Sonos unleashes PlayBar wireless sound bar, unclutters your home theater setup

sonos playbar

Check out our full review of the Sonos PlayBar soundbar.

If you lack the space or funds for a dedicated 5.1 surround sound setup at home, sound bars are your best option if you want to enjoy great sound quality with the fancy HDTV you purchased over the holidays. Sound bars are compact, affordable, easy to install, and most new models come with a wireless subwoofer. On the flip side, only a few sound bars are capable of processing surround formats such as Dolby Digital TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio, and, while the sound quality can be extremely good, you are not really getting a true surround experience – it’s more like a 3.1 set-up. Though not the first to offer a wireless sound bar system (Vizio), Sonos pulled back the curtains today on its PlayBar: a unique sound bar capable of providing a true 5.1 setup.

The new PlayBar, which will be available March 5 starting at $700, looks like a great option for those who hate cables, love high-end sound quality, and who want a home theater system that works equally well with music.

The PlayBar is only 35 inches by 5 inches by 3 inches (W x H x D) and weighs in at around 12 pounds, making it very easy to install. Setup options include mounting it underneath or above your HDTV on the wall, or placing it on a tabletop. An internal sensor detects the orientation and modifies the EQ to give you the best sound quality.

Sonos is all about wireless audio, and that’s where the PlayBar is a major departure from the competition. The best way to connect the PlayBar to your system is to run the supplied digital optical cable from your HDTV to the optical digital input on the sound bar. Connect your Blu-ray player, cable box, media streamer, or video game console to the HDTV, and control everything via your PC or Mac, iPhone, Android phone, or iPad.

An app for all three is already available for free from Sonos. A remote control doesn’t come with the unit, but, like most sound bars, you can program your TV’s remote to control all the PlayBar’s functions. It also works well with most universal remotes, such as the Logitech Harmony series.

The PlayBar connects to your home router via wireless or Ethernet connection, opening up the door to thousands of Internet radio stations and streaming services, like Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Cloud Player, MOG, and music stored on a NAS drive. It works well with iTunes and can playback AIFF, AAC, and FLAC files.

Each of the nine drivers inside the PlayBar have their own Class D amplifier, and, according to our friends at Big Picture Big Sound who had a private demonstration in California last week, the new Sonos system sounds very promising.

To turn the PlayBar into a true 5.1 system, you need to add a few pieces to the puzzle, including the Sonos Sub and Play:3 wireless loudspeaker system. Those three components raise the price to $2,000 for a complete system, but, for some, the wireless aspect will be a strong enticement. Minus the power cords and one optical cable, you’re looking at a cable-free surround system that will not only have great visual appeal but sound good as well.

Is $2,000 a lot to pay for a wireless surround system when you could do it cheaper (with cables) for less? For those with installation issues or who don’t want to see a single cable ever again, it may be the most viable option.

Home Theater

You can get a top-tier Vizio P Series TV for a song this Black Friday

Vizio has announced a slew of Black Friday deals for those interested in new home theater offerings, but none are more enticing than the deals the company is running on its top-tier P-Series and P-Series Quantum TVs.
Home Theater

From game consoles to 4K UHD spinners, these are the best Blu-ray players

Streaming may be popular, but the disc isn't dead yet. To get the very best picture and sound quality from your system, you need to be watching Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, and these are the best Blu-ray players you can buy.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Computing

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.
Home Theater

Put your home theater to the test with these spectacular Blu-ray releases

What's the point of having all of that awesome home theater gear if you can't breed a little jealousy in your friends and family? We've put together this list of fantastic Blu-rays that have the goods to drop a few jaws.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Product Review

These AirPod look-alikes are better in every way but one

With silicone eartips, water resistance, and a more palatable price tag, Mobvoi’s Ticpods Free are impressive AirPod doppelgangers. But for all the great things they have going for them, there’s one flaw holding them back.
Home Theater

Learn how to calibrate your home theater speakers for sheer audio bliss

Make your home theater rumble just right with our manual speaker setup guide, a simple, step-by-step walkthrough to getting the most from your audio equipment without needing to rely on imperfect automatic calibration.
Home Theater

How to make your TV squeaky clean for not much green

Not sure how to clean the LCD, OLED, or plasma display that's the cornerstone of your living room? You don't need to buy expensive cleaning solutions to clean your TV -- we'll teach you how to do it with simple household items.
Home Theater

If you've got questions about Ultra HD Blu-ray, we've got answers

Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players are a killer way to beef up your home theater. Here's everything you need to know about one of the most significant advances to hit home entertainment in years.
Deals

All the Best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Deals

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (December 2018)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in November and December 2018, from new original series to classic films.
Product Review

Hisense’s new H8E 4K TV serves up a pretty picture at a very nice price

Budget TVs continue to get more attractive and that includes the latest from Chinese TV maker Hisense. The company’s new H8E, which offers 4K resolution, HDR, and a slick design for well under $500.