[Hands On] Sonos Enables AirPlay, Yes Please!

As an iPad and iPod Touch owner, I’m using these devices all around the house. In fact, one primary utility of these devices is to control and master my Sonos home audio system. Sonos, for those that don’t know, is a fantabulous (new word, just made it up!) way to listen to your favorite music all around your house, whether it’s a Pandora or Last.fm station, or your favorite regualar radio station; Sonos gives you this audio wherever you need it.

AirPlay is a technology debuted by Apple recently that allows you to feed audio or video from your iOS device, such as an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, to an Apple TV or a few audio receivers. AirPlay is pretty restrictive, meaning that you can only push audio from your portable devices to a few select hardware devices. Wouldn’t it be great to be able shoot audio from your iOS device to your stereo? Sonos makes it easy with a simple solution.

By utilizing a $99 AirPort Express and simply connecting it to one of your Sonos ZonePlayers with an Ethernet cable and either a mini-plug to stereo RCA cable, AirPlay can come a reality in your house. A recent software update to version 4.3 enables AirPlay on your Sonos system, and the update is EASILY done from an iPhone, Android device or any Sonos remote device.

After you’ve completed these steps (it took me literally 10 minutes), you’re ready to use AirPlay on your iOS devices by selecting the correct button on your phone, iPod, or iPad. By selecting “Sonos” in the AirPlay menu, the Sonos switches to the correct input on it’s end.

When Friends Come Over

AirPlay is simply magical when your friends drop by. Say there’s a tune they want you to hear or audio snippet of some sort. By simply hopping on your wireless network, they can use AirPlay to send their audio to your Sonos system. I also have the Sonos Dock that can be utilized, but the AirPlay solution provides a completely wireless solution.

Low-Cost Solution

I love how Sonos has enabled AirPlay to be accessible to Sonos users by simply purchasing an Apple AirPort Express. The company could have gone the route of rolling out brand new ZonePlayers with AirPlay capability (and will likely do so) on board, leaving behind the existing generation of players, but by working with this bridge solution, current costumers are ready to play with AirPlay immediately.