Best Buy Adds Sonos Wireless Digital Music System

More than 600 Best Buy locations will feature live, multiple zone displays of the Sonos system. Customers can come in, pick a room search from millions of songs and play a selected song, according to the Minneapolis-based retailer.

"Our goal is to deliver entertainment to our customers with new and exciting solutions that enhance people's lives," said Mehrdad Akbar, director of digital music for Best Buy, said in a statement. "The direct integration of the Best Buy Digital Music Store with the Sonos Digital Music System is part of that goal. For people who are passionate about music, this is a solution that will let them get the most out of what digital music has to offer."

The closed system does not integrate into Microsoft environments or existing software, but relies on a proprietary OS contained within the product. Customers need a broadband connection to enable the system, according to Best Buy. The wireless solution also lets users control the music in each room with Sonos ZonePlayers. In addition to the hardware, which can cost about $1,149 for two ZonePlayers, a remote control and one loudspeaker set, the service connection to millions of songs and radio stations is $14.99 per month.

Several home theatre integrators expressed interest in the Sonos system earlier this summer at D&H Distributing's annual Mid-Atlantic show and at least one said Best Buy carrying the products doesn't threaten him.

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"What we're seeing with that announcemnt and with current trends is that all our product are moving to the commodity side of the market. Whether they're buying brand new at Best Buy or a used system off of eBay, customers have access to products everywhere," said Ted Houser, general manager of Glick Audio and Video, Lancaster, Pa. "But that's not the business model we're following. We're putting together complete solutions to customers."

If anything, Sonos's system may generate more awareness for home theatre integrators now that Best Buy carries the product.

"We've been trying to educate customers on the concept of digital music networking for years," Houser said.