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Dealers Speculate on Rumored Sonos Playbar Soundbar

Dealers hope a rumored 802.11n soundbar from Sonos, called Playbar, will cost less than $1,000 and come with an IR remote.


FCC label for Sonos Playbar

Update on Feb. 12, 2013 at 10:30 AM EST: Sonos has officially announced the Sonos PlayBar soundbar for $699. Click here to read the story.

Is Sonos about to introduce its first soundbar? That’s been the rumor ever since the developer of wireless multiroom audio systems filed a notice with the FCC about an 802.11n-enabled “Playbar” device.

A Sonos soundbar would be a nice complement – and vice versa – for the company’s new subwoofer, introduced last year.

We noted back in 2010 that Sonos was hiring a senior product manager, home theater sound, to “re-invent home theater sound for the digital age.”

Perhaps the Playbar represents that reinvention.

Integrators chatting at hope so. Many of them have been invited to a Webinar next Tuesday, Feb. 12, presumably to announce the new product.

Dealers there are hoping that the soundbar – if it is one – comes in at less than $1,000 and can be controlled by something other than a tablet.

“This thing is dead in the water if it doesn’t come with a[n] IR remote or handheld remote of some type,” says 3PedalMINI, adding that “even something like the ATV remote would be fine.”

For his part, Innovative A/V says he tried a Sonos Connect amplifier with a couple of speakers as a trial run for a possible Sonos Soundbar.

“It drove me nuts,” he says. “Sounds good, but every time you need to adjust the volume or mute you have to wake up you controller (in my case the iPad), wait for it to grab the Sonos network and then adjust.”

Are you hoping for a Sonos soundbar? If so, what should be the cost and feature set?

See more RemoteCentral comments on the Playbar here.

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Article Topics

News · Product News · Audio · Speakers · Wireless A/V · Sonos · Wireless Audio · Playbar · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

24 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Loren Roetman  on  02/05  at  01:41 PM

Innovative A/V is just dumb and has fat fingers, has an old iPad without autolock never sleep feature set or has a terrible slow wireless network. 3PedalMINI fits the same model, why on earth would the sharpest product guys since Steve Jobs put out a half baked offering (you know, if there was actually something coming)? They should sharpen up their games before they spout off. Wise up!

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  02/05  at  02:06 PM

Having a bad day, Loren?

Posted by Mike Bruemmer  on  02/05  at  06:43 PM

Tablets and phones are a way of life and they are going to be included in control systems from here on out.  Most control apps allow you to disable sleep mode while the app is open.  Learn how to make them work right, learn networking, or you will be a dinosaur.

Posted by Techgirl  on  02/05  at  11:39 PM

That makes no sense… In a world where all home control seems to be moving to your smart devices, that is a weakness here?  If you ask me, remotes are as outdated as that opinion.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  02/06  at  07:56 AM

I am baffled by these comments. I would never buy a TV speaker that couldn’t be controlled by a hard-button remote. Touchscreen options are nice but hard-button fast-wake-up controllers are a must-have.

Posted by ericspencer  on  02/06  at  08:24 AM

Seriously?? phones and tablets are great for many things - frequent tasks like raising and lowering the volume requires hard button remote.

Posted by Jeff  on  02/06  at  12:14 PM

Agreed. iPad is cool but I will sell an actual hard button remote for any home theater system I install.

Posted by Lennon  on  02/06  at  01:57 PM

Same goes for me. I love my iPad and iPhone, but I would never use them as a primary remote control. Yes you can disable sleep and auto wake into app, but that kills the battery on a iPad or iPhone fast. Most of my customers have their TVs on all day, their iPad wouldn’t last. I sell URC remotes all day long, but I also sell the iPad feature along with it. I sell a ton of Sonos products, but a lot of sales don’t happen because they can’t be integrated into an existing control system.

Posted by 1TCH  on  02/06  at  02:19 PM

What iPad control systems are you installing? I don’t have any problems with the IOS and Android systems we install. Julie, what remote are you using in your system? What does your system consist of?

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  02/06  at  02:30 PM

I’ve had everything from the complex to the basic (our situation now). I’ve always had a hard-button remote by my side while watching TV, even if a nice touchscreen interface was available. Easy to mute, pause, etc.

Posted by Adam  on  02/06  at  03:11 PM

What ever happened to Crestron iPanel? That would have been perfect for Crestron installs.

Posted by Mike Poe  on  02/06  at  04:57 PM

I completely agree that a sound bar will require something in addition to the iOS app. For a customer to be required to use multiple apps or controls to watch TV is senseless. As Lennon stated I too have either lost sales or have been reluctant to sell some SONOS systems due to the inability integrate with other systems or controls. URC did informed me that Extra Vegetables has drivers for SONOS. This will be a great addition giving you the ability to control your entire system with one remote and notably one that will stay in one place unlike the iPad that is gone with the kids playing games or of to work the parents.

Posted by Michel Plante  on  02/06  at  05:03 PM

The good old “leaking” information strategy seems to work again for our friends at Sonos, remember the one for Sonos control few years ago. They even suggest the accessory you should buy by suggesting that an iPad won’t be a good controller.
I love it, Sonos are becoming the greatest marketer in this industry, kudo!

Posted by Loren Roetman  on  02/08  at  09:35 PM

JJ, Always a bad day when someone starts making dumb statements and they get quoted by a writer who I usually trust to bring truth. I am just tired of all the know-it-all guys who haven’t put the time in to do things the right way and don’t even use the product in question in a real world situations and who speak like they are the authority. And for you to quote them, seems like you are just stirring it up.

Mike Bruemmer is absolutely right.

Lennon, if you use a magnetic type cover, set it to sleep when closed, wake when open and close it when not being used, battery life is greatly extended.

I have done several iPad Minis with RTI Panels in the last few weeks and they are a lot easier to hold and find buttons blind. The mag cover makes them even easier when you fold them over in back.

iPhones and Android screens make all this even less of an issue.

sonos should open up a little, maybe, but do you really need to save 2 seconds by not having to switch apps? Heck, you can just let Siri change apps for you by holding down the button if you don’t have the energy to push it twice. C’MON!

What’s next? Demands that GMail be integrated into RTI, Texas Hold’em into the C-word or Angry Birds in C4?

When I am watching TV, I am usually in the TV room watching TV, not around the house listening to music. When I am out on the patio listening to music, I have very little use controlling the TV room. If I want to listen to music in the TV room, I start the sonos activity in the RTI Panel adjust the volume to a moderate level and then exit to the sonos and use its volume control. EASY AS PIE!

For a little more logical take on all of this check out Gordon Van Zuiden’s white paper he did for Tivo, “Multiple Application Approach for Total Home Control”. Email me and I will send you a copy, I can’t find it online right now.

While I won’t be selling any Tivo units until they have a solid state HD for stability and attached storage for programs, I thank them for paying Gordon to do that.

He is a pretty smart guy, I think.

Damn it, I’ve taken so much time out on this rant, I could have made a pile more money selling some more sonos…

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  02/10  at  08:22 PM

Loren, are you suggesting that editors only quote sources whose opinions we agree with? I happen to agree in these cases, but it would make for an awfully stale publication if we ignored all contrary views.

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