Sonos Arc multi-channel LPCM added as improved Upgrade Program launches

Sonos is adding a much-demanded feature to its Arc soundbar with a new software update, bringing multi-channel LPCM support to the flagship Dolby Atmos product. Meanwhile, the company is retiring its controversial Sonos Trade Up program, replacing it with a new Upgrade Program which promises hardware discounts for those users with older devices.

Launched in May, the Sonos Arc was the company's largest and most capable soundbar. Supporting Dolby Atmos surround sound for the first time – and tapping the new Sonos S2 software and platform in order to do it – it also offers Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support, plus the ability to set up a wireless surround system with other Sonos speakers.

What it didn't offer, at least at launch, was multi-channel LPCM. Unlike the two channels of normal PCM, the multi-channel variant can transmit up to eight channels of sound over the eARC connection. Back in May, Sonos confirmed it planned to add the technology – popular for those wanting the very best quality from their Blu-ray, gaming, and other media experiences – in a later firmware update, and today it's being released.

You can upgrade your Sonos Arc by installing the newest Sonos S2 update from iOS App Store or Google Play store, then heading into Settings > System > System Updates > Check for Updates. That will download and load the new firmware to the soundbar.

Sonos Upgrade Program

If you're using an older Sonos soundbar, and multi-channel LPCM support could finally coax you into considering an Arc upgrade, the new Sonos Upgrade Program might do the trick. It replaces the Trade Up program which Sonos launched a little over a year ago, and which became mired in controversy after participants discovered their still-functional speakers would be permanently disabled if they took advantage of the discount offers.

Sonos relented, and ended the Recycle Mode requirement of the program, but the bad publicity – along with confusion around the Sonos S1 and S2 platforms, with only newer hardware supporting the more feature-rich software – lingered. Now, it's going away altogether, and being replaced with this new program.

It's a fairly straightforward one, too. Depending on which Sonos product you already have, you could get up to 30-percent off a new purchase. The exact amount depends on which products you already own:

15-percent off any Sonos product for those who own a Connect:AMP (Gen 2), Connect (Gen 2), Play:1, Play:3, Play:5 (Gen 2), Playbar, or Playbase

30-percent off any Sonos product for those who own a Connect:AMP (Gen 1), Connect (Gen 1), or Play:5 (Gen 1)

30-percent off a Sonos Boost if you own a Sonos Bridge

One discount is available per eligible product, so if you have two first-generation Play:1 speakers you could get two 15-percent discounts off two new products. Users can see what they qualify for by logging into their Sonos account.

There are two big improvements worth noting. The first is that, even if you take advantage of an upgrade discount, the older Sonos product won't stop working and you can continue using it just as you were already. Second, is the fact that these credits don't have an expiration date, so you can save them to apply for a new Sonos purchase later on if you prefer.