Sonos makes the best multi-room music system that I have ever encountered. Although expensive, the system can be started with only a few components then expanded later. It lets you wirelessly stream music into any "zone" in your house--independently, or together using a centralized full color controller. However, if you already have an iPhone or iPod Touch you can download a free application to turn either of these devices into a Sonos Controller.
Last week, I expressed some doubt that Cisco Systems would be able to come up with a multiroom audio system that's usable by mere mortals. After all, home networking is still a pain to set up and debug, and Linksys isn't exactly a beloved consumer name.
Reading John Falcone's preview of the Linksys Wireless Home Audio System calmed my fears a little bit. Not only has Cisco hired some industrial and user interface designers, it has gotten a few things right that Sonos missed.
First, the Linksys system is completely wireless, while Sonos requires you to have … Read more
After hinting at a "digital stereo" product in The New York Times last week, Cisco unveiled the details of its Wireless Home Audio System today, which will be released under the networking giant's "Linksys by Cisco" consumer networking brand. At first glance, the system--which is actually a suite of six products that will be available separately or in a variety of preconfigured bundles--bears a remarkable resemblance to the Sonos Multi-Room Music System. Like the Sonos, the Linksys product has a large-screen remote and offers networked base stations designed to live in several rooms of the house where they can play digital music from networked PCs or online audio sources (Internet radio via RadioTime, Rhapsody subscription service in the U.S., and the AudioLounge premium service in Europe). The Linksys device can also use a "zone" system, so different rooms can access different audio sources, or be linked together for synchronized playback of a single audio stream in multiple rooms simultaneously. … Read more
Networking is a dark art, and putting the word "home" in front of it makes it no simpler. Debugging a home network is not for the faint of heart--the intelligence of the on-screen wizards peters out after the first few obvious fixes, and soon you're checking help forums, running ipconfig commands, and tweaking DHCP settings.
So today's news from The New York Times--that networking giant Cisco Systems is getting into the consumer electronics business--filled me with dread.
The idea of piping audio files from your computer to your home stereo or other audio devices is valid: … Read more
Apart from the song "Sleigh Ride," which I've been known to whistle on cloudy days in June, I hate traditional holiday music. Part of it comes from when I worked on the floor in a bookstore for a year, and was subjected to three months of traditional holiday tunes on endless loop, eight hours a day, five days a week.
But tomorrow, we're hosting a holiday party, and you can't have a party without holiday music. The only Christmas song in my collection is John Lennon and Yoko Ono's antiwar "Happy Xmas (War … Read more
I've been a fan of the Sonos Multi-Room Music System ever since I saw it in action at a neighbor's house a couple summers ago. There's no other solution that gives you such easy access to so much music in so many places in your house, whether that music is stored on your computer or delivered via partnerships with Internet music providers like Last.fm (owned by CBS, which also owns CNET), Pandora, or Rhapsody.
Recently, Sonos sent me a system to test out with their new free iPhone controller (more about that later), and I came … Read more
For a while now I've been ribbing the folks over at Sonos, the leader in affordable multiroom audio, that I wished their products came in black rather than light gray/off-white. The fact is, if you have a lot of black components, you ideally want everything to match. That's why you see the XBox 360 in black--I mean, people want the choice, right?
Well, my dreams of black Sonos were realized when an anonymous donor (who wishes to remain that way) let us take some shots of a customized ZonePlayer ZP100. It's a fairly expensive proposition--companies like … Read more
Donald and Jasmine discuss a new PVP from Cowon with an attractive price point.
Plus, Sonos inadvertently lowers the entry price point for its excellent in-home audio networking system--for those who already own iPhones or the iPod Touch. We interview Sonos co-founder Tom Cullen to get all the details.
Also this week: cute multimedia speakers, an overpriced in-car charger dock, and Jasmine's favorite music gadgets.