Bang & Olufsen To Take On Sonos With The $1,000 Essence Streaming System

Bang & Olufsen’s latest household gadget aims to make controlling music as easy as turning on the lights. In fact the company hopes homeowners install its $1,000 Essence system near a common light switch. Just don’t mistake it for a Nest Thermostat.

The Essence consists of two parts. The round, aluminum controller is mounted on a wall or placed on a table. This unit controls the music and features the standard array of touchscreen controls and sports motion sensors. Walk into a room with the B&O Essence and Bon Iver will start playing. Walk out, the music will fade away.

The other part consists of the actual streaming device that B&O envisions will be tucked away in a closet. All communication is done wirelessly and supports AirPlay streaming, DLNA streaming, Spotify Connect, QPlay and thousands of global Internet radio stations.

B&O is entering a crowded market, but is taking the notion of wireless streaming dramatically up-market. From the quality of the material to the high cost associated with the installation, the Essence is clearly targeting a different demographic from Bose and Sonos. The entire system costs $995 with additional control units costing $200 each. B&O expects to ship the Essence this spring.

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