Santa Barbara, Calif. — Sonos added broadband access of the 80-channel Sirius Internet Radio service to its wireless multiroom audio system as part of an effort to drive more Internet-based music content to consumers without forcing them to boot up a PC.
With the announcement, Sonos expanded its selection of Internet radio services that consumers can hear without networking their Sonos systems to a PC. The development also provides Sirius subscribers with their first PC-free access to Sirius Internet Radio in the home, Sonos added.
Sonos users will get a free 30-day trial of the Sirius service once they download an update to their system. The download is available today.
Sonos users already enjoy PC-less access to the subscription-based interactive Pandora and Rhapsody music services and to 300 Web-radio stations aggregated by Sonos and available at not cost. When networked to a PC, the wireless mesh-network multiroom system also lets users stream protected and unprotected music from their PC to rooms throughout the house.
The continued expansion of access to web-based music services is expanding Sonos’ appeal beyond the digital music enthusiast who rips CDs for storage on a home PC, said president/COO Phil Abram. When Sonos launched its system in 2005, it streamed unprotected music from a PC to wireless clients in other rooms, enabled multiroom access to the Rhapsody service with a networked PC up and running, and accessed about 150 Sonos-aggregated Web-radio stations with a PC on or off.
Marrying Sirius Internet service with Sonos, said sales and marketing VP Thomas Cullen, delivers many consumer advantages over purchasing a dedicated Sirius satellite-radio tuner for in-home use. One is the ability to deliver different channels of Sirius content simultaneously to multiple rooms without buying a separate tuner and subscription for each room. Sonos also makes it unnecessary to hunt for a good location to place a Sirius antenna, he said. With Sonos, he added, consumers can also enjoy Sirius’s Internet service in rooms that lack a PC.
The 80 Sirius channels delivered via the Internet include all Sirius music channels plus other channels allowed under Sirius’s licensing agreements. Sirius Internet Radio service costs $2.99/month for people who already subscribe to Sirius Satellite Radio. A stand-alone Sirius Internet subscription costs $12.95 per month.
In September 2006, Sonos added PC-free broadband access to Rhapsody. Direct access to Pandora’s service was added in May of this year. In January of this year, Sonos added wireless networking of protected WMA downloads stored on a PC. Compatible downloads include songs purchased from the Urge, Napster, Y Music and Zune sites.
For $36 per year, Pandora lets users create up to 100 personalized music channels by entering the name of a song or artist. The service then creates a personalized radio station that continuously streams songs with similar musical attributes, including melody, harmony, rhythm, instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics and vocals.
The $10 per month Rhapsody interactive-streaming service lets consumers select and stream more than 4 million songs.
Sonos’s system consists of a $399 handheld wireless-RF LCD remote that displays the PC’s song library and directs music to wireless clients called Zone Players. The clients, which plug into a home’s existing audio systems or to passive speakers, incorporate audio decoders and proprietary wireless mesh-network transmitter and receiver. One type of ZonePlayer at $499 incorporates 2x50-watt amp to drive passive speakers. A second Zone Player at $349 type lacks amplifiers and connects to a home’s legacy stereo systems, including table radios.
A $999 bundle consists of a controller, an amplified zone player, and an unamplified zone player.
Up to 32 clients can be used in a home to create a wireless 32-zone multiroom audio system, but one must always be connected directly or via a wired Ethernet connection to a PC.