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 newly Web-ified Napster 4.0. 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 Sirius, 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 leaks 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.
Read review: Sonos Digital Music System