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Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar TV sound bar/wireless music system with Apple AirPlay® 2 and Bluetooth®

Item # 749FORMBAR

The Formation Bar delivers rich audio detail in a broad, spacious soundfield — for music as well as movies.

The Formation Bar delivers rich audio detail in a broad, spacious soundfield — for music as well as movies.

3 questions - 4 answers

Item # 749FORMBAR

Shop all Bowers & Wilkins Sound Bars

About the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar

Ralph Graves

Long on quality

When I tried out the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar I was first impressed by its attractive, modern appearance, with its long, slender body and geometrically textured grille. Then I was impressed by the ease of setup. I already had a Formation Wedge up and running. Within minutes, I had added the Formation Bar to my multi-room audio system using the Bowers & Wilkins Home app.

Long on quality

Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar

The Formation Bar sports sophisticated, modern styling and delivers high-resolution sound.

When I tried out the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar I was first impressed by its attractive, modern appearance, with its long, slender body and geometrically textured grille. Then I was impressed by the ease of setup. I already had a Formation Wedge up and running. Within minutes, I had added the Formation Bar to my multi-room audio system using the Bowers & Wilkins Home app.

When I started watching shows on my TV, though, that's when I was really impressed. The Formation Bar delivers exceptionally clear and accurate sound. Dialogue was easy to understand, and sound effects seemed to come from different parts of the room. As an added bonus, this bar also features state-of-the-art wireless music streaming at 24-bit/96kHz audio resolution..

Full, immersive sound

The secret to the Formation Bar's expansive soundfield lies in its design. The sound bar has a total of nine speakers, configured in three channels. Each channel includes a 1" double dome tweeter and two 2-1/2" woven glass-fiber cone bass/midrange drivers. The dedicated center channel ensures crisp, clear dialogue, and all the drivers have been positioned carefully to generate a wide, immersive soundfield.

Add a wireless subwoofer for deep bass

The matching Formation Bass subwoofer is easy to add to the system, and it adds depth and impact. You'll enjoy (as I did) a sound system that delivers engaging, 3D sound with movies, TV shows, and games.

Wireless music options

The Formation Bar features Bluetooth 4.1 for playing audio sources from a wide variety of apps on your mobile device. Built-in aptX HD and AAC decoding provides high-quality music streaming from compatible devices.

Spotify Connect is built-in, too, so you can easily stream from this popular service if you have a subscription.

Built-in Apple AirPlay 2 technology lets you play audio directly from your iPhone®, iPad®, or Mac® computer through the Formation Bar. That includes soundtracks from YouTube® videos and Netflix movies.

Roon-compatible for serious music lovers

The Formation system is also compatible with Roon, a subscription digital music player for your smartphone, tablet, or computer. It gives you multi-room audio playback for all your Formation devices and more.

Roon accesses your digital music collection from your iTunes library or NAS drive. It also works with your TIDAL subscription. Roon lets you do deep dives into your music, showing artist bios, photos, reviews, and lyrics. Roon can also suggest other artists and songs based on your selections, making it easy to discover new music you'll enjoy.

A rich history of audio excellence

Founded in England in the 1960s, Bowers & Wilkins is known worldwide for their innovative hi-fi speaker designs and their premium headphones. Crutchfield is proud to offer a diverse selection of products from this legendary audio brand.


Product highlights:

  • 3-channel sound bar
  • three 1" double dome tweeters and six 2-1/2" woven glass-fiber cone bass/midrange drivers
  • total system power: 240 watts (6 x 40W)
  • frequency response: 40-28,000 Hz
  • Dolby Digital decoding
  • Dynamic EQ optimizes the sound in real time
  • optical digital audio input for connection to TV (cable included)
Streaming music features:
  • built-in Bluetooth 4.1
    • aptX HD and AAC decoding provides high-quality music streaming from compatible devices
  • Apple AirPlay 2 for streaming music from an iPhone, iPod, or computer's iTunes®
  • proprietary Formation mesh network for wireless multi-room audio
    • up to 24-bit/96kHz streaming audio resolution
    • 1 microsecond sync between in-room speakers to virtually eliminate latency
  • Roon-ready (subscription required)
Bowers & Wilkins control app:
  • free download from Apple® App Store and Google Play
  • Spotify Connect built-in (subscription required)
  • control multiple compatible Formation speakers to play the same song simultaneously or different songs in different rooms
  • customizable speaker and group names
  • displays current song and artist information
  • control volume and EQ settings
General info:
  • Roon-ready (subscription requlred)
  • connects to your home network via Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi
  • optical digital audio input (cable included)
  • requires AC power, cable included
  • wall mount bracket and hardware included
  • 48-15/16"W x 4-3/8"H x 4-5/16"D
  • weight: 12.1 lbs.
  • warranty: 2 years
  • MFR # FP40207

No A/V receiver required.

What's in the box:

  • Active soundbar speaker
  • 6.5' AC power cord
  • 39" Optical digital cable
  • Wall-mount bracket
  • 2 Screws
  • 2 Star-washers
  • 2 Lock-washers
  • Bowers & Wilkins Formation Brochure
  • Safety & Warranty Information
  • Roon Brochure

Customer reviews for Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar

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More details on the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar

Stacey B.

Features & specs

Design Bar
Amplification Self-powered
Separate Subwoofer Optional
Wireless Surrounds Optional
Number Of Channels 3.0
Surround Formats
Dolby Digital Yes
Dolby Atmos No
Audio Enhancements
Dialogue Enhancement No
Auto Volume No
Night Mode No
Virtual Surround Surround mode
Auto Calibration No
Audio Connections
Optical Digital Inputs 1
Coaxial Digital Inputs None
HDMI eARC Input No
3.5mm Stereo Analog Inputs None
RCA Stereo Analog Inputs None
USB Type-A Input No
Subwoofer Output Wireless
Audio Specs
Tweeter 1" Dome (3)
Midrange None
Woofer 2.5" Cone (6)
Subwoofer Driver Not Given
Enclosure Sealed
System Frequency Response 40-28k Hz
Sound Bar RMS Power 240
Subwoofer RMS Power N/A
Video Connections
HDMI Inputs None
HDMI Outputs None
Video Specs
HDMI Version N/A
HDMI Video Pass-through Resolution N/A
HDR Video Compatible No
Includes Remote Yes
Voice Control Alexa optional
Control by App Apple iOS, Android
Remote IR Passthrough No
Learns TV Remote Yes
Audio Streaming
Bluetooth Connectivity Built-in 4.1
Bluetooth Audio Playback Yes
Bluetooth Transmitter Mode No
Online Music Sources via Music B&W app
Apple AirPlay AirPlay 2
Chromecast built-in No
Amazon Music No
Apple Music
Pandora No
SiriusXM No
Spotify Yes
TuneIn Yes
YouTube Music No
Files on Your Network No
Wi-Fi Networking
Built-in Wi-Fi Version 802.11n
Bands 2.4 GHz
Other Info
Wall-mountable Yes
Mounting Bracket Included Yes
Sound Bar Size (inches) 4-3/8H x 48-15/16W x 4-5/16D
Sound Bar Weight 12.1 lbs
Subwoofer Size (inches) No Subwoofer
Subwoofer Weight N/A
Speaker Parts Warranty 2 Years
Speaker Labor Warranty 2 Years
Amplifier Parts Warranty 2 Years
Amplifier Labor Warranty 2 Years

Product Research

Active Soundbar Speaker
Network Multiroom Audio

Active Soundbar Speaker

9 Optimized Performance Drivers w/ Dedicated Center Channel: The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar is an active soundbar speaker that delivers full, immersive, room-filling sound. The B&W Formation Bar features three discrete front channels for Left, Center, and Right. The soundbar's dedicated center channel provides crisp, clear dialogue from your movie soundtracks. The Left, Center, and Right channels of the Formation Bar consist of nine total custom-designed drivers (3 fabric dome tweeters / six woven glass-fiber woofers) born from B&W's legendary loudspeaker technologies that have been optimally positioned to create a wider, all-inclusive, soundstage. The drivers are powered by a 240 watt Class D amplifier with digital signal processing (DSP) and a dynamic EQ that optimizes the soundbar in real-time for great sound at high or low volume levels.

Optional Wireless Powered Sub & Rear Speakers: Add the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bass wireless powered subwoofer (749FRMBASS, sold separately) for deeper bass from your movie and music soundtracks. You can also add two Bowers & Wilkins Formation Flex speakers (749FMRFLEX, sold separately) to create wireless rear surround for the Formation Bar.

Optical Digital Audio Input: The B&W Formation Bar is outfitted with an optical (toslink) digital audio input to connect to your TV. The optical digital input supports 2ch PCM and 5.1ch Dolby Digital audio signals (it does not support DTS or other audio formats).

Note: The digital optical output terminals of most newer flat-panel TVs only send an audio signal in 5.1ch when receiving Dolby Digital surround sound from the TV's built-in tuner, network connection, or connected USB device; and will output only 2ch stereo from sources connected to the TV via HDMI, or RCA (like your Blue-ray/DVD player or satellite/cable box).

TV Remote Learning: Through the Music Bowers & Wilkins App (for Apple iOS 12.0+ and Android OS 5.0+), the Formation Bar is able to learn and respond to TV remote control volume and mute commands. Some commonly used control functions (such as Volume Up/Down, Play/Pause) are also available via touch buttons on the Formation Bar's top-panel.

Note: The B&W Formation Bar is primarily intended to be configured and controlled using the Music Bowers & Wilkins app (for Apple iOS and Android). The Formation Bar does not come with its own remote control.

Bluetooth Audio w/ aptX HD: The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar features built-in Bluetooth 4.1 with support for wireless audio streaming (A2DP). You'll be able to wirelessly stream stored music, music apps, and other audio content from your Bluetooth-enabled source device (such as your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer) to the soundbar speaker. You'll continue to use your Bluetooth-enabled source device to control playback functions and view song/artist info (album art).

  • Supported Codecs: In addition to support for Bluetooth's standard SBC audio codec, the Formation Bar supports AAC for higher quality playback from Apple iOS devices, as well as support of aptX HD for 24-bit/48kHz audio playback from compatible devices. aptX HD supports 48kHz/24-bit LPCM audio over a Bluetooth wireless connection for a "better-than-CD" listening experience.
  • Multi-Device Pairing: Up to eight Bluetooth devices can be paired with the soundbar, but only one can be connected and used at a time. The Formation Bar does not support auto reconnection with previously paired Bluetooth devices.

Note: The Formation Bar will require a network connection and the Bowers & Wilkins Home app to complete to complete the pairing process of your Bluetooth-enabled source devices.

Auto On/Off: The Formation Bar will automatically turn on when it senses an audio signal from either its optical digital input, network connection, or a paired Bluetooth device. The soundbar will automatically power off after twenty minutes of no audio signal and no operation.

Mounting Options: The Formation Bar can be centered directly under or above your TV screen. The soundbar can be placed on a shelf, table or piece of AV furniture using its integrated table-top stand (pre-installed). It can also be wall-mounted using the included wall bracket (the pre-install table-top stand will need to be removed).

Note: The Formation suite of products are not moisture resistant, as they are not designed to be used in high-humidity or moisture rich environments. Positioning a Formation product in a moisture rich environment such as a bathroom or sauna, could cause damage to the product that would not be covered under its manufacturing warranty.

Network Multiroom Audio

Wired & Wireless Network Connectivity: The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar supports a wired (Ethernet) or wireless (WiFi) network connection. The Formation Bar is equipped with an RJ-45 LAN jack for a wired connection to your network router. It also offers built-in WiFi (2.4GHz) for a wireless connection to your network router. By connecting the Formation Bar to your network, you gain access to select online music services, Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2, Roon, and B&W's proprietary Formation Wireless Multiroom Audio Eco-System.

Note: The Music Bowers & Wilkins App (for Apple iOS 12.0+ and Android OS 5.0+) is required to connect your Formation Bar to your home network and also to establish connection with other Formation Series speakers in your home.

Music Bowers & Wilkins App: The Music Bowers & Wilkins App (for Apple iOS 12.0+ and Android OS 5.0+) provides simple setup and control from your compatible Apple iOS or Android mobile device. Use the Music Bowers & Wilkins app to connect the Formation Bar and other Formation Series speakers to your WiFi network. The app also lets you access select online music services, while also controling basic functions - such as Source Selection, Volume Up/Down, as well as Bass & Treble of the speaker. In addition, the app lets you create a wireless multiroom audio mesh network with other Bowers & Wilkins Formation speakers for a whole house audio experience. You'll be able to control each Formation Series speaker in your home through this one application on your compatible Apple iOS or Android OS device. Software and firmware updates are also enabled through the Music Bowers & Wilkins app.

Formation Wireless Multiroom Audio: The Formation Bar is part of Bowers & Wilkins Formation Series of products (sold separately - see Accessories Tab) that can be used together to create a wireless multiroom high-resolution audio system. B&W Formation Series products wirelessly connect together through a proprietary mesh network, independently from your WiFi network, to ensure 24-bit/96kHz high-resolution audio performance throughout your home. Each Formation Series product dynamically chooses the optimal path to route audio-data between products, in order to ensure a robust streaming experience with near perfect speaker synchronization (1 microsecond sync between speakers).

  • Number of Speaker Groups: You can have up to six Bowers & Wilkins Formation Series speakers on one wireless mesh network. You can group Formation speakers together and play the same audio source through each speaker or have different audio sources playing through each speaker.
  • Compatible Sources: Tidal, Tune In, Qobuz, NTS, Soundcloud, Dash, Spotify Connect, and Bluetooth audio are supported by Formation wireless multiroom audio. Roon & AirPlay 2 are not compatible because they are independent and alternative multiroom audio platforms.

Notes: Click here for Bowers & Wilkins Formation Series support page.

Online Music Apps: Within the Music Bowers & Wilkins app for Apple iOS 12.0+ and Android OS 5.0+) you can access select online music services; including Tidal, Tune In, Qobuz, NTS, Soundcloud, and Dash. You'll also have browsing and playback control, plus song/artist/album information (including album art) from the Music B&W app for the listed online music services. The Music Bowers & Wilkins app even gives you cross-service personalized track and playlist recommendations, plus exclusive access to curated Bowers & Wilkins content.

Alexa Voice Control Compatible: B&W has added support for voice-control via Amazon Alexa to their Formation Series. This new Formation Skill is a convenient way to wirelessly stream music and control the Formation product via an Alexa-enabled device (sold separately) using only your voice. You'll be able to use Alexa to access and control additional online music services such as Amazon Music, Pandora, SiriusXM, iHeartradio, and Tune In (Tidal, Qobuz, NTS, Soundcloud, and Dash are not supported by Alexa). In addition to an Alexa-enabled device (sold separately), you allso need to install the Alexa app (for Apple iOS 11.0+ and Android OS 6.0+) on your compatible smartphone or tablet device.

  • Volume Controls: You can ask Alexa to increase or decrease the volume (0-100) on a specific Formation Series product or in a particular room. You can also ask Alexa to mute or unmute your music.
  • Playback Controls: You can ask Alexa to playback a compatible online music service, a specific artist, or music genre on a specific Formation Series product or in a particular room. Alexa can also be used to control basic playback functions such as Play/Stop, Pause/Resume, Previous/Next Track, and Fast Forward/Rewind. You can even ask Alexa "what's playing" to be told the song title and artist.


  • The B&W Formation does not feature its own built-in microphone and requires a separate Alexa-enabled device (such as the Echo; sold separately) to use voice control.
  • Only music services that have been certified to work with the Formation Series are supported; other services may appear but will not be supported.
  • Alexa playback control is music service dependent (the music service must support the same features). Click here for a full updated list of Amazon Alexa Formation Series Skills.

Spotify Connect: The integration of Spotify Connect will enable Spotify Premium users to instantly select and wirelessly stream music to the B&W Formation Bar from within the Spotify app (Apple iOS or Android). Spotify is a digital music service that gives you on-demand access to one of the largest music libraries in the world (over 15 million tracks and counting). Spotify makes it easier than ever to discover, manage, and share music with your friends. You can browse music by artist, album, track, or most popular; and create your own music library with customized playlists.

Apple AirPlay 2: AirPlay 2 is an advanced and easy-to-use wireless multiroom audio platform for iTunes, Apple Music, and other compatible Apple iOS apps. With AirPlay 2 you can play any sound from your Apple iOS device (running iOS 11.4 or later) or Mac computer (running OS X 10.13.2) on the B&W Formation Bar and other compatible AirPlay 2 components throughout your home. You will also be able to ask Siri-enabled devices (like your Apple iPhone, iPad, or Watch) to control playback of your Apple Music on the Formation Bar. You can choose to play audio in one room, play the same audio in grouped rooms, or play the same audio in every room (you can control and group directly from Apple's Music App and Home app on your Apple iOS device). If you are an Apple Music subscriber, you can even play different music in different rooms (you can control and group directly from Apple's Music App and Home app on your Apple iOS device). You can even watch videos and movies from YouTube and Netflix on your compatible Apple iOS device or Mac computer with perfectly synced audio on the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar.

Roon Ready: Roon is a feature rich music library and playback application that compiles all the music files available to your network and makes them easily available to play across all your B&W Formation Series products and any other Roon enabled audio devices. Roon manages digital music files (including FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, and DSD) collected on hard drives and networked storage. It can also watch your iTunes library, and optionally integrate with the Tidal and Qobuz music streaming services. Roon is available for mobile, laptop or desktop devices. When you open the Roon app, it will display your complete audio library together with its metadata and artwork along with all the available Formation and Roon enabled devices. Simply select the music you wish to play and the Formation or Roon device in which you want to hear it on.

Note: To use Roon you will need a Roon Core running on the same network as the Formation Bar and other Formation Series products. The Core is media server software that runs on your computer, NAS, or turnkey appliance (like Nucleus or ROCK - sold separately), located on the network within your home.

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Customer Q&A

3 questions already asked

Can satellite speakers be added?
darren  Mar 16, 2021
2 answers
With this bar, you can add the Formation Bass and the Formation Duo.
sean  Mar 17, 2021
Yes, they even sell them at Crutchfield
tom  Mar 16, 2021
Can you ad a subwoofer like a SVS or other ?
sergio  May 23, 2020
1 answer
Adding a product outside of the formation eco-system likely complicates set up and I think might degrade performance defeating the purpose of getting the system. I have the sub and bar, both work seamlessly, easy to set up, with performance that's mind boggling it's so good.
dagoberto  May 23, 2020
How do you hook this up to your television if it doesn't have HDMI? Also if I play 4K movies on my television will this sound bar have a problem?
joshua  Aug 17, 2019
1 answer
You will use the Optical digital connection ( the cable is included). 4K will not have an effect on this sound bar, it will work perfectly fine.
thomas  Aug 25, 2019 (Staff)

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