2024 is shaping up to be an interesting year for Sonos fans. The firm has promised to enter brand new product categories in the coming year, and in addition to its first ever pair of wireless headphones, and a fascinating-sounding Sonos Arc 2, it looks like the firm will also launch its first-ever TV streaming box.
The news comes via Bloomberg , which says that the streaming device is planned for late 2024, or possibly early 2025. It'll have a price tag of $150 to $200, it'll run an Android-based operating system, and it'll have apps from big-name streamers and other broadcasters too. According to the report, Sonos is currently in talks with Netflix and with cable companies. It's also considering launching its own video streaming service.
According to Bloomberg, the device – currently known as "Pinewood" – is designed as a central hub for multiple Sonos devices. It'll support popular audio and video standards including Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, and it'll be able to create surround sound using Sonos speakers.
What else is Sonos working on?
The report says that Sonos is also working on new speakers, including a second generation Sonos Roam, a revamped Era 100 and a subwoofer called Lotus that'll integrate with the new device – and it'll have Wi-Fi 6 to do so. And that's interesting, because it's a big pointer towards where Sonos is heading.
As we reported back in the Spring, Sonos wants a wire-free home entertainment future: at the launch event for the Sonos Era 100 and Era 300, CEO Patrick Spence said that he didn't want "a wire to the soundbar at all. Let's make it even easier." As we said at the time, almost all the best soundbars will be wireless in the future, and not in a "maybe in 10 years time" kind of way. It's in the middle of happening with tech such as the next-gen DTS Play-Fi and Dolby Atmos' FlexConnect system for wireless speakers.
We also identified Sonos' big obstacle in delivering that wire-free future: other tech firms. Whoever controls the smart TV system controls the audio output, and that means Sonos has two choices: it can try and persuade third parties such as Apple and Amazon to play nice with its products. Or it can make its own smart TV system. Clearly Sonos has decided to do the latter, with a box that sounds like it would directly compete with the Apple TV 4K (2022).
As we suggested back in March, Sonos could use new hardware to "get people thinking that wireless soundbars means Sonos, in the same way that the company became synonymous with multi-room music systems." The pressure would then be on TV and streaming device manufacturers to include Sonos support in their products.
That means this new device is going to be very interesting; rather than cede ground to rivals, Sonos is now aggressively pushing towards a wire-free future where Sonos compatibility is a must-have rather than a nice-to-have. Of course the success of that strategy depends in part on whether the Sonos streamer is any good or not, but given the usual quality of Sonos kit – and its much older streaming adventures in the shape of the Sonos Port – there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.