CES: New digital music interface uses existing stereos

Sonos Inc. on Wednesday introduced its ZonePlayer ZP80, a new addition to its Digital Music System that makes it possible to turn any existing amplified sound system into a “digital music zone.” It’ll be available this spring for $349.99.

The Sonos Digital Music System distributes music that’s stored on a Mac, PC or network attached storage system, but up until now you’ve had to hook speakers to a ZonePlayer ZP100 — a $499 amplified interface.

Now you’ll be able to use sound systems you’ve already got in the house instead, at a lower price. The ZP80 features analog (RCA), optical and coaxial digital line-out connections, and it can connect to a home network using 10/100baseT Ethernet or wireless networking. It can also accept input from an iPod, CD player or satellite radio.

Like the ZP100, the ZP80 can be controlled using the Sonos Controller, a wireless, color LCD-equipped device that provides you with the ability to browse your music collection, build playlists and more.

The ZP80 supports MP3, WMA, unencrypted AAC, Ogg Vorbis, Apple Lossless, FLAC and other audio formats. Unfortunately, the ZP80 doesn’t support files that have been encrypted using DRM like Apple’s “FairPlay” (such as music that’s been downloaded from the iTunes Music Store) or Microsoft “Plays-for-sure” (available for download through several other music services).

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