Why I Use Sonos for my Home Theater

Posted by Matt Birchler
β€” 2 min read

This video cropped up in my feeds this week, and it's quite good!

As someone who moved from two HomePods paired to my TV with eARC over to a Sonos setup about a year ago, I was obviously intrigued. His conclusion is that two new HomePods sound better and are more affordable than the Sonos alternatives he looked at. He's right about all his comparisons.

  1. Two HomePods sound better than 2 Sonos One speakers
  2. Two HomePods sound better than either Sonos sound bar
  3. To get better sound from a Sonos system, you need to spend more money

And still, I find myself very happy with my Sonos setup. Why's that?

Primarily, the video doesn't cover my setup, which is a Sonos Beam (gen 2) beneath the TV and two Sonos Ones behind and to either side of the couch. The whole setup is $760 if you're starting from scratch. Meanwhile, the HomePod setup is $730 for two HomePods and an Apple TV. Obviously the numbers may work out differently if you already have bought in partially to either of these systems.

While the cost is basically the same, I will still admit that two HomePods produce richer sound, especially if you're using them for music, but the difference is very minor to my ear. Here's what wins me over to the Sonos side, though.

  1. I found eARC to be quite unreliable with the original HomePods. Sometimes they would appear and sometimes they wouldn't, and there was no clear reason why they would disappear and I was forced to use the terrible built-in speakers on my TV.
  2. HomePods were completely unusable for gaming. Video-based inputs worked fine in terms of audio sync, but video games were absolutely terrible. Without the ability to buffer the video feed by a few seconds, games 100% of the time had their audio come out of the HomePods 1-2 seconds after they should have.
  3. Surround sound! HomePod fanatics my scream, "HomePods fill the room with 3D sound!" but let's be real, it's a stereo setup that sounds great, but ultimately has the audio coming from one direction. Having the Sonos Ones flanking me on either side (and slightly behind) I'm able to get what sounds like things moving all around me, and that's worth more to me than the slightly boomier sound HomePods generate. I can also hear those with 7.1 surround setups scoffing, but I would bet their setup was much more expensive and has way more wires. I'm sure it sounds even better, but this compromise of convenience works for me.

I don't think everyone needs to have my same setup, and if you don't have the reliability issues I had with HomePods, then that may be perfect for you. I just wanted to put in my two cents on what's worked for me.