You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sonos Sticks to What It Knows for New Playbase Speaker

Sonos officially introduced its new Playbase speaker Monday, which the company pitches as a way to bring internet connectivity and great sound to more TV sets. But the $699 Playbase also doesn’t pack a whole lot of new tech we haven’t seen in Sonos speakers before, which will likely disappoint fans of the brand.

The Playbase, which is scheduled to ship worldwide on April 4, is meant to be placed under the stand of a TV set, and is capable of carrying up to 75 pounds of weight. The whole speaker is just 2.3 inches thick, but comes with a total of ten drivers (six midrange, three tweeters and one woofer, to be precise).

Sonos is also putting a lot of emphasis on the 43,000 hand-drilled holes that make up the Playbase’s grille and are supposed to improve airflow and sound. The whole thing gets connected to a TV via optical cable, and consumers can choose to either connect the Playbase via Ethernet or Wifi to the internet.

Once connected, a Playbase can be used with the same 80-plus music services that are already available on other Sonos speakers, and speaking of which: The Playbase doesn’t just work in unison with other Sonos hardware for whole-home audio, but it can also wirelessly combined with a set of Play:1 speakers and a Sonos Sub for full 5.1 sound.

Sonos first introduced a speaker to work with TVs in 2013, at the time making the Playbar the first internet-connected sound bar capable of playing music from Spotify and elsewhere without Bluetooth, or the need to keep the TV on nonstop.

The Playbase in many ways offers the same solution, in a different form factor. However, this is 2017, and Sonos has been struggling in recent years to keep up with innovation. The company started to embrace voice control last year after the success of Amazon’s Echo caught it off-guard.

Sonos has since struck a partnership with Amazon, and Sonos customers will be able to use their Echo speaker to control their Sonos devices in the coming months. CEO Patrick Spence recently told Variety that the company will also eventually make speakers with integrated microphones for voice control. That’s not the case with Playbase, which will still require consumers to use a separate Echo or Echo Dot speaker for voice control

When news about the product leaked in recent weeks, some Sonos fans also took issue with the fact that Sonos didn’t add HDMI inputs and DTS surround-sound to the product. A Sonos spokesperson explained the latter by arguing that Sonos is built for a streaming world.

“DTS content is only found on physical media such as DVD, Blu-ray and Laserdisc – no video streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu support DTS,” she wrote via email. “We have decided to not support DTS on PLAYBASE as we do not believe it offers a better listening experience for the majority of our owners.”


More Digital

  • Simran Sethi Quits Netflix India Role

    Simran Sethi Quits Netflix India Role

    Simran Sethi, the Los Angeles-based director of Netflix international originals, responsible for India content, has resigned and will quit after a transition period. Netflix did not comment. Sources familiar with the matter told Variety that Netflix prefers an executive based in India to oversee local original content that has now grown to 11 series and [...]

  • The Secret Life of Pets 2

    ‘The Secret Life of Pets 2’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “The Secret Life of Pets 2.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $11.52 million through Sunday for 869 national ad airings [...]

  • Cory-Haik-Vice

    Vice Media Hires Cory Haik, Former Mic Publisher, as Chief Digital Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Vice Media has recruited Cory Haik, former publisher of digital news start-up Mic, as chief digital officer to lead the youth-culture company’s global internet businesses. Haik will be based at Vice’s Brooklyn headquarters and report to CEO Nancy Dubuc. She most recently worked at Mic, which last fall laid off virtually its entire staff before [...]

  • Snapchat logos

    Porn Studio Starts Building X-Rated Snapchat Lenses, Encourages Users to Do the Same

    Adult entertainment company Naughty America wants to use augmented reality to get the word out about its paid services. The company has begun to make Snapchat lenses featuring some of its models, and is teaching its audience to do the same. Naughty America shared three such lenses on its website (link not safe for work) [...]

  • New, Likely Cheaper Galaxy Home Speaker

    Samsung Is Getting Ready to Introduce Second Smart Speaker

    Samsung still isn’t selling its Galaxy Home smart speaker, but the company may be getting ready to introduce a second model soon: An FCC filing for an “AI speaker” suggests that the new model, like the original Galaxy Home, will be dual-branded, featuring both Samsung’s own brand name as well as that of its audio [...]

  • Streaming Placeholder

    TikTok Owner Preparing Streaming Service to Rival Spotify (Report)

    ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of the TikTok video app, is developing a paid streaming music service aimed at the same emerging markets that Spotify and Apple are seeking to explore, according to a report in Bloomberg. The app could be introduced as early as autumn, according to the report, which adds that the company has [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content