We recently remodeled our family room, and the Sonos Playbar was a key component in the upgrade. I spent a good deal of time researching the various aspects of the remodel. I know this post is lengthy, but I wanted to include pertinent details to hopefully help others researching similar setups.
Previously we had a 40” TV inside a TV armoire, with an inexpensive surround system, bluray player, and cable box all in the same armoire. When remodeling the room, we decided that having the TV above the fireplace would work best with regards to room dynamics. However, there were two issues created by that decision:
1. I wasn’t crazy about the prospect of staring up at the TV constantly (being an Optometrist, I am keenly aware how eye position relates to eyestrain and headaches).,
2. I wasn’t going to accept the poor quality sound from most TV speakers. However, there was now nowhere in the family room to keep the A/V components, including a sound system.
Problem #1 was solved with the Down and Out Mount from Dynamic Mounting (dynamicmounting.com) (Full disclosure – Dynamic Mounting pays a rebate for customers who post their experience with their product to a message board). Although significantly more costly than stationary mounts, in my opinion it is worth the extra cost. There is no other product like it right now (I found one that was fully automated but it was about $2000 if I remember correctly). As you can see from the pictures (https://www.dropbox.com/sc/jldk19quv5h1vku/m1t8tcaOnV
) , the Down and Out Mount allows the TV (and attached Playbar) to move out over the mantle and down to a much more comfortable viewing height.
It is very easy to use – even my 13 year old daughter has no problem using it. The hydraulic arms allow the TV to stay in whatever vertical position you desire. It works as advertised, and we have had zero problems with it. When watching a 2 hour movie, it is much more comfortable to lower the TV to its’ lowest position. For shorter viewing times, we often keep the TV in its’ highest position.
As you can also see from these pictures (https://www.dropbox.com/sc/a79sk18nun9kmio/s-aJZiR3xk
) , we were able to install the mount in a recessed area behind the TV, allowing the TV and Playbar to be almost flush with the surrounding trim and mantle. Preparing for the installation can be a bit tricky, as you have to do some calculations to determine how high above your particular size mantle to install the mount to maximize downward travel. I was impressed with the level of support in this area, as Kurt Massey, the owner of Dynamic Mounting, personally responded to my numerous emails very quickly. In the end, his help was invaluable to a successful install. I highly recommend the Down and Out Mount for above fireplace applications to reduce eyestrain and increase comfort, especially for long viewing times.
I knew that Problem #2 would involve a sound bar, since the better half had shot down any talk of placing speakers anywhere in the room (we already have a very good home theater setup in another room). Since we already had two Play:5s, a Play:3, and a Connect, deciding on the Playbar was a no brainer. Cost was a factor, but since we were spending so much on the remodel, a few extra hundred was easy to justify considering our already established Sonos addiction. So now we had to figure a way to mount the Sonos to the TV so that it would move with the TV when using the mount, as well as how to connect the cable box and Blu-ray player to it, which were to be located in another room.
Mounting the Playbar to the TV was surprisingly easy. We used Sewell Direct SW-29908 Universal Soundbar Brackets in conjunction with the Playbar wall mount bracket. As you can see from the pictures (https://www.dropbox.com/sc/yeciyj5cqcpg46y/vG7Z9GSpcb
), this allowed the back of the Playbar to be even with the back of the TV, which was important so that the Playbar didn’t hit the wall behind it when in the highest position above the mantle. I did have to buy shorter mounting screws (Home Depot, about $3) to attach the brackets to the Playbar, since the screws included with the brackets were too long and would stick out behind the Playbar.
For the A/V component connections, we had an audio guy run a 50 ft HDMI cable, a 50 ft Toslink cable, and two CAT5E network cables from the A/V room, through our crawlspace, and up to the area behind the TV above the mantle. We then attached the Blu-ray player and cable box to a Monoprice HDMI switcher, and attached the switcher to the TV via the 50ft HDMI cable and to the Playbar via the 50ft Toslink cable. Since our TV doesn’t pass 5.1 through its’ optical port from HDMI sources, this setup allows the switcher to send video to the TV and the 5.1 audio directly to the Playbar. After adjusting the audio delay in the Sonos software, everything works perfectly. Our Blu-ray player converts DTS to DD 5.1, so no silence or plain stereo sound with DTS only content.
To control the A/V components from the family room (the room with the TV and Playbar), we decided to use the Logitech Harmony Smart Control remote. Since the remote uses RF to communicate with a base hub located near the A/V components, we are able to control everything from the family room. We have even setup sequences so that, with the touch of one button, the proper components are powered on/off, the HMI switcher changes to the proper input, the TV sets the sleep timer, etc. It’s awesome, and so easy that the kids can use it.
For the Playbar volume control, we spliced an IR emitter to the CAT5E cable and attached it the IR receiver on the Playbar (picture - https://www.dropbox.com/s/9awgt2w5t673im0/Photo%20Jan%2022%2C%2010%2006%2046%20PM.jpg
). The other end of the cable is connected to the back of the Smart Control hub in the A/V room by a spliced on mini-jack. Using the Sonos software, we then taught the Playbar to respond to an old Sony TV remote we had laying around, and then told the Smart Control to use those remote codes to control volume. Works great, and avoids the TV volume dialog problem mentioned elsewhere on these boards.
In this picture (https://www.dropbox.com/s/h5s3cu5xexr4uxz/Photo%20Jan%2022%2C%2010%2001%2035%20PM.jpg
), you can see (from top to bottom) the HDMI switcher, the Blu-Ray player, the cable box, and the Smart Control hub with its’ attached IR emitter (the hub itself also acts as an emitter). This is all in a separate room from the TV and Playbar.
As mentioned, it took weeks of research to make decisions on how to implement this whole thing, and these boards were invaluable in that regard – thank you to everyone for your help. I hope this post helps others as much as you helped me. There are many details I haven’t included, especially with regard to configuring the various components. I have listed the brand/model of my A/V components below.
I’ll be glad to answer any questions anyone may have.
• Sonos Playbar (have since added two Play:1s for surround sound – amazing! Just do it!)
• TV – Samsung UN60F6350A 60" Class 1080p 120Hz LED Smart HDTV
• Bluray – Samsung BD F5900 Smart Blu-Ray Player.
• Monoprice 7974 4x1 HDMI
Switch w/ TOSlink & Digital Coaxial Audio Output (Audio Return Channel/3D/CEC Support)