Just a few days after my Switched On.column on musical mashups in which I talked about the possibilities of combining the Cerulean TX+RX with the EOS Wireless multi-room system, Gizmodo reports that Sony has introduced its own multi-room iPod dock, joining EOS Wireless and Klipsch. Unlike the EOS satellite speakers (which include a modest downward-firing subwoofer), the Sony satellite speakers offer remote control over iPod playback yet the system is priced competitively with the EOS Wireless speakers. A $400 kit will include the dock (which includes AV out but no speakers) and two external speakers, pegging the price of the main dock at about $240.
Also, like the EOS Wireless system, there does not appear to be a way to control the playback volume of satellite speakers from the main dock. Perhaps that would be possible, though, with an iPod touch application. While none of these products offer the flexibility or sophistication of Sonos, they are much simpler to set up than Wi-Fi-based systems and represent a great opportunity to make multi-room music more approachable.
The sudden momentum we’re seeing toward scrapping Wi-Fi for multi-room music has to have the folks at Logitech scratching their heads. The company entered the multi-room music market with products like the Wireless PC Music System and Wireless DJ that used a similar 2.4 GHz scheme. Both were part of its “Music Anywhere” system that Logitech promoted as “a better wireless solution with plug-and-play simplicity, digital audio clarity, and no home network required.” But that went out the window when the company acquired Slim Devices and its Wi-Fi-based Squeezebox.