Sonos has unveiled Playbase, a powerful sound bar for what it says are the 70 per cent of TVs that aren’t mounted.
The Wi-Fi home audio company, which got a new CEO in January, said Playbase is designed to ‘disappear into the home’, offering a soundbar packed with 10 drivers at just 58mm in height.
Available in black or white, the speaker is designed to sit underneath your TV and either plays TV audio via an optical cable, or audio over Wi-Fi when the TV is off.
“When we think about what product we’ll invent next, we think first about the home, and the role each of our products play in the home. What we realised is that Playbar only met the need of the small percentage of homes where people mount their televisions on the wall,” Sonos CEO Patrick Spence said.
“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. It was a huge challenge where we pushed the boundaries of design, acoustics, materials, wireless and software, and we can’t wait for people to bring it home.”
The Playbase speaker, which can pair with Sonos rear speakers for a full 5.1 surround setup, will be available globally from April 4 for $AU999, the same price as Sonos’ other TV speaker product, Playbar.
“Later this year, like every other Sonos speaker, you’ll be able to control Playbase using your voice and any Amazon Alexa enabled device,” Mr Spence said.
The company’s sound experience leader Giles Martin, son of Beatles producer George Martin, said the challenge in designing the speaker was upholding the desire for it to be beautiful from all angles, without compromising any of the company’s design, acoustics or engineering principles.
“We were obsessive in our approach and decisions, resisting every urge to pack anything in here that wasn’t needed, and custom built everything else to find the perfect fit — it’s our thinnest, most beautiful speaker yet,” he said.
The device comes at a pivotal moment for the Santa Barbara-based Sonos, which lost founder and CEO John MacFarlane earlier this year.
In a note to staff, new CEO Patrick Spence said the advent of voice and the promise of the connected home meant Sonos was in the midst of a defining moment for the company.
“The next few years will define our future as we step into the big leagues — partnering and competing with global leaders like Amazon, Google and (likely) Apple. It requires new thinking and a different pace than we had in our first fifteen years,” Mr Spence said in the note.
“We know that life at home requires the support of a variety of services since each family member has their own preferences. We have already proven the ability to do this in an elegant and reliable way with music services. We are going to do the same with voice services, bringing all the services that matter to every home. This, combined with our strength and breadth in music streaming services, our commitment to building a software platform that partners can easily build on, our variety of awesome products that fit every room (vs. a one-size-fits-all approach), and sound quality that makes music come alive unlike anyone else, sets us up for a strong future.
“We must challenge ourselves to stay ahead of the curve. Being great doesn’t always require being first, but when it comes to the home music experience, we must be the pioneer. More companies are jumping into our space because they see the big opportunity ahead.”
Sonos said starting today, current Sonos owners have access to an exclusive pre-order of Playbase at the Sonos website.
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