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This is the place to find out about the latest television and stereo sales, why 4K TVs are great and which surround sound receiver is best for you. Check us out frequently for information about monthly audio/video sales and tidbits about the electronics industry. 

Sonos Beam vs Playbar

Sonos Beam vs. Sonos Playbar - Which Sonos soundbar is best?


The Sonos BEAM is here! This piece is Sonos' new low-priced soundbar offering that is competing with similar offerings from Polk Audio, Samsung, Yamaha and others. We have written HERE previously about why Sonos is great. However, we'd like to go over the compare the Sonos BEAM vs the Sonos PLAYBAR which is their premium soundbar solution. In a nutshell:


Pros of Sonos Beam:


The Sonos BEAM sells for $399.00 vs. $699.00 for the Sonos PLAYBAR. Benefit $$$!

The Sonos BEAM has Alexa built-into the soundbar. This allows you to operate many functions with just your voice!


Pros of the Sonos Playbar:


Better Sound: The Playbar uses 9 built-in speakers vs. 5 built-in speakers for the Beam. This allows the Playbar to provide fuller sound and audio that fills up a room.

Cleaner mounting: The Sonos Playbar can be mounted vertically or horizontally. This makes for a much cleaner look when it is mounted under a TV as it doesn't protrude as far from the wall. The Sonos Beam will stick out substantially past the wall-mounted TV in most cases. If you want an aesthetic and subtle look, the Playbar is our recommendation.

Hook-up Method: The Sonos Playbar uses what is called an optical cable to provide the audio channels. The Sonos Beam uses an HDMI cable and relies on a technology called ARC (audio return channel). Guys like us hate ARC as it isn't as reliable as we'd like. This lack of reliability can cause things to turn off that shouldn't, can cause components to go to the wrong input, etc. For better reliability and ease-of-use, we recommend the Playbar.



We are BIG fans of the Playbar over the Beam. However, they both have their place. Choose the Playbar if you have a large room, want BETTER sound or a clean look when wall-mounted. Choose the Beam if you are on a budget or if you want to get better sound in secondary areas such as Guest Bedrooms, Kids' Rooms, etc.

Need help deciding? We've helped hundreds of clients with Sonos in their San Diego homes. Let us help you as well!





Sonos Beam San Diego

Sonos on sale in San Diego - Sonos Beam soundbar pictured


Sonos RARELY goes on sale. Friends and prospective clients...rare times are here. Here are some of our Sonos sales that are ongoing:


Sonos ONE 2 room set: Reg. $398.00. NOW $379.00!

Sonos PLAY5 2 room set: Reg. $998. NOW $949.00!

Sonos ONE 3 room set: Reg. $597.00. NOW $549.00!

Sonos 5.1 surround system with PLAYBAR, SUB and ONE X 2 units: Reg. $1796.00. NOW: $1678.00!

Sonos 5.1 surround system with BASE, SUB and ONE X 2 units: Reg. $1796.00. NOW: $1678.00!

Sonos PLAY5 AND Pro-ject Essential III turntable: Reg. $858.00. NOW: $799.00!


Not sure what Sonos or pro-ject turntables are all abouot? See our earlier posts about these fantastic music streamers and wonderful turntables.


These sales is for a limited time so when Sonos says "No More", this Sonos Speaker Sets deal is officially over. Interested? Give us a call and let San Diego's Sonos dealer of choice show you why Sonos is a need for every music lover. 




Home theater installation

Flat screen installation on concrete


Reason #7 why we offer the best home theater installation services in San Diego: Remote monitoring and troubleshooting.

This home theater stuff has changed a LOT over the last 20 years. It used to be that when we were setting up a home stereo system, we would get your tape deck, turntable and receiver in place and the maintenance consisted of dusting your components every couple years. Now, it is a totally different world with firmware updates, software updates, voice control, power-cycling, Wi-Fi compatibility and 50 other things that can make your audio/video system get out-of-whack. Here's what we do to keep your smart home and stereo components working and to keep you smiling.


Remote visibility: We install Wi-Fi systems from Eero, Luxul and others that allow us to "see" what is going on from afar. This lets us troubleshoot remotely when you are having issues and allows us to fix most issues right over the phone. See link below about a recent fix we performed for one of our clients.


Costa Rica Remote WiFi Fix


Power resets and our friend BOB: Power-Cycling.

Q: How do you become an IT professional? A: Learn how to pick up the phone and say "Did you unplug it from the power?" Almost every one of our troubleshooting calls are fixed by some form of unplug-it-and-plug-it-back-in-again. However, how do you know what to unplug with all of those cables? Our remote IP-controllable power pieces and our BOBs make this EASY. See link below.


EASY audio/video troubleshooting


This surround sound and smart home stuff should be fun. If it has been frustrating for you in the past, give us a call and find out the many reasons that we provide the best home theater installations in San Diego. Better audio, video and smart homes start here.




Sonos wall mount

Want to install a Sonos wall mounted on!

Sonos speakers are great but in the past, there hasn't been a way to cleanly wall mount them. The problem is that legally, we can't run the power cables in the wall (against California code) so you would see them laying exposed on the wall. However, one of our installation partners just came up with a solution. Midlite now has a LEGAL in-wall power solution that allows us to hide the power cable and that doubles as a wall mount! This makes for a much cleaner look, especially when using Sonos speakers as rear speakers in a surround sound configuration.

Looking for Sonos speakers? We happen to be Sonos experts and carry the full line including the PLAYBAR, Sonos ONE, Sonos SUB, Sonos PLAY5 and others. Don't know what all the ruckus is about? See below for a little information of what Sonos is all about.

Interested? Give us a call and let us show you how to enhance your life with Sonos streaming speakers and amazing music.

Dedicated gaming room with surround sound

Surround sound system and installation with Martin Logan and iOS univeral remote


How Much Does Surround Sound Cost?

Does surround sound cost $100.00, $1,000.00, $50,000.00? It depends. Think of today’s surround sound systems like a car. If you went to a dealership that sold every car on the planet and said “I want a car”, you might get a $500.00 used jalopy or a $1.4 million Aston Martin. You would need to ask some questions or present a budget/needs to actually get something you want. Surround sound has just as many variances. The reason is that there are many levels of quality of devices, types of speakers, different system configurations, levels of system control, etc.  The build of your home can also determine how much surround sound installation costs as some homes are much more difficult to get wires from A to B.

Here are some things to consider:

Speakers: Your sound quality starts and ends with the quality of your speakers. If you want accurate, detailed true-to-life better speakers. See link below for more details.


Ease of Use: When you have a surround sound system, you have MANY remotes. If you have a quality universal remote, just one button push on ONE remote will put everything on the correct input and setting. It will also ensure that nothing can get out-of-whack so you can enjoy your system without frustration. You will never exclaim “How do I turn on the TV” with one of our systems.


Management: Are you a techy person? If so, you may be familiar with power-cycling components, enabling bridge mode on routers, optimizing WiFi download speeds, etc. If you’re like 98% of our clients and you aren’t, plan on adding pieces that provide better WiFi and that make power-cycling easy (this is when you unplug your misbehaving cable box, AppleTV, Roku, etc.).


Components: Would you like to listen to streaming music through Pandora or Spotify? How about playing vinyl on one of our turntables? Want to get the best movie quality with one of our Blu-Ray players? Adding components will provide more entertainment solutions and fun but will have an associated cost.


You: Be frank and honest about your budget and what you’d like to accomplish. We are here as your audio/video advocate and our desire is to get you exactly what you want. However, if you don’t let us know what you are comfortable spending or what you may like, you may end up with the equivalent of the jalopy or the Aston Martin presented above. With a car or a house, people bring up budget right away. We recommend looking at surround sound systems in the same light.


“Surround sound” typically costs $5K-15K (once you add a TV). Here are 3 different systems in a Good/Better/Best scenario.  These will give you a good idea of general costs of surround sound installation and systems for your home.  Please keep in mind that each of these scenarios can be tweaked to fit your specific needs or desires.



Yamaha 5.1 A/V Receiver: ($280)

 5 good in-ceiling speakers: ($875)

 Good Subwoofer: ($400)

 Basic Universal Remote w/ programming: ($500)

 Labor: ($1,000)

 TOTAL                                                            =    $3,055



Yamaha 9.2 A/V Receiver: ($1100)

 2 Front Floor-standing speakers: ($1,600)

 1 Center Channel speaker: ($700)

 4 better in-ceiling speakers: ($1500)

 Better Subwoofer: ($700)

 Better Universal Remote w/ programming: ($1000)

 Labor: ($1,250)

 TOTAL                                                            =    $7,850



These systems can cost 6 figures. Please refer to one of the insanely high-end systems we created in one of our previous blogs. VERY cool stuff!


Krell Illusion Pre-Amp: ($14,999)

5 Krell Solo 575 Mono Amp: ($34,999)

Martin Logan Neolith Loudspeakers: ($79,995)

Martin Logan Illusion ESL C34A Center: ($6,995)

Martin Logan ESL-EFX On-wall speaker: ($3,095)

Sony XBR-100Z9D 4K Ultra HD TV w/ HDR: ($59,999)

TOTAL                                                                            =    $200,082


The above will at least give you the idea of a few different price scenarios and what would fall in each surround sound system.  Hopefully this gives you a good reference of where you want to start for the new surround sound system you want for your home.  Ready to enjoy movie theater quality surround sound and amazing music with the family in your home? Start with a call to us. We are the home of San Diego surround sound systems and installation.

How to fix Netflix

Netflix won't work, AppleTV issues, cable TV problems and is the fix!


Here’s a smattering of the calls we get on a daily basis:


“The guide isn’t coming up on my cable box”

“Netflix stopped working…there aren’t ay images”

“My Roku won’t do anything and it is frozen”

“I can’t get WiFi to work…the wheel keeps spinning”

“I’ve got no sound from my DirecTV box”


If you’re making this call, we know that audio/video troubleshooting can be frustrating and complicated. However, it doesn’t have to be!

If you’ve had a system installed with us over the last few years, you have a BIG, ORANGE BUTTON (see picture above). We liken it to magic. You push the orange button, wait 30 seconds and then push it again. Once you perform these three steps, your problems are solved!

We love the big, orange button so much we’ve thought about changing our company name to “BOB”. Don’t have a BIG, ORANGE BUTTON? Call us and let us simplify your technology with a BOB for your audio/video system or WiFi network.

NOTE: Is your system a little more complicated with racks of surround sound equipment, whole-house audio or smart home technology? We have a BOB we can install that allows us to reset things AUTOMATICALLY from anywhere in the world! We recently performed this for a client in La Jolla while we were in Costa Rica.

Call us to determine the level of BOB you need in your life.



WiFi issues, Netflix won't work or AppleTV problems San Diego? We've got you covered. Aire Theater Designs proudly serves all of San Diego County which includes Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, Talmadge, Kensington, Hillcrest, Mission Valley, Fashion Valley, El Cajon, Blossom Valley, La Mesa, Lake Murray, Friars, North Park, Balboa Park, Clairemont, Kearny Mesa, Mission Bay, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Imperial Beach, Pt Loma and Downtown San Diego. We also gladly serve those in North San Diego County which includes Carlsbad, San Marcos, Vista, Elfin Forest, Oceanside, Escondido, Encinitas, Cardiff by the Sea, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, 4S Ranch, Santaluz, La Jolla, Poway, and Rancho Bernardo. Need help in Murrieta, Wildomar, Temecula, Fallbrook or Bonsall...we're there too.

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