If you were gradually assembling a Sonos home cinema system, this might have been a good week for you. Right now Sonos Playbase is £70 off. Earlier in the week, Amazon was doing £20 off its Sonos One (which you can use as rear surround speakers in conjunction with the Sonos Playbase, Playbar or Beam). And there's been £70 off a Sonos Sub at Amazon for ages, if you want to make it a 5.1 setup.
There are a few Sonos deals around right now but this Playbase deal is among the best.
Sonos Playbase (white) | £629 | Was £699 | Save £70
We love the Playbase for its ease of setup and positioning and big, hearty sound with both movies and music. Its soundstage extends well out beyond its physical width, and you can 'tune' the surround sound to your room and favoured seating positions by using Sonos' Trueplay system. Playbase is compatible with every music streaming system under the sun, plus AirPlay 2 for iOS and iTunes fans. It also does a cracking job with movies and TV in Dolby Digital 5.1 making it a great all-rounder.View Deal
What is the Playbase?
We suspect the Playbase might be the least popular of the Sonos line-up because punters are much more keen on soundbars than soundbases. However, it's actually one of our favourite Sonos products.
Once correctly placed on a sturdy TV unit or shelf, it delivers very powerful audio with blockbuster cinema soundtracks, but also a very musical performance with, er, music. It's a fully-functioning multi-room Sonos speaker as well as doing home cinema duties.
Sonos for home cinema
As noted, Amazon has trimmed £70 off the cost of Sonos' home cinema big hitter, the Playbase. This doesn't have Alexa built in, although as with practically all Sonos speakers, if you buy any Echo device (the always-affordable Dot, or the Echo (2nd generation) for instance).
Sonos has delved heavily into the world of home cinema in recent years, and you can combine various of its speakers to make surround systems.
As well as the Playbase, Sonos makes the Playbar which, as you may have guessed, is a soundbar and the Sub, which is powerful subwoofer, for those who are totally addicted to bass (we mean the low notes, not the fish).
You can wirelessly combine a Playbase or Playbar with a pair of Sonos One of Play 5 speakers, with the additional speakers doing duty as rear surround speakers.
Any of these combinations muster up a very convincing degree of bottom end but if you want real mega bass, the Sub can supply it.
Sonos only supports Dolby Digital 5.1 – not Atmos or DTS – but it does a very good job with compatible soundtracks. Dolby Digital is still the standard for most broadcast and streamed TV in the UK, although Atmos is creeping on to some platforms and DTS remains popular on Blu-rays.
If a different surround codec is used, or the broadcast is in stereo only, the Sonos system will apply a fairly decent simulated surround effect, but it definitely sounds best with Dolby Digital material. The other thing to note here is that if you use an external box to watch movies and shows, your TV will need to support Dolby Digital passthrough if you want to plug your Sonos in to your telly via optical digital or HDMI.
There's no way we can give a comprehensive guide to which TVs do or do not support passthrough but on the whole, older TVs and cheaper TVs do not, while newer, more premium TVs do. Get your manual out, or search online.