The Sonos Digital Music System can access the Rhapsody streaming audio subscription service directly, thanks to a software update made available today. Previously, Sonos users had to run the Rhapsody 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 the Sonos Digital Music System soon.