Bang & Olufsen had offered a few pieces of equipment that were to put Sonos on notice, in the form of a music system, a single-piece “dish” speaker and a speaker adaptor for their Beolab “design-piece” speakers, all able to work in your home network using DLNA in some way. This includes the ability for some of these devices to be controlled by any DLNA media controller app on your smartphone, tablet or computer. As well, most of the good network-capable speaker docks and wireless speakers like the Marantz Audio Consolette and the Boston Acoustics MC-200 Air are offering this same level of controllability.
But Samsung are now joining in by offering an AllShare-based music system with an optional hub that supports Bluetooth with NFC, or Wi-Fi ability as the one who can seriously place Sonos on notice. Of course the problem with these Wi-Fi-based systems is that Wi-Fi and other packet-based technologies aren’t really good with synchronous playback although there is work with Ethernet AV to improve this situation.
So most of these companies typically require the use of their own solutions to provide the synchronous playback over these small networks whether this is with a “mesh” approach as with Sony’s Party Streaming method or a dedicated hub which the speakers are linked to like what Samsung and Sonos are using. Once work is fully done to improve synchronous playback across a typical Ethernet-driven heterogenous small network, this could open up a path for these kind of systems to flourish.
This technology would have to work across a single logical network no matter the different media used on that network and if the idea is to implement it in to existing equipment, it may require firmware updates to provide a heterogenous operating environment.
Similarly, it will also be about elegant single-speaker and multiple-speaker music systems that can be controlled using a common standard like DLNA using software the either runs on a dedicated controller or software that runs on a device that works on a common regular or mobile computing platform.