While Philips may have put pressure on the low-end with its affordable new Streamium WAC3500D, Sonos remains our choice for those working to a higher budget... and even more so after today.
Broadening its portfolio of user friendly products is the 'ZoneBridge BR100' - a wonderfully simple and inexpensive ($100) way of adding wireless connectivity to your ZonePlayer.
Previously, Zoneplayers have been restricted to a wired Ethernet connection (ironic considering its wireless interaction with the remote control) but now comes greater flexibility thanks to the ZoneBridge which connects directly to your router via one of its two Ethernet ports. This instantly activates 'SonosNet' - the secure wireless mesh network which communicates with the ZonePlayer and its controller.
Furthermore, the ZoneBridge can use its second Ethernet port to connect to a set-top box, PVR, PC, Games Console, NAS drive, etc to connect them to the web.
On top of the ZoneBridge, Sonos has unveiled v2.5 of its system software - a free update - which brings music search and plug and play support for the Napster music subscription service and the Best Buy Digital Music Store (the second is rather pointless here in Blighty).
Other useful additions include *Deep Breath* support for long track, artist and album names via text scrolling on the wireless Sonos Controller, better zone management (it is now possible to drop all grouped zones), the ability to add a track and clear the existing queue simultaneously and better integration with Windows Home Server for centralised storage and organisation and Apple's Airport Extreme.
Once again, the ante has just been upped.