Sonos PLAYBAR review

Sonos Playbar Review – Is it the best for TV?

SONOS PLAYBAR for TV – It was Love at First Sound

It was a rainy day in February. We had just brought home our very first large flat screen TV.

Excitedly, we ripped open the box, got it all set up, turned it on and selected a movie. WOW – what a picture – huge screen – almost like being at the movies except…except…for one crucial thing – THE SOUND.

It was awful, I mean, really bad. Not that this came as such a surprise, but still it was just about intolerable. We already had a tangled mess of wires from all our components and didn’t want to add to the mess with the typical receiver and speaker system.

We’d heard about TV soundbars and wondered if that might be the solution.

We stumbled upon a company called Sonos that was about to release it’s own version.

There was a lot of excitement on the web about this product release and we wanted to know: what’s all the buzz about?

We soon found out when we purchased the Sonos Playbar shortly after its release in March. It was literally love at first sound.

I have created this article so you, too, can fall in love – not with some product –
but with the sounds of the universe: not just in movies, not just your personal music collection, but all the music happening NOW – across this planet.

Music from across the planet?

Sonos PLAYBAR for TVHow does it do that? The Sonos Playbar has allowed us to stream into our home any music available through the internet.

In addition to our iTunes library, we can now listen to hundreds of thousands of Internet radio stations, plus free and paid subscription music services.

That’s a LOT of music!

We don’t even have to turn on our computer.

We are able to control the volume with our TV remote and simply use our iPad* to access our iTunes or Pandora, our favorite portal to free internet radio.

This TV sound bar also provides us with great sound for any of our devices we have attached to our TV, like Directv and our Nintendo Wii.

And of course you can use any MP3 you can download. We download all of ours from zippyaudio and then just let it play for hours and hours. Great for doing housework or other mindless tasks!

* Works with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Android device

Where is the Best Place to Get the Sonos Playbar?

We bought ours from Sonos. Here’s why:

Sonos offers a 45 day no questions asked return policy on all their products.
This gave us plenty of time to really check this soundbar out.

We knew that if we didn’t like it, we could just pay the return shipping a get a full refund. In comparison, Amazon offers a 30 day return policy, and Best Buy gives you 15 days.

I searched and finally found one savings deal.

You can get Free 2 Day Shipping on all Sonos Products. At checkout, first select Fedex 2Day and then enter code FREESHIPG.

5 Reasons We Chose This TV Soundbar

Photo Courtesy of SONOS1. One of the things we love most about using our soundbar is that FINALLY we can always make out the dialogue no matter how intense the action is, plus once we adjust the volume at the beginning of watching a movie or TV, we never have to adjust it again.

The Sonos Playbar has technology that allows it to automatically adjust instantaneously to the various sounds happening on our TV.

2. I often have insomnia and there’s a special feature called Night Mode that compresses the volume so I can hear all the details without having to wear earphones and without waking the family (or the neighbor’s dog).

This has been a real blessing.

3. Another reason we chose this sound bar over competitors is that we knew over time we could expand it into a whole house music system using the wireless speakers from Sonos.

We’d once wired a whole house for music using “miles of speaker wire”. We knew we never wanted to have to do that again and this system could make that possible.

4. It’s super easy to set up. We connected the Sonos Bridge to our Internet router, pressed a couple buttons on the equipment plus our iPad and we were good to go. Took about 15 minutes.

If we ever wanted to add a subwoofer or additional speakers, it would be that simple, too.

5. The Sonos Playbar is different from other soundbars in that all products from Sonos are Smart Technology.

This means that as the technology improves over time, you don’t need to buy a new playbar or speaker.

You can simply upgrade the software for free. This can mean a big savings over time.

We were on the fence because of the price, but this last point cinched it for us.

Expanding our Home Audio System

When we ordered the playbar, we wondered if we would be satisfied with just a TV soundbar, versus having a full 5.1 surround sound system.

We were delightfully surprised just how well the Sonos sound bar could simulate an experience of surround sound, especially if we sat between 2 and 12 feet from the TV.

After about a month, curiosity got the better of us and we wondered what it would be like to also have the Sonos subwoofer and two Play 3 wireless speakers to create a true 5.1 home theater.

Having the two wireless speakers also meant we could move them any time we wanted to into another room in the house. Since we could return it all within 45 days we decided to take the risk.

Wow! We were (almost literally) blown away by the sound.

To inaugurate our new system, we invited our friends over to watch the entire Matrix Trilogy.

It was amusing to see how many times we all ducked for cover – the sound was so alive – it was hard to tell certain scenes weren’t really happening in our living room.

As time passed, we had to admit – we had become hooked on Sonos.

We ended up getting a Sonos Play 5 speaker for the kitchen and two more Play 3’s to move around, including on our back porch. (While the speakers don’t require speaker wire, they do have to be plugged into a wall outlet for power – so they can go anywhere there’s access to electricity.)

4 Fun Things To Do With This System

  1. Have a world music theme party. Pick a country and serve food from that country too.
  2. Expand on idea number 1 by playing music from different countries in different rooms. And don’t forget to match up the food with each country you’ve picked. To end the evening, choose the same song to play in-sync (ie. BLAST) in every room –
    like We Are The World, or whatever is your favorite.
  3. Create your own movie marathon weekends and invite your friends.
    Some good picks are The Matrix Trilogy, Lord of The Rings, Die Hard or Star Trek series.
  4. If you are fortunate to have a back yard pool or even a backyard,
    you can listen to your favorite playlist out there.

Commonly Asked Questions about the Sonos Playbar:

Question: Will I need the Sonos Bridge?

Answer: That depends on where you plan to put the playbar. If the playbar is in a room not far from your internet router, then you can run an ethernet cable between the playbar and your router. However – for most people, their internet router will be in another room.

In this case – get the Bridge and connect that to your router. The Bridge will then be able to “talk” to the playbar and any Sonos speakers you have, wherever they are located.

In other words – all speakers will then have access to the Internet without any wires.

Question: My television does not have a digital optical port. Will the playbar work with my TV?

Answer: Unfortunately, no it won’t. The playbar has to be connected to your TV via a digital optical cable.

Some people have claimed you can use a toslink converter to convert coax to digital optical but Sonos says this will not work.

Question: What’s this I hear about the playbar not being able to do the DTS format of certain Blu-Ray movies?

Answer: The Playbar lacks support for DTS, a type of surround sound format, which means there will be some blu-ray movies that won’t play audio in a 5.1 surround sound format even with an optical (S/PDIF) switch. However, assuming your Blu-Ray player is connected to your TV and your TV is connected to your Sonos Playbar, the TV will convert the sound into PCM format when it goes through the digital optical cable to the Playbar.

It will play fine and you’ll still get the virtual surround sound effect – it just won’t be the true 5.1 surround sound.The Playbar does support 5.1 Dolby Digital.

Question: I already own two Sonos Play:5 speakers. Can I use them with my playbar to create a full surround sound system?

Answer: You can only pair the Play:3 speakers with the Sonos Playbar and not the Play:5 speakers.

Sonos explains:

“PLAY:5 wireless hardware does not support surround sound functionality and firmware cannot be updated to support it. PLAY:5 was designed to be our best all-in-one music player and is perfect for use as a standalone unit or combined in stereo pair mode.

PLAY:3 was designed to deliver great sound as a stand-alone music player – it also has electronics that are optimized for surround sound, which, coupled with a smaller form factor and mounting hardware makes it/them convenient to use as surround speakers.”

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