Categories: AppleSonos

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.

View Comments

  • 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]

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

    • 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.

Published by
Dave Zatz