I love to try new technology, although there are a few that I have skipped and this is one that I skipped 3 years ago. On the home theater side, our house is wired. Ethernet, speakers in many rooms, a media server in the basement that distributes our music, videos and pictures and an XBOX on every TV to view the content. The problem with the XBOX (besides Media Center’s insane flakiness) and music is that you have to be in the family room to control the media. So if you are outside on the deck and don’t like the song or find the volume too high, you have to go inside and change it. Not any longer.
I looked at a Sonos 3 years ago when a friend showcased it at his BBQ in England. In his old home he had bridges set up and controlling speakers with the Sonos proprietary wireless network distributing music around the house. It worked very well for him as old English homes are very hard to wire due to their plaster walls and age. The Sonos indexed his music and playlists from his PC and the proprietary remote control allowed him to stand outside and switch songs, select genres, alter volume or pick a new playlist. The problem was the price and the remote. In the old model you needed all of the kit … the remote (which was a brick), the bridges and on and on. It was a $1,200++ investment.
Not anymore. While at WMC I came across the Sonos booth and found that they had made a couple key advancements. The most important for me was the remote control. They have taken the software and released it on iOS, so you can eliminate the need for yet another remote control and put it on your iPhone or iPad for FREE. They also announced that it will be out on Android any day, which will be great on my Atrix and Samsung Galaxy. According to the Sonos site, you can have up to 16 devices interacting with the system (PCs, phones, tablets). No more looking for a remote, just grab one of the phones that is lying around and take control.
Which leads to the second component, the ZonePlayer 90. As the house is pre-wired, I do not need to use a wireless network to distribute music. Instead, I invested $400 and bought the ZP90. I plugged the device into my network (via Ethernet), linked it to my amp (via optical), logged into the Sonos app on my desktop, pointed the software to the folder which contains my music and playlists and Voila! Up and running. It doesn’t care if I am using Windows Media Player or iTunes (I don’t … although I did say last week that we should get a Mac .. for the heck of it), it reads them all.
This is a fantastic piece of kit. Sonos has been at it a long time, and with the free software app on the phone/tablet, the cost is negligible and the best out there. Well done Sonos.