614 of 637 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2013
Let me start by saying I'm a big fan of Sonos, with several rooms in my house already equipped with Zoneplayers, as well as a Play:5. So, when I recently bought a new TV, adding a Playbar seemed like the logical thing to do to upgrade from the in-built speakers.
So, for me, I'm not overly interested in the Playbar's qualities as a wireless music player. After all, this is a soundbar, fitted under my TV, specifically designed to give a home cinema experience according to Sonos - just take a look at all their current advertising, encouraging you to buy a couple of Play:1s to hook up with it for that 5.1 experience. The problem is, the Playbar doesn't deliver on its promise.
How do Sonos advise you to connect the Playbar to your system? Well, the only method they recommend (or will support if you have an issue) is that you take an optical output from your TV. Not from an amp, BluRay player or cable TV box, just from your TV. The problem is, if you feed your TV with an HDMI signal, then you will struggle to find any TV that will pass a 5.1 signal through its optical port - you will only get stereo. This means you won't get 5.1 from your Playbar and you won't get a surround channel to any Play:1s you've bought and connected. (You will get a pretty dire pseudo-5.1 that the Playbar will create from the stereo source).
OK, let's go the unsupported route and give the Playbar a 5.1 feed direct from your source. The problem here is that the Playbar will only play Dolby Digital 5.1, not DTS. Go and have a look at your current BluRay collection and see how many have a DD soundtrack - about 15% if you're lucky. All you will get from your Playbar is silence.
If you want a soundbar which accepts both DD and DTS 5.1 signals to play all your DVD/BluRays then there are plenty on the market that will do that not just for less, but for a fraction of the price of the Playbar.
Sonos is generally good, but the Playbar is a very ill-judged bit of kit. If you just want a better speaker for your flatscreen, you can get a good one for a third of the cost of the Playbar. If you want home cinema, then the Playbar can't provide it, despite what the Sonos advertising might tell you.
97 of 101 people found the following review helpful
I'm a massive Sonos fan. I'd been wanting to replace my bulky 5.1 speaker system with a Playbar since it was rumored. All their products have incredible sound quality so I was optimistic about this set up.
Set up is easy, sound quality is good for the unit. It's a nice product and looks great while being easy to operate.
After minimal tweaking I got the sound just right. Mids and highs are clean and crisp, voices are clear, and the Sub offers perfect deep/tight bass to Movies, Music and Games. This is an incredibly balanced combination that fills the room with accurate, high-quality sound. I honestly wasn't expecting to be this impresssed.
Here's the issue though: Sonos says they want you to use your TV as a hub, all the inputs going to the TV and then optical audio out from the TV to the Playbar. Great idea - but the problem is that most TV's won't pass Dolby Digital 5.1 surround from HDMI to the digital/optical audio. If it's from the TV itself (such as Netflix on a smart TV) it will pass 5.1 through the optical port but not from HDMI.
So if you have multiple sources (say an Xbox 360, Blu-Ray player, Apple TV, etc) there's no way for those sources to ever deliver 5.1 to the Playbar as Sonos intended (assuming you add a sub and some Play:3's to the mix). And you can't wire multiple inputs directly to the Playbar because they have a single input for the sake of simplicity. Normally I'm fine with this, but in light of the limitation with HDMI => optical pass through on TVs this became an oversight to me upon learning about the pass through issue. You can solve this by finding a TV or receiver that does pass through DD 5.1 through the optical audio, but you shouldn't have to. Alternatively you can use an optical audio switch, which is fine most of the time but may not work with a blu-ray player since Playbar lacks DTS support and are also limited on inputs, but this doesn't solve what to do for certain devices that don't have an optical audio port (e.g. most computers, Wii U, etc).
In the end you're left with a system that is capable of producing much better sound (especially if a sub and some Play:3s are added) that most everyone won't be able to hear and results in this not sounding as good as it costs. And that's just a shame to me.
* Easy set up
* It looks gorgeous
* Decent sound from stereo source
* Single optical input only
* No DTS support
* Entire package is expensive for 5.1 (or even 3.1)
* There are no official Windows RT or Windows Phone 8 apps
Ultimately I'm disappointed. Had Sonos included multiple audio inputs or HDMI pass through, or even better yet HDMI switching (in place of a receiver) then this could have been an amazing piece. But the reliance on a single optical input being provided from the TV, one which will down convert any HDMI source's audio to stereo sound, in the name of simplicity just seems like a bad idea.
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2014
Having moved house, I've been forced to retire my separate 5.1 Home Cinema amp and speakers from the living room. The speakers in my television alone (a recent Samsung) were a huge step down, so I sought to remedy with the Sonos. The amp was a fairly recent purchase itself and more expensive than this, so I had low expectations that the Sonos would be a worthy replacement, but I am pleasantly surprised by how close it is. I've been a happy Sonos user elsewhere in the house for a while, but was always a bit sceptical of the Soundbar.
I'd recommend checking your television carefully first. You must have an optical audio out that will output (and pass-through) Dolby Digital unmolested. Equally, you need to be able to disable the speakers in the television, and have a compliant remote. My Samsung ES7000 from 2013 does this, but by luck rather than judgement and many televisions may fall-short. In that case, buy a Yamaha Projector instead with HDMI. Many of the (probably deservedly) poor reviews come from those connecting the Playbar directly to disc players or set-top boxes, or connecting to TVs that output only stereo.
If you have a compliant television though, this really is good. A breeze to set-up, trivial to use once it is, and seems to do well with streamed material (Amazon Prime / Netflix) which tend to be Dolby Digital encoded. It sounds excellent, much closer to the separate system than I expected, and worlds better than the televisions own speakers.
I was worried by the lack of DTS, but the omission is explained by Sonos as no TVs pass-through DTS currently, making it a pointless feature if you connect the Playbar correctly. No streaming services are using DTS, and I find I rarely use discs these days anyway. Again, if you are more regular disc users, a Yamaha Projector with HDMI input may suit you better.
For me, the benefits in ease of use, the quality of sound, and seamless integration with the TV and the rest of my Sonos kit have made this a winner.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2015
Only initially planned to buy one play:1 speaker for music, but figured might be worth getting two play:1s in case I ever wanted Sonos surround sound for tv, so they could act as rear speakers. Bought them. Then read forums where customers were going on the rampage re their tv's inability to pass dolby digital 5.1 from external source and lack of DTS compatibility.
Liked the sound of the playbar in store - so started researching what TVs had the ability to pass 5.1 DD from external source. General consensus was that if you bought a Sony Bravia 2014 range or newer, you wouldn't need an HDMI switch with optical output to pass DD 5.1 from say, DVD player or xbox.
For all those desperate to find a TV that will do the business with sonos playbar and Sonos surround speakers - I've got it synced up to a Sony KDL-48 W605B. Just tried it for the first time tonight and used Monsters Inc dvd (audio format DD) and sonos controller confirms dolby digital 5.1 audio output. Sound quality exceptional. The idea of adding a sonos subwoofer and putting on Apocalypse Now is dribbleworthy. 5 stars.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2015
Like all Sonos products, the set up is easy and fast. If you're looking for a brilliant wireless music setup - go for it, this system is the one for you. For a music system I would happily place a Sonos speaker in every room in my house. I really can't fault it. Even the small speakers put out a terrific sound and blare out noise at top volume.
As a 5.1 surround system, however, it is my opinion that Sonos should not be allowed to advertise any of their products as such. Yes, it is true that in extraordinarily exceptional circumstances you can achieve a 5.1 system - but you will pay a fortune doing so and will likely have to replace the TV set you have in order to use the system. The reason for this is that the Playbar does not have an HDMI input, only an Optical cable. The truth is that 95% of all TV sets don't output 5.1 through the optical cable and, when they do, you will get nothing more than basic 5.1. The cable cannot carry anything more - forget about 5.1 DTS. Unfortunately Sonos refuse to release a Playbar 2 with an HDMI input, despite hundreds of customer requests. If they did, you would be able to stream 5.1 DTS and with a few software updates you could probably even achieve a 7.1 system. But until then, it just isn't worth the money...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 23 April 2015
Why pay £599 from Amazon UK when amazon.it sells for £475 and £5 for a cable from Sonos?
Great if you already have a Sonos system, if you want it to double up as your stereo in the TV room otherwise I'm not sure I'd pay £475 for it. Also at this price, the optical cable provided is completely rubbish, come on Sonos you are charging £600 in the UK for this, surely you could bulk buy some decent optical cables and include these?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2015
I love my Sonos Playbar!
This is the beginning of my Sonos collection. We recently moved house to discover that the standard speakers in our TV (mine's a Samsung UE48h6400) weren't cutting it in the new living room. I decided that I wanted to upgrade the sound for the TV and I've been looking for an excuse to get a Sonos speaker so this was the obvious choice.
From the moment you plug it in, the experience is fantastic. With two wires you plug into the TV and the power and then switch it on. Then fire up the app (mine is on my Iphone 6) and you are guided through the entire setup process.
Highlights for me:
1. Remote calibration step allows me to use the volume controls on my sky remote to control the volume (as well as from the app)
2. Really simple to integrate my spotify premium account
3. Once set up, it was a matter of seconds for my other half to connect her Iphone 5s and use all the same functionality
4. Sound quality is fantastic. I've seen some gripes about the low end in other reviews but if I'm, honest, any more low end power is going to seriously anger the neighbours!
5. Switching from TV sound to music streaming is seamless and really easy from the app. (so easy that we've taken to dubbing the adverts with our own soundtracks)
I highly recommend the Playbar and can't wait to expand my Sonos collection!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2015
Great item..As long as your TV has an optical out and you can find the menu on the tv to turn off the tv speakers. Works well with Sony Bravia 2012 tv. linked to my sky remote with no problem so instead of having lots of remotes hidden around the room the sky remote still controls sky, tv and sonos volume..Only minor irritation is the on screen volume display does not quite match the actual sonos volume however you soon get over this fairly minor issue. Great for music, tv and films sound much better.. before the sonos we had to turn the tv up for films to hear the words then there would be a noisy scene and you would have to scrabble for the remote to turn it down before baby woke up! Now with the speach enhancement feature on the Sonos you can hear everything clearly and the night mode stops any baby waking booms.Also great for music. Highly recommended and well made speaker.
72 of 87 people found the following review helpful
had no real intention of buying this and had popped into my local AV shop to buy another Play 5 system, walking out with this only after a very good sales pitch and demo.
First impressions while unpacking and getting to actually handle it were very positive. In typical Sonos style it's built to a very high standard and you do feel you have spend your money on something very impressive and good quality.
Installing was straight forward, but this is my third Sonos device so I am used to using their products. First time users should not have too many hair pulling moments and that's the beauty of Sonos kit.
Once installed you have access to all the usual Sonos features (internet radio, Napster Spotify, Last FM, Deezer etc) and anything you've got on your home network.
The major issue is that the only way to connect the Playbar to your TV is via an optical cable connection. My 'smart' TV is fairly new and happened to have this but I suspect most TV sets will not. If your TV does not have an optical out connection this is not a complete deal breaker as you can connect to another source with optical (SKY HD or Virgin Box for example) but you would be restricted to listening through that device and to watch a Bluray for example you would have to disconnect from your Sky box and connect the cable into the back of the BD player....Not ideal.
There are two Ethernet ports and also built in wireless and the soundbar can be controlled by the Sonos Android or iOS app. Usefully it can also be made to respond to your TV or or Sky remote with a bit of messing around.
The sound is a major improvement on my LG TV and this is the major reason I bought it, but in my opinion this alone will not replace a dedicated 5.1 or 7.1 AV Speaker system. Interestingly you can also buy the Sonos Sub and add wireless rear speakers buy buying additional Play 3's or Play 5's but the costs will mount up quite quickly and I feel you would be better of buying a half decent AV Receiver and adding dedicated speakers if that's your goal.
If however you are limited in space and looking for a really elegant and simple solution to simply improve on your TV sound this is a great solution, just beware of its limitations in terms of connectivity and be prepared to spend some serious cash if you want decent surround sound.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 5 August 2014
Like the most recent reviews this is pricey but overall well worth it imho. My introduction to Sonos started when I was shown it when looking at bluetooth speakers. I was soon the owner of a couple of Play 1s a few weeks ago. I think the Play 1s in themselves will bring new users to Sonos. Build quality and output it superb. Prior to the Play 1 individual Sonos speakers in rooms were expensive. I purchased one to replace my squeezebox radio (was good but always temperamental). I am now up to 4 Play 1s. Because I liked the Play 1s so much in a stereo pair in my living room, it occurred to me I could ditch my AV system with wires everywhere and have the beauty of streaming content or different content to any part of the house with Sonos's propriety Sononsnet. This is rock solid with no glitches or dropouts and so easy to setup and control from any hand held device etc. Anyway the only way to get rid of my 5:1 AV setup was to purchase the Playbar. Combined with the Play 1's set to surround its pretty good. You need to get the settings right at explained for "ambient" or "full" and adjust treble, bass and loudness, but with the Playbar and Play 1s I think there is plenty of bass and I wouldn't want the sub in my semi detached house. The Playbars single optical input is a pain plus all the issues with inputing 5:1 from you telly even if you have an optical out on it. The simple solution is an optical switch into which you plug in all your inputs SKY, XBOX,Virgin, Blu-Ray, Apple TV etc and then output single optical to the Playbar. Again DTS is not a problem for me but even this can be got round by purchasing a Samsung Blu-Ray that undertakes DTS conversion. I have knocked off a star (would give it 4 and 1/2) for those final points though. For me the Playbar is a keeper with all the added bonus of other Sonos speakers and control around the house. I now need to set about unwiring all my AV equipment and finding a new home for it.