Which is the best Sonos speaker for your TV? Playbar vs Playbase vs Beam.

Sonos has 3 speakers that are suitable for the TV: the Playbar, the Playbase, and the newly released Sonos Beam. 


Firstly, why consider Sonos at all? 
Well, no matter which Sonos speaker you choose for your TV, you will have a product that distinguishes itself from all of its competition. 
Sonos does a fantastic job of combining multiple functions into a single Sonos device. 

This includes: 
i) ·Great audio for TV shows, movies and streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video
ii) Access to over 56 music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited
iii) AirPlay 2 unlocks all sound from devices in the Apple ecosystem – including content from YouTube  - in any or every room of the home on Sonos (Beam and Playbase)
iv) Digital radio via TuneIn with free access to thousands of the world's most popular radio stations
v) Voice assistant like Alexa, which can perform many different tasks including news, traffic and weather updates (Beam)

With Sonos, you can be rest assured that you are getting a package well worth its value, forming an integral part of your home entertainment system for years to come! In fact, Sonos has been voted best speaker by hardware zone readers for both the year 2017 and 2018 (and hopefully 2019)! 

Now, how do you decide between them? We look into 4 factors that matter the most. 

1. Sound Quality 

What are you looking for in terms of sound?

  • Beam

The Sonos Beam offers unrivalled sound quality when compared to other speakers in its price range.

- Vocals are crystal clear thanks to the newly designed Sonos tweeter that sits at the centre of the speaker. 
- It also has excellent bass potential due to the addition of the new Sonos cylindrical drivers. Due to their newly designed shape, they are able to produce levels of bass not previously possible from speakers of this size.

We are often asked, "Why should I spend extra for the Playbar or Playbase?".
Two reasons: room size, and overall required performance.

  • Playbar

- The sound of the Playbar will fill a larger room better than the Beam, with deeper bass and wider soundstage.
- It has 9 speakers and an extra width, potentially making it more “room-filling” than all the other speakers. 
- With recent audio tuning software updates, the Playbar is still the go-to option for customers who are in pursuit of the highest possible audio quality. 

  • Playbase

- Similar to the Playbar, the Playbase will fill a larger room more effectively than the Beam, due to its more substantial form factor.
- It will also offer a greater depth of bass than the Playbar and Beam thanks to its additional bass radiator. 
- On paper, it benefits from the highest number of 10 speakers with its addition of an extra woofer. The Playbase is the first choice for customers who enjoy a powerful bass-line when watching films and listening to music.  

However, there are only very subtle differences in the sound quality of Playbar and Playbase - which is why they are the same price. If you don’t want to compromise on sound quality, and want to fill a larger sized room (ie: the living room) with fantastic music as well as TV and movies, then you have to consider the Playbar or Playbase.

Of course, if you are buying a soundbar for a smaller space, such as the bedroom or a smaller living room, the Beam might just be sufficient. 

All in all, these are premium products that offer class-leading performance.

2. Appearance / Form Factor 

The Beam and Playbase both retain a more refined and up-to-date appearance and come with the extra benefit of the touch control panel for volume control, play/pause etc.

  • Beam

The Beam was crafted from the ground up. Sonos knew they needed to create a smart soundbar that was compact and fit into almost every TV set up. Being the smallest unit in all dimensions, this fits perfectly in smaller home sizes in Singapore, and even in bedrooms with TVs. 

That’s why Sonos custom-designed every component to ensure everything fit comfortably into the size they aimed for.

The Beam can sit flat on a TV stand, positioned in front of the TV or can be wall-mounted 

Wall-mounted Beam 

Beam positioned on furniture in front of the TV

  • Playbar

Generally speaking, if your TV is wall mounted, it is aesthetically nicer to mount a Playbar directly underneath.

Playbar below wall-mounted TV 

  • Playbase 

The Playbase is designed for your TV to stand on top of it. It may look flat, but the hardened resin material can withstand up to 35kg of TV weight. If you want excellent sound quality while maintaining great aesthetics, the Playbase should be at the top of your list.

Playbase below TV

But most crucially, all three speakers look and feel like luxury, premium products. No cheap bits of plastic anywhere. 

3. Smart features  

  • Alexa

Out of the 3 speakers that we’re comparing, the Beam is the only one with microphones in-built for voice control.

With the five microphones, you are able to use Amazon Alexa to control your speaker. (While Alexa isn’t available in Singapore currently, at least you know that you can use Alexa on your speaker once it arrives!) It is also fully packed with the latest technology to include Airplay 2 support for Siri. And if that’s not enough, Google Assistant is also slated to join the party due soon via a free software update. Talk about being spoilt for choice!

Of course, you can still use Alexa voice control with Playbar or Playbase, but this would require a separate Amazon enabled device – such as the Beam or the Sonos One.

  • Airplay 2 

The Beam & Playbase are Airplay 2-enabled, allowing you to send any audio from your iOS devices straight to the speaker.

Having Airplay 2 built-in also allows Apple users to utilise Siri on their iPhone or Apple watch. Just call out to Siri and you’re good to go!

"Siri, play Coldplay in the lounge".

Unfortunately, the Playbar is not compatible with Airplay 2. But Sonos never leaves any speaker out in the cold. Here's the workaround:
Even though AirPlay 2 is only supported on Sonos One, Beam, Playbase, and Play:5, with any one of these speakers you can listen via AirPlay on your entire home sound system. That means that even non-AirPlay compatible speakers like the Playbar can reap the sonic benefits of our AirPlay 2 integration, provided they’re grouped with one of our newer, AirPlay-friendly devices in the Sonos app.

4. Connections

Apart from the power cable, the players all simply require one other cable to the TV.

The Playbar and Playbase both use a simple single optical connection between the TV and the speaker. No more cable clutter – hooray!

The Beam uses HDMI-ARC to connect to your TV, which also makes voice control of your TV possible through Alexa!

If your TV does not have an HDMI-ARC output, don’t worry, because Sonos provides an HDMI to optical converter in the box. This does, unfortunately, mean you won't be able to turn your TV on and off using your voice. However, other voice commands are still available.  

There is also an ethernet port on every speaker so that you can choose to hardwire your speakers in the event of weak Wi-fi connectivity at home.


Once again, here’s a summary of the 3 Sonos TV Speakers mentioned:

The Sonos Playbar and Playbase have always been the number 1 choice for home cinema offering an unbeatable combination of sound quality, usability and features.

It will continue to be the option of choice for people who want to achieve that extra special sound quality in a larger room. 
Now the Beam has entered the market at almost half the price, with today's most wanted features like voice control and Airplay 2, it makes it an irresistible package. 

If you are tired of your TV's poor internal speakers and want to listen to your favourite TV shows, movies and music all in 1 stylish unit, Sonos will put a smile on your face.  As to which Sonos TV speakers to choose from? This will be a case of which one best fits your current TV set up and personal preferences. 

If you would like to test them out in person, don't hesitate to head down to our showroom for a free Sonos demo by our experts! 

>>> Shop Sonos Beam 
>>> Shop Sonos Playbar 
>>> Shop Sonos Playbase
>>> Book a Sonos Demo

Want to add more boom to your room? Add on the wireless subwoofer for your Sonos system.

Everything sounds better with Sub

When you pair a Sub with any Sonos speaker, you'll hear parts of your music that you wouldn't hear otherwise. Sub does all the heavy lifting requred to deliver the low, low frequencies, letting your other speakers focus on perfecting the mid and high-range frequencies. You won't just hear the difference. You'll feel it - every boom, crash, and rumble!

Explore Sonos 3.1 Home Theatre Sets (Playbar/Playbase with Sub) at $299 off.

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