What possible change I think will make the new "Beam" a game changer in home theatre


Userlevel 4
The Beam (new soundbar announced today) is like the little brother to the Playbar, with HDMI ARC instead and less drivers. But in my opinion, It can be more than just a basic bedroom soundbar. I think it could well be the core of what could be an extremely amazing, great sounding, modular and versatile true smart home theatre system.

Why?

The ability to add two more Sonos Play speakers as front channel LR and make the Beam a centre channel speaker.

Need I say more? How amazing would that be? It can be a true 5.1 or 3.1 setup with HDMI support for Dolby DTS and more.

Sonos are targeting the mid-range smart speakers on the market. And I think they've done a great job. But what really earns Sonos the money and is a key selling point for many is being able to expand the Sonos ecosystem in a modular fashion.

What most people do with their typical Samsung or other branded soundbar is upgrade it - replace the entire thing. With Sonos, there could be no need to upgrade the Beam. You can add two more Play 1's or One's to the left and right side to upgrade, improve the sound quality, create fuller and richer stereo, and make a true 3.1 setup with the addition of two more speakers on top! Do you want a Sonos soundbar for £400 and not break the bank? Get the Beam. Do you already own the Beam and want something more? Add two more speakers and make the beam a centre channel speaker. Do you want a true 5.1 or (even 7.1?) surround sound system? Then add more speakers.

People can build their Sonos system starting with the basic "we rival smart speaker competitors" to "we want to give you the best, simplest, great sounding home theatre system" WITHOUT replacing the soundbar!


The idea fits into Sonos's current strategies so well, and I really hope they think about being able to add more AIO speakers instead of just the three limiting you to basic "5.1" surround sound. The potential for this thing is endless!

Anyway, am I missing something bad about this? What is there that could prevent Sonos from considering this as a future update?

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25 replies

Userlevel 3
Badge +4
The only unknown with the Beam still is it's HDMI port, I can't find anything in the FAQ to tell me if it's HDMI 2.0c or HDMI 2.1, does anyone know?

If it is 2.1, that leave Sonos with room to upgrade the Beam via software updates that could add new codecs later on (not that Atmos will ever be supported)

Aww I'm clutching at straws here, sonos doesn't give a shit about us home theatre users
Userlevel 4
The only unknown with the Beam still is it's HDMI port, I can't find anything in the FAQ to tell me if it's HDMI 2.0c or HDMI 2.1, does anyone know?

If it is 2.1, that leave Sonos with room to upgrade the Beam via software updates that could add new codecs later on (not that Atmos will ever be supported)

Aww I'm clutching at straws here, sonos doesn't give a shit about us home theatre users


I must admit, home theatre isn't their strong point. But let's look to the bright side - if it is 2.1, then they probably do give a shit about home threatre! There's a chance.
Userlevel 3
Badge +7
Sorry JackWright but I don't agree with you. After years of complaints from customers on this very community forum, Sonos continues to ignore requests from their most loyal fans and again choose to not include support for DTS codec in this so called home theater product. This is a typical example of big brother telling you that you don't know what you want, so "they will tell you what you want!". I haven't added to my Sonos system in years and until they decide to listen I won't spend another cent on their products.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Sorry JackWright but I don't agree with you. After years of complaints from customers on this very community forum, Sonos continues to ignore requests from their most loyal fans and again choose to not include support for DTS codec in this so called home theater product. This is a typical example of big brother telling you that you don't know what you want, so "they will tell you what you want!". I haven't added to my Sonos system in years and until they decide to listen I won't spend another cent on their products.

By 'most loyal fans' , do you mean the folks who are constantly bashing Sonos and threatening to go buy competitor products if their demands aren't met? That's sort of a weird definition of loyal fan.

The Beam isn't a home theater product per se. Yes, it works with your tv, but it's designed for small to medium rooms, not your home theater.
Userlevel 2
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Sorry JackWright but I don't agree with you. After years of complaints from customers on this very community forum, Sonos continues to ignore requests from their most loyal fans and again choose to not include support for DTS codec in this so called home theater product. This is a typical example of big brother telling you that you don't know what you want, so "they will tell you what you want!". I haven't added to my Sonos system in years and until they decide to listen I won't spend another cent on their products.

By 'most loyal fans' , do you mean the folks who are constantly bashing Sonos and threatening to go buy competitor products if their demands aren't met? That's sort of a weird definition of loyal fan.

The Beam isn't a home theater product per se. Yes, it works with your tv, but it's designed for small to medium rooms, not your home theater.


People like me who have 1000s of dollars worth of Sonos equipment but are thinking about selling them all because of the home cinema experience.

Every day someone posts here on this forum who has just discovered that his 1500$ home cinema setup can't play common home cinema audio codecs.

You have so much hassle owning a Sonos Home Cinema set with fiddling with transcoding devices, optical switches, etc, all because Sonos knows best and refuses to support anything but 20 year old dolby digital. So you can have compressed 5.1 audio from the nineties.
Userlevel 5
Badge +11
Did Sonos say something about possibility to add front speakers?

And HDMI protocol version is important, sad website info are not saying anything about it...
Userlevel 1
Badge +5
Sorry JackWright but I don't agree with you. After years of complaints from customers on this very community forum, Sonos continues to ignore requests from their most loyal fans and again choose to not include support for DTS codec in this so called home theater product. This is a typical example of big brother telling you that you don't know what you want, so "they will tell you what you want!". I haven't added to my Sonos system in years and until they decide to listen I won't spend another cent on their products.

By 'most loyal fans' , do you mean the folks who are constantly bashing Sonos and threatening to go buy competitor products if their demands aren't met? That's sort of a weird definition of loyal fan.

The Beam isn't a home theater product per se. Yes, it works with your tv, but it's designed for small to medium rooms, not your home theater.


I don’t agree... Sonos Beam was announced like “a new speaker, integrated with Sonos Multiroom environment, and it is for home theatre”.

So, 2 options.

Or they will add further features via software update, or they completely miss the point.

If not, I cannot understand the HDMI utility, since they stated only “in order to allow you to turn on off the system with TV remote”... ok, thanks Sonos, I’m actually able to do that with optical with my playbar and LG TV remote
Userlevel 7
Badge +17
It gets rid of the problem with tvs that do not pass DD5.1 out over optical....
I was hoping , like many others, that HDMI would bring new codecs.
Userlevel 1
Badge +5
It gets rid of the problem with tvs that do not pass DD5.1 out over optical....
I was hoping , like many others, that HDMI would bring new codecs.


Again... not correct... if the TV does not pass the 5.1 trough optical, HDMI audio extractor are available for 15$... and guess what? Sonos include its own HDMI extractor in Sonos Beam package... So... HDMI utility is nor for the TV remote, neither for the 5.1 pass trough... IF they don’t add new codec, it’s completely useless... IMO
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Won't ARC HDMI step down Dolby Atmos to DD 5.1 for the Beam … which is all you actually need. Yes No DTS.

This is a playbar jr. with HDMI not a playbar 2. Be disappointed all you want but the market for this speaker is more entry level then you hoped for. Is what it is.

Beam isn't trying to be a "game changer" its trying to be a good value.
Userlevel 1
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The only unknown with the Beam still is it's HDMI port, I can't find anything in the FAQ to tell me if it's HDMI 2.0c or HDMI 2.1, does anyone know?

If it is 2.1, that leave Sonos with room to upgrade the Beam via software updates that could add new codecs later on (not that Atmos will ever be supported)

Aww I'm clutching at straws here, sonos doesn't give a shit about us home theatre users


this is what i got on twitter:
Hi XXX, we're fully compatible with everything above HDMI 1.4. However the enhanced features of eARC will not make too much difference to the Beam, as it cannot process the super-high bandwidth audio formats such as Dolby Atmos.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I was told atmos input into tv will downconvert in tv to dd 5.1 to send via arc to beam.
Userlevel 7
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People like me who have 1000s of dollars worth of Sonos equipment but are thinking about selling them all because of the home cinema experience.


Again, doesn't sound line loyal fan to me. Not that you need to be. However, you bought sonos because of the features it had then right? Those features haven't changed. O get that the Beam is the product you wish it was. So don't buy it. If i get one, it won't be to replace my playbar since this is not playbar 2.0.


Every day someone posts here on this forum who has just discovered that his 1500$ home cinema setup can't play common home cinema audio codecs.


It happens when people make assumptions, yes. In fact, most peiple know nothing of codecs, they just want it to work and sound good. Honestly, although tge beam can bond with other speakers it feels more lije a stand alone soundbar to me.


You have so much hassle owning a Sonos Home Cinema set with fiddling with transcoding devices, optical switches, etc, all because Sonos knows best and refuses to support anything but 20 year old dolby digital. So you can have compressed 5.1 audio from the nineties.


I haven't had any troubles with my setup.
Userlevel 1
Badge +5
I personally am very happy with my Sonos 5.1 setup with playbar sub and play:1 x 2. All it’s OK, and I can convert DTS do DD 5.1 with my PS4 or Xbox One. My only regret is that I have a Dolby Vision Oled, and I need a Dolby Vision player, that Xbox one does not support.. every Dolby Vision player does not convert DTS to DD 5.1. That’s my problem. I don’t need Dolby true HD, DTS Master Audio, Atmos or DTS:X... 5.1 if sound is good as Sonos is, is more than enough. But lack of DTS 5.1 is IMHO a stupid way to proceed, in 2018, for NEW home theatre speaker, with HDMI support.
Userlevel 3
Badge +7
Sorry JackWright but I don't agree with you. After years of complaints from customers on this very community forum, Sonos continues to ignore requests from their most loyal fans and again choose to not include support for DTS codec in this so called home theater product. This is a typical example of big brother telling you that you don't know what you want, so "they will tell you what you want!". I haven't added to my Sonos system in years and until they decide to listen I won't spend another cent on their products.

By 'most loyal fans' , do you mean the folks who are constantly bashing Sonos and threatening to go buy competitor products if their demands aren't met? That's sort of a weird definition of loyal fan.

The Beam isn't a home theater product per se. Yes, it works with your tv, but it's designed for small to medium rooms, not your home theater.


No, by loyal fans I mean people like me who have spent thousands on their products and use them everyday. Why do I use them everyday? Because they are the best whole home audio solution I have found.

What do you mean by "The Beam isn't a home theater product per se"? That doesn't make any sense. Why is this forum titled "home theater" and why is Sonos advertising it as a "home theater" product"? Seriously, that's a weak argument.

With that said, yeah, I get what you're saying. If you have invested money on a home theater room, you're going to invest in high end home theater audio equipment. I finally yanked the Playbar, Sub and 2 Play 3's from my home theater and replaced them with Klipsch speakers and a Atmos receiver. But that was "after" Sonos released the Playbar leading consumers to believe it was a legitimate wireless home theater solution. In fact, they never intended to support codecs other than the 1990's Dolby 5.1 codec. When asked if they had plans in a future update to support dts, all they said was "we don't comment on future plans".

Then, they release the Playbase... just a rehashed Playbar. Then the Beam... nothing new. I mean give use something to get excited about.

You can defend Sonos all you want. I think they are the best whole home audio solution around. But considering this is 2018 and they still refuse to support anything other than a 25 year old codec should be a concern to anyone considering investing the amount of money they demand for their home theater products.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Actually this is a very low price pricepoint for what it offers.
Userlevel 4
Actually this is a very low price pricepoint for what it offers.

I am super impressed by the price myself...
When you think about other audio products that fit the same target audience as this, and then think about the prices of each of those speakers you begin to understand how £400 is a bargain. Most other speakers this competes with like the Google Home Max, smart assistants and other branded soundbars just limit you.

This new Sonos soundbar has a mixture of the best of all those three and brings along that Sonos simplicity and sound quality with it. I haven't pre-ordered it, as Sonos (every year around summer) offer me and my friends at work a 50% off code because we sell their products in a qualifying store (another reason on top of many others as to why I love Sonos).

So I will see if I can use that - if not I will happily pay full price. But if I do get it for £200, that will be the top purchase of the last few years for me mainly because I can pair it with my two Play 1's and SUB and enjoy music and YouTube all around me. The hype gahh!
Userlevel 7
Badge +21


No, by loyal fans I mean people like me who have spent thousands on their products and use them everyday. Why do I use them everyday? Because they are the best whole home audio solution I have found.

What do you mean by "The Beam isn't a home theater product per se"? That doesn't make any sense. Why is this forum titled "home theater" and why is Sonos advertising it as a "home theater" product"? Seriously, that's a weak argument.

With that said, yeah, I get what you're saying.


If what i said doesn't make any sense, how do you get what I'm saying?


If you have invested money on a home theater room, you're going to invest in high end home theater audio equipment. I finally yanked the Playbar, Sub and 2 Play 3's from my home theater and replaced them with Klipsch speakers and a Atmos receiver. But that was "after" Sonos released the Playbar leading consumers to believe it was a legitimate wireless home theater solution. In fact, they never intended to support codecs other than the 1990's Dolby 5.1 codec. When asked if they had plans in a future update to support dts, all they said was "we don't comment on future plans".


Considering that your typical speaker/receiver company will always support the latest codecs no matter how many customers really care, i can see why you'd have that frustration if it' s a priority to you.




Then, they release the Playbase... just a rehashed Playbar. Then the Beam... nothing new. I mean give use something to get excited about.


Nothing new? It is rhe first Sonos soundbar for a smaller room, had built in voice control, and uses ARC to control rhe tv. Plenty new, just not anything that excites you personally.


You can defend Sonos all you want. I think they are the best whole home audio solution around. But considering this is 2018 and they still refuse to support anything other than a 25 year old codec should be a concern to anyone considering investing the amount of money they demand for their home theater products.


It's not a matter of defending Sonos, it's a matter of stating the facts. If you want a soundvar for a medium dize room, try the beam. A larger room, try the playbar or playbase. If you want all tge latest codecs for a dedicated theatre theater room, buy someone elses product with a connect attached if you want it part of the wholehouse.
Userlevel 4
Badge +2
“Again, doesn't sound line loyal fan to me. Not that you need to be. However, you bought sonos because of the features it had then right? Those features haven't changed. O get that the Beam is the product you wish it was. So don't buy it. If i get one, it won't be to replace my playbar since this is not playbar 2”

That’s the point my friend. It is advertised as a product that plays everything, not bits and pieces of codecs, everything. That’s why I bought mine and that’s why I am disappointed. Far from everything, it plays next to nothing.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21

That’s the point my friend. It is advertised as a product that plays everything, not bits and pieces of codecs, everything. That’s why I bought mine and that’s why I am disappointed. Far from everything, it plays next to nothing.


The ads I've seen have stated 'everything' in terms of music, tv, movies...not specifically in terms of home theatre codecs. Maybe you've seen different ads. That said, I can see where the context isn't clear, particularly when you're preconceived expectations and assumptions. Not a problem with that in itself, I've really just trained myself to always look at the details of a product before buying. The tech world is too complex, too many formats and such out there to make assumptions any more. That works for me since I'm relatively tech savvy, but not as good for the average got who doesn't even really know what a codec is, much less the various formats out there.

I do think the home theatre audio segment/industry has done a slight disservice to the customers. There are many codecs out there that customers are not aware of and don't know what they really mean, how they differ. Many/most receiver amp companies kind of make it easy for customers by just supporting everything under the sun, maybe at extra cost to the customer. So it's not surprising that customers don't expect Sonos to do the same.

But regarding the volume of codecs, it would be great if there were better established and communicated standards out there. For video, it's been more straight forward. You had beta, then vhs, then dvd, Blu-ray, now 4k. I don't think there was much confusion about what player you needed to play these formats, and what the advantage of each format was.
There have been some failed (relatively) formats over the years too, like laser discs. That's partially do to the physical form of the media and partially do to a lot of communication and labeling. The same is somewhat true for music, going form LPs, 8 track, cassettes, CDs, and now mp3s (basically). There wasn't a whole lot of confusion about what media formats you could use on your player and why you wanted a particular format.

But HT codecs are different. It has no real physical form you can hold in your hand. People don't really know the differences between formats or why one is better then the other. There isn't one format that has clearly won out over the others (it seems) to make customer choice clear. Although players maybe marked with what formats they play, media isn't, or the labeling is small and ignored (or maybe that's just me). You're mostly just looking at the video format you're getting, not the associated audio format.

So I get the desire to have Sonos play all the different codecs, but I also think the industry in general has done a poor job of educating the buyers on formats, what they mean, and 'picking a winner', a standard across all. Again that maybe hard for HT audio codecs since they are more complex and lack a physical form that customers can clearly see.
Userlevel 4
Badge +2

That’s the point my friend. It is advertised as a product that plays everything, not bits and pieces of codecs, everything. That’s why I bought mine and that’s why I am disappointed. Far from everything, it plays next to nothing.


The ads I've seen have stated 'everything' in terms of music, tv, movies...not specifically in terms of home theatre codecs. Maybe you've seen different ads. That said, I can see where the context isn't clear, particularly when you're preconceived expectations and assumptions. Not a problem with that in itself, I've really just trained myself to always look at the details of a product before buying. The tech world is too complex, too many formats and such out there to make assumptions any more. That works for me since I'm relatively tech savvy, but not as good for the average got who doesn't even really know what a codec is, much less the various formats out there.

I do think the home theatre audio segment/industry has done a slight disservice to the customers. There are many codecs out there that customers are not aware of and don't know what they really mean, how they differ. Many/most receiver amp companies kind of make it easy for customers by just supporting everything under the sun, maybe at extra cost to the customer. So it's not surprising that customers don't expect Sonos to do the same.

But regarding the volume of codecs, it would be great if there were better established and communicated standards out there. For video, it's been more straight forward. You had beta, then vhs, then dvd, Blu-ray, now 4k. I don't think there was much confusion about what player you needed to play these formats, and what the advantage of each format was.
There have been some failed (relatively) formats over the years too, like laser discs. That's partially do to the physical form of the media and partially do to a lot of communication and labeling. The same is somewhat true for music, going form LPs, 8 track, cassettes, CDs, and now mp3s (basically). There wasn't a whole lot of confusion about what media formats you could use on your player and why you wanted a particular format.

But HT codecs are different. It has no real physical form you can hold in your hand. People don't really know the differences between formats or why one is better then the other. There isn't one format that has clearly won out over the others (it seems) to make customer choice clear. Although players maybe marked with what formats they play, media isn't, or the labeling is small and ignored (or maybe that's just me). You're mostly just looking at the video format you're getting, not the associated audio format.

So I get the desire to have Sonos play all the different codecs, but I also think the industry in general has done a poor job of educating the buyers on formats, what they mean, and 'picking a winner', a standard across all. Again that maybe hard for HT audio codecs since they are more complex and lack a physical form that customers can clearly see.



I think I’ve just been very politely called stupid! 😉
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Not at all my intention, and I don't know which part you're talking about.

For the record, I am no expert on codecs myself. In my head, it's mono, stereo, a bunch of HT codecs, then atmos. I couldn't tell you the difference between DD 5+1, DD+, DTS, DD HD, etc. I probably even got some of those wrong. Like you, I'd rather it just work. I don't want to know the difference. For the most part it does with my playbar, although I'm sure I'm being downgraded to stereo when I don't realize it.

So perhaps I'm the stupid one. I don't really care. I generally try and look at issues from different perspectives on these boards, to put myself in the shoes of the average customer, Sonos decision makers, etc. Sometimes that's right, sometimes that's wrong.
Userlevel 4
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Ha ha. No, your posts are very helpful. Thank you.
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In my opinion stereo separation is the the only thing missing. In the playbase is practically unnoticeable. Most modern people stream so DTS is irrelevant and who wants to have 20 speakers hanging in a normal family room so you can say it support Atmos? I must say stereo separation makes music feel better. I was really keen to get a 5.1 but there are very few scenes in very few movies where I say wow.
Userlevel 4
Badge +2
In my opinion stereo separation is the the only thing missing. In the playbase is practically unnoticeable. Most modern people stream so DTS is irrelevant and who wants to have 20 speakers hanging in a normal family room so you can say it support Atmos? I must say stereo separation makes music feel better. I was really keen to get a 5.1 but there are very few scenes in very few movies where I say wow.

I am delighted for "modern people" for whom a fast internet connection is within their providers gift. For the rest of us DTS remains thee most relevant issue in a Sonos 5.1 system. I don't want 20 speakers in my living room either that's why I tried the Sonos Playbase + 3 to achieve 5.1 in a more discreet manner, sadly it has been a disappointment from start to finish. People really need to stop sticking up for Sonos for no good reason. Do their speakers reek of quality and deliver good stereo sound? Yes they do. Do Sonos advertise a 5.1 system that will play every source? Yes they do. Do they actually provide one? No they don't. Do they listen to their customers? No they don't. Did Blackberry make the best mobile phones? Yes they did. Where are Blackberry now?