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Sonos, its New Playbar, and the Future of Home Entertainment: Can the Good Guys Win?

February 12, 2013

Sonos is taking a big gamble on the home entertainment market with the introduction of its new Playbar, a $699 TV soundbar that also includes the company's tried and tested wireless music streaming platform. It's the first time Sonos has ventured into the TV and home theater space, where it will face plenty of competition and numerous new challenges. Can Sonos win by bringing TV and music together?

I had the chance to experience the Soundbar firsthand at a day-long press event at the company's headquarters in Santa Barbara, California, earlier this month.

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Sean Murphy, CEA
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A tale of two technologies: analog audio and digital displays. As is typically the case in any industry, what might signify the best of times for a certain category could represent the worst of times for a different one. With innovation causing the scales to constantly shift, it’s not unusual for one sector to thrive at the expense of another.

The home audio segment of the CE industry certainly faced challenges during the last decade. Most major manufacturers and veteran retailers grew up during a time when analog ruled. That was forever altered when digital AV solutions captured consumers. Portable devices and downloadable content quickly established a foothold and drove down sales and production of physical media.

During this digital revolution, consumers were no longer focused on audio equipment; digital displays dominated and all manner of content was stored on portable devices and PCs. Spending on home audio took a backseat as consumers upgraded their analog televisions and amassed personal libraries of digital media.

 
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