This Is The New Sonos Playbar

Nearly one hundred years after launch, the Sonos Playbar is finally getting a refresh. Beyond drastically different styling of Sonos’ first home theater offering, Apple AirPlay 2 seems like a lock and Dolby Atmos rumors are swirling. However, these company renders aren’t entirely complete given the obscured power outlet and nary an HDMI port to be found — which is a requirement for the higher fidelity audio format. So either the back plate isn’t fully illustrated or additional ports are recessed within the ledge or placed elsewhere along the soundbar… with no guarantees of HDMI (or a return of Ethernet).

As you can see, the new Sonos Playbar comes in both black and white and swaps side-mounted transport control buttons with the modernized approach of touch sensitive surfaces along the top (and visual indicators, too). Related, whereas the rectangular v1 could be placed in two orientations, it appears the more cylindrical Playbar 2 will retain the same position irrespective of flat surface placement or wall mount. One possible beta tester suggests the new Playbar is about 10″ longer than the prior – beyond potentially looking nicer when paired with larger televisions, it’d likely improve forward channel separation. But, sadly, I have no detail on speaker quality or count, including the possibility of upward firing audio. On the technical front, recent FCC filings suggest the addition of 802.11ac.

Unfortunately, the Beam didn’t work out for my household due to audio delay lip sync issues that couldn’t be resolved. Whether the technical failure is on the set-top, the television, or Sonos itself is irrelevant. As such, I’ve been hoping either a Beam successor or modernized Playbar might feature multiple HDMI inputs for 4K video switching to overcome issues such as these. While I fully expect the 2020 Sonos Playbar will incorporate HDMI ARC, it doesn’t seem likely my particular wishlist item will make the cut.

The updated Playbar is expected to be joined by a revised Play:5 and Sub, with the announcements scheduled for 5/6.

20 thoughts on “This Is The New Sonos Playbar”

  1. If the lead sentence of this article is correct, I’d say that the Sonos soundbar is long overdue for a replacement: “Nearly ONE HUNDRED YEARS after launch, the Sonos Playbar is finally getting a refresh.” [emphasis added]

  2. Excellent, I have successfully communicated my point. :) Sonos product longevity ~hardware and ongoing support~ is probably unattached in the modern consumer electronics market. Having said that, the landscape changes over time. 802.11ac, voice assistants, HDMI ARC, AirPlay 2 were non-factors in 2013 and the average television size was likely smaller. So let’s leverage current and likely cheaper components of greater capabilities to really speak to the discerning consumer.

  3. Again Sonos shows it doesn’t understand it’s main source of income; custom integrators. Having only HDMI ARC to source audio does not play 100% with remote equipment location. Having sold close to $45k in Sonos product over the last several years I am disappointed in the current product direction. I will be looking for another line.

  4. Definitely lo-res picture, but could the port shown be Ethernet with the power and HDMI on the sides utilizing the same layout as the Beam?

  5. I’m not sure why they don’t just put out a 5.1/7.1 system. 2.1 is great with amp, but I (and i imagine many people) want surrounds and center channel with their own speakers. They would take business from denon/sony/etc.

  6. Jamison, pretty sure it’s optical but who knows. Others may not be pictured or placed elsewhere. There are additional back corner ridges where things could be housed.

  7. Beam audio quality was awesome and I was bummed I couldn’t overcome the audio delay. Some redditors are encouraging me to give it another go – my current config is somewhat different (goodbye TiVo), and maybe it’s worth another shot. I feel fairly confident it was the television that had a hard time passing 5.1 through in a timely fashion (processing? ACR implementation?), but it’s had a few firmware updates. May be worth another shot.

  8. I purchased a Beam for the bedroom and was disappointed in the bass. It was lacking. I ended up returning it and purchasing a Sonos Play Base which sounds excellent and has satisfying bass. I hope they address that issue in the new speakers but I’m doubtful. If they are going Dolby Atmos…I presume that means that bar now has upfiring speakers? I’m curious how exactly they are going to implement the height speakers. Maybe not integrated into the sound bar at all.

    I personally think they should add more bass to the bar rather than put upfiring speakers.

  9. @Jon,

    Pick up a sub and you get all the bass you ever wanted. If we want Atmos (like) sound from a soundbar, upfiring speakers are inevitable.

    @Dave Zatz,

    Are they replacing the current sub, or adding a cheaper/smaller model? Makes no sense to replace it, as the sub is great. I see a market for a cheaper model to go with Beam setups though.

  10. Comment to Jon about the bass. You’ll never get decent bass from a sound bar – the only solution is to get the sub. I have one – sounds awesome, and really gets the impact going in movies. A sound bar type solution will NEVER cut it basswise – its just not possible to move enough air to get good bass from such a small form factor.

  11. Rick, despite allusions to a smaller sub, this looks to be a direct replacement of the existing. But not certain.

    As to the bass discussion, it really depends what one is after – you can get rich, full sound from higher quality soundbars but thumping, butt-shaking bass would require a subwoofer.

  12. @Dave,

    Thanks for your answer.

    I am quite happy with my current sub, that thing leaves nothing to be desired for me.

    Looking forward to the bar though. I surely hope a decent Atmos solution (with eARC) is implemented. All though for a better object based experience, they should release upfiring rears also. Of which they could by using their Sonos One design.

  13. What’s with the soundbar fixation?? Would way rather see a pair of bookshelf speakers that connect to TV through HDMI/optical. Throw in voice support + Sonos ecosystem and that’s a winner! Klipsch & KEF have done this with their 2020 Fives and the LSX. It’s so indirect for Sonos to just keep making the soundbar wider – they should cut to the chase and separate channels!

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