updated 12:10 pm EDT, Tue October 23, 2007
Sonos ZoneBridge and More
Sonos today undertook a sweeping upgrade to its digital music hub line with a new component as well as important software upgrades. The ZoneBridge 100 (shown) is the first device from Sonos to establish a connection rather than serve as the end point: attaching a ZoneBridge to a router and tapping a button automatically creates a secured wireless mesh network that ZonePlayers and the core Controller can use to navigate and play music, saving potentially difficult setup on existing network devices. It can also serve as a range extender for an existing ZonePlayer setup and has dual Ethernet jacks to either serve as a pass-through on a network or else connect game consoles and other Internet-capable devices, Sonos says. The ZoneBridge 100 is available today for $99.
Any existing setup with the Controller can take advantage of the Version 2.5 update, the company adds. The upgrade adds access to both the Best Buy and Napster online music stores directly through the Controller's built-in LCD. Users can now browse and play music from either service by streaming tracks online rather than downloading them; users have no need to install software or even to leave a computer active. Playlists attached to an account and radio features will likewise translate to the device. Both Best Buy and Napster require a subscription to their unlimited music services at about $15 per month.
Other minor upgrades include a better search feature for finding music on a Mac or PC by its track metadata, the ability to shut off the motion sensor to prevent accidental play of music, and better management of network storage devices and zones.