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View Full Version : Sonos now available at Best Buy



MelonMonkey
2007-06-20, 07:07
For some reason I thought their product was already available in big-box locations. Normally a dangerous venture due to rubber-band sales (ie. many sales come right back to the store). Sonos might be able to escape this without taking huge hits, but only for one very important reason.

Polish. (That's "paw"-lish, not "po"-lish like in perogies)

Anyone that's been following the DAP and streamer market for the past few years should know it's about the only thing they have above the Squeezebox and a number of other solutions. This counts for a lot in the consumer space and helps to make sure products aren't returned due to things like customer frustration in setting them up.

I can't imagine Logitech having purchased Slim Devices if it didn't intend, at some point, to move huge volumes of product to the consumer channel.

When are we going to see a redeployed Slim Devices web site? More importantly, a super-polished and no-brainer to set up version 7 software release? Eye candy in the form of a graphical controller practically sells the Sonos solution on its own, so come on Logitech, when's it coming...

Here's hoping that Logitech doesn't rely only on its superior distribution channel to move product and that we continue to see innovation and a move into a more graphically pleasant (and highly usable) interfaces.

Mark Lanctot
2007-06-20, 07:29
I don't know, how successful will Sonos be in bog-box stores? Logislim will be in more or less the same position.

It requires a knowledgeable sales staff, which big box stores don't have. You have Joe Six-Pack going in, seeing the Linksys/D-Link/Netgear "long audio cable" solution for $99, seeing AppleTV for $299 (or whatever), then seeing Sonos at $899.

Since you indicate you're in Toronto - you must have seen Sonos pricing in Canada. They will have a really hard time competing with the "long audio cable"/remote soundcard solutions from all the networking companies - Logitech will as well. Joe Six-Pack won't know any better, all these devices allow for computer audio playback through his stereo, right? If anything he'll think that AppleTV is the desired upgrade because it can do video and because, well, it's from Apple - the iPod folks.

Slim's intention before the Logitech takeover was to move into higher-end chains with more knowledgeable sales staff and more knowledgeable customers but this market segment isn't doing too well. Logitech has the distribution capability and sales connections to market it wherever they wish but at this point it's between big box stores or direct. They might as well try the big box retailers but it won't be easy.

mvalera
2007-06-20, 10:19
new website... when we get it done. :P

Nostromo
2007-06-20, 11:10
Eye candy in the form of a graphical controller practically sells the Sonos solution on its own, so come on Logitech, when's it coming...

If there's a SONOS-like remote in the works it should be optional. There's no way in hell I'm paying 500$ for that. Anyway, I haven't tried the SONOS remote, but I'm willing to bet that the standard Slim remote is more functional and lets you find you music faster (especially with the Lazy search plugin).

peterw
2007-06-20, 14:29
For some reason I thought their product was already available in big-box locations. Normally a dangerous venture due to rubber-band sales (ie. many sales come right back to the store). Sonos might be able to escape this without taking huge hits, but only for one very important reason.

Polish. (That's "paw"-lish, not "po"-lish like in perogies)

Anyone that's been following the DAP and streamer market for the past few years should know it's about the only thing they have above the Squeezebox and a number of other solutions.

I was in a US Best Buy store the other day and saw a Sonos unit. You know, I was really disappointed by the remote control. First, the buttons seemed cheaper than I imagined. Worse, the remote didn't seem all that responsive. It felt sluggish. The user interface might be more intuitive than the Squeezebox 2-line up/down/left/right menus, but I was surprised that it didn't react more quickly to my button presses. It felt a little like running the latest & greatest software on an old computer. Not great. Add to that the fact that it's a completely closed system, and I'm glad that I've sent my $ to Slim/Logitech.

-Peter

SumnerBoy
2007-06-20, 15:17
I was in a US Best Buy store the other day and saw a Sonos unit. You know, I was really disappointed by the remote control.

Very interesting to hear that Peter. That is the one thing about the Sonos system I have always looked at with envy. Like you I am very happy to have saved my $$ and gone for the more flexible Slim system.

corbey
2007-06-20, 19:29
Best Buys that have a Magnolia home theater department have been selling Sonos for at least several months and probably longer. I remember seeing one of their remotes and being surprised at how large it is - definitely seemed like you'd need two-hands to operate it. Unfortunately, I was on my lunch hour and didn't have time to stay and play.

James_B
2007-06-21, 04:24
I too was a little disappointed when i finally came face to face with the Sonos control a few days ago. It was bigger than i thought it would be and just a little sluggish.

But it would be good to be able to just plug in any (NAS) hard drive as I think you can with Sonos.

I do however have no regrets at choosing the Squeezbox.. in fact I have just bought my third.

MelonMonkey
2007-06-21, 09:14
The Sonos has a lot of things wrong with it, including the fact you MUST connect the first player to your network BY WIRE. Only the second and subsequent players can be used wirelessly. I'm sure most people don't notice that little tidbit.

I've seen/touched the Sonos controller a number of times, including at CES and Macworld in 2005 when they were launched. but I'm pretty sure I'd seen them at a Macworld prior to that. A lot of people likely imagine the controller to be iPod sized I suppose. It's definitely a two hander or one hand and a table/lap to resting it on.

I just want to see options from Slim/Logitech. The polish is what sells their products. I'd be surprised if they weren't outselling Slim products at least 4 to 1.

I've evaluated all my options over the past few years. I wasn't an early adopter of the Slim products because they weren't there yet. Last year they reached, along with Slim Server, a level of maturity I felt had reached the trigger point. At the same time, Roku that showed some wow early on was all but dead and Sonos, despite its polish had the unfortunate high price and some restrictions that didn't make me happy. Its server solution was also far from ideal at the time.

In terms of low-level IP, Slim has what I consider the lion's share. Logitech likely considered the same strengths when making their acquisition. Now I'm very curious to see what will finally come to the table. Logitech are not typically niche market players. At least not esoteric niche markets.

There are so many possibilities and my curiosity has obviously got a hold. Do I have to get a job at Logitech to find out what's going on? :)

JimC
2007-06-21, 11:50
...Do I have to get a job at Logitech to find out what's going on? :)

We are hiring, especially on the engineering side ;)


-=> Jim

amey01
2007-06-21, 16:35
NO NO NO, the appeal of the Squeezebox is the simplicity. Nobody wants eye-candy and stupid graphics. Simple, plain text functionality.

Now, if SlimServer could be easier to install and use then I'd be all for it.

We want reliablility and ease of use, not eye candy!

MelonMonkey
2007-06-21, 20:13
I never give only two cents...

Here's the perfect example. Apple.

Eye Candy, ease of use, and simplicity. Sonos has done well on these fronts as well. I'm not saying both Apple and Sonos are not without their faults of course (I previous mentioned some of Sonos').

The Slim products are great. But you have to be a gear head and pretty serious music aficionado to install and maintain them. Use of a Squeezebox has a low enough learning curve that you can teach most people the basics in a few minutes from the remote.

I am the things I just mentioned, so it works for me. But I'm also inherently a designer and artist (and engineer), so I also have a huge appreciation for the finer points and refinements of products well executed from top to bottom (or bottom to top if you work that way around).

I would never advocate eye candy *instead* of usability. To me form and function go hand in had. In my books, You really can't have one without the other in product design.

James_B
2007-06-22, 03:16
The Sonos has a lot of things wrong with it, including the fact you MUST connect the first player to your network BY WIRE. Only the second and subsequent players can be used wirelessly. I'm sure most people don't notice that little tidbit.


I think there is a way around this but it is not officially supported. Perhaps Sonos is great if you have no end of money and want an enormous number of clients - but if you are on a budget then the player stuck to the pc thing and the significantly higher price is a massive turn-off. Afterall the controller itself - the only one available - is the same price as a player. That is the price of not having a display on the unit.

In all honesty I would love to see a simmilar controller for the squeezebox and just a tad more "polish"... but there are a hell of a lot of good things already.

servies
2007-06-22, 04:32
In all honesty I would love to see a simmilar controller for the squeezebox and just a tad more "polish"... but there are a hell of a lot of good things already.
Get a PDA with Wifi and you're almost there...

MelonMonkey
2007-06-22, 07:56
With a WiFi PDA you are nowhere near the level of integration of a purpose-built controller/interface. Not even close to the level of polish of the Sonos product.

The Slimserver skins all offer some level of advanced control and some pretty cool features, but there's no arguing that they all have a certain level of geek appeal that is not suitable or at least will not make a statement to a consumer-level audience.

No sense in discussing the positives or benefits the current SB products have. We all know them already, that's why we bought what we did and continue to use them. The SB product is the best, but you have to look at yourself and realize who you are. You (and me of course) are not the typical consumer.

No one, including me, has suggested making it a requirement to have a control pad nor to remove the display of any current or future Slim product. I only mentioned that the availability of a finished, primarily screen-based controller, would be an extremely valuable addition to Slim's product portfolio.

End users hacking together PDA's with web skins is not the same thing. There isn't a PDA out there that's as cool or functional as the Sonos controller. Every MS PDA also loses all its software when the battery runs dead (I have two and they're garbage devices).

mrfantasy
2007-06-22, 08:17
I just want to add the word "Jive" to this discussion since no one's mentioned it yet.

If you look at the platform they're building there, it's a simple intuitive leap to what Slim might be thinking. And that would be something like a Sonos-like controller. The good news is that seems like it would be an add-on to the current technology, not a mandatory product like it is with the Sonos.

I don't have any inside information on this--I'm just making logical jumps from what has been publicly released and discussed.

mherger
2007-06-22, 08:30
> The good news is that seems
> like it would be an add-on to the current technology, not a mandatory
> product like it is with the Sonos.

Hey mrfantasy, you deserve your name :-)

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.herger.net/SlimCD - your SlimServer on a CD
http://www.herger.net/slim - AlbumReview, Biography, MusicInfoSCR

servies
2007-07-05, 00:49
With a WiFi PDA you are nowhere near the level of integration of a purpose-built controller/interface. Not even close to the level of polish of the Sonos product.

The Slimserver skins all offer some level of advanced control and some pretty cool features, but there's no arguing that they all have a certain level of geek appeal that is not suitable or at least will not make a statement to a consumer-level audience.
I agree that it would be probably a good idea for slimdevices to create a good functional "skin" to be used by a DPA


End users hacking together PDA's with web skins is not the same thing. There isn't a PDA out there that's as cool or functional as the Sonos controller.
What I've seen from the Sonos controller, I find it a huge clunky interface I don't want to have in my house.


Every MS PDA also loses all its software when the battery runs dead (I have two and they're garbage devices).
Never heard of that problem and I wonder how this happens as the system is in ROM memory... And I wonder what happens if the battery of the Sonos controller runs dead... from the website: "Rechargeable Li-ION Polymer, factory-replaceable"... So it probably will cost you an arm and a leg again...

mherger
2007-07-05, 01:28
> I agree that it would be probably a good idea for slimdevices to create
> a good functional "skin" to be used by a DPA

The problem with PDA skins is lack of support for advanced features in
"some" of the most common browsers. If they all were using Opera, this
would be fine. But PocketIE just isn't up to it. Even my new mobile
phone's default browser seems to be much more powerful when it comes to
CSS and javascript. That's why the Handheld skin (while being fully
functional) is using pretty basic HTML pages. But it covers almost all
that the default skin does.

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.herger.net/SlimCD - your SlimServer on a CD
http://www.herger.net/slim - AlbumReview, Biography, MusicInfoSCR

Empgamer
2007-08-11, 01:42
The Sonos has a lot of things wrong with it, including the fact you MUST connect the first player to your network BY WIRE. Only the second and subsequent players can be used wirelessly. I'm sure most people don't notice that little tidbit.



That's actually not strictly correct. There is an option to connect the Sonos to you router by using 'over-mains' plugs. It's not an officially supported solution (I suspect because it cuts down the need to buy another Z80) but it will work fine.

One of the things I've looked at hard when trying to chosse between Sons and SB3. Still undecided.

Listener
2007-08-11, 13:14
For some reason I thought their product was already available in big-box locations. Normally a dangerous venture due to rubber-band sales (ie. many sales come right back to the store). Sonos might be able to escape this without taking huge hits, but only for one very important reason.

Polish. ... This counts for a lot in the consumer space and helps to make sure products aren't returned due to things like customer frustration in setting them up.



I agree that polish will be increasingly important. Sonos is ahead but I'm sure that SlimDevices/Logitech has something in development. Hurry up!

---
The Sonos remote uses too much screen real estate on eye candy for my tastes but it seems light years ahead of the SB's 2 line display and its 10 key pad remote.

----
I've seen the Sonos units in a stand-alone Magnolia Hi-Fi and a an independent High-end audio store. In neither case had the store staff set the system up to give a useful demo. They didn't know much about Sonos either.

I've heard that Sonos is doing well with home entertainment custom installers. I suspect that in many of their installations, they rip the customer's CD collection as part of the deal. I think that distribution channel might be more important than traditional Hi-Fi stores.

Bill