No new Playbar? Really Sonos?

  • 6 September 2019
  • 22 replies
  • 5154 views

Userlevel 4
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All this R&D on the Move which I expect to be a niche product given it's price. Meanwhile the Playbar sits at $699 with no HDMI, dated looks, no voice control, no new audio codecs. Listen to the Verge podcast where they interview the Sonos CEO. They ask him why no new Playbar and he blows it off. At the end they make fun of it only having an optical port. It's just an insult to Sonos' customers. At least lower the price. Plenty of soundbars out there that do twice as much for half as much. Get rid of the Playbase and upsize the Beam. How hard can that be instead of designing a portable bluetooth speaker?

22 replies

Userlevel 2
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I keep waiting for news on a Hi-Res player.

Would love to listen to Tidal on Sonos instead of the other guys.🤫
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Yeah, I'm a big fan of Tidal/MQA
All this R&D on the Move which I expect to be a niche product given it's price. Meanwhile the Playbar sits at $699 with no HDMI, dated looks, no voice control, no new audio codecs. Listen to the Verge podcast where they interview the Sonos CEO. They ask him why no new Playbar and he blows it off. At the end they make fun of it only having an optical port. It's just an insult to Sonos' customers. At least lower the price. Plenty of soundbars out there that do twice as much for half as much. Get rid of the Playbase and upsize the Beam. How hard can that be instead of designing a portable bluetooth speaker?
Sonos have the sales figures and the research. If the Playbar is under featured and overpriced the market will soon let Sonos know. How can this be an insult to customers? The only reason a company should reduce a price is because it will increase profit to do so.

I have no view on whether Sonos has got its product strategy right or wrong. I simply don't have the info. But I don't take it as a personal affront.

If I had to put money on Sonos' next product it would be a Playbar gen 2. But what do I know?
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All this R&D on the Move which I expect to be a niche product given it's price. Meanwhile the Playbar sits at $699 with no HDMI, dated looks, no voice control, no new audio codecs. Listen to the Verge podcast where they interview the Sonos CEO. They ask him why no new Playbar and he blows it off. At the end they make fun of it only having an optical port. It's just an insult to Sonos' customers. At least lower the price. Plenty of soundbars out there that do twice as much for half as much. Get rid of the Playbase and upsize the Beam. How hard can that be instead of designing a portable bluetooth speaker?

As owner of a Playbase (multiple speakers, better sound than Beam IMHO) I would counter that with: get rid of the over-sized Playbar and the under-powered Beam.

To each his own, I guess 😉

Perhaps it will be better to keep all three.

But you are right: an upgrade to them all is due/overdue.
All this R&D on the Move which I expect to be a niche product given it's price. Meanwhile the Playbar sits at $699 with no HDMI, dated looks, no voice control, no new audio codecs. Listen to the Verge podcast where they interview the Sonos CEO. They ask him why no new Playbar and he blows it off. At the end they make fun of it only having an optical port. It's just an insult to Sonos' customers. At least lower the price. Plenty of soundbars out there that do twice as much for half as much. Get rid of the Playbase and upsize the Beam. How hard can that be instead of designing a portable bluetooth speaker?

Agreed. Surely a replacement is on the way. The Beam is so far advanced from the Playbar now, but the sound on the Playbar is still the best. Seems like a no-brainer that this should be a priority. The Playbase is really a redundant product too with not many TVs with the middle stand anymore.

Or maybe its time to go back to Bose... 😞 If only their app wasn't so horrible.
I’m also surprised Sonos is coming out with new products, but hasn’t updated the playbar. I have a mid-sized living room. When I had to choose, I opted for a beam and sub, because I wanted hdmi/arc. I’m very pleased with the sound. Admittedly, I haven’t compared it to a playbar. I keep waiting, but I will need a playbar with advanced audio codecs, as well as hdmi/arc, for me to upgrade.
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Hi,

I have a pretty good insight in what BOSE is doing in certain categories! It seems they‘re launching new Atmos models next Year.

Okay, i don‘t want to compare the more muffled but spectacular „Bose sound“ with our beloved SONOS sounding. But to be honest what SONOS did to it‘s lignup in the past few years is akward!

• no HDMI on Playbase
• no update to Playbar
• nether Atmos nor HD Sound nor DTS !...
• no dedicated remote for ~50 bugs
• no ( complete wireless) home theater receiver wehre you could find your own combination of SONOS gear to set up your livingroom with a full growen 5.1 to 13.4 soundsystem !

WHY NOT SONOS , WHY ?
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I’m also surprised Sonos is coming out with new products, but hasn’t updated the playbar. I have a mid-sized living room. When I had to choose, I opted for a beam and sub, because I wanted hdmi/arc. I’m very pleased with the sound. Admittedly, I haven’t compared it to a playbar. I keep waiting, but I will need a playbar with advanced audio codecs, as well as hdmi/arc, for me to upgrade.
If a new playbar is released and it doesn’t have eARC I won’t buy it and will switch to Bose or something that does as it will solve so many problems with codecs and lip sync etc.
I wonder what the cost of an eARC component is, versus an HDMI-ARC component is. Are they being sold at "commodity" prices, or would Sonos have to price any replacement device at two or three times the current price in order to still be able to make a profit off of sales?

What percentage of the marketplace has eARC output at this moment? Say, just in the US. And the EU, as a separate number.

I'd hope that there's someone at Sonos tracking that information. I too would like the replacement device to have this, but I also would prefer not to have to pay through the nose for something I won't be able to use until my next TV purchase.
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I wonder what the cost of an eARC component is, versus an HDMI-ARC component is. Are they being sold at "commodity" prices, or would Sonos have to price any replacement device at two or three times the current price in order to still be able to make a profit off of sales?

What percentage of the marketplace has eARC output at this moment? Say, just in the US. And the EU, as a separate number.

I'd hope that there's someone at Sonos tracking that information. I too would like the replacement device to have this, but I also would prefer not to have to pay through the nose for something I won't be able to use until my next TV purchase.

I dont know a ton about how much the cost would be but I dont see it being two or three times the current price as the bose sound bar 700 offers it at a cost of 799.99 So I wouldn't see how Sonos could justify a ton more? Also it's backwards compatible so while it may be a bit before every is utilizing it your not losing anything by adding it but definitely future proofing your product quite a bit especially since if Sonos releases a new playbar without it were not likely to see a playbar refresh for another 5 to 7 years after the next one lol. I'll keep my fingers crossed!
Sure. But we also don't know the manufacturing process, and how much effort there is in the design process.

As near as I can tell, over the last year, Sonos has brought out a ton of product. The One, gen 2 (albeit only a slight change there), the SL, the Move, the Port. How large do you think the various departments are that have input into the process of releasing a new product are? Sonos isn't a Microsoft or Apple sized company, there has to be a limit on how many resources, in time, people, and dollars required to spin up a new manufacturing line.

Yes, I want a new PLAYBAR. Sure, I'd take it yesterday, if it was avaialble. However, I recognize that there are restraints involved, most of which I have absolutely no insight into.

I have to either trust Sonos to do the things that will make them the maximum amount of money in order to maintain their business so that I can continue to use their system, or I need to take the decision that I think someone else does a better job, and jump ship.

There's certainly nothing wrong with letting Sonos know that you'd like a new PLAYBAR. I've certainly done so, probably more times than the community forum moderators can count. But I also recognize that there's someone or a group of someones who have the responsibility to make intelligent decisions about the hardware roadmap based on various inputs. And of course, that roadmap is not shared with us, due to the potential influence it has on the competitor's decision making process.
All this R&D on the Move which I expect to be a niche product given it's price. Meanwhile the Playbar sits at $699 with no HDMI, dated looks, no voice control, no new audio codecs. Listen to the Verge podcast where they interview the Sonos CEO. They ask him why no new Playbar and he blows it off. At the end they make fun of it only having an optical port. It's just an insult to Sonos' customers. At least lower the price. Plenty of soundbars out there that do twice as much for half as much. Get rid of the Playbase and upsize the Beam. How hard can that be instead of designing a portable bluetooth speaker?


 

totally agree. I have 2 playbars and I want to buy another, but I’m waiting for a new one. God knows how long I will have to wait. Sonos once a leader now lagging behind. Please update this soon please. 

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I’ve been a fan of Sonos for years. Bought the Playbar on the release date in 2012. Soon upgraded with the sub and two Play:3’s just to learn that I had to jump through hoops to get surround from my Blu-rays as the Playbar did not support DTS. I fixed that with a new Blu-ray player and a switch. 

 

I expected that Sonos would bring DTS at some point and lived with that.
 

I later bought a Playbase for my bedroom and even got a Playbeam when that was released. 
 

However, 7(!) years down the road there is still only one single surround format supported by the entire Sonos lineup: Dolby Digital 5.1. Even the new and super advanced Playbeam only does the same format as was used on non-HD DVDs so many years back. 

 

Also the lack of HDMI on the bigger systems is annoying as I can't turn volume up or down with the IOS Apple remote as these are limited to infrared controls. 

I recently moved temporarily to a smaller flat as we are building a new house. I took the opportunity to sell my oldest Sonos gear: the Playbar, three Play 3s and a 1st Gen Play 5.

This has given me the opportunity to consider switching from Sonos entirely and upgrade to something that supports more modern formats as Atmos and Dolby Digital Plus. 
 

As my remaining lineup of Sonos-gear all support Airplay 2, I guess they could still have some use in a new setup. I have always preferred Sonos’ solution rather than streaming from my phone or another local device with Airplay, but the limitted support for file formats and lack of HDMI on the bigger systems have become deal breakers for me.
 

Being the fan that I am, I am still hoping for something new from Sonos before our house is completed in about a year. If not, I will likely be looking at dedicated receivers  with Airplay 2 and build-in speakers or perhaps the new B&O Stage 

 

Userlevel 3
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All this R&D on the Move which I expect to be a niche product given it's price. Meanwhile the Playbar sits at $699 with no HDMI, dated looks, no voice control, no new audio codecs. Listen to the Verge podcast where they interview the Sonos CEO. They ask him why no new Playbar and he blows it off. At the end they make fun of it only having an optical port. It's just an insult to Sonos' customers. At least lower the price. Plenty of soundbars out there that do twice as much for half as much. Get rid of the Playbase and upsize the Beam. How hard can that be instead of designing a portable bluetooth speaker?
Sonos have the sales figures and the research. If the Playbar is under featured and overpriced the market will soon let Sonos know. How can this be an insult to customers? The only reason a company should reduce a price is because it will increase profit to do so.

I have no view on whether Sonos has got its product strategy right or wrong. I simply don't have the info. But I don't take it as a personal affront.

If I had to put money on Sonos' next product it would be a Playbar gen 2. But what do I know?

 

 

Well over here the Playbar does not sell well. I’ve spoken to several electronic stores - they sell far more soundbars from LG/Sony/Samsung/Panasonic etc than Sonos - even Bose soundbars move far more units and get more space for their in store displays. The Sonos 1/3/5 do move, people like voice automated music speakers but as far as home theater goes, the Playbar sales numbers are very low so the stores here don’t stock many Playbar units. 

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To everyone here that may not have seen all of the threads on codec support: The simple reason that Sonos has not, and will not add DD+ or Atmos to the existing soundbars is that it simply cannot be done, the hardware will not support it. DTS 5.1 is possible over optical/HDMI-ARC, but given its inherent connection to physical media, which Sonos has always said not to be their focus, I don't expect them to ever change their stance.

 

Change will have to come from new hardware. And then, we inevitably come to the question of: how far should Sonos venture into Home Theatre? What hardware choices do they make, what codec choices do they make?

On the codec level, I think they should by now have realized that DD5.1 no longer cuts it. In 2013, when the Playbar was introduced, DD5.1 was the format of choice for linear TV and no doubt Sonos expected streaming services to also adopt this. In 2019, we see DD+ as the format of choice, with Atmos/TrueHD as a high-end option. So even for the most basic user to have a product that “just works” out of the box, they will need to make sure their hardware/software supports this. eARC with proper codec support should do the trick, provided you have a TV with eARC.

 

I own a projector that I’m not replacing anytime soon, it’s in my living room, so I’m not looking for a dedicated HT system. Like most projectors, it doesn’t do ARC, let alone eARC or any audio processing for that matter, so I don't really subscribe to Sonos’ philosophy of letting the TV do all the work. Instead of eARC, I'd rather see multiple HDMI ports on a Playbar 2.0, like on most receivers. However, Sonos may think this overcomplicates the product and might even raise expectations too high, because people will think Sonos will be able to do what other HT receivers can do.

 

This brings me to adding channels, supporting discrete speakers for front/left/center, supporting full Atmos setups and the like. Firstly, I think people on here wildly underestimate how challenging it would be to do that wirelessly - and then providing the customer support! Secondly, I think for Sonos, this is a niche market that they don't want to enter. 5.1 seems to me the maximum an average living room or significant other will bear. Sonos simply want to provide a HT solution as part of their multiroom system, and not sell a multiroom system as an extra to a complete, dedicated HT system.

 

So while I’m hopefull that Sonos will, in time, update their HT offering, I have no illusions that the changes they will bring are going to be revolutionary, nor do I expect them to fulfill the hopes and dreams of people on these communities.

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If I’m being honest - The only reason I own a sonos playbar is because I was deperate for a sound upgrade - and at that time, none of the electronic stores around me had stock of the top of the range Sony/Samsung Atmos soundbars - if they did I’d not own any Sonos products  right now.

Sonos is dead to me, they acted to slow (and still havent acted), they had a chance to be the new BO since BO started their brand sell out and they blew it.

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I think most people have several HDMI devices and want sound.  Not sure how a Playbar with 1 HDMI input would factor into that.  You either need to get the sound from the TV with optical (which doesn’t usually have 5.1) or use HDMI-ARC, which the beam has.  

 

In a perfect world there’d be some sort of Sonos AVR, with 4 inputs, and 1 or 2 outputs.  But that seems to be a little out of Sonos’s wheelhouse.  

If there was a Playbar 2 with All the features of the Beam, but the speakers and volume of the Playbar. I am sure that would sell well.

The current playbar just looks so dated. I have a few sono speakers but went with another brand for the TV sound bar, cause the beam does not have the volume for me  and the current Playbar….looks bad.


I used to be 100% Sonos but I am now slowly changing to another brand cause, Sonos does not appear to be keeping up with other providers anymore.

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In a perfect world there’d be some sort of Sonos AVR, with 4 inputs, and 1 or 2 outputs.  But that seems to be a little out of Sonos’s wheelhouse.  

 

This isn’t really needed though since most modern TVs already have 4 or so inputs plus their internal smart streaming.   And HDMI-ARC (or eARC) allows you to get all the sound out of your TV without having to have a separate switching device.  Even if you did have this separate, you would still need HDMI-ARC and do input switching on the TV if you use smart apps at all.

 

If there was a Playbar 2 with All the features of the Beam, but the speakers and volume of the Playbar. I am sure that would sell well.

 

 

Just my opinion, but I don’t think lack of sales is what’s holding back a playbar 2.  I think Sonos is waiting for eARC or some other features to be more readily available.  In other words, they don’t want to release a playbar 2 now only to have a need for an playbar 3 a year or two later.

 

 

 

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Any recent word or rumors on a Soundbar 2.0?  AirPlay 2, HDMI Arc, Atmos, DTS?

None so far. Lots of bated breath, hoping for some. Sonos does a pretty good job of keeping those rumors under wraps, and surprising us with their marketing announcement. Mildly frustrating, but what can you do,

.

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