Sonos makes a second play for your TV with Playbase


The company April 4 availability of the $699 Playbase to complement its $699 Playbar soundbar, launched in 2013.

If your TV is wall-mounted, the Playbar is what Sonos would suggest.

Naturally, there is more significant bass when the SUB is involved but the PlayBase is more than capable on its own, filling the room with sound. One of them has a sound bar that slightly obscures the bottom of the screen. This means you'll be able to control it via the Sonos app, or select partner apps, like Spotify, and you'll have access to over 80 music services. Sales of soundbars, in contrast, continue to explode, with US wholesale sales rising in 2016 by an estimated 20 percent in units and 19 percent in dollars, Consumer Technology Association (CTA) statistics show.

Sonos has just revealed the latest piece of kit in its range, a soundbase that sits under a flatscreen TV.

It also comes in black so it blends right in with your TV base.

Now that I know about Sonos Playbase, I wonder if Sonos was spying on me. Many soundbar owners "cram sound in places where it doesn't fit". The Sonos Sub does a great job of supporting the Playbase and shifting a lot more air, so that's good if you want to rattle the room and annoy the neighbours.

Trueplay technology enables the device to adjust its output to the shape of the room. If not, for TVs that have legs on each side, the unit's height (2.28 inches) should allow it to fit between them underneath the display in many cases. Sonos' designers have structured the Playbase to withstand the weight of a TV "for years" and it feels that way.

Sonos says the Playbase and the Playbar should sound about the same, but I'd disagree.

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The Playbase acts as a base for your TV. HDMI video switching is left to the TV. The Playbase has been in the works for several years now - before voice became a major priority for Sonos - so that's likely the reason it can't respond to your Alexa queries. All TVs come with optical outputs for optical cables, he noted, and optical cables are thinner and lighter than HDMI cables.

Will the Playbase re-energise the sound base category?

Looking to upgrade your home theater audio but can't decide between a full surround-sound setup and a sound bar?

Sonos' Playbase will appear in Sonos listening rooms in West Elm furniture stores. For a Sonos product that's a pretty decent savings. Can be used as home theater rears and as a stereo pair. It also features six low-mid drivers and one tweeter in front, plus an internal active 5.25-inch woofer that exhausts through an S-shaped port to deliver bass.

The Sonos PlayBase connects to the Sonos platform wirelessly, like the rest of the Sonos line up.

Ian Popken, product creation leader at Sonos, was in charge of bringing the Playbase to market from start to finish and, during a tour of the firm's Boston HQ, the engineer recently gave WIRED an exclusive look at each design stage of its flagship product.

The surround virtualization technology in both products yields a wide sweet spot that is at least couch-wide, said Lehnert. Basically this measures the room and tweaks the sound to suit the environment.

It's unclear how long this deal will last, but if you move quickly you can snag a Sonos PLAY:3 on Amazon for $43 off the normal selling price.