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Jun 20, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Another Linux-based gadget has broken into the mainstream consumer electronics marketplace. The Sonos Digital Music System is now available in more than 450 Best Buy retail outlets in the U.S., alongside Linux-powered classics like the TiVo, Linksys WRT54G (V1-3), and Sony HD TVs.

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Sonos's Digital Music System aims to reduce the cost and increase the quality of whole-house audio, by applying modern computing technology. Instead of distributing music via lossy analog signals routed over “home run” wiring to a massive central amplifer, the Sonos System distributes music digitally between multiple “ZonePlayer” nodes, using Ethernet or mesh WiFi, combined with the company's homebaked “SonosNet” protocol stack. SonosNet's timing algorithms ensure synchronized output on up to 32 ZonePlayers on a single network, the company claims.

Best Buy's $1,000 Sonos ZP80, ZP100, and ZoneController bundle
(Click to enlarge)

Sonos ZonePlayers are based on Linux, and optionally available with built-in amplifiers. One advantages of the Sonos System's distributed architecture, compared to traditional whole house audio, is that musical sources can be attached to any ZonePlayer, rather than only to the central amp. Analog sources such as turntables have their output digitized and compressed on the fly, for playback on any/some/all connected ZonePlayers.

The handheld controller can control the entire Sonos System

Additionally, music files stored on any computers attached to the network are indexed and available for playback. Supported formats include Windows Media 11, as well as more normal, open standard formats. Playlists, music routing, and general system configuration can be done from any PC on the network, via a browser interface, or using Sonos's sleek Linux-based ZoneController handheld.

Learn more about each Sonos device in our complete, earlier coverage:


Best Buy is initially carrying nine Sonos products, priced as follows:

  • ZonePlayer 100 (includes 50-Watt Class-D amp) — $500
  • ZonePlayer 80 (no amp) — $350
  • ZoneController Docking Cradle — $50
  • Extra ZoneController — $400
  • ZonePlayer Bundle — $1,000
    • 1 x ZonePlayer 80
    • 1 x ZonePlayer 100
    • 1 x ZoneController

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