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Pricey Sonos Playbase Speaker Doubles as TV Stand

Pricey Sonos Playbase Speaker Doubles as TV Stand”

And the speaker can be linked up to other Sonos devices to become part of an integrated room-to-room sound system.

The PLAYBASE comes in both black and white colors and will cost you $699 when it ships on April 4th.

Soundbases aren't a new category, but Sonos has made a decision to get in on the action after learning most of the Sonos Playbar customers don't mount their TVs on walls.

This fact about people like me led Sonos to an acoustic epiphany: the sound bar they now sell, the wall-mountable Playbar, doesn't meet the needs of most HDTV owners.

Playbase, like other under-TV speakers, serves as a base for TVs with pedestal stands, and because of Playbase's slim height, a Playbase-TV combo doesn't look top-heavy when a pedestal-mounted TV is on top, the executives said. A clear distinction between the crickets and the child in one particular scene could also be heard, despite them having a very similar frequency. Another key selling point is the inclusion of Sonos' proprietary wireless multiroom-audio technology, they added. Sales of soundbars, in contrast, continue to explode, with USA wholesale sales rising in 2016 by an estimated 20 percent in units and 19 percent in dollars, Consumer Technology Association (CTA) statistics show.

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"We saw a tremendous opportunity to deliver great sound in great style for the majority of homes where the TV sits on a piece of furniture".

Now, Sonos is turning up the heat yet again with a first-of-its-kind addition to the Sonos lineup: The Sonos PLAYBASE. Many soundbar owners "cram sound in places where it doesn't fit".

Trueplay technology enables the device to adjust its output to the shape of the room.

Chris Kallai, head of product management, said Playbase's dimensions "fit 95 percent of the top 70 TVs". Sonos' designers have structured the Playbase to withstand the weight of a TV "for years" and it feels that way. But the Playbase's grill is smarter than most - it's created to completely disguise the drivers inside while also bearing small holes still wide enough on one side of the device to exhaust bass - which means no huge distracting hole. If you prefer your TV to be sat on furniture, and you don't have a load of space, then the Playbase might be for you.

What is the Sonos Playbase?

All TVs come with optical outputs for optical cables, he noted, and optical cables are thinner and lighter than HDMI cables. The Playbase developers also emphasize on the 43,000 hand drilled holes making up the Playbase's grille, improving the sound quality and airflow.

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As the PlayBase is a TV speaker as well as another Sonos multi-room speaker though, you'll also be able to control volume via your TV remote and it will send TV sound to other Sonos speakers in your setup. Second, since optical is your only choice for audio input, there's no HDMI ARC or CEC functionality to be found. Sonos reasons this by saying it went with the more prevalent, popular connector.

"Ah", you're likely saying, "but Sonos can't make their products voice controllable".

But home theater enthusiasts might be disappointed with some of the technical details. Sonos, however, could add DTS via a firmware upgrade to Playbars and Playbases if needed.

On the inside, there are six mid-range drivers, three tweeters and one subwoofer, with 10 Class D digital amplifiers to power them all. It can also connect wirelessly to a stand-alone sub-woofer.

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. Basically this measures the room and tweaks the sound to suit the environment.

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