Step it up Sonos - New competition from Bose

  • 10 October 2013
  • 82 replies
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Interesting - two competitors to Sonos announced this week -- Sonos-competition announced today from Bose (which includes a long-requested from Sonos battery-powered portable) -- and one from Samsung... Sonos, you're getting stagnant and have competition. You are still an amazing system, but you have competition - time to step things up!

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Cisco Linksys Wireless Home Audio
Yamaha MusicCAST2
Sony Wireless Room Music System
Logitech Squeezebox
Google Nexus Q

All companies which are longstanding Audio or Digital Electronics giants, and every one of which failed miserably to compete with Sonos. Before the call goes out (yet again) for Sonos to "step things up", let's wait and see if the "competition" even makes it past the inital release (which all of the above sans Logitech failed to do).
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Bose is the most credible threat. They are in so many stores and run their own retail ops and have a loyal fan base.

I still think Sonos is a proven system. Has a better subwoofer than Bose has ever made and likely has great things on their roadmap.

Bose will have to sound significantly better to warrant paying more money.
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Competition is good. BOSE has a good reputation and so has Sonos. As mentioned previously, will they get past the first level and gain the trust for people to invest hundreds and thousands of pounds in a new system. Look at Logitech, they've pulled out of the market and left people with kit that will no longer be supported.

I used to own HTC smartphone that run Windows and within 3 months a new windows was released and HTC told me that they wouldn't allow me to update the phone. Apple supported IOS6 for my 3GS, so I was able to feel in the crowd with a 3 yr old phone. So, I won't choose HTC again, unless they truly raise the bar.

Sonos have a fantastic policy of being to update software on devices that are several years old. So my investment is future proof to a point. Will BOSE and others follow that mantra? Also, Sonos uses it's own wireless system to maintain reliability of streaming. I think only Samsung is about to offer that now and will be interesting to see how it works.

So bring it on competitors....we want/need competition. There's enough space for all.
Haven't really cared much for Bose since they started focusing on satellite+sub systems - they sacrificed good sound (mid-range most especially) for aesthetics.

Used to love them back when the 401s were what they were pushing, although even then I preferred Boston Acoustics acoustic suspension speakers back when BA was really still BA.
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Interesting - two competitors to Sonos announced this week -- Sonos-competition announced today from Bose (which includes a long-requested from Sonos battery-powered portable) -- and one from Samsung... Sonos, you're getting stagnant and have competition. You are still an amazing system, but you have competition - time to step things up!

Step it up? Exactly where are they lacking? I have an awesome surround sound system with soundbar, sub and surrounds. I have music in my bedrooms, baths and kitchen with Play 3's and 5's and music in my living room with an AMP. I'm not clear on what exactly needs to be "stepped up" as you put it. Sounds like Bose needs to step it up to me, they are years behind.
Bozo is using your existing WiFi network, vs setting up their own mesh network. Bad idea, unlikely to be nearly as reliable as Sonos, when your kids are hogging the bandwidth watching YouTube videos...
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Considering I've spent about 8 hours on the phone with Sonos' top level support and they can't get my simple 3 speaker setup working due to "wireless interference", I'm happy to see new competition.
1957GoldTop,

SonosNet, WiFi, and EoP (Ethernet over Powerline) are competing technologies, each trying to embarrass the others. In my experience SonoNet is by far the most robust of the three, but it will occasionally be embarrassed by WiFi or EoP. I have used SonosNet to prop up a WiFi network that was in trouble. And, occasionally using EoP to prop up a SonosNet or WiFi network that is in trouble is the way to go. Usually, PoE is the least robust of the group.

In spite of your experience, one great aspect of SONOS is the diagnostics. They are very thorough. This gives support a good insight into the system performance. The other systems have very poor, if any, diagnostics.

Good diagnostics or not, some environments are simply too toxic for SONOS, this is the physics of the situation. This is why SONOS offers a generous return privilege.
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I think this will be a great development for consumers and maybe even for Sonos.

For consumers- competition is a good thing. It will keep Sonos sharp. Yes they have been innovating since I started with them. There has been the Play series , the sub and the Playbar. But serious competition will probably cause a faster pace for new innovations.

For Sonos - yes there has been other competition, but none with the name recognition and marketing prowess of Bose. Bose will have the capability of increasing market awareness and therefore volume for this whole market segment. Of course they will get sales, but with the increased demand, sonos sales could actually go up. People who research their options will likely conclude that Sonos is the better and less expensive option. There is one or several options like this for every market Bose competes in. One example is noise canceling headphones. I travel internationally a lot. At first no one had these. Then a few had them, all Bose. Now maybe half the travelers have them, and many brands are out there.
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My limited experience of Bose has lead me to conclude that Bose is very clever at cheating physics but the resulting sound is just that. A cheat.
Impessive (false) Bass but very uninspiring mids and treble.
Sonos seems to me to have gone for a much more sophisticated approach. I hope that they fight any competition on the grounds of Sound Quality rather than easily marketable bells and whistles.
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I've tried some other systems over the years and have tracked what Sonos competitors have been doing all along. I just have not seen another company get the setup and stability right. Some have failed badly. Now, maybe Samsung and Bose will both do a great job and be true competitors for Sonos but I approach that with a healthy dose of skepticism. For whatever reasons, these companies just don't seem to get the "human factors" or networking right. But competition is good, it helps keep any company on its toes. I just don't tremble whenever I hear another big name player coming into the Sonos space. In fact, it is quite surprising that Sonos is still independent given how many big outfits have failed. At some point, they just want to buy a solution.
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I've tried some other systems over the years and have tracked what Sonos competitors have been doing all along. I just have not seen another company get the setup and stability right. Some have failed badly. Now, maybe Samsung and Bose will both do a great job and be true competitors for Sonos but I approach that with a healthy dose of skepticism. For whatever reasons, these companies just don't seem to get the "human factors" or networking right. But competition is good, it helps keep any company on its toes. I just don't tremble whenever I hear another big name player coming into the Sonos space. In fact, it is quite surprising that Sonos is still independent given how many big outfits have failed. At some point, they just want to buy a solution.

.. and I hope for that very reason, Sonos never sells the brand to a bigger competitor. They're doing just great on their own with their philosophy etc.
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Was looking for this thread when I received the Bose email about there new wireless system, I know nothing about it apart from looking at it on their website, I do like the idea of their portable w/less offering however you can see some of the difficulties of it re range of keeping connection to your wifi, I used to have Bose systems and swapped them for Sonos no more than a year and a half ago, looking at Sonos you can see it has been doing w/less systems for a fair few years , surprises. Me it took Bose so long to bring out there own
Cheers bruce
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Competition is good but Bose has to step up in the sound quality department. So we shall see how it fairs.
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Competition is good but Bose has to step up in the sound quality department. So we shall see how it fairs.

I agree. Bose is overpriced, especially compared to Sonos' offerings, and anyone with any sort of concern over the quality of their audio components can very quickly tell that Bose quality does not match the price at all.

IMO... this is a quick fix for Sonos. Better software, and they're done. They have everything else already in place - 3 speakers, soundbar, amp allowing a very wide array of 3rd party speakers, and most importantly - SonosNet, which eliminates lag (something I believe no other competitor has ever been able to achieve).

Good luck to Bose, but after slowly building up my Sonos system over the last three years (3xPlay:5, 2xConnect, 1xConnect Amp (outdoor speakers on the patio FTW!)), I would never consider giving up what is a near flawless audio environment.
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I love my Sonos. But the 6 preset buttons on the Bose system is a good innovation. The play/pause functionality just added to Sonos is a step toward that (kind of like one multi-function preset). But for me, a few more hard buttons linked to user-selectable Sonos Favorites presets would be a welcome addition to future gear (e.g., one to my Spotify favorites playlist, one to a good Pandora station, two to local radio stations, one for my wife, etc.).

I like that they still look more like speakers than keyboards, but I could handle the 8-9 buttons. The convenience of not digging into the controller just to turn on background music is pretty nice. Like turning on a light switch.
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Just wondering f people have seen this yet,

Will be intresting to see how this plays out, hopefully it will result in more competition, lower prices (especially overseas markets) and perhaps more features that people have been wanting coming out. eg the have a portable model and also a very cool looking remote that goes on the wall and can select music, radio etc with just one button (6 presents).

Would love to see a Sonos version of some of those features,

http://www.slashgear.com/bose-soundtouch-takes-on-sonos-in-whole-home-streaming-10300929/
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The Oled display is nice but not a killer feature.
About the price, don't expect Bose to help dragging prices down.
Considering I've spent about 8 hours on the phone with Sonos' top level support and they can't get my simple 3 speaker setup working due to "wireless interference", I'm happy to see new competition.

How could you possibly hold Sonos responsible / call the product inferior because they cannot manage all of YOUR wireless products in your home? Of course they are wireless, use their own mesh network and provide variable channels to help work around those issues. There is a good chance that if Sonos can't solve it for you, neither will Bose be able to.
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I'm not questioning Sonos' quality, i have 6 sonos products in every room of my house.... but the preset buttons, a battery-powered portable speakers (combined with a built-in tourchscreen controller) are the kind of innovations I'd like to see.

The existing products are amazing, i wouldn't trade them for anything (especially because of SonosNet!) but i'd like to see some more branching out from just bare bones speakers...

I love my Sonos. But the 6 preset buttons on the Bose system is a good innovation. The play/pause functionality just added to Sonos is a step toward that (kind of like one multi-function preset). But for me, a few more hard buttons linked to user-selectable Sonos Favorites presets would be a welcome addition to future gear (e.g., one to my Spotify favorites playlist, one to a good Pandora station, two to local radio stations, one for my wife, etc.).

I like that they still look more like speakers than keyboards, but I could handle the 8-9 buttons. The convenience of not digging into the controller just to turn on background music is pretty nice. Like turning on a light switch.
.... but the preset buttons, a battery-powered portable speakers (combined with a built-in tourchscreen controller) are the kind of innovations I'd like to see.

Not sure I would categorized the above as Innovations. To me, they are Features that Sonos has not incorporated into their ZonePlayer line.

While one can speculate as to why they have not done so, it's still opinion and conjecture.

Either way, it would mean adding these features to the existing ZP lineup and most likely increasing Player prices, or, developing and adding several new products into their manufacturing mix.

I am sure that I do not want/need to pay extra for these features you desire in my Players. I am also sure that Sonos would like to have as small a Player line-up as practical.

I trust that Sonos did and still performs marketing surveys that test the 'needs' of their target audience and acts accordingly. That won't satisfy everybody (naturally), but will keep the company in business for longer than jumping on every request ASAP.

Best of Luck
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Either way, it would mean adding these features to the existing ZP lineup and most likely increasing Player prices, or, developing and adding several new products into their manufacturing mix.

I am sure that I do not want/need to pay extra for these features you desire in my Players.


I would expect a fair bit of downward pressure on prices with Bose now in the game. Sonos ability to make extra ordinary margins that they make now is going to be reduced.
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I would expect a fair bit of downward pressure on prices with Bose now in the game. Sonos ability to make extra ordinary margins that they make now is going to be reduced.

Do you have the feeling that Bose will help pulling prices down? The SoundTouch products are in the 500-700$ price range where Sonos is in the 300-500$ for more or less equivalent products. This may be a good sign to Sonos that their products are well positioned!
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The Bose system does not support FLAC files.
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Also the wireless compatibility is only 802.11 b/g

No mention of 802.11n.

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