right and left). The Playbar itself is designed to cover front left/center/right and that can't be changed. By all means, buy some and use them in different rooms as part of a whole-home audio setup, but that will be the only use for them.

Receiver/Switch: For HDMI-equipped sources a simple 4K-compatible multi-input HDMI switch (not a full blown receiver) with a single HDMI running from that to an input on the TV. For non-HDMI sources (like the VCR), run it straight to the TV, which I'd imagine at least has a dongle for connecting legacy equipment. One wrinkle here that I'll get to below is that you may need an HDMI switch with an optical output as well.

Remote: Logitech Harmony Elite or Harmony Companion. I prefer the simplicity of the Companion, but the Elite is a bit more full-featured and has a screen that may make trouble-shooting and other tasks more straight forward.

Now, on to some of your questions and concerns. I don't know how to parse out different quotes in a reply, so apologies if this is a little hard to follow.

"Will my devices lose their 5.1 surround sound on their voyage from source to Sonos? (I'm confused about whether to blame the TV or Sonos for this)"
Blame both. Sonos elected to use what many would consider to be a legacy connector/input (optical) to make setup simpler and less intrusive. This cable can't carry certain 5.1 signals (Dolby Digital Plus, DTS...), meaning you just can't get 5.1 from sources that only output in that format. By doing this, they also rely on the idea that you'll have a TV which passes 5.1 signals untouched from HDMI sources plugged into inputs out of the TV's optical out. Some do. Many don't, and you can fault the TV for that. Key is to triple check whether or not yours will do this. If not, there are workarounds involving HDMI switches with optical outs or stand-alone optical switches, but these setups will be significantly more complicated. Hopefully, your TV does and it'll be a moot point. If you find out it doesn't, happy to give some more detailed guidance on how to get around that.

"Will I be able (occasionally) to stream BlueTooth from my iPhone to the Sonos System? (I've paid Apple a LOT for all those Mahler Symphonies sitting in uncompressed format on my iPhone)."
You will not be able to do this over Bluetooth from your phone's native apps (Sonos doesn't have Bluetooth). You will be able to access your phone's music library (and your computer's music library) through the Sonos app. Short of it is that you'll have to learn how to do it a little differently, but it'll work. You mentioned being able to use headphones in a subsequent post. I believe the answer is no, but will let others offer guidance.

"Am I absolutely nuts to think that anyone can really make that Savant remote, with its huge majority of pejorative reviews, work? (Most of those reviews say that it's REALLY seductive, but then develops all kinds of problems actually fulfilling its promises). I'm not really anticipating knowledgeable input about that specific remote here, but perhaps some pointers towards single-remote peace in the home."
Have zero experience with or even knowledge of the Savant remote and don't particularly care to have either. A properly setup Logitech Harmony will work perfectly for what you want. The setup process has a learning curve and you may want to find someone to pay to do it, but the experience is absolutely seamless and there are even built-in troubleshooting functions if something somehow gets screwy.

"Is there some other way to get a "single remote" experience (same question)"
See above.

"What about HDR video? I think my current LG TV and 4K BluRay player support HD10, but for future-proofing, if I'm spending all this money I'd like to know that when I get my 4K HDR OLED TV that supports DolbyVision I'll be able to see and hear the benefits of that purchase"
Make sure that you get an HDMI switch that supports passthrough of 4K and HDR and you should be fine. The switch won't give you any better features/compatibility, but it's important to make sure you don't get one that will just pass signals untouched and not "stand in the way" of your TV using its own technology.

"How will I incorporate my legacy equipment (my wife again, wanting to watch those ancient VHS tapes, and me, wanting to plug in my 4K capable 2016 MacBook Pro, assuming I assemble the right "dongles" to do so). If someone chimes in with knowledge/guesses/wild speculation about whether Apple AirPlay might one day accomplish that I'd be grateful and not hold you to it"
Plug MacBook Pro in via HDMI to either the switch or a TV input. Already covered the VCR connection.

"Probably the same question: how will I get enough HDMI inputs? Do I need a receiver in here somewhere? Would the Sonos "Connect" have a role in this?"
Connect has no role in this. Get a switch with as many inputs as you need - there are lots of options out there and many people on here with experience using them.

"Although the remote can label a source as "VCR", the Bose console has no analog video inputs to make use of that label (I suspect there are precious few VHS VCRs blessed with digital outputs)"
Whereas most Harmony activities you set up will just change the input on the HDMI switch and keep it on the same TV input (that the switch is plugged into), here you'll set up an activity or two that changes the TV input to the analog one. Sound is routed out of the TV to the Playbar over optical, so no need to worry about getting audio from these to the Playbar some other way.

On to your (and many other people's) concerns about getting 5.1 to the Playbar, here's a quick summary. Before that, though, I want to point out that you should not get yourself worked up about this if you don't think you'll really notice or be bothered by a lack of real 5.1 surround sound. The Playbar creates its own simulated surround off of stereo signals (as many soundbars do) and many users find it adequate, though you'll see that the more relatively vocal users on here tend not to. Just a little disclaimer as this topic can take you down a rabbit hole into a world of multiple switches, new bluray players, ARC, etc. and you may just not need to go there.

As you've read, most TVs will output 5.1 sound over optical, but only from their built-in tuners and streaming apps - not useful if you're using all external sources.

If your TV doesn't pass 5.1, you need to find another way to get sound directly from your devices to the Playbar without having to go through the TV. This is where HDMI switches with optical out come into play. You run everything via HDMI into the switch, then one HDMI to the TV and one optical to the Playbar.

Two issues here. First is that you're going to have legacy equipment plugged directly into the TV's analog inputs so you'll need to find a way to get sound from there to the Playbar. Optical out from TV to a separate optical switch sitting between HDMI switch and Playbar - more complex setup and operation and far from ideal. Second is that any devices that output in Dolby Digital Plus (which is the norm for many streaming boxes) will only get you stereo sound because DD+ cannot travel over optical and thus will "stop" when the device recognizes that it's supposed to send audio over the switch's optical output.

Now, let's assume that your new(ish) LG TV is similar to my new(ish) LG TV and that it will pass 5.1 signals untouched and will also transcode (convert) DD+ to standard DD, which can be sent over optical. This would mean that as long as DD or DD+ 5.1 signals make it to your TV over HDMI, they will make it to your Playbar.

The remaining issue is DTS. I know little about Bluray audio formats as I don't even have a player, but this is the most popular among them. Whether or not it will even travel on an optical cable (I forget if it will or not), the Playbar is not equipped to decode it. So, unless your Bluray player can transcode "on the fly" from DTS to DD (some definitely can), you won't be able to get surround from it (only stereo). Purists will tell you that transcoding isn't a solution because it diminishes the uncompressed quality of the native audio. I say if you're looking to simplify in a Sonos-type system, you may just have to accept that you're going to cut a corner here and there and DD 5.1 instead of DTS isn't the end of the world.

I'm going to stop here and let you get back to me with questions.
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Wow! Someone who can stand my verbosity and respond in kind (albeit with information instead of rambling questions!). Thank you SO MUCH.

My move to Sonos has been postponed (or perhaps interrupted) by my realization that my most pressing problem is appeasing my spouse's understandable frustration at the machinations she must go through just to turn on the TV.After reading just horrible reviews of the (very seductive) Savant remote and watching even MORE seductive Kickstarter and You Tube videos covering others that aren't even marketed products yet but promise to scratch my back, make my coffee, and choose my clothing for me (OK, they don't promise that, but one does say that if I wave it at the window it will open the drapes), I've decided to sit out a few innings before making big purchases and instead try to create a bit of calm at home by buying the Harmony Elite remote.

I suspect I may end up with Sonos eventually unless Bose comes to its senses, and perhaps during the next year or two the acronym wars regarding surround sound, HDR video, and even voice control via Google, amazon, and Apple will modulate a bit. Firmware updates for Bose products are arcane. Firmware updates for Sonos seem sometimes to cause as many problems as they solve. Meanwhile, I can watch TV, get 4K video from my TV, and listen to my music from my iPhone, my wife's record player, Spotify,Pandora, and others. Maybe by the time I'm ready for whole house wireless audio, Sonos will have upped their game and more seamlessly support current surround sound standards (that DOES seem to be the market they're trying hardest to capture, although now that I look, I see their single speakers on display at my personal shopper's temple (the Apple Retail Store).

Thanks again!

The only time I can remember gaining this much learning from someone whose name was all in base 10, it was 24601, singing while pulling on a rope while being whipped by Javert
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(Columbo raincoat on)
May I ask just one more question?
Bose includes a faux headset (it actually contains microphones) with its systems that it claims enables their setup firmware to "tune" its systems to the ambient environment. I've seen allusions to something similar existing for Sonos. Do you think they work? (opinions, summaries of others' opinions, or URLs all equally welcome)

Thanks again!
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Happy to help out. Went through several fits and starts myself with how to get everything working so figure it's worth sharing some of the knowledge and experience built up over that period.

Those tuning systems are pretty common among AV receivers too and (I think) are meant mostly to automate the process of setting speaker distances and speaker/sub crossover frequencies. Sonos does have a relatively new function like that which uses your phone's mic and a few circles around the room while waving it to optimize a speaker for the size and layout of the room it's in. No clue how it actually works or what adjustments are really made, but I know people on here have found it to yield better sound generally.
Note that when User385289 says "phone", (s)he really means iPhone. Or, more technically, any iOS device that has a microphone. Sonos hasn't yet been able to do it for Android powered devices, due to the varied nature of the microphones in them. Apple is much more "standard" in their requirements.

I have used TruePlay(Sonos' version of the modification of speakers) on all my speakers. For me, it's a slight improvement, but others have reported extreme changes. I suspect it depends on where the speakers are placed, and how well your ears work.
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Just as a datapoint, we have an (old) Harmony One remote controlling and orchestrating the various inputs to the TV and AV amplifier in the 'TV room', and we use the Sonos controller apps for our multi-room audio.

We have a Sonos CONNECT plugged into the AV amp. Selecting 'Listen to Sonos' on the Harmony sets everything up correctly for Sonos playback through the 5.1 system, allowing playback control from the Sonos apps. Easy.

The Harmony takes a little setting up, but once done it masks lots of the complexity. My wife is smart and technically capable, but has no patience for technical hassle or complexity. This system works well for her.
Reading these posts, I am not sure I could cope. Unless it was something like Sonos that is a lot harder to write about how to use it that it is to do so.
I ought to clarify that my reference to coping is in connection with the complexity of all that is being discussed here; not with the questions posed or the posts themselves.
It is, actually, much easier to use than it is to write about.
To an extent, I suspected it must be so; else it would be like the infamous VCR programming thing of decades ago. I was recently reading about the programming/tinkering it takes to get all the countless interfaces working for the entertainment screen on a modern car and gave up less than halfway through all the screenshots and permutations/combinations. I was exhausted.