on Monday introduced its Sonos Digital Music System, a new device that plays back digital music stored on Macs, PCs and Network Attached Storage (NAS) servers. The system includes two components: An amplified device called the ZonePlayer and a wireless remote control called the Controller. It’s coming this fall.
The Sonos Digital Music System supports MP3, WMA, AAC and WAV audio formats. The developer cautions that files encoded with Digital Rights Management (DRM) encryption are not yet supported, but Sonos Digital Music System is firmware-upgradeable to support future formats.
The ZonePlayer is equipped with a four-port 10/100 Ethernet switch. It also features speaker hookups, RCA audio inputs and outputs (including a discrete subwoofer output), and 50W RMS per channel output. Multiple ZonePlayers can be installed throughout your house; each ZonePlayer can either play the same songs or play different songs simultaneously. They support wireless networking with each other, as well.
The Sonos Controller lets you navigate playlists stored on your computer and choose music to listen to. The Controller features its own color 3.5-inch LCD screen with 240 x 320 pixel resolution and touch-sensitive scroll wheel. It also incorporates nine backlit function buttons, three “soft selector” buttons and an “OK” button the scrollwheel. It has its own rechargeable Lithium-Ion polymer battery that can be recharged by plugging into a cradle.
The ZonePlayer itself is Mac-compatible, but Sonos has also developed Desktop Controller, an alternative to the Sonos Controller hardware device that runs from a PC desktop. The information on Sonos’ Web site indicates that Desktop Controller is Windows-only.
The price of each ZonePlayer is US$499, and each Controller costs $399. Sonos also plans to offer an Introductory Bundle combining two ZonePlayers and a Controller for $1,199.
Preview Mac OS X “Tiger