Playbase: Sonos no longer recommandable for home theater



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Userlevel 3
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Very much agreed upon. I need systems that with decode DTS-HD, DolbyDD+ et. al.. Unless they have a great, new playbar2 coming out soon, they are being left WAY behind. I am looking forward to a newer, probably different brand, system. I would stick with Sonos if they pu tin HDMI 4k passthrough, decode ALL sounds for more theater and more. Music is always great, but 90% of the photos for the use of the playbar and playbase, show it with a HDTV. 😠
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have to agree 100% with this thread. I only have the sonos as I got the playbase for free. Would have returned everything otherwise. I bought 2 play 1s to be used as the rear speakers but that won't be happening now. Will stick them in another room for music or might just return them... still debating that. Sonos == Blackberry & Nokia at this point. It's 2017, move the ... on and keep up with the competition. Your name and hype can only get you so far.... no wonder the company is looking for acquisitions
I read all the bemoaning on here before I bought my Playbar (with my eyes wide open..).

My Samsung TV will not natively stream 5.1 from HDMI over TOSlink but I solved that problem with 2 HDMI EDID emulators (this is a TV issue not Playbar).

The Blue-ray DTS issue was solved with a £50 Samsung Blu-ray player which down mixes to 5.1, I needed a Blu-ray player anyway.

As for 7.1 DTS, the 5.1 is more than adequate for my living room, clear vocals through the centre channel which was very import.

The whole Sonus experience so far has been top notch and the quality and sound/ functionality of the Playbar has exceeded my expectations.


So you had to buy two devices to get your setup to work they way everything else does out of the box and cheaper...minus many of the latest home theater features and some of them have been out for years.
Another article that sheds some light on Sonos strategy around the Playbase:

https://www.wired.com/2017/03/sonos-playbase-smart-home/


That's not a strategy.
Another article that sheds some light on Sonos strategy around the Playbase:

https://www.wired.com/2017/03/sonos-playbase-smart-home/
Userlevel 5
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There are much more cost effective options out there, so this is a definite no, no.

Can you name any?
Guys. The sort of people who come on these forums (me included) are not "typical" Sonos users. There is no "glaring omission". This is not a stopgap. This is how Sonos want it to be, and for their target market it may be fine. It's not for me, though. I would have liked DTS support and HDMI connectivity, but it's not there so I won't be buying. The price is a factor too!

But hey, I'll live without it and nobody has to buy it. The market will decide, and any comment as to whether Sonos has made a mistake or not is pure speculation and hot air at the moment.
Userlevel 2
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I'm not surprised about the DTS omission- it's been said for years that it will be that way.

Personally, however, I think so much of it depends on your intended use. As a plan old soundbar it works very well and I'm pleased with how they sound. Having said that, I don't have a 5.1 setup and really don't intend to ever do that. So PCM "downgrading" works perfectly well for me.

As for the other systems - I've checked out the Bose and the Samsung. The Bose sounded OK but it did have the typical spiked midrange you'd expect from Bose. The Samsung sounded horrible. Flabby low end and harsh high end.

Sonos sound is overall well rounded.


P.S. it is not possible to support DTS or DD HD through Toslink (hardware bandwidth limitation).


Not a hardware limitation at all. TOSLINK can support up to 125 Mbps. DTS HD Master Audio is maximum 24.5 Mbps. Dolby TrueHD 18 Mbps. The limitation is because you can do copy protection over HDMI, nothing to do with bandwidth.
http://www.whathifi.com/news/denon-heos-bar-and-subwoofer-coming-to-uk-in-april
"Unlike the Sonos Playbar or Playbase, you can benefit from Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio processing."


Amazon doesn't publish sales figures, but comparing review numbers are a pretty good indicator of relative popularity.

Sonos Playbar reviews: 911 - average 4.5 stars
Denon HEOS HomeCinema Soundbar & Subwoofer reviews: 52 - average 3.5 stars

I don't think Sonos is too worried about Heos.
Userlevel 2
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I have to agree. I recently had a couple of HDMI ports die on my cheap HTIB receiver. I was considering adding a Playbar or Playbase and downsizing my setup. Unfortunately, my TV (Panasonic 65ST30) doesn't pass through 5.1 and my Roku outputs Netflix in DD+. So in addition to the Playbar/Playbase, I'd be looking at getting an HDMI switch, an audio extractor, and replacing my Roku with another Netflix player (Apple TV?).

I might still go with a Playbar/Playbase because of the open-floor layout of the room and because I already have loads of other Sonos gear. But I'm having a hard time coughing up $700 for a soundbar that is technologically inferior to a low end $150 receiver like the Sony STRDH550, which supports DD+, DTS and acts as a 4-port HDMI switch. If Sony was able to incorporate these 3 crucial elements into a $150 package, shouldn't Sonos be able to incorporate it into a $700 package? Or at the least, sell a separate $100 4-port HDMI switch that converts DTS / DD+ into regular DD? It's true that you can buy HDMI switches and audio extractors as a band-aid, but it still doesn't address the bigger issue of the Playbar/Playbase being unable to play anything but stereo and DD.


My question is IF (and thats a HUGE if) Sonos decided to add DD+ and DTS support would it be possible on their current hardware? Or would it be an entirely new piece of equipment?

I don't know enough about decoding to know if its a simple firmware upgrade or something bigger.
Userlevel 4
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Bandwidth of optical is more than capable of DTS.
In fact Sonos 'debated' for a while on adding it retrospectively to the Playbar, and decided not to, despite being aware of the very strong feeling regarding its omission.
Leaving it out of the Playbase was really shocking though.

Sorry, but I believe you're wrong about optical supporting DTS. Below is a link to an article from C/Net comparing optical vs HDMI. Under the paragraph titled "Better, a little.." they state "Regardless of the gear you use, as mentioned there's also no way to get Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD Master Audio with an optical connection."

https://www.cnet.com/news/hdmi-vs-optical-which-digital-audio-connection-to-use/

Here's another article stating the same - "It supports stereo audio and Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 multichannel audio for people with surround sound systems.

It does not support SACD, DVD-A or high-definition audio such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.
"


http://www.the-home-cinema-guide.com/optical-digital-audio.html
There are much more cost effective options out there, so this is a definite no, no.

Can you name any?


That's easy.
Start with Bluesound who also do MQA, Roon, and high res.
Yamaha Musiccast
Denon Heos
Bose
Many others...
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Mine soubds awesome
So I got the new Sonos One, two of them, and love them. But no Sonos Home theater products for me until they update their range to something that can handle the latest technologies. Plus neither the Playbar or Playbase will work with my Samsung TV without dropouts due to an issue with optical.
Maybe Sonos doesn't have there revenue to support R&D on HDMI equipped home theater products?
Nobody can seriously argue that optical is sufficient.
In any event it seems they don't want my money for home theater products.
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I recently added Sonos Connect to my existing home theater which I built around 30 year old Spica satellites and Janis subwoofer For our nightly movies Sonos is irrelevant, but now we can control music throughout the house where most rooms have hard-wired speakers, and to add music to other rooms we just get a Sonos speaker. All my digitized LPs that I can't find on Amazon Music, I have on a USB flash drive plugged into my NetGear router.
If I want Atmos for the theater, I just need a new receiver and to connect a couple ceiling speakers I'm not using now. (Suggestions for a receiver will be appreciated, maybe one with Chromecast built in.)
BTW: The old 400 CD carousel is connected to the Connect analogue inputs, but I'll probably phase that out by ripping some of the CDs to that flash drive.
Who cares about Alexa ? People who pay for Sonos are much more likely to be Apple customers and where is the Homekit integration. I want to integrate my lights and thermostats and create a "movie mode" in my lounge/theatre.

1) Alexa integration is the only Sonos announcement to ever have people requesting admission to the private beta, hundreds of them in several threads. No other beta has ever had this type of overwhelming response of volunteers. I'd say that is the answer to "Who cares about Alexa?"

2) If you'd have read the article you are critiquing, you'd have seen the following:

When Spence talks about voice assistants like Alexa and Siri, he’s still talking about music.

. . .

Rather than build its own voice assistant or pick a one to work with, Sonos wants to work with all of them. That’s how the company has always operated. It didn’t build a music service, because the 80 that it supports wouldn’t be on the platform. Music services love Sonos because it provides millions of users and no competition. Spence thinks he can get Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, and others to do the same thing for precisely the same reason.
While I'm not a manufacturer, I'd assume that the majority of the design for the Playbase was done long before the previous CEO bowed out. I can't imagine that they could design and spin up a production line that quickly.

Secondly, I have a white TV stand, and have often considered a white Playbar to have it match. They're offering both black and white versions, based on what I've read, so why are you so upset? It's been clear by a large number of posts here in these boards that there's an ongoing desire for white versions of things.

While it may not be all of the things you want in the "next" product from Sonos, I think it may satisfy a lot of people in their target market.

And I'm sure that they're getting a lot of feedback, both in these boards, and elsewhere. It's unfortunate that it takes a lot of time (I assume) and a lot of money (I assume) to spin up a production line, so I suspect that this is what they've got for now, and we all can hope that they're folding our evolving feedback into new designs. And I suspect the new CEO would have a greater amount of influence on what the next thing is, I'd bet his influence on this was wasn't 100%, even without making an assumption as to whether he likes it or not.


...It feels like they decided to support only Spotify, and telling their customers: Hey, the majority is using Spotify, just do not use Google Music. It is not supported, but we will tell you anyway how great and integrative our product is...


Off topic for a Playbar thread but if you want some perspective on Spotify you can check out this link:

http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2017/02/02/spotify-bankrupt-ipo/
Userlevel 2
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Bridge product. That simple. I agree this must have been in the hopper for a while. They want to keep "active" with product releases, so this is intended to be a little PR splash to tide everyone over. No different than a "7.1" software update, versus going from "7" to "8". We can debate the DTS audio support forever, but the company has been consistent in stating they have no plans to address this. So, in a weird way, if they had here, they'd be oscillating on their public stance (don't get me wrong, I'd love it!). I will just look forward to new products that bring new and interesting things to the table in the future. In the meantime, not going to get upset about this one. Just ignoring it, frankly.
Userlevel 2
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I just had my first DTS frustration with Sonos last night.

I bought a new TV over the weekend that happened to have DTS PassThru. Went the whole weekend watching stuff streamed off Plex through my Roku. No issues at all since it would automatically transcode to a compatible format.

Last night we bought Fantastic Beasts on BluRay and decided to watch it before ripping it to Plex. I spent 45 minutes messing with cables and settings in Sonos trying to figure out what the problem was. Then it occurred to me that the TV might actually have DTS Passthru (or some other unsupported format). Sure enough, after diving into the settings more deeply, I found an output setting and had to change it from "Auto" to PCM. It worked fine after that.
Userlevel 7
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I thought they had said that the bandwidth available on the optical cable is not up to the job for DTS in which case the answer is emphatically NO. The hardware will need to change. Given they have just released Playbase it seems inconceivable a volte face is imminent on HDMI connectivity