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Sonos Adds Features With Software Upgrade

Santa Barbara, Calif. — Sonos added new capabilities to its wireless multiroom-audio system via a software upgrade that, among other things, enables a universal search across multiple streaming services for a particular song.

Sonos version 5 software also provides faster access to songs and other key features by making many options available from the Now Playing screen.

The software does not support the planned ability to eliminate the need to connect a $49 Bridge to a wireless router to send music to Sonos speakers. The company has been signing up consumers to beta test that capability.

The 5.0 software is accompanied by new iOS and Android control apps with a new user interface also said to make it easier to find music more quickly. The UI is “rebuilt from the ground up” to speed up the availability of future enhancements, the company added.

With universal search, a Sonos system searches across streaming services for song and artist metadata in the services’ station/playlist, a spokesman said. The search will find all versions of a track, including live performances, remixes and covers, Sonos said.

In the Now Playing screen, multiple shortcuts appear to access songs and key features. Users, for example, can touch the info button to add tracks to playlists, save to favorites, and the like. Users can also turn on shuffle, repeat, cross-fade or set timers at the bottom of the Now Playing window.

Also to make it easier to direct songs to multiple speakers simultaneously, the Sonos app UI lets consumers access that functionality from the Now Playing screen.

The software upgrade also lets users create a single playlist that incorporates tracks from multiple streaming services and from a user’s personal music library. Users can also schedule music to come at different times of the day from as many speakers as desired.

Sonos soundbar users now get the ability to play music in stereo not only from the soundbar but also from a pair of wirelessly connected Sonos speakers in the same room. Previously, those speakers delivered ambient effects when music was played. Like before, the speakers reproduce discrete home-theater surround channels.