Thecan access the Rhapsody streaming audio subscription service directly, thanks to a software update made available today. Previously, Sonos users had to run the software on their PC, which acted as a proxy server to the Sonos base station. Once the Sonos version 2 software update is installed--it's a free automatic update, accessible from the Sonos Controller's onscreen menu--the wireless digital audio system can access the Rhapsody service directly over the Web, sans the PC. And because the computer is removed from the equation, Mac users--for whom there's no Rhapsody software client--can now enjoy the benefits of the service for the first time. Current and future Sonos customers will get a free 30-day trial of the Rhapsody Unlimited service, which offers access to more than 2 million songs for just $9.99 a month.
The Sonos system can also stream just about any non-copy-protected digital audio file--including MP3, WMA, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, Audible, FLAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, and AIFF formats--from a networked PC, Mac, or network-attached storage (NAS) drive. But the Rhapsody subscription allows Sonos's upscale customers (two-room systems start at $1,000) to have instant access to a massive music library, without the time-consuming and labor-intensive effort that ripping their entire CD collection would entail.
The Sonos 2 software also adds a number of other feature improvements, including new alarm clock functions (wake to music, snooze, clock display, sleep timer) and enhanced Internet radio support. We'll have an updated review of thesoon.