Archive for Sonos

Amazon Announcements Now Available On Alexa-Enabled Sonos Speakers

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 9, 2018 by itnerd

Starting today through a cloud software update, Amazon Announcements will be available on Alexa-enabled Sonos speakers, Sonos One and Sonos Beam, in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada (English).

Whether it’s announcing that dinner is ready or that it’s time for bed, just say “Alexa announce…” and whatever you say next will be one-way broadcasted to all Alexa-enabled devices in your household.

Alexa Announcements is the latest update in our ongoing partnership with Amazon to bring new features and services to the Alexa experience on Sonos. Other recent updates include:

  • Audible with voice control in July
  • Full support of 20+ of the most popular Alexa skills in May, including: mlb.com at Bat, Children’s books from Amazon Storytime, Headspace, and more
  • Availability in new geographies, most recently adding France in June

 

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Sonos Goes Public On Nasdaq Today

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 2, 2018 by itnerd

Sonos becomes a public company today, listing on Nasdaq as SONO. And when they ring the bell today, it will be a bell of their own creation, crafted by Sound Experience Leader Giles Martin and Academy Award-winning sound engineer Chris Jenkins.

Here are a few things you should know about Sonos:

  • Sonos has developed and refined the home sound system with a singular focus for over 16 years and has introduced 13 products into the market since 2005.
  • Sonos products are distributed in over 50 countries, with over 100 streaming services available globally.
  • Sonos homes listen to an average of 80% more music, and 93% of units shipped since launch in 2005 are still in use.
  • Approximately 38% of new product registrations in fiscal 2017 from existing customers expanding their system.

Sonos has done a lot in the last year:

  • In June, Sonos launched the most versatile smart speaker for both music and TV, Sonos Beam. Sonos Beam delivers three products in one from a compact size – a smart speaker with Amazon Alexa and future support of additional voice assistance over time including Google Assistant coming later this year.
  • Available via a software update in July, AirPlay 2 is now available on Sonos. Customers enjoying AirPlay 2 on Sonos will also gain a new voice experience with the addition of Siri. Ask Siri to play any track, album, or playlist on Apple Music by using an iOS device to start playing on Sonos.
  • Sonos recently announced a bold new partnership with IKEA, a collaboration aimed at democratizing sound and design in the home.
  • In October 2017, Sonos launched its first voice-enabled wireless speaker, Sonos One. Similar to Sonos Beam, Sonos One is capable of supporting multiple voice services and playing music, podcasts, audiobooks, and other sonic content from more than 100 streaming services.

Congratulations to Sonos for going public today!

 

Sonos Beam Now Available

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 17, 2018 by itnerd

Sonos Beam is officially available via www.sonos.com and global retail partners starting today. The $499 CAD/$399 USD Beam combines three products into one – a Sonos smart speaker featuring Amazon Alexa, a sound bar that packs more than enough punch for most rooms, and is the one device you need for all your music and streaming content in the living room. And, following the launch last week, Beam will come ready with AirPlay 2.

Here are a few things to check out:

  • As we developed Beam, we had a few tracks that we used to test and showcase Beam’s clear, immersive sound. Check out Beam’s Spotify playlist, where each track was carefully selected to showcase vocal clarity, spacious sound, or bass. (Playlist also available on Apple Music or Tidal)

Additionally, you can now control Audible on Sonos using voice with Amazon Alexa. Audible launched on Sonos earlier this year with the ability to control your favorite audiobooks in any room of your home from within the Sonos and Audible Apps, and now with voice.

AirPlay 2 Is Now Available On Sonos Speakers

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 11, 2018 by itnerd

AirPlay 2 is now available on Sonos. This means the sounds from any app on your iOS devices can now be streamed directly to Sonos – music, podcasts, radio, video, audiobooks, and more. Sonos has shared more about what’s possible with AirPlay 2 on Sonos at their news event in June and starting today, Sonos customers can start using AirPlay 2 with a free software update. Check out today’s blog post that details some of the things to try now that AirPlay 2 is available on Sonos.

Sonos_AirPlay2_01.jpg

With AirPlay 2, you can play music and podcasts from iOS devices directly to Sonos speakers including Sonos Beam, Sonos One, Playbase, and the second generation Play:5. And, with a single supported speaker, AirPlay content can be streamed to other Sonos speakers in the system.

Those enjoying AirPlay 2 on Sonos will also gain a new voice experience with the addition of Siri. Ask Siri to play any track, album, or playlist on Apple Music by using an iOS device to start playing on Sonos.

 

Why Is Sonos Still Using SMBv1 In Its Products? [UPDATED]

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 11, 2018 by itnerd

Recently I got called in to a client’s home to troubleshoot an issue with their Sonos speaker setup. The core issue was that the client was unable to play the music from her Windows 10 PC on the Sonos speaker that she had in the home. When I investigated this, I fired up Sonos Controller for Windows 10, then I did the following:

  1. Go to Manage
  2. Go to Music library settings
  3. Click Add
  4. Choose My music folder

When I did that, I got an error saying that “The computer <Insert Computer Name Here> Is Not Responding.” So what I read from that was that if the computer “wasn’t responding” there was no way for it to send music to the speaker. That was weird because the music library was local to the computer that she was using, so there should be no way I should be seeing that message.

I spent about 30 minutes troubleshooting this and found something that I found to be very weird and scary at the same time. The Sonos software for Windows 10 requires that the SMBv1 protocol be turned on for it to use the music on that PC. It was off in her case. More on how to fix that in a moment.

Here’s the problem with using SMBv1. This protocol. has been implicated in a variety of exploits and cyberattacks including the one that rocked the world not too long ago. Microsoft considers this to be enough of a threat that they have been turning off SMBv1 by default when you install any of their Windows 10 feature updates starting with the Fall Creators Update. And they have been warning users about the evils of the protocol as well since late last summer.

So why is Sonos using a protocol that is clearly so insecure that Microsoft who created the protocol in question is not only ditching the protocol, but is even naming and shaming Sonos and other companies that are still using it? That’s a good question. The closest thing to an answer that I have found are some extremely vague promises for SMBv2 or SMBv3 support from Sonos. But no hard and fast timelines for that support. That’s just craptastic on the part of Sonos as clearly they need to do something on this front because you know that that the next cyberattack that leverages SMBv1 is coming, and it would look really bad for Sonos to be the attack vector of that attack because they couldn’t pony up support for a protocol that Microsoft says that they shouldn’t be using.

Now back to how to fix this issue with Sonos Controller on Windows 10. If you understand that you are taking a bit of a risk with having SMBv1 turned on, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open the Windows Control Panel
  2. Go to Programs and Features
  3. Go to Turn Windows Features on or off
  4. Select SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support
  5. Reboot your Windows machine.

That should make everything work again. But, like I said, there is a risk associated with this as the next cyberattack that uses this attack vector can pwn your computer. Plus it is entirely likely that future feature updates from Microsoft will turn SMBv1 off (which would require you to go through the above steps to turn it back on), or remove SMBv1 entirely.

Sonos really needs to address this issue sooner rather than later. Users should not ever have to run an insecure protocol just to use their products. So I am asking Sonos, will you fix this issue so that users of your products are secure? If so, when will you do it? No vague promises. Your users deserve a hard and fast date for this. Because Microsoft announced the depreciation of this protocol last year. Which means you truly have no excuse for not being on the ball when it comes to this. So when are Sonos users going to see some action on this front with an updated version of Sonos Controller that does not use SMBv1?

UPDATE: Apparently Sonos now has no choice but to fix this as soon as possible as the Windows 10 April 2018 Update not only turns SMBv1 off, but according to threads on Microsoft’s discussion forums like this one, you can’t turn it back on. Which means that any Sonos user who updates to April 2018 could be left unable to play music on their really expensive wireless speakers. It’s not clear if this is a bug or a deliberate attempt by Microsoft to force their users to stop using SMBv1. But I am leaning towards a bit from the former and a bit from the latter as a couple of Knowledge Base articles on the subject exist. Specifically KB4103721 and KB4100403. Both warn of a problem running programs from a shared folder via SMBv1. Both suggest that the workaround until a fix is available is to stop using SMBv1. Which again is a non starter for Sonos users who want to stream their music libraries from their Windows 10 computers.

Over to you Sonos.

 

Sonos Announces Sonos Beam & AirPlay 2 Support

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 6, 2018 by itnerd

Today, Sonos introduced Sonos Beam, the most versatile smart speaker for the living room, delivering incredible sound for virtually any streaming content and support for 80+ music services, support for Amazon Alexa at launch, and multiple voice assistants over time.

The $399 USD Sonos Beam will ship globally starting July 17 and is available for pre-order today on www.sonos.com.

With Beam, Sonos has combined three products into one – a Sonos smart speaker featuring Amazon Alexa, a sound bar that packs more than enough punch for most rooms, and the one device you need for all your music and streaming content in the living room. Like all Sonos speakers, Beam is part of the Sonos home sound system, meaning owners can easily integrate Beam into existing multi-room set-ups.

Sonos also announced that AirPlay 2 will be available on Sonos in July via a free software update. With AirPlay 2, you can play music and podcasts from their iOS devices directly on their Sonos speakers, including the new Sonos Beam, Sonos One, Playbase, and the second generation Play:5. With a single supported speaker, AirPlay content can be streamed to other Sonos speakers in the system. Customers also gain a new voice experience with the addition of Siri to start a track from Apple Music and play in any room on Sonos.

 

Sonos Introduces Speaker Sets

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 28, 2018 by itnerd

There are a lot of things you wouldn’t have just one of: socks, friends, potato chips. They’re always better when you have more than one. This is true of Sonos speakers too. The real magic happens when you live with it in more than one room. But there are still a lot of people who are only listening on one speaker, in one room.

There will be 8 different sets ranging from two to four room sets with Sonos Ones and home theater sets with Playbase and Playbar. Speaker sets start at $469.

Starter sets for your whole home:

  • 2 Sonos Ones: $469 (vs. $498 separately)
  • 3 Sonos Ones: $679 (vs. $747 separately)
  • 4 Sonos Ones: $899 (vs. $996 separately)
  • 2 Sonos Play:5: $1,169 (vs. $1,298 separately)

Home theater:

  • 3.1 set-up: $1,649 (vs. $1,798 separately)
  • 5.1 set-up: $2,118 (vs. $2,296 separately)

For more information go to sonos.com