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1st Look: Sonos Bucking Industry Trend With Under-TV Speaker

Industrywide sales of under-TV speaker bases are down, but wireless-multiroom-audio supplier Sonos expects its first under-TV speaker to succeed where others have failed.

The company announced April 4 availability of the $699 Playbase to complement its $699 Playbar soundbar, launched in 2013.

Playbase will succeed, Sonos executives told TWICE, because of “radical simplicity” in setup and use, a svelte 2.28-inch height that doesn’t look clunky under a TV, and an understated rounded-off design that looks good on top of almost any piece of furniture. It’s available in black or white.

In addition, Playbase’s 28.4-inch width and 14.2-inch depth were carefully researched to ensure the speaker system fits on top of almost any piece of furniture and under most popular 40- to 59-inch TVs, which account for 70 percent of TVs on the market, said Ian Popkin, product creation leader.

Playbase’s dimensions are “wide enough for TVs but not too big for the furniture that you have,” added Michael Papish, global platform marketing director. “It took more than three years to create the form factor so it would disappear and deliver great sound.” Playbase looks like a “monolithic slab without seams,” thanks to a glass-filled polycarbonate exterior that minimizes vibration and is strong enough to withstand the weight of a TV, he said.

Playbase combines proprietary processing and side tweeters that fire out at an angle, reflecting sound off the walls to deliver a wide sound stage and discrete surround-sound effects. It also features six low-mid drivers and one tweeter in front, plus an internal active 5.25-inch woofer that exhausts through an S-shaped port to deliver bass. The woofer’s exhaust also blows over the Playbase’s internal electronics to keep it cool.