We’ve got a pretty robust team of writers here in Boston, so I do much of my watching on the LED flatscreen. It looks fantastic, but it wasn’t until we started testing out the SONOS PLAYBAR that I realized just how much was missing.
As televisions have gotten thinner and thinner, the space dedicated for the speaker has consequently gotten much smaller as well, to the point where the speaker on the television isn’t very much better than the one on the bottom of an iPad. That’s fine for the mid-range of the play-by-play announcer and the color commentator, but it does nothing for all of the ambient sounds that make watching hockey a truly immersive experience.
Enter the PLAYBAR. By simply plugging in the PLAYBAR’s electric cord and attaching it (via the included digital audio cable) to my TV, I was suddenly experiencing the Stanley Cup Finals in an entirely new way. Despite its relatively small dimensions – 3.35” (H) x 35.43” (W) x 5.51” (D), 11.9 pounds – it manages to pack a mighty punch courtesy of nine class-D amplifiers and nine separate speakers. Perhaps equally important, the setup was incredibly easy.
From the crunching of the players’ skates on the ice to the sound of a crisp tape-to-tape pass to the crash of a hard check into the boards to the roar of a boisterous crowd, the PLAYBAR does a fantastic job of bridging the gap between watching the game in the arena and watching it at home. Without question, it made the experience of watching Game Three even more thrilling, particularly with regard to the ambient noise of the raucous TD Garden crowd.
Adding to the coolness factor, the enhanced sound applies just as well to anything else you might watch. And just as the TV experience is enhanced, you can also use the PLAYBAR to access your music, whether it’s your local iTunes library or one of the many online streaming services (Rhapsody, Spotify, Concert Vault, etc.). Best of all, the system can easily be controlled via your smartphone, tablet or PC (my 6-year-old daughter has already mastered it, and plays “DJ,” picking songs from the music library and from Spotify).
Without question, from setup to everyday use, SONOS is incredibly user-friendly. Every menu item on the app is logical, and everything from setting up two PLAY:3 speakers to run as a “stereo pair” to adding a PLAY:3 speaker as a surround addition to a PLAYBAR can be done more easily than with any high-quality audio/video product I’ve ever encountered.
Whether you’re a season ticket-holder who wants to recreate the in-arena environment at home while your favorite team’s on the road – or whether you do all of your hockey-watching at home – there’s no question that the SONOS PLAYBAR takes the viewing experience to a whole new, exciting level. It’s a game-changer, and I can’t wait to fully immerse myself in Game 4′s excitement tonight.