Sonos today issued a flurry of announcements that will further augment the appeal of its Digital Music System: compatibility with two additional premium music subscription services--Best Buy's Digital Music Store (BBDMS) and the revamped Napster; a new software update that adds a handful of useful features, including search; and confirmation of the ZoneBridge BR100 networking accessory. The details, in brief:
- Napster and BBDMS compatibility: As of today, all Sonos systems can now interface with the Best Buy Digital Music Store (which is basically a reskinned version of Rhapsody) and the . Both subscription services can be accessed online directly through the Sonos remote, without the need to be running a PC elsewhere on the home network. Music lovers in Canada, Germany, and the U.K. can enjoy Napster on Sonos as well (it's the first Sonos-compatible service available outside of the U.S.). Moreover, Sonos owners can take advantage of Napster's free 30-day trial offer. Best Buy and Napster join a wide range of other premium music services available through Sonos, including , Rhapsody, Pandora, and Yahoo Music Unlimited--just to name a few.
- Sonos 2.5 software upgrade: In addition to adding Napster and Best Buy support, the latest software upgrade--available as a free download to all Sonos owners at the push of a button--adds a variety of usability tweaks to the music system. Most notable is a convenient search function (using a soft keyboard on the remote) that works across all premium services, as well as your home music library. That means no more guessing the genre of your favorite music--just search the artist, song, or album name. Other improvements include better zone management (ability to drop all grouped zones); support for long artist/track/album names via text-scrolling; more queue options; and improved compatibility for streaming music tracks from the forthcoming Windows Home Server.
- ZoneBridge BR100: The were dead on: Sonos is offering a small accessory that enhances coverage of its wireless mesh network--perfect for creating that one interface between the Sonos system and your home network, or for covering Sonos dead spots in a large home. The ZoneBridge is available as of today for $100. As with all Sonos products, it features multiple Ethernet ports, so other wired networked products on your home network--such as an Xbox 360, TiVo, or Slingbox--can piggyback on the Sonos network to access the Web.
Alas, the two things we keep pushing Sonos on--offering a black version, and cutting the price--aren't among the announcements. Still and all, the upgrades represent yet another set of incrementally positive bullet points that make the already fantastic Sonos Digital Music System just that much better.