Struggling sound Company Sonos has jumped into the soundbar market in an effort to prop up sales of their networked sound offering with an expensive new TV audio offering.
Earlier this year the Company was trying to nobble existing customers systems in an effort to generate new sales.
Their latest offering which is set sell for around $1,399 in Australia finally supports Dolby Atmos which has been a key feature of competitors soundbars for the past 18 months.In comparison Aldi recently sold a Dolby Atmos sound bar for $299.
Called the Arc soundbar is a long, thin, speaker with rounded edges that can be placed below TVs. It fires sound in multiple directions, resulting in a three-dimensional effect.
The Arc replaces the Playbase and Playbar, the company’s older soundbar models, the Company has also said that it will release a new app and operating system for its speakers in June.
The problem with buying a Sonos product is that also have to contend with the 16bit proprietary Sonos operating system which is constantly having to be upgraded.
Several competitors now use Google Voice and Alexa from Amazon without the need for a proprietary OS, they include soundbar brands such as LG, Samsung, Philips, and Polk.
The Companies poor selling Playbase speaker, designed to fit underneath some TVs, is also being discontinued as of today.
Significantly more expensive than the $995 Playbar, Sonos said that the new device will be released on June 10th and will only work with the new Sonos S2 app which will work on iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac.
The Arc, third-generation Sub, and Sonos Five are the first products built on the company’s S2 platform which they had to develop due to complaints from existing owners of Sonos sound systems and the fact it only allowed for 16bit playback Vs 24 bit playback of audio.
The new Arc will be available in either black or white, and it features an elongated, matte plastic design with 76,000 holes drilled into the casing.
Inside that outer shell are 11 drivers that fire audio all around your room to create immersive, multidirectional sound.
As with most soundbars, the centre channel focuses on dialogue clarity while the left and right channels, along with the surround and up-firing height speakers, increase the sense of spaciousness and immersion that comes out of the Arc.
Like most of their competitors the ARC can play PCM stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Atmos audio. DTS and multichannel PCM audio are not supported.
It automatically optimizes what the drivers are doing in each scenario, several cheaper brands such as the $799 Polk system does this.
TV Owners will need a new generation TV with an eARC HDMI port or a 4K Blu-ray player — to take full advantage of the lossless Atmos playback that the Arc is capable of.
The bottom line is this is simply a soundbar that is coming late to market with a lot of features found in other soundbars. The combination of an expensive $1000+ Sonos sub and ARC soundbar makes it a very expensive TV sound system.
For me, the Sennheiser Ambeo is the premium soundbar to go for.