I’ve been using Sonos’ brand new PLAYBAR for over a week, but it was apparent that the product is a hit even after just a few hours of use. The Sonos PLAYBAR is a sound bar, a high quality bar-shaped speaker enclosure that can be mounted below your television on the wall, or placed on your entertainment console to combine three front speakers into one. What makes the Sonos PLAYBAR so amazing is that it finally tackles a space that was so confusing, so commercialized, and so devoid of any innovation whatsoever.
By plugging the PLAYBAR directly into your television’s optical audio port, Sonos skips the headache of a receiver with cables, and configurations, and sound fields, and inputs — instead letting you experience incredible sound practically out of the box after just a minute or two of set-up.
The PLAYBAR sounds amazing. For television shows, for high-definition movies, for news broadcasts, or anything in between, I haven’t heard a better or clearer sound bar. There’s also a mode for voice-preferred listening and a late night mode that will normalize soft and loud audio, but the best part about the PLAYBAR is that it fits right in with your existing Sonos speaker system. This means you have independent control of the unit when you’re watching TV, but when you’re not, it can be grouped in to play whatever music you’re playing in your other speakers, bringing the Sonos experience to the living room wirelessly and with outstanding quality.
I have a Sonos SUB and you can pair it quickly and easily with the PLAYBAR to create a symphonic 3.1 listening experience, though even better is the ability to add a left and right PLAY:3 as surrounds to the back. This truly provides a complete 5.1 home theater set up.
It’s kind of remarkable that for so long you needed so much to achieve an experience like this: running wires, mounting speakers, setting up a receiver and programming universal remotes, among many other headaches. What’s more remarkable is that the Sonos living room delivers an even better experience, and with better sound than 99% of what you could recreate piece by piece, component by component. And that still wouldn’t give you a wireless configuration with access to limitless music, with the Apple-like satisfying experience that Sonos provides.
It’s very clear that Sonos is going to own the living room. I’m just trying to figure out what the company is going to go after next at this point.
The Boy Genius Report is a periodic column written by BGR founder Jonathan S. Geller. It offers insights and opinions on various products, companies and trends across the consumer electronics business and beyond.