I'd like to propose to the Sonos engineers that they consider expanding their current equipment to include a component that is suited to a multi-room installation for a residence containing a large number of rooms that are currently wired with either in-wall or in-ceiling speakers and where each room also contains an in-wall volume control.
I'd suggest that Sonos release a new component in the Connect family that doesn't include any wireless receiver or transmitter. Here's why:
For the sake of this conversation let's say there are 6 rooms with speakers & volume controls and that all of the speaker wiring originates at one location in the house (we'll call it the Family Room) and that there is a single receiver and a six-way speaker switcher that is connected to the speaker wiring. I think this describes a fairly common scenario.
As it stands right now, if you wanted Sonos throughout the house you could easily add a Connect to the receiver and you've got Sonos playing everywhere plus the benefit of Sonos control via smartphones. All good, but each room has to listen to the same source.
But let's say you now want to invest in a multi-zone amplifier and give each of your six rooms independent source and volume control.
As is stands, if you limit yourself to the Sonos ecosystem your options are to invest in six Connect:amps and have each one power a set of speakers, or invest in 5 or more Connect as well as some sort or multisource, multichannel amplifier. An example of a this would be the Home Theater Direct MCA-66, a product target to DIY'ers just like Sonos.
Six Connect:Amps will cost you a pretty penny and for some that is just fine.
But I'd propose that Sonos release a new component in the Connect family that doesn't include any wireless receiver or transmitter. The unit would be for wired-network only applications. Let's call this new component a Connect: Wired for now.
Each Connect: Wired would have an ethernet in and out, and have a smaller, stack-able form factor (assuming that removing the wireless from the guts would result in a smaller box). Let's also assume that the new Connect:Wired would be significantly lower in retail pricing when compared to its counterparts. Perhaps even remove the digital outputs to lower costs even further (we're talking in-wall speakers here, so fidelity requirements are assumed to be less than ultra high-end)
In the scenario I described above, if you had a wired network connection at your equipment, you could buy 6 of the Connect:Wired and daisy chain the network jacks so each had network access. If you didn't have a wired connection you could use 1 Connect and 5 Connect: Wired. The Connect would hop onto your wireless network and feed network signals to the Connect:Wired via daisy chained ethernet cables.
Each Connect:Wired unit would have it's own audio output running to the individual inputs on your mutli-room equipment and you've got 6 independent Sonos rooms.