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Sonos Multiroom Music System
Sonos has a range of products to make streaming music around your home or office easy. For people with existing speakers, Sonos provides an amplifier box (ZonePlayer 120) and streaming box for those who want to connect up to an existing theatre system or powered speakers (ZonePlayer 90). Melbourne Geek reviewed the ZonePlayer S5; an all in one Sonos speaker that incorporates the amazing streaming technology.
Sonos works like this: Simply plug in a box (ZoneBridge) via ethernet to your router, this creates the wireless signal to stream music. Then, place any one of the ZonePlayers in any room of the house. Download the Sonos controller on your computer, iPhone, iPad or Android device and you are set! You can choose to stream music from your itunes library on your computer, or even better, listen to any one of thousands of internet radio stations. But the Sonos isn’t a glorified radio, the best feature is the ability to stream music from cloud based services like Anubis.FM and Rhapsody.
Set one Sonos in your bedroom, one in your lounge room and one in your office. Control the music separately in each zone. You could have different music in each room, individually change the volume, or connect all zones to play the same music in every room. Awesome for a party!
With techie stuff like this, I normally find customer support to be poor in Australia. But I have to say that with Sonos in Australia (Playback Systems), I had some of the best customer support I have ever experienced. They talked me through how to set up streaming and even gave great advice to optimise the system.
Before Sonos, I wouldn’t say I was music obsessed. But now, I can’t live without it.
Sonos isn’t the cheapest piece of tech going around. To get started you will need to spend at least $600 and to really take advantage of the awesome multi-room functions, you will want to buy 4!
Stream NetFlix in Australia
If you’re a watcher of American podcasts, you would have heard of NetFlix. The DVD mail out service come streaming giant, that is providing US consumers with a large selection of DVD rentals and streaming. From the start they have promoted their no late fees and 1 day delivery to your door, the likely cause of death for US company Blockbuster. In Australia, we have seen a few services pop up, offering DVD rentals delivered to your door; QuickFlix & BigPond Movies. Both services costing way too much, with decent plans costing $30 a month.
The amount of movie titles have always been lacking and the price has been prohibitive in getting decent market share in Australia. NetFlix on the other hand, has offered great plans for around $10 a month in the US, making it a household name. In 2008, NetFlix announced movie streaming. Meaning, people would no longer have to wait a day for a DVD! The streaming feature has become a huge hit with the integration in to most portable and home theatre devices. For $10 a month, you can now stream unlimited films and TV shows from an ever growing collection onto your iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Media Centre, Laptop and more. Where there is an Internet connection, there is now an amazing selection of Movies and TV shows at consumers’ finger tips.
There is an increased level of frustrations for Australians, when digital streaming services are not available. It comes down to the licensing restrictions and unfortunately, our small population puts us low on the priority list for companies like NetFlix to individually negotiate licensing content in our country. I love a good work-around. Ever since geo-restrictions have been around on the internet, there have been ways to get around them. Proxies and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) have been a popular way to watch content. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, the options have been slow (not ideal for video streaming), or really technical to set up. Until now!
USvideo.org is easy to set up and even provides a one week free trial of their service. I love that this workaround doesn’t require you to change router settings. Simply change your DNS settings on your Apple TV or computer, sign up to Netflix and you are good to go!