Sonos Beam :: The Living Room Speaker

by Volker Weber

Sonos Beam weiß Lifestyle

Sonos One is a smart speaker for the kitchen. It's in the 200 € range and competes with everything from the Echo to the Homepod. But none of the other vendors has anything for the living room, where you may want to connect to the TV as well as listen to music. Sonos has Playbar and Playbase, but they are in the 800 € range and way too expensive for many people.

Enter the Sonos Beam, a compact three channel sound bar, for $399 (before tax) or 449 € (incl. tax). It can do everything Sonos One can do, plus it connects to your TV via HDMI. It needs HDMI-ARC (Audio Return Channel) and wants HDMI-CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) for perfect integration between TV control and Sonos speaker. If you don't have that, you can connect it via a dongle the same way you would connect a Playbar or Playbase.

Sonos Beam has far-field microphones to pick up sound from the room so you can speak with Alexa and other voice assistants in the future. It will play Stereo PCM, Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital 5.1 just like Playbar and Playbase. It is both a stereo speaker for music and a 3.0 soundbar for TV. You can add additional Sonos speakers for 3.1 (SUB) or 5.1 (SUB + two other backchannels).

If you have a Playbar or Playbase, you don't want Beam, unless you are missing voice control. It is super important for Sonos to reach new customers, who will eventually buy more Sonos speakers. I am not one of those people.

Sonos Beam will start shipping six weeks from now. You can also expect AirPlay 2 support on One, Beam, Play:5 and Playbase in July.


Hmm, I watched the pseudo–funny marketing videos on the Sonos Beam and didn‘t like it at all. I expected something else, a more high end product with at least DTS support… All my gear (mainly Onkyo) support HDMI-ARC since years, I have one single remote for everything (standard Panasonic) which even is able to control Blu-Ray playback on the PS4. I really was considering switching to Sonos in the living room, since the Play:1 are doing a great job in the other rooms. Well, as you said, they are reaching out to new customers… I saw the „review“ of Verge as well (or let‘s call it a paid advertisment)… I feel slightly disappointed but maybe I am too spoiled regarding home theater systems. On the otherside: I like the design of the Beam. It would be a great fit for the bedroom.

Mathias Ziolo, 2018-06-06

And I was so hoping for a Playbar successor able to support Dolby Atmos. Bummer! Money saved I guess.

Markus Dierker, 2018-06-06

Mathias, there will not be DTS on Sonos. It is a licensing issue. They would need to license it for every single speaker ever made, since they all run the same software.

Markus, money saved is good. That's what we do here. :-)

Volker Weber, 2018-06-06

:-) Right, I almost wanted to fall into that trap. LOL.

Markus Dierker, 2018-06-06

Phew, thanks for the hint to just exchange my damaged Playbar...

Ingo Seifert, 2018-06-07

I am waiting for Google Assistant to be enabled for Sonos.
Then this would be something to consider, especially because of the price tag compared to the playbase/playbar.

Johannes Koch, 2018-06-07

I can only hope HDMI is coming to the Playbar, too. It’s really quite ridiculous that it doesn’t have it when the cheaper product does.

Stefan Tilkov, 2018-06-08

Unlikely. Sonos will have to replace their speakers with voice enabled variants. Play:1 became One. Play:3 will go nowhere. Beam is the new Playbar/Playbase. I wonder what happens with Play:5.

Volker Weber, 2018-06-08

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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