I’ve spent the weekend setting up and using a Sonos music system in my house. Sonos sells hardware that connects to your home network to play digital music and internet radio stations (and also Rhapsody) around your house. Each piece of hardware is a separate zone, so different music can be played in different areas of your house, all controlled by a single wireless hand held device.
This stuff is expensive, but amazingly simple to set up and use. You plug any one of the main units into a router, install software on your PC or Mac, and then plug other units in around the house where you want to play music. Point it to your music collection on your network, or use Rhapsody or the pre-selected internet radio stations. The ZP80 units are smaller and need to be plugged into some sort of amplified device – stereo system, computer, etc. The ZP100 units have an amplifier built in and can be plugged directly into speakers.
These are all interchangeable, you can use a ZP100 in one room, a ZP80 in another (which is what I have done). They are also modular, so you can add new components over time.
The controller works a lot like an iPod and has two features I’m using heavily. The first is the ability to queue up songs on the fly (add songs to the queue while you are listening to another). The second are the genre-specific radio stations built into the software – I’ve been listening to Los Angeles based KROQ all weekend.
If you are a music junkie, this is for you. Total setup time: 25 minutes.
We’ll be testing out more gadgets at TechCrunch in the near future.