Sonos...you're killing me with your lack of HDMI support


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Man, I was so ready to go full in on Sonos. Just bought a new house that I'm moving into shortly and was ready to outfit it with Sonos 5.1 in the living room and Play 5's and Play 1's in other rooms. Then I find out poor support for new Dolby formats....tough pill to swallow, but fine. Then I find out no outdoor speakers....grrr...annoying but fine. But then I find out there's no HDMI. Gahh...What? Then I hear about the Beam and think they've addressed the issue. But now reviews are coming out and it seems it's an entry level product and not a Playbar equivalent. Why are they being so stubborn? When they announced the Beam they should have also announced new versions of the Playbar/Playbase/Connect with HDMI support as well.

Sonos, take my money please!!! But you can't have this kind of dough when the product seems destined to become outdated due to it's lack of support of modern standards (arguably it's already there).

Sorry for the vent. Just was really hoping to finally be able to go all in with them, but guess I can't. I have to find a competitor I guess. So annoying. I hope management reads these forums...you're losing potential customers.

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Why would the Connect need HDMI support?
Maybe not the Connect.

Anyway, you definitely can use a different home theatre setup with a connect to incorporate into the sonos system. I wouldn't necessarily give up on your pairs of 5s and 1s.
To clarify, I don't have any Sonos components yet. I was coming from a Receiver + 5.1 setup + zone 2 and passive speakers for other rooms, and wanted to switch to a full Sonos setup. Mainly to get rid of speaker wires and the receiver, and to enjoy high quality music + high quality movies with something that doesn't require tinkering. But I just can't buy into the system with optical in being the only option for home theatre. It's too risky for me.

I'd try the Beam, but reviews have said the sound is underwhelming particularly when it comes to music. The sound is what drew me into Sonos in the beginning.

@John B I'm sure is right. They're well aware, but have not found it to be their best strategy (the reason why is anybody's guess...I can't imagine it's cost). They're successful, so who am I to argue that they're doing it wrong, but unfortunately it means I probably have to go elsewhere....which sucks. Was looking forward to a full Sonos house. Oh well.

I'm researching Z9F's as a potential alternative.
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Sonos being a hiend company and concerned for better sound knows hdmi sounds better than optical.

I'm not an expert, but hdmi (or hdmi-arc) and optical are different types of wires. The wires have different capabilities as to what codecs they can carry, but one doesn't sound better than the other, carry the same codecs. From what I've seen optical seems just fine for handling whatever can be done with Sonos existing 5.1 setups. The question then becomes what sources can send out audio through optical. Or are you asking for Sonos to expand what codecs it uses or the number of speakers it uses in it's HT setups?
I understand where you are coming from, but clearly Sonos have taken the view that this doesn't matter enough to enough people in the target market to change this. Sonos isn't right for everyone. Any enhancement will probably add some customers. But that doesn't mean it's the best use of Sonos resources or cost-effective. Your points have been made since the Playbar was launched so you can be sure Sonos are aware of them.

You would have nothing to lose by trialling the Beam. If it is nowhere near what you want you probably ought to be looking at a conventional home theatre setup.
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When they announced the Beam they should have also announced new versions of the Playbar/Playbase/Connect with HDMI support as well.


Why would the Connect need HDMI support?

Anyway, you definitely can use a different home theatre setup with a connect to incorporate into the sonos system. I wouldn't necessarily give up on your pairs of 5s and 1s.
That's all very reasonable and understandable. For me, Sonos' heritage and strength is for music. The addition of TV audio products broadens the appeal for many, but I suspect a conventional system for the cost of a Playbar + Sub + surrounds would give you more bang for your bucks.

I know you want to free yourself from wires, but as has been suggested you can use a Connect to bring Sonos to your receiver, and have Play speakers elsewhere. It's just one possibility, it may be that it's not overall the best option for you.
Sonos being a hiend company and concerned for better sound knows hdmi sounds better than optical.
But I'm not sure that Sonos considers themselves a "high end" company. Their market seems to be a wider swath of people, hence the decision in 2012 or 2011 when the Sonos PLAYBAR was being designed to go with the easier to hook up, wider availability of optical, rather than the HDMI-ARC that they've implemented with the Beam. I believe that most TVs in 2013, when the PLAYBAR was initially released, did not have HDMI-ARC as a feature. It's been more prevalent in recent years, but I'm sure there are millions of TVs still in use that don't have it, and require the use of the optical port to connect the average soundbar.
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This post was prior to announcement of Sonos Amp with HDMI.
Sonos being a hiend company and concerned for better sound knows hdmi sounds better than optical.

I'm not an expert, but hdmi (or hdmi-arc) and optical are different types of wires. The wires have different capabilities as to what codecs they can carry, but one doesn't sound better than the other, carry the same codecs. From what I've seen optical seems just fine for handling whatever can be done with Sonos existing 5.1 setups. The question then becomes what sources can send out audio through optical. Or are you asking for Sonos to expand what codecs it uses or the number of speakers it uses in it's HT setups?


The other difference between HDMI and optical (I always had a hard time distinguishing sound differences between HDMI cables but optical cables have a difference, it may be subtle but there is a difference) is that HDMI has its own error correction technology on the input and output. What they do is verify the signals match bit for bit that's why they sound better. All TVs might switch to USB-C in the future anyway. But as of now that's why HDMI has a cleaner signal.

Plus the Roku and NVidia shield amongst others can pass dolby digital plus signals which the optical cable can not do.

The reference of the differences is here: https://www.lifewire.com/digital-optical-connection-1846881
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The other difference between HDMI and optical (I always had a hard time distinguishing sound differences between HDMI cables but optical cables have a difference, it may be subtle but there is a difference) is that HDMI has its own error correction technology on the input and output. What they do is verify the signals match bit for bit that's why they sound better. All TVs might switch to USB-C in the future anyway. But as of now that's why HDMI has a cleaner signal.


Your reference document doesn't say anything about error correction tech, but that's fine. I have no problem taking your word on this. To be clear though, Sonos doesn't take an HDMI input, it takes HDMI-ARC input (Beam/Sonos Amp only). It's not exactly the same thing, but I don't see why the error correction would be any different.


Plus the Roku and NVidia shield amongst others can pass dolby digital plus signals which the optical cable can not do.


And Sonos doesn't do the dolby digital plus codec either, currently. In that regard, it's not just about what cable is used, but what codecs are supported.
Error correction? It's a cable. Nonsense.
How do these myths get started? SPDIF has error correction, as does any properly designed digital transport. Specifically, it uses a parity bit and CRC error correction for each 32 bit subframe.
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Eh, I see it as mostly irrelevant. Optical is fading out, at least in terms of AV cabling, in favor of HDMI cables. Besides handling more codecs, it's clearly an easier to use cable.
How do these myths get started? SPDIF has error correction, as does any properly designed digital transport. Specifically, it uses a parity bit and CRC error correction for each 32 bit subframe.I think I would describe it as 'error disguise' or 'error limitation' rather than 'error correction', in both cases. Maybe that is just semantics.
Eh, I see it as mostly irrelevant. Optical is fading out, at least in terms of AV cabling, in favor of HDMI cables. Besides handling more codecs, it's clearly an easier to use cable.I would agree with that. HDMI is certainly capable of carrying more, but not necessarily better.
Error correction? It's a cable. Nonsense.

If you actually read what I wrote I never said the cable itself had error correction.

Here is the article on HDMI error correction technology which optical does not have.

https://www.cnet.com/news/why-all-hdmi-cables-are-the-same/
]

If you actually read what I wrote I never said the cable itself had error correction.

Here is the article on HDMI error correction technology which optical does not have.

https://www.cnet.com/news/why-all-hdmi-cables-are-the-same/


Could you point out where in that article it says "optical does not have" error correction? Because the only mention of optical in the entire article says nothing about error correction, it only states that when playing a CD, jitter is more likely with HDMI than with optical or coax.
Interesting discussion here

https://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?p=6271817

In the end though, would anyone hear a difference in a blind test? I suspect not. Any evidence anyone has rigorously tested this?
]

If you actually read what I wrote I never said the cable itself had error correction.

Here is the article on HDMI error correction technology which optical does not have.

https://www.cnet.com/news/why-all-hdmi-cables-are-the-same/


Could you point out where in that article it says "optical does not have" error correction? Because the only mention of optical in the entire article says nothing about error correction, it only states that when playing a CD, jitter is more likely with HDMI than with optical or coax.


The article doesn't point it out because they can't do it the same way since they are one direction only. That is the digital signal travels from point A to point B only. No two way communication. HDMI can send a signal in both directions hence the two way communication. That's why when you turn on your bluray player it can tell the tv to turn (if it's in standby mode) and what input to turn to. So they can compare the signal.

Error correction devices for optical and co-ax digital cables do it by predicting or guessing what the true signal should be. Then put bits back in where they think they should go or back in order of where they think it is.
So optical and coax do have error correction?
No. You need a third party device to do the correction but it is only estimating. It's called forward error correction.

Forward error correction. ... The central idea is the sender encodes the message in a redundant way by using an error-correcting code (ECC). The redundancy allows the receiver to detect a limited number of errors that may occur anywhere in the message, and often to correct these errors without re-transmission.

I know in the beginning there was no error correcting code. The error correction devices just tried to do it on their own.

HDMI can actually compare what was sent to what was recieved. Thus having it retransmitted.
So forward error correction is not error correction? Funny naming convention they got there. :8
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I WILL PAY 2.000€ for a New SONOS PLAYBASE HDMI-ARC AND DD+ (Atmos) COMPATIBLE and a PAIR OF ATMOS SURROUND SPEAKERS! Please Sonos, Listen potentially new customers!

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