back to article Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly? It's about to be screwed for... reasons

Sonos is doubling down on its previously disclosed inclination to drop support for older products that aren't profitable to support. The Internet-of-Things speaker biz said on Tuesday that it will stop providing software updates for some legacy gear in May – some of which are barely five years old. The cessation of service …

  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Remind me again, why would anyone buy a Sonos speaker in the first place?

    Is that crickets I hear, or tumble-weed passing by?

    1. whitepines Silver badge
      Joke

      Certainly not heard from a Sonos speaker, the tinny resonances and muffled quality would make you think it was road noise.

      If it worked at all.

    2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      I was always slightly suspicious of Sonos for the usual reasons that will be familiar to any other Reg reader, but it's lovely to see that Sonos itself has provided the vindication for that. I need a smug icon.

      1. Sudosu

        Or a Kryten icon...

        Engaging smug mode

        1. Aussie Doc
          Terminator

          Re: Or a Kryten icon...

          Does that require a different coloured light bulb?

          Doesn't really look like Kryten ----->

          1. Kane Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Or a Kryten icon...

            "Doesn't really look like Kryten ----->"

            Kryten wished he looks like that.

          2. Inkey
            Trollface

            Re: Or a Kryten icon...

            Unfortunately the kryton icon has been removed as the manufacturer of the device could not be arsed to keep up the software support.

            1. MAF

              Re: Or a Kryten icon...

              Sonos is creating a Silicon heaven for it's products?

              1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

                Re: Or a Kryten icon...

                Of course, otherwise where would all the calculators go?

            2. David 132 Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Or a Kryten icon...

              Or so claims Jim Reaper, spokesman for the mechanoid’s manufacturer.

      2. BebopWeBop Silver badge
        Trollface

        I think -------------------> will suffice

      3. EVP Bronze badge

        ”Dear customer [cashcow], we regred [not really] to inform you that the Smug Icon product is no longer supported. We believe that the Smug Icon did not provide the best experience [profit] to our valued [muahaahaaa!] customers [to us] anymore. We hope that you continue enjoying [while you can] our current selection of icons and you will find our future [same shit, different wrapping] icons exciting too![open up your wallet, wider!]. Thank you for your continuing patronage! [We’ve got your money, what are you waiting for? You can fuck off til we want some more.]”

        You expressed the same thoughts that I have, but better than I could have done. Except ”mildly suspicious” is a bit of an understatement in my case. Please have an upvote. [While it lasts.]

    3. adrianww
      WTF?

      Why indeed...

      Godawful, overpriced, under-performing speakers with sound quality that is barely acceptable if your target audience is a bunch of very, very drunk people at a party, but that's about it.

      I've got a cheap pair of Bluetooth bookshelf speakers that don't sound great, but they still sound better than just about any bit of Sonos kit I've ever heard.

      My old Wharfedale Diamond actives are pretty comprehensively low-end and poor sounding (as near-field monitors for recording purposes go) but leave anything Sonos produces lying dead in the dust when it comes to sound quality. Meanwhile, for general listening, the nearly 20-year-old Missions connected to my nearly 40 year-old hi-fi easily show up anything Sonos produces as sonic garbage.

      Even allowing or inflation, none of these speakers cost as much as one of Sonos' lower-priced offerings, much less their more pricey warble-boxes. And I'm not even a major hi-fi geek. I know guys who have amps and speakers that are as far beyond mine as mine is beyond the Sonos stuff.

      Also, none of these items are suddenly going to stop working because some corporate money-grubber decides that he doesn't want to support them any more. Even if you weren't a bit daft to buy in to Sonos' tat in the first place (*) you'd certainly be out of your mind to stick with it now.

      (* Actually, you probably were a bit daft, but we all do daft things now and again. It's only if you don't learn from them that you're crossing the line into really stupid.)

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Why indeed...

        I was surprised to discover a while back that my 40 year old LS3/5As are probably the most valuable asset I have after the house and car. So, not only do they continue to work, but they've effectively been free.

        1. DenonDJ DN-2500F

          Re: Why indeed...

          Nice - had to search that product code , thought for a mo they were Quad electrostatics. I always fancied a pair of Technics SB-10000 but bought a car instead.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Angel

            Re: Why indeed...

            Nice - had to search that product code , thought for a mo they were Quad electrostatics. I always fancied a pair of Technics SB-10000 but bought a car instead.

            Electrostatics...

            Throughout my youth I hated any form of orchestral music. I just cannot put it into words how utterly terrible it sounded.

            One day when I was in my very late teens I was on a house call for my firm, and the house had a couple of 'things' that looked like the backs of a 70's era 3-seater couch - something like the one pictured at https://i.ebayimg.com/images/i/391406751909-0-1/s-l1000.jpg but without the seat, arm rests etc - basically just the back on the stands, but at about that height.

            I asked the owner what it was and he told me it was electro static speakers. My boss suggested a demonstration, and the guy obliged with some utterly awful shite I'd heard far far far to many times from my parents crapped old record player (one of the ones where the mono speaker is part of the lid, and the records weren't exactly cared for either).

            Only...

            It was one of the most beautiful pieces I'd ever heard, and I say this as a hard-core metaller who'd been fortunate to have met many of my favourite artists. I left that place a changed lad.

            So far I've not been able to find any electrostatic speakers I can even begin to dream of affording. When I do, I think the lounge will be cleared of all other obstructions. A single seat in the middle, the speakers placed at the optimum position for that seat, and nothing but the amp and source. Oh, and a trapdoor with lever - gotta have some quick way to dispatch anyone who would dare to encroach on my listening space!

            What I have now does a bloody good job, but I'd sell my grandmother's ashes to get a matched pair of electrostatic speakers! (or headphones, if they're anywhere near as good as the speakers...)

            1. Gra4662

              Re: Why indeed...

              Get a pair of used Magneplanar speakers, pricing is a lot keener than the Quads on the second hand market and they have better bass... in my opinion (and I have had both)

              1. Kiwi Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: Why indeed...

                Get a pair of used Magneplanar speakers, pricing is a lot keener than the Quads on the second hand market and they have better bass... in my opinion (and I have had both)

                Thanks for the heads up!

                Not many showing online, cheapest locally buyable comes in at a mere $32,000.

                However, I do from time to time visit the 2nd hand stores that specialise in audio gear. The may have or know of something (plus a lot of the music stores know people selling stuff that is still never offered online)

        2. FlossyThePig

          Re: Why indeed...

          I built a pair speakers based on the BBC design of the LS3/5A using a kit from Wilmslow Audio in the late '80s. An upgraded version is still available with various options, e.g. LS3 Kit with plain mdf flat-pack Cabinet £360.

          P.S. Rogers have started to make them again for a cool £2,750

          1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Re: Why indeed...

            Get on Ebay and look for some Lowther speakers ... I just saw a pair for $6k. If you buy decent speakers then their value will increase as time goes by. Buy the cheap "high tech" speakers and you will be lucky if they still work in a couple of years.

        3. N2 Silver badge

          Re: Why indeed...

          Yes, very good design the LS3/5As. I have a pair of the original Kanns and they sing very nicely too.

        4. Tim99 Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Why indeed...

          I had the Linn version of the Chartwell LS3/5As - Linn Kans. Stupidly I traded them for bigger Linns because I wanted more bass. I really should have kept them and just upgraded by adding another Naim250 and a bi-amp kit.

          Now the hearing is going, I have a 22yr old pair of active B&Os connected to the headphone output of a networked TV, and they still sound better than an acquaintance’s Sonos Play:3

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Why indeed...

        Upvote on the active Diamonds.

        Still attach kit to mine every now and again - instead of a bluetooth speaker just have headphone jack to phono lead and connect mobile phone to Diamonds when I want to listen to music on phone without using headphones.

      3. VBF

        Re: Why indeed...

        Excuse my "one-downmanship" but my daily use speakers are a venerable pair of Spendor BC1 BBC monitors. 48 year old, infinite baffle design bought second-hand for £160 in 1971.

        As @adrianww said (or implied) they leave modern speakers in the dust. When I went to audition a CD player, the Audio shop had to set up a pair of £5000 speakers to get to the quality required - and they offered to buy my Splendors from me!

        Change is not always progress, especially considering that the design of the human ear is analogue and thousands of years old!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why indeed...

          "48 year old, infinite baffle design bought second-hand for £160 in 1971."

          That's around £2000 in today's money...

          While I'm not disputing the value for money you got, it's a different price range to new Sonos products let alone second hand models.

          1. teknopaul Silver badge

            Re: Why indeed...

            Sad state of affairs without spending tens of thousands you cannot get decent sounding audio with convenient digital connections.

            Fsck Sonos. Stupid move. They could have become a defacto standard & secured their place in history. Pro digitial interconnects eventually will hit consumer gear. Sonos will be left out.

            There are existing consumer standards they could have used that have outlived five years already. If they cared.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Why indeed...

              "If they cared."

              Ah, but they *do* care. It's just that what they apparently care about is holding their customers to ransom and forcing them to buy more of their overpriced, ephemeral shite. Which is most likely why they quite deliberately *didn't* use the existing consumer standards.

        2. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: Why indeed...

          I can't quite compete with that, but I have a RPi connected to a standalone sub/amp and speakers from a hi-fi.

          All but the RPi were free from a house that was having a turnout circa 2005. The speakers are likely from the 90s.

          The sound quality is, while not quite in the audiophile range, frankly excellent when compared to anything under about £500.

          I was honestly impressed when visiting my sister's this Christmas - it took me a couple of seconds to realise that the sound was indeed coming from her new TV. It still wasn't a patch on proper speakers, but at least it wasn't that tinny resonating noise that usually comes from flat-screens. It seems like they are improving a bit.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Why indeed...

            I'm glad to see the TV manufacturers catching up. It's not like I have high expectations - but given how amazed I was at my new Huawei Honor 20's speaker - which is much much tinier that the space they've got to play with - they've no excuse not to at least compete with phones and tablets.

            Some of these TVs are truly awful. In the sense that you actually can't hear what people are saying if there's other loud stuff on the soundtrack, because the speakers are so bass and treble heavy and knacker the mid-tones. I wondered at the time if that was why the BBC were having such trouble with shows like Jamaica Inn - where they had to re-edit them because people were complaining that they couldn't hear the dialogue. The difference between the nice speakers they were edited on - and the horrible ones they were broadcast to. I wonder if TV editors do testing on multiple devices, like web designers do?

            I've got my telly playing through £300 of Denon CD player with bookshelf speakers - and it's cinema quality in comparison.

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Why indeed...

              you actually can't hear what people are saying if there's other loud stuff on the soundtrack, because the speakers are so bass and treble heavy and knacker the mid-tones

              IME, this is at least as much due to stupid, ubiquitous Dolby 5.1, and sound engineers insisting on mixing the dialog on the center channel - which is largely lost if all you have is a pair of stereo speakers.

              We've had to get (cheap) "soundbar" speaker sets for the TVs in our houses (just one each, fortunately) in order to reliably make out dialog without having background music and SFX too loud. My wife is deaf on one side, so audio separation is meaningless to her, and I don't care about it a whit; but we need at least three channels just to hear the programs.

              TV sets used to come with an option to force sound to mono, which would be just fine with me, but I haven't seen that feature in years.

              A pox on all their houses.

        3. Don Jefe

          Re: Why indeed...

          Kumquats to donuts, stoats to pangolins, cow burgers to Incredible burgers, Spendor to Sonos, etc...

          You can’t really compare actual audio products that use the clever application of physics through engineering to manipulate a physical medium to Sonos products that are (in)effectively faking physics via software.

        4. Mike 137 Silver badge

          Re: Why indeed...

          One of my lines is nature sound recording, and I find I have to be very particular about equipment - some, I have to design and build myself - because the pop music industry has very low standards and apparently practically no understanding of the physics of audio, but is able to put huge price tags on rubbish. You can spend £1K on a microphone stand if you're fool enough, and many microphones in the thousand pound price range are no better than some others at almost a tenth of the price.

          On the "consumer" side, a typical DAB radio these days has a 2" speaker, which makes everything sound like Donald Duck, but those tiny ear buds make it even worse, so we're being conditioned to accept massive distortion tarted up by "post processing" to make it tolerable - just not what the music really sounded like when recorded.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Why indeed...

            but those tiny ear buds make it even worse,

            Actually some of them are not too bad, and it does depend on the environment - eg when I'm out on the bike I'd love to have amazing quality audio but I'm on a bike, that ain't gonna happen.

            Don't buy anything expensive with buds, you'll be disappointed if you know what decent music sounds like and $15 buds easily perform the same as $200 ones.

            But they can be OK. Especially when you need something to help keep the mind occupied.

            (Some.. My ears ache just thinking of the "tech inc" ones I tried for a few seconds, the sound was that bad. And the "Dre"/"Beats" stuff? I do not have the language for how terrible that garbage is.)

      4. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: Why indeed...

        I'll make a note to stick to my diamond 10 floor standers and just feed music through the Bluetooth dongle I've got attached via my amp (also my Amps now hitting 44 years old this year and still sounds better than anything south of £1k that I've tried).

        If you want something to last, buy one with standardised parts built to last. Not propitary software and standards and never something that's all-in-one. All in one means you have to replace it in one too.

        You do have to wonder though... Is all of sonos stuff going to silicon heaven then after 5+ years?

        1. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: Why indeed...

          If you want something to last, buy one with standardised parts built to last. Not propitary software and standards and never something that's all-in-one. All in one means you have to replace it in one too.

          33 years ago I was the victim of someone's bad driving. 32 years ago I brought a "Pro Series" combined phono/AMFM/twin cassette system. Used it for a few years myself before passing it on to an Uncle and Aunt in '95 when whatever they had bit the dust.

          It's on it's 3rd phono needle and I don't think it has the original speakers any more (though it might just be an animal taste-testing the cabling that caused that), but it has been used often for several hours every single day.

          Strangely still on original tape and phono belts (dunno what cheap garbage they used but it's been exceptionally long-lasting garbage!) - and yes they get used at least once every few months.

          Not all of them are bad, and if you get cheap 2nd hand stuff.... :) (though mine was brand new, and I still have the receipts tucked away!)

      5. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Why indeed...

        Oh get off your smug high-horse.

        "sound quality that is barely acceptable if your target audience is a bunch of very, very drunk people at a party, but that's about it."

        You're talking out of your backside. I challenge you to a blind test. They just sound like typical consumer speakers.

        1. Dabooka

          Re: Why indeed...

          I'm with you JDX.

          Not everyone wants or needs audiophile grade everything all of the time. We only have two (bought as Christmas presents a few years ago) and although they're the nearest thing we have to anything 'net connected in our house, they work perfectly well for what they are needed for.

          I'm not disputing that quality of output varies massively, even within the same budget, but if something sounds that bad it would not be getting purchased in the first place. It does what it does, and still sounds better than a lot of the cheaper all in one systems that people use. We don't all want and need full hi-fi wired setups, especially for multi room functionality.

          That's not to say I approve or agree with them doing this but they have a track record. A couple of years ago unless you agreed to the new T&Cs you ended up with a brick. There's also a lot wrong with their hardware but that will be to lock people out of the eco-system.

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          They just sound like typical consumer speakers.

          Only if you fail to support them on gold-plated, stainless steel cones.

        3. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

          Re: Why indeed...

          >"You're talking out of your backside"

          And it still sounds better then a Sonos!

        4. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: Why indeed...

          They just sound like typical consumer speakers.

          The problem with modern "consumer speakers" is they're generally designed around rap/hiphop and several other lotsabass lotsatweet fuckallelse stuff. Absolutely no mid-range.

          That's why Motorhead did their own set of headphones - getting something that was appropriate for listening to metal or hard rock (or blues or a large variety of music that involves a lot of guitars and where the focus isn't the drums/high hat etc) was getting quite difficult a few years back.

          I'll take your challenge. My choice of tracks, your choices of speakers.

          (BTW, consider that my speaker cable is very visually similar to HOUSEHOLD LIGHT CABLE but it's really high-grade speaker cable HONEST, it's just disguised like that so no one steals it....)

          1. IGnatius T Foobar !

            Re: Why indeed...

            (BTW, consider that my speaker cable is very visually similar to HOUSEHOLD LIGHT CABLE but it's really high-grade speaker cable HONEST, it's just disguised like that so no one steals it....)

            That 100m roll of lamp cord from the home improvement store is the very very very best value for speaker cable, bar none. Anything labeled "Monster" is a ripoff.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Why indeed...

              That 100m roll of lamp cord from the home improvement store is the very very very best value for speaker cable, bar none. Anything labeled "Monster" is a ripoff.

              Pretty much, though you can shorten your comment to just "anything labelled is a rip off" :)

              One place I used to spend a bit was on guitar cables - but they were being connected and moved so much you wanted something where breaking conductor strands wouldn't quickly become a problem. At least till wireless became viable.

          2. AlbertH

            Re: Why indeed...

            Back in the early 80s, a friend of mine (we'll call him "Trevor" to protect the gullible innocent) worked for a well-known hi-fi emporium. One night in the pub, he told us about this "wonderful" speaker cable that they were selling for ~£30/yard!

            A blind testing was arranged, putting this marvellous cable up against the cable that was widely used at the Big Broadcasting Concern where we worked.

            Trevor actually cried after the tests (during which none of us was able to identify which cable was in use) when we revealed that the "amazing" speaker cable we were using was Woolworths lighting twin flex or lawnmower orange-sheathed twin! At the time, the Woolies cable was 25p / yard.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Alien

              Re: Why indeed...

              Trevor actually cried after the tests (during which none of us was able to identify which cable was in use) when we revealed that the "amazing" speaker cable we were using was Woolworths lighting twin flex or lawnmower orange-sheathed twin! At the time, the Woolies cable was 25p / yard.

              Cruel but necessary... When people start getting into the corporate kool-aid about expensive audio cables, it really is necessary to yank their world out from under them. If it doesn't end in tears today whilst amongst friends, it can only end far worse later on.

              You did "Trevor" a massive favour.

              --> Still need a "cynical bastard" icon!

      6. Faszination

        Re: Why indeed...

        This is the kind of totally up yourself supercilious garbage that i've come to expect from some 'audiophiles'.

        Just because you believe Sonos products to have inferior sound quality to whatever it is you've spent your money on doesn't make it the truth. I've owned Sonos gear for 10 years, I have a 5, two Sonos One's, a Playbar and a sub and they are superb. This is coming from the owner of a pair of LS35/A's and B&O and Bose gear in one form or another.

        I beg to differ that 'a cheap pair of Bluetooth speakers' have anything like the sound stage and clarity of anything in the Sonos range - you're just talking bullshit. Probably comes as a surprise that most people don't have the time, money nor inclination to be as superior as you think you are and spend a small fortune on a pair of Nagasaki 5000's and wire them up with solid gold cable.

        Wind your neck in.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why indeed...

          If you wire them with gold-plated 256-stand oxygen-free-copper wire, making sure to pay attention to the direction the elections flow in ... I bet they'll sound great.

        2. adrianww

          Re: Why indeed...

          Oops! I appear to have tweaked the nose of some who have sipped of the Sonos Kool-Aid.

          Being fair, I suppose I was a tad harsh.

          But...

          I'm certainly no high-end audiophile (far from it) and most of my audio stuff is unashamedly low priced and low end. I've spent far more on instruments than any hi-fi stuff (even though my instruments are, themselves, largely from the low end of the price spectrum). I do, however, stand by the general drift of my earlier hyperbole.

          A few years ago, I actually looked into buying some Sonos stuff. Someone elsewhere in these comments has already mentioned the convenience factor, which is a fair point and was the angle I was coming from. So - knowing three or four people who had various different Sonos products (including one guy who had spent a fairly significant amount putting Sonos speakers, etc. in several rooms of his house) - I asked if I could go along and have a listen to some of my favourite bits and pieces of music on them.

          Now, I suppose if I'm being scrupulously fair about it, it's possible that all of these folks had things configured incorrectly or set up the wrong way or some such, but the overall impression that I was left with was that the Sonos stuff just didn't sound very good. Even compared to the relatively cheap and basic gear that I had at home, never mind some of the stuff I've heard over the years in the homes of more serious musicians and audiophile types.

          As background music while you were doing something else, or to provide music for a bit of a party, yeah, the Sonos kit was fine. Similarly, if you're using it to provide the audio for your TV or home cinema set up (maybe). But if you actually want to sit down and listen to the music, as music, with no distractions, I really didn't rate any of it at all. And certainly not at the kind of inflated prices that Sonos were charging.

          So I decided not to pursue that particular avenue after all, before I even thought about the issue of product longevity and the possibility of the manufacturer simply pulling support for things after only a few years.

          Under the circumstances, I guess I dodged a bullet. Even if they had sounded much better (as they should have done, given the price) I'd have been royally pi...er...peeved had I bought into them only for Sonos to pull some of the stunts that they have in the last couple of years.

        3. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: Why indeed...

          This is the kind of totally up yourself supercilious garbage that i've come to expect from some 'audiophiles'.

          Pretty sure I don't qualify as an 'audiophile'. I mean my household lighitng wire high-quiality but cheap audio cable will disqualify me, as will my bargin-bin connecting cables, non-branded amp, ancient 2nd+ hand speakers etc. Or that much of my music is MP3s, some as low as 96kbps!

          The most 'audiophile" thing I have done in my life is to measure out the speaker placements and use the same length of cable to all speakers. (Although at 18 I was HOD for the audio equipment in my church)

          The stuff the Sonos makes hasn't a hope of doing a decent job. Physics has a lot to play with audio, and there are limits on what you can do even with the best software.

          At some stage they may have had a build quality that earned them a great reputation, but what they make today just isn't worthy wiping your arse on.

          Of course, if all you listen to is generic pop or mainly-youth-friendly radiotunes then whatever you use is fine. If you only have music on as background noise, buy rubbish.

          If you enjoy music, or need it as a safe escape from the other mess in your head (like me), you need to focus a bit on some quality. You don't need a lot really, some decent 2nd hand amps from the 80s or 70s, even some of the 90s stuff was good, and some decent speakers though again you can go cheap and 2nd hand there.

          As it's the speakers you listen to that's where you need your most attention, no matter what else you buy if your speakers are crap that's the best you can get.

          Wire? Even lengths help a lot, and a large enough gauge to carry the current. That's it. If you're spending more than $5/M you're getting ripped off (I'd put the price lower but I've seen some truly diabolical cheap wire - stuff that manages to break over time). If you're in an electronically noisy environment you may need to invest in shielded stuff but you probably will be fine without it.

          Sonos? I don't know what they do but they're generally disliked by people I know, and most people I know will happily shove any old crap in their ears. Maybe the kit you got was built when they were doing a better job than what they do today.

        4. AlbertH

          Re: Why indeed...

          "Bose" stands for "Buy Other Sound Equipment". Dr Bose produced one reasonably good product in the early 70s (the 701 speaker) and then sold the company. They've just turned out cheap crap ever since and charged exorbitant prices for it based on the brand name.

          The Sonos stuff just sounds like any other cheap and nasty reproduction system, but is overpriced by a factor of ten or twelve. It's truly nasty rubbish.

          B&O was always grossly overpriced (and I designed some of their 70s and 80s products). They were all made down to a price, with moulded plastic speaker cabinets with wood veneer glued on to make them look "expensive". They mostly used slider pots, since that was their "style" and they invariably began to crackle - even inside the warranty period. The component costs were cut as far as they could be and retain some measure of functionality, then the retail prices were massively marked up to fleece the gullible. Dreadful crap.

          "Faszination" needs to admit that he's been taken for an expensive ride! Idiot!

      7. rd232

        Re: Why indeed...

        "Meanwhile, for general listening, the nearly 20-year-old Missions connected to my nearly 40 year-old hi-fi easily show up anything Sonos produces as sonic garbage. (...) Also, none of these items are suddenly going to stop working because some corporate money-grubber decides that he doesn't want to support them any more. "

        Just one tiny smidgen of a detail here: once Sonos ends its support for these products, it will be providing exactly as much support as your old speakers and hi-fi get from THEIR manufacturer....

        The flaw everyone is clearly aware of here but seems to have got distracted from: IoT things need ongoing support in a way that non-IoT things don't. What might be nice is if somebody had the foresight to have the IoT bit a distinct part of the kit, so the IoT module could conceivably be replaced with a new version still being supported... Presumably the money ain't there.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Why indeed...

          Or perhaps just drop the IoT bit, as it's clearly shit. Not a one of these IoT things has any real reason to "call home". Every last fucking one of them could be run off an internet connected computer owned and operated by the consumer.

        2. Hugh McIntyre

          Re: Why indeed...

          Reading the list it's looks like all of my devices are probably legacy... at least it will be consistent.

          In terms of audio quality there's a difference between the speakers versus ZonePlayers driving a regular amp and HiFi speakers. In the latter case the ZonePlayer essentially replaces a CD component and the sound seems to match the HiFi component. Meanwhile the speakers are not the same quality... In fact the only reason I have Sonos in the first place was to replace a CD player connected through a 1991 amp and Mission speakers; the sound is the same.

          Presumably "no updates" will mostly be a no-op for those of us streaming music from a local SMB server, and only would be an issue over time if services like Pandora change their protocol and/or the local computer running SMB changes it's OS version and becomes incompatible.

          Sonos used to have a "Bridge" device to convert from the local LAN to Sonos's private WiFi network, What they should have done in this case is to say that people may need to have one software-updated device on the network that can speak to new-protocol sources, and then this bridge can stream to other older devices on the local LAN. They claim there will be a scheme in May to separate old and new networks so we will see if they do something like this.

          Certainly, there's no chance of me replacing all of my Sonos devices unless they come up with a transition plan, and I don't think I am alone.

      8. Da Weezil

        Re: Why indeed...

        I still mourn the loss of my Wharfedale Dovedale SP2s, lent to a friend of my ex's for a party and never returned. I replaced the with some Ventanas at the time but never really liked the sound from them... and now... I can't find a pair of SP2's

        Sonos just lost a sale here too, was about to kit out a surround system from them for my sister because of the lousy output from her recently purchased flat screen TV, and I know my partner recommended them to family over xmas, luckily they havent yet made the purchase and we headed that one off at the pass too.

        It seems Sonos has a death wish, certainly they will have no future purchases from us or our families

    4. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: why would anyone buy a Sonos speaker

      well, people buy Bose, and generic Chinese SUVs with an MG badge on the front, so why not?

      1. Faszination

        Re: why would anyone buy a Sonos speaker

        It was in my car - what am I going to do, rip it out? Behave.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Remind me again, why would anyone buy a Sonos speaker in the first place?"

      I could say the same about Bose...but people in their droves still do so...though I think the market has been rather expanded by the likes of Amazon and others producing "smart speakers" which do a number of cute, but mostly unnecessary functions, in order to develop a "new market" (namely the IoT).

      The fact is though that the IT industry has for a long time produced lots of kit that subsequently falls out of fashion and requires extensive updates or otherwise has to be shelved or put in a skip.

      I still have in a box in the loft an old (proper) Motorola 28.8 fax/modem, which probably still works but is of no use anymore. Ditto an old PC with dual Pentium 2 "Slot 1" CPUs. (I got this out over Christmas and it boots Win XP perfectly). And how about my NEC 18" CRT MultiSync monitor.

      1. WallMeerkat

        I follow a lot of groups in the retrogaming scene, and certainly your PC and CRT would be of interest.

        There is a whole generation of games from the late 90s that is awkward to run on modern PCs.

        Too new for the likes of DosBox (usual go-to for old games), and needing 3D hardware.

        But too old to run properly on a modern win10 machine (I tried to run Sega Rally 2 and it was full of missing transparency textures, the likes of Toca2 just didn't run)

        And the CRT monitor makes old games look of their era. Even disguises some of the lower resolutions.

        Your modem could be useful if the machine supported it - a few years ago an insurance company asked me to fax them a form!

        1. ibmalone Silver badge

          I recently saw Final Fantasy VII, on the Playstation, played on a modern largish-screen LCD HD TV. It was... not kind. Text in particular was barely readable in a divided-into-scanlines way, console games of the era relied a little on the blur inherent in lower resolution screens. Computer monitors have traditionally been a bit sharper than contemporary TVs (even now, though the gap is narrower), but I can imagine some things still not coming out of the warts and all treatment well.

          1. Baldrickk Silver badge

            There are ways to help with that - one of them is turning down the sharpness filter.

            EVERY SINGLE LCD TV I have seen has come with a sharpness filter turned up near to max.

            Typically, it's set at a setting of 80 or so - the idea being that a crisper image is more appealing, I guess.

            Instead it adds noise around corners and edges, or other high contrast areas - guess what low resolution text has a lot of?

            1. ibmalone Silver badge

              This wasn't even really noise, something to do with the way the text displayed in that game.

              - - - - - -

              - - - - ---- ---- ---- ----

              - - -- ----- - - - - ----

              --- - - - --- --- - - - ----

              (Could maybe have done with one more line there.)

              Upvote though, even my monitor at home has this feature. Accidentally enabled it and spent a while wondering why windows had such an awful background fade effect (poorly gradated halo taking up about half the screen), thought it was some kind of driver or desktop bug. Turned out to be a very over-enthusiastic monitor option.

          2. defiler Silver badge

            Nintendo 64 deliberately blurs the image.

            I read that everything is shifted a half-pixel sideways to smooth the image. And the UK models only do composite video. You have to chip them to get accurate RGB.

            Kind of odd since it was the most powerful in its generation for 3D. Maybe they know it was good-but-not-quite. After all, they were savvy enough to stick with carts when the rest of the world went to (tediously slow) CDs.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I could say the same about Bose...but people in their droves still do so...though I think the market has been rather expanded by the likes of Amazon and others producing "smart speakers" which do a number of cute, but mostly unnecessary functions, in order to develop a "new market" (namely the IoT).

        Well, people also buy overpriced Beats headphones, which are crap for anything except hip-hop (which automatically puts them outside the market of "music" anyway).

    6. Moldskred

      Five years ago, convenience. Sonos was a sound system for people who didn't really care about sound systems in the same way that a Mac is a computer for people who don't really care about computers.

      Sonos was expensive, but the design and build quality was good. The sound quality isn't anything remarkable, but Sonos isn't really a hi-fi system, but the software and networking parts of the system was, certainly compared to what else was available at the time, rock solid. Everything just worked. You bought a Sonos speaker, took it home, plugged it in, did a ten second set-up and that was it.

      Of course, five years ago you could buy Sonos in the belief that you were buying a system that you could expand piece-meal over the next ten, fifteen years, which made the price-point easier to swallow. These days, that's no longer the case.

      1. Usermane

        As the old rubbish amstrad internet phone? That was a real rubbish.

        1. AndyMulhearn

          As the old rubbish amstrad internet phone? That was a real rubbish.

          Alan Sugar used one of them on the Apprentice IIRC and that was the only time I've ever seen one.

          It would be a brave candidate to interject into one of Lord Sugar's "I am the god of product development" diatribes "Internet phone Lord Sugar?"...

      2. Evil Scot

        Heos, Musicast for me now.

        Have a connect feeding a 1998 AV receiver and a soundblaster sound card. Cant do that with the New Connect.

        Liked that it didn't need a server for music files. Better than its competition at the start.

        Sunsetting my hardware leaves me open to other systems.

      3. boltar Silver badge

        "in the same way that a Mac is a computer for people who don't really care about computers."

        I bought a Mac because it runs a version of unix I don't have to spend 3 hours installing and wrestling with UEFI to get it to boot but does still run plenty of unix programs and compiles most of the unix code I've written over the years. I

        like Linux, but installing it can be a real bear trap sometimes** and these days I don't have the time or patience to do it.

        ** Yes, I know it goes smoothly for many people but my experience is otherwise.

      4. Johnr

        Hopefully someone will come up with a hack to remove the locks on the system

        That was the key simple wireless set up with acceptable sound

    7. JDX Gold badge

      A friend has a fair bit of their stuff and it sounds good enough to me. It wouldn't be my choice at the price-point but if you have money sloshing around then the convenience is quite nice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >"then the convenience is quite nice."

        then the convenience WAS quite nice.

        FTFY

    8. beardypete

      The reason that I bought into Sonos was the assumption that, having paid good money, I could expect long service from their gear. The fact that SONOS is run by a bunch of sh*ts never occured to me. I'm hoping for hackers to solve this issue.

    9. InsaneGeek

      Because for the 10 years I've had my multiple Sonos amps they've worked great. Outside of their remote that they killed off years ago because smart phones made it obsolete. This is the first time they are stopping code updates. Its not becoming a brick in May it wont get updates anymore. I'll be able to listen to all my mp3, flack, etc that I have on my network the risk will be that in the future a streaming service will modify their service and stop using a particular API and then you'd lose access to that service.

      No other product has provided as good an ecosystem that gets the spouse approval vote for reliable, easy just works. After 10 years with 3x different hardware generations I'm ok (not happy but ok) with them no longer updating it.

    10. pxd

      Hands free and convenient - never hi-fi

      I have a Sonos One with Alexa, that I voice control while I am up to my elbows in the sink, washing up. What do you use for that purpose?

      I have a friend with a summer house, with Sonos speakers inside and outside. It is easy to play the same music throughout, and to move the speakers around as circumtances dictate. What do you use for that purpose?

      I have spent a lot of money on serious hi-fi gear, and have never considered Sonos kit to be that sort of thing. In the right circumstances, though, it is extremely convenient. Did I miss the point where Sonos claimed to offer serious hi-fi kit?

      Having said all that, Sonos are complete shits twice: for 'end of life-ing' kit with years of service left to offer, and for bribing owners to brick perfectly serviceable kit to earn discounts on new stuff. I won't buy any more Sonos equipment. pxd

      1. CB__

        Re: Hands free and convenient - never hi-fi

        << ...while I am up to my elbows in the sink, washing up. What do you use for that purpose? >>

        I've got to say it... A dishwasher...?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Hands free and convenient - never hi-fi

          I generally open the window over the sink & listen to the Great Outdoors.

      2. Kiwi Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Hands free and convenient - never hi-fi

        I have a Sonos One with Alexa, that I voice control while I am up to my elbows in the sink, washing up. What do you use for that purpose?

        At work? I usually try and talk to the person whose dishes I am doing. At home? Takes 5 minutes to do the household dishes for the day (plus put any pots in to soak for half an hour before a 2 minute finish). Whatever I am playing in the lounge is fine, if I'm not talking to other people.

        Or I do as Jake does, and enjoy the wonderful bird-life we get around here.

        What purpose could be served by letting Amazon listen in while you do the dishes?

    11. IGnatius T Foobar !

      Sonos speakers don't even work.

      A colleague installed a bunch of Sonos speakers in a building that already has a centrally managed wifi network. The speakers refuse to log in to the building network; they insist on creating their own mesh. Predictably, they work fine when the building is empty, but when the building is full of people and the main network is active, they stop working. The speakers have been binned. They don't work.

    12. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Remind me again, why would anyone buy a Sonos speaker in the first place?

      Or any hardware device that only works at the mercy of someone's cloud system.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Excellent marketing move

    Pay us now, and pray that we don't alter the terms of the contract.

    Don't worry about the quarantine, Sonos, you are quarantined out of my home.

  3. krf

    A fool and his money are soon... unhooked.

    Anyone who buys an IOT device now is...

    Well, I have always been a first adopter on tech and have invested time and money in much that never went anywhere, but I wouldn't touch IOT now no matter how flashy it seems. I have a DOS version of a printed circuit program that still works very well after 30 years and will do so as long as the ancient IBM PC continues to run and the security dongle doesn't die. But, if it were bought today, it would quit as soon as the programmer/manufacturer decided to boost the bottom line with a new version. Or sold the business to Google.

    Unlike the past, where some new devices/programs/languages failed to catch on but still worked, now it appears that ALL IOT gear has a very limited lifespan.

    1. Graham 32

      Re: A fool and his money are soon... unhooked.

      Very true. IOT is really a service purchased as a product. ie all the money up front for an unspecified period of service, so there's no incentive for the provider to keep the service going. If Sonos kit was £30 and a monthly subscription I'd be more inclined to believe it will keep working (although I bet TCO would be too high for a stingy git like me).

  4. tin 2

    Makes logitech look like....

    ... absolute saints.

    1. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Re: Makes logitech look like....

      At least Logitech let Squeezebox be free. It has an active community of people who keep the gear alive and working.

      1. Nial

        Re: Makes logitech look like....

        And expanding.

        I've got two raspberry pi based Squeezeplayers driving two set of speakers in our kitchen.

        Not a piece of Logitech kit in sight. :-)

      2. Recluse

        Re: Makes logitech look like....

        When there are excellent open source solutions available, I have always struggled to see what was the attraction for Sonos equipment (beyond its supposed plug-n-play setup) but that is unlikely to be a concern for the techies here. An earlier poster has commented about the continuing availability of the excellent Squeezeserver (aka Logitech Media Server) and I would likewise highly recommend the software and its underlying ecosystem.

        My home music system runs on multiple Raspberry Pi 3 Model B's with added combined DAC/AMP HAT running PiCorePlayer OS with Logitech Media Server on my NAS. Add in iPeng running on any Apple Device (and a set of loudspeakers) and you have a fully functional system that can play synchronised music across my whole house.

        Added hi-lights

        Multiple plugins available for added functionality eg Tidal, BBC iPlayer, Spotify etc ...

        Active and incredibly responsive developers (donating their time free)

        For anyone interested in exploring further I have posted some links below to various sites (this is only really scratching the surface as the possibilities are almost infinite)

        (A) Logitech Media Server (LMS) https://forums.slimdevices.com/forumdisplay.php?27-Logitech-Media-Server

        (B) LMS Plugins https://forums.slimdevices.com/forumdisplay.php?4-3rd-Party-Software - a particular shout out for Micheal Herger (LMS & Spotify) and BPA (BBCiPlayer and iPlayExtra)

        (C) PiCore Player OS download https://www.picoreplayer.org/ plus wider explanation of your multiple options

        (D) PiCore Player support https://forums.slimdevices.com/forumdisplay.php?3-Linux-Unix

        (E) iPeng http://penguinlovesmusic.de/ipeng-8/ (check out iPeng support thread within forum link B above (This is NOT free but well worth the modest charge - my only connection is as a happy user)

        (F) DAC and AMP HAT http://iqaudio.co.uk/hats/9-pi-digiamp.html (other suppliers are available eg https://www.hifiberry.com/shop/)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Makes logitech look like....

          Thanks!

        2. Is It Me Bronze badge

          Re: Makes logitech look like....

          The reason for the popularity is non-techies.

          I got some initially for my mother as she was struggling to control her DAB radio as she lost motor control, the Sonos app on a large iPad solved that instantly.

          I inherited them and my technophobic other half has no issues finding and playing music, creating playlists, have the music move around the house with her etc.

          At this point I am not sure that I would buy any more kit from them (was looking at getting a "connect" so it will play through the higher quality amp and speakers in the living room) which is a shame as they did perfectly well for a non-audiophile.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge

            Re: Makes logitech look like....

            have the music move around the house with her etc.

            Sufficient volume from the amp, and a sufficient LACK of volume in the house takes care of that for me! :)

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Makes logitech look like....

          I went Logitech instead of Sonos, including a duet. When spotify came along it turned out that I couldn't stream spotify to the duet, which was disappointing...

          Roll on a few years and now duet is working great with spotify, as well as some rPi players, and also a TV. Don't you love it when software solutions IMPROVE over time?! Sonos could learn a trick...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They didn't have much choice

        It was Slim Devices who originally wrote and open sourced it, and developed an active community around it and their devices. Logitech bought them some years later, although I'll give them credit for not closing the community sites when they dropped the product line.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sonos, once...

    I wouldn't buy a Sonos speaker, but I did invest in their ZP90, allowing me to stream my digitised music collection (or a cloud music service) to my classic HiFi. Ten years ago, Sonos seemed more like a serious player (in every sense). After several disappointing products and now today's ridiculous announcement, I think Patrick Spence needs to fuck off. Cunt!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sonos, once...

      You were doing so well until those last two sentences.

  6. JohnFen Silver badge

    Another great example

    This is another great example of why I will never buy a device that requires the services of a company to continue working.

    And I will doubly never buy anything Sonos.

    1. The Pi Man

      Re: Another great example

      So you've never bought a TV, digital or analogue?

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Another great example

        So you've never bought a TV, digital or analogue?

        Well... The only Philips "signal" that has ever been shown on any Philips TV's I've seen is the Philips Test Pattern.

        I've seen some Sony TV's displaying Sony movies, but they're not dependant on Sony - you can play movies from other makers on them.

        I've not seen any "Sanyo" signal on Sanyo TVs, ditto for LG, Akai, Teac, Technics, Panasonic (and National), Samsung etc etc etc.

        So as far as I know, no TV's are dependant on the company you get them from to keep working. Some Smart TV's may lose some (or all) of the "smart" stuff over time, but pretty sure you can still plug in a DVD or PC or STB and keep using them as basic TVs.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Another great example

          My Sony TV occasionally shows Sony Games.

  7. vtcodger Silver badge

    Maybe the business plan needs some tweaks

    "Planned obsolescence"

    You folks are absolutely certain that there is a plan behind this?

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Maybe the business plan needs some tweaks

      Maybe Sonos are planning their very own obsolescence. It certainly looks that way from the number of people who would now never buy any of their equipment, me included.

      1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
        Devil

        Re: Maybe the business plan needs some tweaks

        Maybe their new slogan should be "Sonos: we hate our customers"

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Maybe the business plan needs some tweaks

        Moat shoppers aren't savvy and won't know that their shiny new speaker will be less useful in 10 years time, or that it sounds like the cone is made of cheese.

        They will sell on aesthetics and on paper specifications and go from strength to strength.

        1. Evil Scot

          Re: Maybe the business plan needs some tweaks

          But how many returns of incompatible hardware will Currys accept before dropping distribution?

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Maybe the business plan needs some tweaks

            Most of the stuff that is being abandoned is already beyond return age, and not going to stop working in the very near future either.

  8. zapgadget
    Flame

    This is why...

    I build my IoT stuff with Raspberry Pi's and Arduinos. In such a way that I don't need a company to keep them alive.

    I choose when my kit goes obsolete, not some bloody bean-counter.

  9. jake Silver badge

    "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

    No, no I don't remember that. At all. But thanks for asking.

    Probably has something to do with my mid-1980s Boston Acoustics studio monitors, which still work perfectly. And the fact that I'm highly unlikely to be sold a pig in a poke. Me Dear Old Mum didn't raise no fools.

    1. Garymrrsn

      Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

      I'll see your mi-80s Boston Acoustics studio monitors and raise you my Sony TC630 reel to reel tape recorder.

      Though I will admit, spare parts were getting a little hard to find until the internet came along.

      1. whitepines Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

        I'll see your BA monitors and raise you six NS-10s, driven by Tripath Class D amps. Fed from a custom Linux box with a low-noise D/A, natch.

        It sounds *better* than a live concert. And of course none of that rubbish about oxygen free cables and such, just good solid audio engineering and properly sized cables where required.

        Icon 'cause closes thing to heaven when listening...

        1. Christopher Reeve's Horse

          Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

          Well, if it's a game of lets all slap our big hi-fi dicks on the table and see who's got the heftiest junk, I'm in.

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

            Well go on then, show us your tackle!

            1. J. Cook Silver badge
              Go

              Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

              *makes popcorn*

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

                Bush portable tape deck. Built in speaker. 2xD batteries. TDK D120 (not included) will store over 4 dozen songs.

                1. whitepines Silver badge
                  Joke

                  Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

                  I'd certainly use that for fishing tackle too. Or as part of a boat anchor!

                2. defiler Silver badge

                  Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

                  TDK D120 (not included) will store over 4 dozen songs.

                  And even more when you've rewound it a few times. They did love to stretch...

                  /me starts thinking Microdrive for some inexplicable reason.

                  1. Kiwi Silver badge
                    Coat

                    Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

                    /me starts thinking Microdrive for some inexplicable reason.

                    Probably the wrong sub-thread to mention "micro" anything in :)

            2. Christopher Reeve's Horse

              Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

              You mean you can't already hear it? I'll try turning it up to 7.

          2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

            Quad Electrostatics driven from a totally homegrown Amp (Class A, 60w/channel). 1970's Transcriptors Saturn Turntable, Akai 4000D reel to reel and a relatively modern Denon DAB tuner (in 2008, some thieves took the old FM Tuner and left the rest behind for some reason...).

            1. dvd

              Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

              I had burglars steal my reel-to-reel player and leave the rest of my hi-fi. They carefully stacked up the bits that they didn't want and they even disconnected it all properly. It was almost hard to be cross at them.

            2. whitepines Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

              I'd really love to hear electrostatics sometime, comparing against the setup I built. Sadly they're fairly rare these days.

              Ah well, someday!

              Icon for good taste.

              1. Kiwi Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

                I'd really love to hear electrostatics sometime, comparing against the setup I built. Sadly they're fairly rare these days.

                Not sure I'd like to do that.. I may've built out my stuff good enough that the dream of the memory I have of that one time would be shattered.

                Then again.. I'd have electrostatics available to me!!!! I think just to hear a pair playing the sort of stuff they're intended to play would be a real treat.

                Last pair I came across was 2nd hand pair at a 2nd hand audiophreak store (the guy has a LOT of stuff, not "audiophile" but knows his stuff and loves audio gear).. Priced WAAAAY out of my league, in fact priced more than all my furniture, lifetime of cars and bikes, all my audio equipment including a couple of nice bass guitars and one generic solid 6 string combined. One day...

              2. AlbertH

                Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

                Well - two pairs of Quad ESLs (stacked pairs) and Dynaco transmission line bass units (as the ESLs are somewhat bass-light), bi-amped with homebrew amps - 60 Watts a side for the mid and top, and 200 Watts each side for the bass. They sound great, but the ideal listening spot is quite small, as the ESLs are quite directional. I've worked in professional recording and broadcasting studios for over 40 years, and haven't heard anything quite as good.

            3. Kiwi Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

              Quad Electrostatics

              Say no more... Booking the next flight.. No need for a bed, I'll just spend the week between those..

              Sorry, did I say week? I meant "rest of my life!"

              [El Reg, we need a Homer/drool icon!]

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

            Hi-Fi Gear? Meh... A Gibson 1958 Les Paul through a 1962 Marshall JTM-45. Once music gets recorded it's all shit....

        2. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

          Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

          Six NS-10s! Damn, I only had two and they left behind in another country :(

        3. batfink Silver badge

          Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

          What, no oxygen-free? I'll bet your cables aren't even directional. And they probably don't have gold-plated connections. And you have probably spent less then several grand (each) on your connectors. What are you thinking man?

          1. Christopher Reeve's Horse

            Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

            For all the tongue-in-cheek derision, good quality cables do (or at least can) make a difference. Especially anything in the analogue domain - phono leads and speaker cable being the obvious targets.

            I'm not suggesting spaffing thousands of pounds on hugely pricey esoteric nonsense, but once you get to a particular level of component quality you don't really want to constrain it by using shitty entry-level patch cables. Where your happy medium lies, as a free-agent consumer, is entirely up to you. Hi-Fi ownership is complex - and much like car ownership - there are many, many opaque rationales for wanting different things.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

              you don't really want to constrain it by using shitty entry-level patch cables.

              It's basically a physics/electronics thing. Your cable needs to be of a suitable capacity to carry the signal, and may need to be shielded. I guess certain wires may perform better than others but the core is what counts, whatever it is plated with doesn't matter.

              The connections do matter, but again a cheap RCA plug is as good as a gold-plated one so long as it fits properly. Any 'looseness' could cause problems - but I prefer screw/clamp terminals myself, it's not like I move stuff around much. But hey, if a cheap/free pair of speakers has RCA then RCA is what I use. If it's DIN, DIN that's what's in...

              I have met some horrible cables and wires, ones I cannot for the life of me figure out how something so simple gets made so wrong..

              (My priorities - 1) Speakers 2) Amps 2.00000001) Source 3-10) intentionally left blank 11) wire)

          2. 's water music Silver badge

            Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

            What, no oxygen-free?

            I simply retain the services of a full symphony orchestra for when I want to reproduce music at home. I don't think they have a model number as-such. I did experiment with an oxygen free environment one time after reading some back issues of What Hifi but it wasn't very successful to say the least

            1. MJI Silver badge

              Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

              Music?

              Just go along and see my friend band play, did my a gig recently, I was the audience.

              (OK it was a final pre concert practice, but yes it was for me)

        4. IGnatius T Foobar !

          Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

          I'll see your BA monitors and raise you six NS-10s, driven by Tripath Class D amps. Fed from a custom Linux box with a low-noise D/A, natch.

          I'll see your NS-10s and raise you a pair of Minimus-7 speakers, purchased at Radio Shack in the 1980's. Because they'll *still* be sounding great in 30 years when Sonos is a distant memory and none of their products can be made to work anymore.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: "Remember that Sonos speaker you bought a few years back that works perfectly?"

            when Sonos is a distant memory and none of their products can be made to work anymore.

            "Anymore"? Almost sounds as if you're implying they work now!

            [El Reg - snobbish prig icon?]

  10. TheDataRecoverer

    Ludicrous

    Well, we've had around £1,500 worth of Sonos over the years, & it has worked pretty well most of the time.

    Have to say I found this email and approach by them pretty unpleasant.

    30% off something new? Wow. Big deal. What is the mark-up on their kit? 70%? 80%?

    I can't say this would make me ever spend another pound with them.

    I guess I will limp on in 'legacy mode' until things really start creaking.....& in the meantime, I will investigate alternative options to suit us in the future.

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Ludicrous

      I have half a dozen Pi's running "Shairport-sync", and if you're prepared to suck up the mess that is iTunes it's a very viable option. The Pi hardware and Shairport software are both extremely stable. I would like something that take input from Android as well, ideally, or a central music store - but this is all added complexity and there's something to be said for keeping it simple.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        Re: Ludicrous

        > I would like something that take input from Android as well, ideally, or a central music store

        Have a look at Subsonic - http://www.subsonic.org/pages/index.jsp

        I switched from Play music over to self-hosting ages ago. My only real criticism of it is - did it *have* to be in java :(

        So you run subsonic in a VM and then your clients stream from it (and locally cache where possible).

        There's Android apps available, the free one's a bit meh IMO, but DSub works *very* well for my needs. If you google Jamstash you'll also find a HTML5 interface you can drop on it to have kiosk stuff (like a Pi with a touchscreen) just go to a simple webpage for playback

        I now buy my music from wherever, and download it into the NFS share that Subsonic looks at, and it's available to all our devices as well as a few "built in" appliances I've put into some rooms.

        1. gaz 7

          Re: Ludicrous

          I use Dsub too on my Android devices, but use Ampache for the backend rather than Subsonic itself.

          Ampache presents the Subsonic api calls and works very nicely. It has a decent web front end and none of that nasty java.

          Worth a look if you want to roll your own. I don;t trust cloud companies at all who's product depends on them continuing to provide some server based service. At some point they either go south or "upgrade" everything forcing poor consumers to buy new stuff or move on.

          1. Groodles

            Re: Ludicrous

            Sonos supports Subsonic as an audio source too.

            #justsaying

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ludicrous

      I think the European consumer protection laws may come in to play here...

      1. beardypete

        Re: Ludicrous

        I certainly hope that Europe kicks up a fuss - five years is nothing when it comes to the expected lifespan of consumer electronics... In the meantime I'm hoping that some electronics geek susses out how to work around this issue...

    3. Wibble

      Re: Ludicrous

      They've parted you from your money. Now they don't give a toss.

  11. HmYiss

    Simple..

    Just buy the latest 'super convenient solution'..

    That's how you fucking sucktards work, right?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ACL Guarantee

    If I bought something here in Australia that just stopped working after a few years due to the vendors action, I would probably have a very good case for taking it back for a full refund under the Australian Consumer Law Guarantee. Consumers can get a repair, refund or replacement (consumers choice) if a product has a major failure. Major failures are:

    * it has a problem that would have stopped someone from buying it if they’d known about it

    * it is significantly different from the sample or description

    * it is substantially unfit for its common purpose and can’t easily be fixed within a reasonable time

    * it doesn’t do what you asked for and can’t easily be fixed within a reasonable time; or

    * it is unsafe.

    It would certainly fail the first one, and likely the 3rd and 4th ones as well.

    https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees/repair-replace-refund

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ACL Guarantee

      The UK (EU) has similar laws too.

      The usual response to storys like this is "It's an American company - they think the can do what they like".

      However, if you dig deeper, you'll see that America has some quite strong consumer laws too... They just don't seem to ever get invoked...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ACL Guarantee

        How long will those strong consumer laws stick around after the end of the year?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ACL Guarantee

          Given that the UK laws originated in the Sales of Goods Act 1960, which was prior to the UK joining the EU, and that the EU laws are broadly similar to the SoGA (as was - it's now the Consumer Rights Act), I'd say reasonable, unless the Conservatives want to do a downgrade to a state prior to the '60's.

          1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

            Re: ACL Guarantee

            Shhh! Don't give them any more "good" ideas.

          2. GregC

            Re: ACL Guarantee

            unless the Conservatives want to do a downgrade to a state prior to the '60's

            I find it very easy to believe that is their entire mission.

            1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

              Re: ACL Guarantee

              @GregC - The real question is it 1960, 1860 or 1760 that they are planning to wind it back to :D

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: ACL Guarantee

              The 60s would be far too modern for Jacob Rees Mogg.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ACL Guarantee

          How long will those strong consumer laws stick around after the end of the year?

          UK consumer law is older, and consistently stronger, than EU/EEC law.

          1. graeme leggett

            Re: ACL Guarantee

            EU law made it cross border.

            Live in Spain but bought item in Germany, you're protected.

            What happens in a few years if you're in UK and buy from France, who knows?

        3. JohnG

          Re: ACL Guarantee

          The UK's consumer laws are probably the best in the EU, with a 6 year legal warranty (5 years in Scotland). It is in stark contrast to "Servicewüste Deutschland". One of my German colleagues returned a two month old notebook DVD drive under warranty and the shop had it "in repair" for nine months. When Walmart Germany offered a 30 day no quibble return, a group representing other German stores successfully sued Walmart for unfair competition, requiring them to pay compensation and stick to the legal requirement of 14 days.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ACL Guarantee

      Number of points for awareness.

      * EU law trumps US law in the UK and Europe - as Apple found out when they lost in Italian courts over their 1 year warranty.

      * EU law is 2 years - is Australian law much longer than that?

      * UK had 2 year protection laws in before much the rest of Europe - yes it could change, but they caught up, not us.

      * Newest SONOS kit affected by this is 5 years old, not just a couple. Not a lot if you did a big spend on the a bridge, the Connect or a Connect:Amp (or all) but the Zone players and Sonos 5 have not been sold for around 8-9 years.

      It's odd that we've got used to hi-fi/stereo systems lasting decades and are unhappy about this (I'm a bit miffed as well), yet we're used to having to replace our PCs/Laptops/mobile phones/TVs every 3-5 years when they become out of date or die on you (do Sony TVs still fail just after the warranty ends ?)

      1. Dabooka

        Re: ACL Guarantee

        My Sony flat screen refuses to do the decent thing by rolling over and dying, 10 years old this year and going strong (although, just like in this story, the apps built within ceased a longtime ago). I just had to give up waiting and buy a new one anyway.

        It's since been demoted to the conservatory where it replaced a slightly older Samsung model which now resides in a friend's living room. Again, no smart functionality but it can produce a moving picture with sound to match, so...... all good really.

        I'd like to think my 19" Mitsubishi CRT from 1993 is still out there too, but that really is a bit of a stretch.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Tellies

          New one every ten years or so, does me.

          First because wanted to see TV

          Second because first was portable

          Third because it was DVB-T, widescreen and flatscreen

          Fourth because HD and HDMI and big

          Fifth will be higher resolution, HDR and more HDMI, will probably go same make.

          So I had a really good 14" portable from about 1980 or so. An expensive 32" IDTV, now a big LCD which upscales rather well.

          Same make as my video recorder from early 80s and my last few games consoles.

      2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

        Re: ACL Guarantee

        > Sonos 5 have not been sold for around 8-9 years

        Neither has my car, but its still expected to work.

        > It's odd that we've got used to hi-fi/stereo systems lasting decades and are unhappy about this

        Speak for yourself. Personally I would preffer my devices to last and not add to the insane pile of e-waste we all have to help create because marketing.

        > yet we're used to having to replace our PCs/Laptops/mobile phones/TVs every 3-5 years when they become out of date or die on you

        I have never understood what people do with their computers to cause them to die so prematurely. Most of my laptops are made in 2012 and my oldest is a netbook from around 2009. Apart from speed and being limited to only 2GB of RAM, that netbook still lasts approx 7 hours on a charge and runs all the software I would ever need to run on it. And its 32bit only :D

        My 2012 laptops are all lenovo's with various ports etc. They will run 64 bit just fine as they are either core i5 or i7's.

        I did upgrade my PC a couple of years back. My 10 year old Athlon 64 3 core system got upgraded to a Ryzen 5. This was only done to let me decode HD youtube and twitch after they switched codecs. There was nothing else the old system couldnt do, the 3 core athlon just didnt have the grunt of a similar Intel chip so maxed out all 3 cores decoding the video. It also didnt help that at the time Debian did not have any hardware acceleration support for HTML 5 video so the CPU had to do all of it.

        I expect to be running this 6 core Ryzen for at least 10 years, maybe I will move to a faster processor if its cheap enough otherwise I see no need to change anything when my cores are barley ticking over when decoding the HD video without hardware acceleration.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ACL Guarantee

        The ACLG doesn't specifically give time frames. It is based on what a "reasonable consumer" expects. In examples given by the ACCC a reasonable consumer would expect a TV to last 5+ years, whereas a $10 toaster might only get a couple of years.

        They are not toothless either. They have handed large fines to some of the larger retailers here for breaches. They are have just taken Trivago to court for misleading customers and won. Penalties hadn't been awarded yet, but it will be in the millions.

        The problem is staff training. Many just don't seem to be aware of their legal responsibilities or are being trained to give deliberately misleading information. The ACCC produce a really good guide for retailers laying out their legal responsibilities with examples "Electrical & whitegoods - an industry guide to the Australian Consumer Law". I always take a hard copy of that with me if I have to go back to a store. Once you point out where what they say breaches the law, they usually back down and comply. I have to say most stores I deal with are very good, going beyond their legal responsibilities.

        The big exception from this is JB HiFi, a national electronics and white goods chain. They have a weasel worded returns policy on their national website that says you have legal rights that can't be excluded, then promptly attempts to exclude them. They will say things like you can't have a refund because you have had the product more than a certain time or that you have to go back to the manufacturer. Both of these breach the ACLG. The time limits they specify depend on the purchase price, so something that costs less than $500 that has a major fault can be returned for a refund only in the first 3 months. After this you have to accept a repair. After 12 months they won't give you anything.

        I have had the same experience in more than one of their stores so it wasn't just a bad manager in one of them, it is their policy. I now avoid them where possible.

    3. AlbertH
      Coat

      Re: ACL Guarantee

      That ACL Guarantee really suggests that you should be able to get a full refund if you've paid for Windows......

  13. jtaylor

    Sonos grasped the wrong end of the stick

    ...when they decided that after they make a sale, that person ceases to be their customer.

    We all know companies that treat a sale as the start of a relationship with that customer. They liked the ravioli? Tell them how proud you are of the gnocchi and bring a sample that they'll remember next time they decide to dine out. That iPhone is nice, isn't it? Imagine if you had an iPad at home, and could switch to a bigger screen when your grandkids Facetime you.

    I bought a car, and the dealership is my new best friend so they can "help" me with maintenance and questions.

    Sonos, though, sees their revenue comes from replacing broken products rather than enhancing them. Their customer relationship includes reaching out and breaking what those customers bought in the past.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sonos grasped the wrong end of the stick

      I think your picture of what is happening these days is completely out of date. It WAS like that, several years ago (and earlier), but currently, the sonos-approach appears to me a "golden standard", i.e. FUCK you sucker if you believed we care once you parted with your money (unless you believe in mission statements and ads, which still claim you're their bestest and most valuable friend, and please don't forget to "like" them on fb, etc.)

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Sonos grasped the wrong end of the stick

      Get good service from a company they get repeat custom.

      Get good life you look at same brand to replace.

      Get good performance, the same.

      Had 4 TVs same make, 3 Video cameras same make, gone from heavy separates to an all in one with HD tapes.

      I am prepared to spend more occasionally to spend less overall. Known people buy a TV every 3 years. I spent £1200 on one, less money than 3x£500.

  14. Kev99

    Typical of the entire software industry with Microsoft being the worse offender. Unfortunately Microsoft has the muscle (as in Southside Chicago muscle) to force hardware companies and software companies to throw out products the work perfectly well and force the users to buy new software and new equipment to run that software on. It's disgusting that I can go out and get any part I need for my 12 year old car but I can't do that with my computer without installing a different OS of dubious quality and performance. There will the bleeding edge folks who will cry out the newest version is safer, faster, etc. Since my first PC in 1986 I've never had any problems. And the change in speed is usually on the order or microseconds.

    1. msage

      But Microsoft software doesn't stop working. I can still fire up a Windows 3.11 machine if I want to... From the article the sonos's will actually stop working all together.

      1. whitepines Silver badge
        Unhappy

        But Windows 3.11 is before this kind of thing, right?

        Try legally acquiring Windows XP today and installing it without Microsoft's activation server playing ball. This rubbish started a long time ago...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I think you are being a bit over generous to MS - you can still fire up Windows 3.11 - and it will work - but how many millions of PCs, scanners, printers, webcams etc are cluttering your shed because they 'don't do drivers for the new OS'. And then there's the whole 'I know Office was working..but we had to upgrade IE and its broken the .dll - have you thought about moving to Office 2021?'. I have always assumed all MS software has the 'Clock speed = 1/(Now() - Install_Date())' code baked in deep.

        1. Matthew 3

          Microsoft

          Microsoft are at least up-front and clear about how long their support will last for, from day one, and what will happen when that support ends. They're far from a perfect organisation, that's for sure, but they don't deliberately stop an old operating system from working just because it's 'out of support'. Yet.

          As for drivers, if you're unable to connect a decades-old scanner to your new PC because there's no driver for it, that's hardly the fault of the OS vendor. Would you blame Ford because your old Vauxhall's towbar didn't fit your new car?

          And when that day comes that the support ends, the hardware is still fine. You could replace Windows with Linux and keep on using that same hardware for many years to come.

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Microsoft

            "but they don't deliberately stop an old operating system from working just because it's 'out of support'. Yet."

            I must have imagined the faff I had to go through to bypass Microsoft's attempts to stop me getting Windows 7 updates because my Kaby Lake processor was too new.

            1. jeffdyer

              Re: Microsoft

              You don't need updates to keep it going though.

              1. DavCrav Silver badge

                Re: Microsoft

                This is Windows. Without the updates you are in trouble.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Microsoft

            I might not blame Ford if my Vauxhall tow-bar didn't fit. I would blame Ford if my car went in to be serviced and came back with the tow-bar removed 'because we updated the interface for you'.

          3. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Microsoft

            A 50mm towball is a 50mm towball

          4. Kiwi Silver badge

            Re: Microsoft

            Microsoft are at least up-front and clear about how long their support will last for, from day one, and what will happen when that support ends. They're far from a perfect organisation, that's for sure, but they don't deliberately stop an old operating system from working just because it's 'out of support'. Yet.

            Yes. W7 with GWX and the trickery they employed to get users to "upgrade" to 10 (like the "close window" being "install" instead of the ususal "take no action".

            5 years ago they did say that this month W7 support would end. They did not say there'd be nagware updates, attempts to shovel spyware in via security updates and so on

            As for drivers, if you're unable to connect a decades-old scanner to your new PC because there's no driver for it, that's hardly the fault of the OS vendor. Would you blame Ford because your old Vauxhall's towbar didn't fit your new car?

            Bad example :) I know I have the skill and could easily borrow the few necessary tools I don't yet own to do that. Pretty sure Jake would have both the skills and several options of tools old and not-so-old (and maybe very very old).I'm also certain a few others here at least would find such a job reasonably easy, depending on a) motivation and b) desired quality of finish.

            [EDIT : Probably can add MJI to that list :) ]

            Drivers could actually have been written in a manner that would've allowed stuff to work long after the OS has moved on. Like at least one other here has mentioned, I personally find the piles of e-waste we must make quite disturbing. Sure, some changes are better - I enjoy working on my 47" LED more than many of my earlier (and hungrier!) CRTs, and I certainly am glad my 70KG 32" TV is no longer around, I even find tablets enjoyable. But many companies made my old tablet harder and harder to use, no updates for the OS and as time wore on programs would be updated and break or "because security" they'd no longer be supported by the other end.

            Yes some modern hardware is better, some is more efficient and does the same or better quality of work. But some isn't nearly as good as what we've got, and some is expensive to replace. Sometimes it's wasteful as well to have to replace good enough HW because of OS changes.

            1. MJI Silver badge

              Re: Microsoft

              I actually fitted the tow bar to my last Vauxhall. Last one I had because they stopped making them in favour of giant Vectras.

              Also did the wiring.

              1. Kiwi Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: Microsoft

                I actually fitted the tow bar to my last Vauxhall. Last one I had because they stopped making them in favour of giant Vectras.

                This thread has reminded me of the importance of checking towbars out properly when buying..

                I was probably 14, out with a friend of my parents who was looking to buy a 1st car for one of his kids (a few years older than me). One in the papers was promising complete with towbar, recent oil changes and so on.

                The father called me to the back of the car at one point and asked me what I thought was wrong. Part of the tow bar mount was visible in the bottom of the boot, under the spare wheel well. What was wrong? well, it was 4 holes drilled through the bottom of the boot with the bolts for the tow bar through that. Nothing more.

                Oh, and the recently changed oil? That still sticks in my mind as well. Watered-down Worcestershire sauce would be thicker than what was in there, and probably better for the engine as well. We did spend a bit more time looking at the car but it was a teaching experience in how to spot what was being hidden, and how to use any one problem to tell you to expect more, and give you some idea of what you'll see.

                And please please please don't get me thinking about what I've seen for trailer wiring. The last car electrical job I did was to clean up the mess from what I think was a dealer-installed trailer socket. I need some sedatives and a lie down before the screaming starts again...

      3. DavCrav Silver badge

        "I can still fire up a Windows 3.11 machine if I want to..."

        Good luck getting it to work on any computer you can buy. But I see your point.

        As an aside, i could never get on with 3.11, and only really got used to Windows with 95. Coming from Workbench I should have been more comfortable with 3.11 than 95, but for some reason I got very confused with it.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          "Good luck getting it to work on any computer you can buy. But I see your point."

          In VMWare Player?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Stopping working

        The Sonos stuff will not stop working, just your setup will no longer get updates after mid-May. Fine as a whole if you do not use streamed music services. PITA if you do and one of those services changes their code (even if for good reasons) and you need an update to your system. Also will be a PITA if you want to expand your setup as anything new may not work with your existing solution.

        1. jeffdyer

          Re: Stopping working

          That happened to me with my Onkyo Network CD Receiver, one day it just stopped connecting to Spotify, then I found out that Spotify were consolidating their APIs into one (Connect), my recevier was a few years old and didn't get updated. "Fortunarely" not long after the network connection failed, I took it back to Richers' and they gave me a nive new Yamaha with Spotify Connect etc built in. Sadly no digital input though, but with internet radio built in instead.

    2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Hardly. The old OS will still work, it's just that after a while it stops being supported for security fixes and should not be connected to the Internet. Windows generally receives around ten years of support, and most hardware that runs XP will also run Windows 10. This is better than pretty much any other operating system (you may be able to find a very small number of Linux distributions with Super Long Term Support of ten years).

      Microsoft continue to support a lot of generic hardware drivers. For more specific devices, it's up to the third party being unwilling to put in the effort to upgrade the drivers.

      Microsoft also expend a huge amount of effort in maintaining backwards compatibility. There are issues if you're using a fast track release of Windows 10, but the long term support releases are available if stability is required.

  15. Nolveys
    Windows

    Don't waste your money on a new set of speakers,

    You get more mileage from a cheap pair of sneakers.

    1. Roger Greenwood

      @Nolveys Thanks. That's going to be with me all day now :-)

    2. Chunky Munky
      Facepalm

      Damn! Now I've got an earworm

    3. Alistair Silver badge
      Windows

      @Novelys:

      1) surprised it took that many posts for someone to splat that

      2) was going to drop that in myself.

      UpV!

  16. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    /me investigates...

    1980s Pioneer amp and Wharfedale speakers, attached to the DTT box and a dvd player that does duty far more as a CD player. They have lasted much longer than the shop that sold them to me...

  17. Lusty

    Hmmm

    I think the Reg got a different mail to me. Mine said I can still use the old kit but as a result my NEW kit will never receive updates.

    Hopefully they’ll go bankrupt, I’ll never buy from them again. Not that I’ve bought from them since the privacy policy debacle.

    1. stevebp

      Re: Hmmm

      I believe it did say that "You can continue using legacy products after May, but your system will no longer receive software updates and new features. Over time, this is likely to disrupt access to services and overall functionality." They're pretty much damning any new products unless you swap out the entire system. Sounds like corporate blackmail to me

    2. Cloud, what..... Sorry... Um... - you just made that up.

      Re: Hmmm

      Can I buy your Sonos gear on the cheap?

      I did sell you that washing machine!

    3. Dapprman

      Re: Hmmm - You are correct

      The email did say your set up will continue to work, but you will miss out on any new features. No mention at all about the old kit going in to quarantine as they also infer your new stuff will not get updates.

      I don't use any streamed services so I'm tempted to stay as is, especially as I have ZP-100 (or is it a 90 the updated pre Connect unit) and ZP-120 which will need replacing (might not on the amped unit).

  18. Wibble

    So called "smart" speakers need a lot of support

    When speakers were speakers literally no support was required aside from hardware issues.

    When speakers were 'LAN' conected, they required more support, but once running the protocols don't change, so no long-term support.

    And then along came "smart" speakers which are connected to t'intarwebs. Worse than that they can connect to anything else. These now need constant updates for security and represent a massive risk. Companies flogging these need to be *forced* to guarantee support for these devices for either decades, or should be forced to "recycle" them for a large *refund* payment.

    ---

    Dons black ski mask and walks up to house and shouts "Alexa, unlock the doors"... Are people really that short sighted?

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: So called "smart" speakers need a lot of support

      Don't need to shout - just use a laser...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozIKwGt38LQ

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So many "negative waves"

    I've had a Sonos system (ZP100s, ZP80s and CR100 controllers and NONE of their small expensive powered speakers) for some time and though I'm disappointed with the email I got about the lack of ongoing upgrades, the fact is that I've never needed to upgrade the firmware since a prior announcement that was going to "reduce" the functionaility of the CR100 remote controls - a really nice piece of hardware with a scroll wheel and large-ish colour display that enabled you to control all aspects of the entire system.

    So, with no future updates, my little system will continue to stream internet radio and music (driven from my NAS box) around the house as it has done for a number of years.

    1. Friar

      Re: So many "negative waves"

      +1

      I stopped updating like you when my CR100's were going to be retired and am glad I did. The latest announcement would make everything else I have bought redundant too. Sonos must be mad to think I am just going to bin a whole house system just because they have decided it is obsolete.

    2. Dapprman

      Re: So many "negative waves"

      I part wish I had done the same, but then I had a Deezer sub that was useful when friends were around, plus Amazon Music was better back then (pre Music+).

      I actually quite like the One, but then I'm not a audiophile, the SONOS system for me has always been a useful way to play music off my NAS and have the option to perfectly sync it across multiple rooms (which is why I did not go Squeezebox at the time when I first started my setup).

  20. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    Data/Privacy

    Sonos have form like this. They previously unilaterally changed their T&Cs to allow them to sell all your data. You either approved it or effectively swapped your $$ono$ system for an expensive-but-average-quality dumb speaker.

  21. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Owners of older kit like Marantz, Blaupunkt etc will probably be very smug.

    And I'm talking about pre-y2k stuff.

    I still prefer to buy a basic set of headphones that ain't got chippery in it which requires power or shitware updates.

    Have anybody informed Greta of Sonos' decision to make more landfill?

    1. Not previously required
      Thumb Up

      Landfill

      I'd like to give you more than one upvote for the landfill aspects.

      We need an icon for resource waste on this scale

  22. DML71

    Have I missed something? Did it say somewhere that your old speakers will suddenly stop working at a certain point? Just they won't receive software updates.

    Keep them and they work. Take advantage of the discount on new speakers if you want. If you don't keep using your old speakers.

    1. hellsatan

      Have i missed something?

      You are partly correct, individual speakers etc will continue to work, however newer devices will inevitably receive software updates that prevent them working with older kit.

      ...So if you've got a lovely shiny setup costing a few grand all around your house and you find yourself needing to replace a single speaker... the new one won't talk to the rest of the system and you'll basically be arm twisted into replacing the whole lot.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Have i missed something?

        Just to clarify your partial correction...

        According to Sonos, if you have older 'legacy' devices, they will still work but won't receive firmware updates after May 2020. Any currently owned newer 'non-legacy' devices connected to the same network will also continue to work but will stop receiving firmware updates, as all devices must be on the same firmware version.

        I imagine that at some point in the not too far distant future, this will mean that more and more online streaming services will become unavailable, and that you won't be able to enjoy any possible future muppetry like integration with Twatter or FaceBork etc.

        They don't say what happens if you try to attach a Sonos device bought after May 2020 to the same network, but I'm assuming that you won't be able to downgrade the firmware to your existing setup's version, and it will refuse to play with your existing kit (and at some point software compatability issues will make this inevitable.)

        So Sonos, in their infinite wisdom, have just made it pointless for a large number of their existing customers to buy any more of their products unless they take advantage of the '30% off' trade in scheme and needlessly replace much of their system.

        Good luck with that Sonos, I think you'll be needing to make that an 80% discount if you don't like the way bankruptcy sounds. Utter fuckwits...

        1. Friar

          Re: Have i missed something?

          "They don't say what happens if you try to attach a Sonos device bought after May 2020 to the same network"

          The way Sonos works is that all units have to be on the same release level. If I'm on v8.4 and buy a new v9 unit the system will upgrade all Sonos units to v9 as soon as I attempt to add the new unit to my system. If any of the existing units are unsupported on that release they may be bricked. That's what happened to the CR100s after v8.4.

          You cannot have units with different firmware levels on the same network, so if you wish to keep your old units working you are unable to buy anything new. (Or secondhand either, unless you are lucky enough to find something with exactly the same level of firmware as you've got).

      2. Johnr

        Re: Have i missed something?

        But then again there will be so much used kit around that like an old car you can keep running with used parts. I'm 68 , so I should be good

  23. 0laf Silver badge

    Alternatives

    I'm having a new house built, part of the spec (not from me btw) was that the downstairs will be fitted out with Sonos speakers.

    We didn't want them but we weren't going to get any discount for taking them out.

    If we still wanted the house to have buod in speakers what are the alternatives to Sonos?

    Ideally nothing that connects back to feckin Amazon, or Google

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alternatives

      In a new build I'd say put in 'dumb' speakers and wire them back to a central hub point. Unencumbered by the need to process the signal, it will whizz down the cables at the speed of light (or close) and keep the speakers nicely synched. Patch in your source of choice at the hub.

      1. 0laf Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Alternatives

        Cheers. Yep putting in large amounts of Cat5 as well coming back to a rack. Haven't got to the point of thinking about media servers or anything but actually would want to connected to a decent music system which is mostly dumb i.e. DAB and CD with a remote control.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Alternatives

          While you are there, add 75 ohm coax and alarm cables. They are still surprisingly useful.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Alternatives

          Also consider if there is a role for Power Over Ethernet, which *might* change some of your cabling and equipment choices.

          1. 0laf Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Alternatives

            Already with you, I want to put in POE cabling for a couple of WAPs and for CCTV

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: Alternatives

              One other thing you may find useful...

              Get a few string-line drops run in parts of the house. These are holes in the walls (say in/near corners of rooms) with a line of string running through them. If, later, you find you want to move or add cables, you can cut into the wall where one of these lines are (be sure to have them measured properly :), attach the cable to the string, and pull.

              1. Alistair Silver badge
                Windows

                Re: Alternatives

                If you want to be *smart* about predropped runs, when you go to run that cable, also -- add another string to pull the *next* cable with.

                1. Kiwi Silver badge
                  Pint

                  Re: Alternatives

                  If you want to be *smart* about predropped runs, when you go to run that cable, also -- add another string to pull the *next* cable with.

                  Pulley at each end, string on a loop... But yes, I should've mentioned adding a 2nd pairing. Maybe even a 2nd hole right next door in case you want to run signal and mains next to each other and limit interference :)

      2. IGnatius T Foobar !

        Re: Alternatives

        In a new build I'd say put in 'dumb' speakers and wire them back to a central hub point.

        And for those who can't or won't haul cable through their homes ... a simple FM radio transmitter dongle will transmit to any receiver made in the last 80 years, even those from manufacturers that are long gone. And it costs a lot less than a matrix switch!

        Frankly I am skeptical that anyone really needs to have the same signal synced to every speaker in the house anyway. My home has built-in bluetooth speakers all over, and not once have any of us ever wanted to play the same source in more than one area of the house.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Alternatives

          I find the ability to synch music playing in different rooms a positive feature. Before the BBC killed it by switching to their abysmal 'Sounds' Alexa skill, I used to set BBC 6 Music playing in synch on multiple Echos. Now you can't do that any more. There's nothing worse than trying to listen to a radio station with 3 different random delays baked in. The irony of making a change to 'gather more data on listeners' uses' that merely acted to drive away listeners seems, of course, totally lost on the BBC. And the relevance of this is that Alexa connected Sonos speakers have been particularly affected by this moronic move.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Alternatives

            I find the ability to synch music playing in different rooms a positive feature.

            With a basic FM transmitter (or more than one if you want) this can be done pretty easily.

            You can also (I believe) do some streaming via Nextcloud which could manage this - I've not actually played with this myself so not sure.

            And you can just have an amp in a room hooked up to a PIR and the same music source as the next room, so when you enter the room the amp comes on automatically and plays the same source... (ok maybe I should be in bed, start to get weird when I get this tired :) )

          2. AlbertH
            Boffin

            Re: Alternatives

            Yes - a Raspberry Pi with "Kodi" on board can be controlled by any mobile phone within the home network. The bolt-on ES 9023 sound card feeds a small stereo PLL FM transmitter (about 50 mW into a ¼-wave vertical) via a homebrew audio limiter up in the loft. There's enough FM to cover the house and garden (and next door!), and there's a nice gap in the band around here from 88.5 MHz downwards. Each room with sound gear (living room, kitchen, conservatory, three bedrooms, shower room, bathroom) includes an FM receiver module permanently tuned to the "Home FM" service. It's cheap (all the parts came from Banggood) and sounds fine - a fully noise-quietening stereo signal throughout the house.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Alternatives

              Yes - a Raspberry Pi with "Kodi" on board can be controlled by any mobile phone within the home network. The bolt-on ES 9023 sound card feeds a small stereo PLL FM transmitter (about 50 mW into a ¼-wave vertical) via a homebrew audio limiter up in the loft.

              Yeah, something like that :) I'd probably swap out Kodi for Music Player Daemon (assuming it's available, should be) but that's because I'm more familiar with it (though I use Kodi for all my videos) :)

              Would the Pi's onboard sound not suffice? I've not looked at the specs but I'm aware of a few places using it. Or is the ES's BT/NFC part of your setup? (though looking at the ES specs, I can see a few reasons I'd spend a little more :) )

        2. defiler Silver badge

          Re: Alternatives

          *wave*

          I sync music often in the house. Not through the whole house, but if we have visitors then the living room and kitchen are synced. When I'm working at home I tend to do my office and the kitchen.

          The only times I've done the whole house is when we'd finished an extension and visitors were given the Grand Tour. There were a few perplexed faces that the music was exactly the same throughout the house.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Alternatives

            There were a few perplexed faces that the music was exactly the same throughout the house.

            That wasn't something I found too hard to achieve..

            Appeasing the neighbours afterwards, however.... :)

            When I was at school in the '80s friends had quite a bit of stuff around the house, built-in speakers that could be patched into other sources (so the lounge stereo could also be outputting to the garage, and/or the bedrooms etc, or you could have them off another source).

            The idea has actually been around a very long time, even though the IoT generation seem to think they invented it :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alternatives

      I would choose to go without. I doubt built-in speakers will become a standard feature of houses. The idea has been around a long time and hasn't caught on. It might even be a negative point when you come to sell the house. It's unlikely to be a great selling point and for potential buyers who don't want the speakers (the majority), they won't want the eyesore of someone else's hi-fi still being in the property, nor the expense of re-plastering walls or replacing ceilings.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Alternatives

        I couldn't disagree more, having a 'proper' wired speaker system with a descent Pioneer network receiver in a house of an appropriate size is a selling point. Maybe you don't want sound through your detached house but plenty of people do.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Alternatives

          "having a 'proper' wired speaker system with a descent Pioneer network receiver in a house of an appropriate size is a selling point."

          If that were true, Realtors would add them when "staging" houses. They don't. Ergo ...

        2. Kiwi Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Alternatives

          I couldn't disagree more, having a 'proper' wired speaker system with a descent Pioneer network receiver in a house of an appropriate size is a selling point.

          Are your speakers the right style for the sort of music I like? (yes it can make a big difference!)

          Are they located suitable for how I want to organise the room? Pretty unlikely. I might love the view out the window and organise things so I am looking at that more than the TV, but I might also hate the view or the wall may not be suitable for having the TV there. If they're in the wrong places (trust me, they are) then they become a negative. I either have to leave the eyesore there, remove them and re-plaster or re-panel, or perhaps remove the speakers and turn the ghastly holes into some sort of nook. Maybe I can put some nice bits of wood in the back/sides and a nice pot plant or something...

          Whatever I do with them, they're probably the wrong sort and definitely in the wrong place. And Pioneer kit? Well, ok, not really played with anything they made since 1990 so would be interested for a few minutes. But my ancient amp connected to my ancient laptop makes a decent 'network receiver'. I could run something like MPD and control it from anywhere with Windows, *nix, Android, probably OSX/IOS....

  24. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Hating your customers

    Companies should open up the source code before abandoning a working project. If the excuse is protecting 5 year old trade secrets, you're not innovating quickly enough. It should be a law for anything under 4 years old. I have devices from Samsung, Moto, ZTE, LaCie, and Panasonic that were unsupported and incomplete even before sales ended. I now return devices immediately if they have bugs that will be "fixed in the future."

  25. jezza99

    Better stick with old stuff

    My NAD sound system, circa 1985, seems to still play music just fine, and with excellent sound quality. I think I'll stick to it.

    1. naive

      Re: Better stick with old stuff

      Spot on, thanks to a friend who is into vintage McIntosh gear, I relearned how good music was before the age of endlessly compressed mp3 crap.

      Bought a Yamaha CR-800 solid state receiver from the mid 70's, which just has discrete components that can be replaced for a few cents and a soldering iron.

      It taught me how easily we can be fooled by an Industry of frauds into getting shafted and accepting sub standard products.

    2. Wibble

      Re: Better stick with old stuff

      Which is analogue (given that CD's were just entering mainstream in '85) and has no digital integration.

      Now't wrong with that. And I bet it sounds lovely (without all that tsk tsk boom boom of today's sounds).

      However, here am I sitting in the study with my extensive music collection on my lappie which connects to my Marantz amplifier using Airplay over WiFi; neither of which were invented back in '85, nor '95, or '05 (WiFi then was slow). The firmware update on the Marantz about 5 years ago added Airplay.

      So as long as it's only Airplay (which is Apple-specific), all's fine. Otherwise it'll need some box of tricks to work. Unless it's Sonos, where it has little or no chance of being upgraded.

  26. Not previously required
    Linux

    +1 for Windows

    I have more sympathy for Microsoft calling EOL on Windows 7 than on Sonos damaging a "simple" speaker. Never thought I would have to say that - see icon.

    My speakers are connected with bellwire.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: +1 for Windows

      My speakers are connected with bellwire.

      Do you not realise the damage you've done??? Why, at least half the audiophiles will drop dead in horror the moment they read that!

      Well done that man! Clearly you're doing your bit to "combat climate change" by both reducing the population and getting rid of some worthless waste! :)

      Light wire here (as in the things you stick in your ceiling to provide illumination).(joyous sounds of distant thudding as even more audiophiles expire)

  27. Crampy

    PiCorePlayer/PiCoreLMS https://www.picoreplayer.org/

  28. The King

    Sonos Trash

    Note to self to never buy from this disposable company

  29. Fearless54

    What updates

    Since first falling victim to Sonos fever I have been plagued with so called system updates. I always thought they were meant to be improvements but not it turns out it’s a scam to fill your system with crap to slow it down and eventually make you ditch it for expensive new replacements for no real reason. Can’t think of a single improvement I asked for or wanted in fact most updates make the system less and less practical. Here’s one customer who will be updating his system with something Sonos doesn’t provide, a product that lasts more than 4 years, is reliable and does what I want and needs no detrimental software changes being forced on you.

  30. Christian Berger Silver badge

    What do you expect?

    Sonos always was more of a lifestyle product aimed at people with more money than brains. I mean it was always obvious that those things were bound to happen as everything relied on proprietary and closed standards.

    Normal audio equipment, on the other hand, is designed to rely on open and simple standards. The analogue line in virtually every device has will still work in 50 years just like it did 50 years ago. Bluetooth and HDMI, while probably not around in 50 years, are widely supported from many different manufacturers.

    1. batfink Silver badge

      Re: What do you expect?

      I agree with you in general, but I'd say "more money than technical understanding" rather than "more money than brains".

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this backward compatibility will no longer be practical or cost-effective

    what they mean to say is that this backward compatibility will no longer be cost-effective, the "practical" was just a weasel excuse. It's ONLY about profits. That said, if you were naive enough to expect anything else from a business, then... well, you must have bought your gadget several years ago, when customers still believed in businesses really caring about this "business relationship"...

  32. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    Meanwhile...

    Anyone who bought a mobile phone, Smart TV, Tablet, etc ad nauseum, looks at how Sonos users got five full years of full operation, updates and compatibility with current devices and says; "You lucky, lucky bastards".

  33. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Happy

    Quad FTW

    Back in about 1985 Quad mended my tube powered amps, preamp and electrostatic speakers. They were already over 20 years old. That's what I call customer support!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quad_Electroacoustics

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quad FTW

      IIRC you can still get the stuff serviced.

  34. SonofRojBlake

    Suggestions please...

    ... to replace a Sonos Play:One that sits in my kitchen and streams music off the HDD USBd to my wifi router when I tell it to from the app on my phone. I don't need audiophile quality (couldn't hear it over the noise of the dishwasher/oven fan/whatever), don't need "smart" functionality, would like to be able to browse my library from phone/tablet and control what's playing. That's all. Fully aware that there's much more a system COULD do but crucially I don't WANT any more than I have. For this use case I can't see anything else on the market that comes close.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Suggestions please...

      Does this have to be complicated? App on your phone to browse the HDD share, bluetooth speaker. Sorted.

    2. Fading

      Re: Suggestions please...

      Heos speaker from Denon?

    3. Is It Me Bronze badge

      Re: Suggestions please...

      Just don't do anything, according to the email and the notes here it will keep working.

    4. Jpmoriarty

      Re: Suggestions please...

      If that’s your use case I wouldn’t worry too much about it not working anytime soon - it’s most likely to be access to online streaming services that get impacted by future updates, and in particular anything that has voice services embedded. But I’d be amazed if it wasnt still working perfectly for you for a Number of years.

    5. Jpmoriarty

      Re: Suggestions please...

      I’d be very surprised if you need to find an alternative any time soon. Most likely to be impacted by future updates (or lack of them) is access to streaming services. I really can’t see pulling data from a local server being changed a great deal, certainly not anytime in the near future. If that’s all you do then I cant see any need for you ever to update, so just don’t update the speakers, don’t update the app, and you’ll probably be fine for quite a while!

    6. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: Suggestions please...

      RasPi running MPD (Music Player Daemon) with the app on your phone?

    7. Gordon861

      Re: Suggestions please...

      How about an old mobile phone, running something like Plex, with a 3.5mm jack plugged into a pair of speakers?

      Use a tablet and you can have video too.

    8. AlbertH

      Re: Suggestions please...

      Raspberry Pi with soundcard and "Kodi" or "Volumio" software - feeding a small stereo FM transmitter. Controllable from your phone, full house (and garden) coverage, costs next to nothing!

  35. Sam Paton

    Feeling both a little smug, and a bit bad.

    I took a decision a while ago to not buy Sonos again because of their practices. Got rid of the last one recently, poor guy that bought it has just paid $300 for something that’s about to be junk

    Given I replaced it with LS50W’s I’m sure I’ll have something similar happen at some point, the software is pretty shocking but oh my gosh the sound

  36. regregular

    In other news, a US company just bricked their digital scales:

    https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/01/smart-scale-goes-dumb-as-under-armour-pulls-the-plug-on-connected-tech/

    This flick-of-the-switch bricking needs to be regulated. Better yet, build a Internet-of-Stuff ecosystem that talks to a local hub first and foremost, a device that is owner-controlled and ensures that the gadget works until it croaks on its own (read: by means of normal planned obsolescence).

  37. Elledan

    Anyone up for some Open Sauce?

    The whole proprietary mess around ChromeCast Audio and it getting killed off, along with the poor integration of ChromeCast, Airplay, etc. unless you're using a blessed app/platform was the motivation behind me starting an attempt at an Open Source alternative. I call it NymphCast and it's been brewing on Github for a while now: https://github.com/MayaPosch/NymphCast

    Still Alpha quality at this point, but streaming of content (audio & video) from a local device (with the client player/app) works, as does 'casting' of stream URLs, and 'NymphCast' apps are supported using AngelScript. It targets a wide range of platforms, though I mostly use Raspberry Pi and similar SBCs as test platforms right now.

    Ideally, this kind of project should get some official app support from the usual suspects. I hacked a SoundCloud app together that actually does work, but has to use the client ID borrowed from Chrome and other browsers, which is slightly dodgy and unreliable. Don't even get me started on getting support for YouTube, Amazon Video and Netflix on there.

    I'd love to get a few volunteers on board to test, tweak and get the project ready for at least something resembling a Beta. Seeing an open, non-proprietary alternative to everything from Sonos to ChromeCast and Roku eat the latter's lunch would be an interesting sight to behold :)

  38. Steve 149

    Very generally it seems to me that Sono are doing with hardware what Adobe have done with their software. Pay to play.

    I use as little smart kit as possible. Seems to be less hassle.

  39. fobskid

    Do not EVER buy any of their kit ever again

    just received my " 30% off special deal " e-mail from Sonos ...

    in the past year iv spent £2000 / £2500 grand on their expensive kit for all over my house

    Why ? cause it works straight out of the box with no complications for me or my kids ...

    Not ever was i told at the point of sale that my kit would self break and be worthless as a working hifi

    What this tells me is ... quickly sell all my kit on the "bay" and try and recover some of my investment

    Do not EVER buy any of their kit ever again as all the new kit will eventually go "bricked " once again

    What a greedy stupid decision from Sonos ... just to make even more money in my opinion

    PS

    Just looked on the "bay" and all the second hand prices have collapsed !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do not EVER buy any of their kit ever again

      Nothing bought in the past year should be broken?

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Do not EVER buy any of their kit ever again

        Nothing bought in the past year should be broken?

        Now.. But what about next year?

        The newest piece of my normal kit is my Dell D630 laptop, circa 2009. The amp may be as recent as early 2000s but could be older. Not sure on the Panasonic speakers I use for some of it but they're probably late 90s or early 2000s. Main speakers are 1970s. Barring accident, I have no reason to think any of this will stop working in my lifetime.

        Last year? Nothing brough in the last decade should be broken!

  40. Don Jefe

    Shit Speakers Shot Across The Bow

    Sonos speakers are lifestyle toys. If they get bricked, or effectively bricked, over time it’s unfortunate, but that’s all. But this kind of bullshit is coming to your durable goods like home appliances as well as safety products like environmental sensors (smoke detectors et al.) and doorbells, automobiles and, eventually your pets (probably). We’re a decade out from the kind of extortion that just isn’t fun or safe.

    I don’t like looking to legislation for help or protection, but this kind of thing isn’t something market pressures alone can mitigate. Regulation is going to be a slippery slope, but it can slow down the march of these kinds of assholes and it’s much better than nothing.

  41. steviebuk Silver badge

    Nice

    Very sustainable and not at all bad for the environment. Especially if Right To Repair is killed in the US, then it will become potentially illegal to repair your own kit.

    Stories like this that make me start to hate "The Cloud" more and more. If only I could afford to retire from IT. I still enjoy it but this "cloud" movement bothers me, greatly. I'd rather just retire and enjoy RimWorld for the rest of my days than have to deal with this hipster shit.

  42. Julian 8

    Squeezebox

    OK, so the company is dead and Logitech killed off the range after the buyout, but those of us who have these can sitll use them as the server software is available.

    works with spotify (alas, not prime) and if your music is all local they are fantastic.

    The DAC's were good or connect via coax/optical to a decent amp and off you go

    Still glad I never jumped ship

  43. mark l 2 Silver badge

    It seems that anything that is classed as a 'Smart' device whether that is a speaker, TV or Phone is just another way of saying its going to become useless in a few years time and you will need to buy the latest device to get the same functions as you had previously. Usually because some API has been depreciated or 'improvements' that are not backwards compatible.

  44. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    We have an old book with electronic projects in it somewhere in the house.

    I want to look at it and see if it got a wiring diagram for a proper amplifier thingy which you can build yourself. And just add some good qualitay speakers, kit them all up nice and professionally and you should get a nice bit of business from people not interested in IoT or crapware frippery but good down to earth stuff without needing any kind of software upgrades.

    Bluetooth and other stuff should be a doddle to add if I can get hold of the right person(s).

    1. jake Silver badge

      Occasionally ...

      ... I run across an unbuilt kit from the 1950s and '60s. Names like Eico, Dynaco, Scott or Heath. I always purchase them. I still have a couple McIntosh MacKit30 amplifiers that my father and I built when I was pre-teen. They are personal icons of my lost youth ... a time when the world actually was a better place.

      One wonders if a well run company could, today, bring back the sense of curiosity that we had back then by building and selling home-built stereo kits like we used to have (I know, the Macs are monoblocs) ... or are kids so fucking spoiled that it's lost for good. To say nothing of the insurance costs (what if the little shits electrocute themselves?).

      ::sighs::

  45. beardypete

    What will IKEA be thinking?

    Given that IKEA have got into bed with SONOS, and given that theirs is a budget basement version of the pukkah SONOS gear, I wonder what IKEA management think about this behaviour. Part of SONOS's rationale for demoting equipment to legacy status is that this older kit has limited memory and/or processing power - I'm amazed that the IKEA low-end equipment is sufficiently well endowed to see anything but an exceedingly short life...

    1. The Pi Man

      Re: What will IKEA be thinking?

      I doubt Ikea care. Some of their furniture is absolute garbage that barely lasts 5 years either!

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong

    "Planned obsolescence is common among software-centric companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft, which only support products for a set period of time. But it hasn't been the norm for makers of home appliances and consumer electronics, where buyers expect products to last more than a few years or even decades."

    Once again the thumb-suckers in San Francisco got it wrong. The hardware world is where planned obsolescence got it's start. Sony was famous for their six-month cycle of introducing new models with only slight changes to the old models they were replacing. Others followed suit. Apple, Google, M$, etc. saw how Sony and company were doing it, had been doing it for a long time, how profitable it was, and the dim bulb in their brain brightened slightly. And now we have them following along. Hell, we even have software development methodologies dedicated to it. Agile anyone?

    Now, that doesn't mean that I believe in the strategy of planned obsolescence. I don't. Irritating your customer base is bad business. What I do believe is that Sonos management needs a good swift kick in the gnads.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Wrong

      "Once again the thumb-suckers in San Francisco got it wrong."

      San Francisco? Who is in San Francisco?

      1. fredesmite Bronze badge

        Re: Wrong

        Sonos has a music outlet there.

  47. martinusher Silver badge

    Its all about going backwards

    I was reminded about just how far we've come in the last couple of decades when I wanted to play a used DVD on a computer to check it was OK. I don't do this often, I last watched a movie on a PC a decade or more ago and it wasn't a big deal. Using my modern kit -- well, it was. So much incompatibility, stuff just didn't work and I wasn't prepared to spend the time messing with it.

    Audio's undergone the same transition. I have some older Squeezebox radios which are an outstanding design -- the play anything from anywhere, great for someone like me who has his vinyl and CDs ripped to FLACs but also likes to listen to the radio or a casual stream. Modern stuff is less flexible because it offers fewer options -- on the surface its more convenient (just as an Echo to play something) but the reality is that you give up a lot, the devices are just peripherals for a streaming service, a bit like an old fashioned radio or TV, and everything is extra. (The "high definition" streams are a premium add on and are locked to a particular device....not an appealing option.) So I'll just go without, use my older kit -- after all, systems don't really wear out, one of the audio systems is a 60 year old Quad ][ setup that sounds pretty good even today (keeps the room warm, too) -- you just need a decent source and those can be cobbled together with a Raspberry Pi and a high quality audio peripheral.

    They say that "Idle hands make the Devil's work" or some such and its true when it comes to Marketing types. Modern electronics works really well and is very reliable so the only way to make money is content and the only reliable way to monetize content is to make sure we keep consuming it. CDs and digital files were a serious misstep because they just don't wear out.

  48. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    Sympathy for the Devil

    I interviewed with Sonos about three years ago. Their head of security was one of the people I talked to.

    There original hardware had as it security model...not connected to other computers. Their next generation modeled LAN connections. Guess how much of their original hardware is on the internet?

    The older stuff lacks the computational power to support modern basic security. And the trend is such that this statement is going to remain true as we update our concept of "modern basic security" forces us to expand our concept of "older stuff". They might actually be facing GDPR issues if they don't push users away from using older stuff. I cannot blame them for wanting to cut off security updates for their older kit--it might well not be possible to keep them flowing.

    It seems to me that the only responsible solution is to have an easy-to-swap module that contains all of the processing hardware and the external jacks. When a given module is no longer able to keep up, they can sell a new one for a reasonable price. I'm not in the business, but I cannot really imagine any other way to create IoST devices (yeah...the 'S' is for Security). Nobody was even starting to think in these terms 10-15 years ago.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Sympathy for the Devil

      "Nobody was even starting to think in these terms 10-15 years ago."

      Engineering was thinking about and implementing it. Sadly, Marketing said no.

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Sympathy for the Devil

        >Nobody was even starting to think in these terms 10-15 years ago

        Of course they were. What nobody anticipated was the frenzy of every last widget phoning home with all the information it can get its hands on. Security problems arise because information can be pushed from devices; older devices invariably only spoke when they were first spoken to and were capable of delivering only a limited set of information so it was virtually impossible to hack them to get them to do anything meaningful. (....and its really easy to change them should the need arise to make them more secure)

        Most of today's headaches can be blamed on the prevalence of scripting and Web protocols. They're not only inordinately inefficient in how they use computing resources and communications bandwidth but they're also a hacking free for all.

  49. Jeremy Allison

    “What we have here is a failure to communicate..”

    I’m affected by this to the tune of 3 Play:5’s and 3 Connect’s, so I’m not a disinterested bystander.

    Trying to take a step back and look at this - I think the fundamental mistake Sonos have made here is that they thought they were an electronics device company. But they are selling devices that allow people to connect to *music*. That makes things different to a phone or a TV, which are essentially seen as replacable and upgradable objects.

    Music is different. Music affects people on a deep emotional level. The best audio brand names get this. They sell an *experience*, not hardware.

    I think Sonos used to get this, but maybe the upper management have changed to people who thought they were in the electronics business. They are not, and they are about to discover this fact very painfully. I doubt the company will survive this. People are perceiving this, rightly or wrongly, as Sonos trying to take their music away (I know that is my gut reaction too).

    They should have hired ex-Apple execs. Apple would never have made this mistake. They understand what they sell and it’s not hardware.

  50. truetalk

    Pioneer

    I'd recommend the Pioneer SX-S30DAB Network Stereo Receiver (Black) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LZDQI3I/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_QbnkEbBX9YDWV

    Excellent bit of kit that you can hook your own speakers up to. I have it connected to eight yahama speakers. The sound is amazingly !

    You can stream to it, has built in DLNA and chromecast. Optical input for connecting to you TV. And a lot less in cost compared to Sonos.

  51. Kiwi Silver badge
    Flame

    WTF????

    I have a pair of HK9000 speakers connected to an old Akai stereo unit (which is occasionally used for radio but nothing else). These sit atop a pair of Celestion UL-8 speakers which form part of the front pair of my 5.1 kit (lounge is too small and badly shaped for 7.1). Most of the rest of the 5 are a matching set of Panasonic speakers from some of their very early HT systems.

    Both the HK and Celestion speakers I've had since 91 or 92. Dang I miss the HK! Loved that machine, and would snap one up if I saw one locally.. Anyway...

    The amp (part of the coffee table now) is a .. erm.. No sorry cannot see any branding on it. Got it for $5 from a 2nd hand shop many many many many years ago, and I think it was at least a decade old then so must be some 20 years old. Hell, it has DIN plugs for inputs! (and RCA thankfully).

    I'm pretty sure all of this kit will run for at least another decade, so long as I don't crank things too high (and that is well above my comfort levels - or the neighbour's neighbours for that matter!). So long as I have some standard 2-wire outputs to connect to (line or headphone level don't matter, audio or common digital also don't matter) this kit will keep going, and the basic audio output has been with us I think over 100 years now. The sound is pretty good - ok very good even if I do say so myself :).. Speaker locations and wires are all measured.

    So why change bar equipment failure?

    I put my money into speakers first as no matter what other equipment you have if the speakers are crap the sound is crap. I also know there's a lot of very good gear that's cheap, eg my favourite cans are some Phillips ones that cost IIRC $30 brand new, and I have some pretty good ear buds that were the "Necessities" brand from "The Warehouse". The buds are better than most others I've tried and comparable with even the expensive stuff. I also had a play with some expensive Senheiser(sp) cans of the same style as my Philips one's, using what for me is an index/test track (ie I song I know extremely well) - the quality was the same although I think I could find the Senheiser ones comfortable for a few more hours at a time - just fit my ears a little better (but I can happily wear the Philips ones for 5 or 6 hours at a time).

    So anyway.. My speakers are where my money goes. For that I want good audio quality and good life span, nothing else matters. In 10 years time I still want to be happy I got those speakers. If you want me to be buying new ones then you need to give me a very compelling reason. Bricking them because they're 5 years old (or just reducing functionality/compatibility) IS a compelling reason - but compelling for me to go with other brands and do all the harm I can to yours.

    So glad I stick with what works.

  52. Snarf Junky

    Well that's another nail in the coffin of an idea I had of making our home any 'smarter'. Whether it's Sonos or any other manufacturer of IOT devices like thermostats, light switches or door bells it's only a matter of time before they decide they aren't going to support them any longer and they stop working. Why would you want to have to replace all these things at someone else's behest?

  53. Gra4662

    Sonos equals convienience

    I have two hi-fi systems in the house as well as a Sonos system, why? convenience... I can quickly say "Alexa play Solar Radio" and it just works, don't have to find my phone or touch anything. Everyone is right about sound quality, a cheap pair of hi-fi speakers will wipe the floor with the Sonos speakers, however the Sonos Beam doesn't do too bad a job with a pair of rear Sonos for surround.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Sonos equals convienience

      I have two hi-fi systems in the house as well as a Sonos system, why? convenience... I can quickly say "Alexa play Solar Radio" and it just works, don't have to find my phone or touch anything.

      Are people really so lazy today that they'd rather pay someone to record their most private conversations then pick up the remote or walk over to the stereo and flick a button or few?

      What is convenient about paying Amazon money to record everything you say in your home?

      1. AlbertH
        FAIL

        Re: Sonos equals convienience

        What is convenient about paying Amazon money to record everything you say in your home?

        Do you have any idea of the quantity of data that would be generated by just one household? Multiply that by the number of devices sold, and you'll quickly realise that the notion of "recording everything you say" is complete nonsense.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Sonos equals convienience

          Do you have any idea of the quantity of data that would be generated by just one household?

          Yup. At a pretty decent recording level (not studio quality but plenty enough to work with) you're looking at about 7mb/5 minutes. Using really modern voice-activation technology (like from the 70s or earlier for small devices) to automatically start/stop recording based on sound level, you can limit it to just when people are speaking - so not necessarily 24 hours/day. You would need a little over 2g for 24 hours of conversation.

          But without going into more detail, just consider how many home/business camera systems record and hold the data for weeks or months (or more) at a time. They're not just audio but also video (not particularly high quality video but video just the same).

          Time doesn't permit me to do a search right now, but there have been articles linking echos or Samsung TVs or something to recorded conversations used some time later (possible an "accidental" release of someone's conversation to a neighbour? Can't quite recall).

          The mass of data won't be useful but that isn't reason for a company to not take it if they can. Given the metrics on what Google, Facebook, Amazon etc try to take anyway (and things like Nest fire alarms having built-in microphones..), and given how many people have experienced being near a conversation on a certain topic NOT of interest to them and later getting ads on that topic (I wonder sometimes how much is us just being more aware of it, but OTOH when a friend talks about a newborn baby and then your ads start showing baby products a week later, or one talks about their trip to Phuket and island holiday ads show up the next week...)

          I'm not actually saying this does happen of course, but I do respect my privacy enough not to have devices in the home that are designed to listen to conversations and act on what is said. (And yes, my laptop's microphone is disabled in hardware, and if we're having a private conversation phones are left elsewhere)

  54. CLB

    Seriously Cheesed Off !

    I wrote to SONOS last night. Fury does not come close to my reaction upon hearing the news of the: “Oh-we're-making-your-system-obsolete-after-not-even-seven-years”. I've read the threads, I've analysed the public announcements, but none of it can possibly excuse the gross abuse of SONOS. Firstly, there is the very big question about their marketing strategy. Actually, cancel that. They clearly do not have one. Secondly, has anyone looked into the ecological cost of ditching all that hardware? I have 9 Speakers, 2 Subwoofers, 2 Bridges, and an additional hub that supports my outdoor system. WTF am I supposed to do with that lot? Just bin it? Has anyone at SONOS looked into their CSR policy in respect of obsolete hardware? No. Lastly, and this is my biggest beef with this bunch of extortionists, I have spent more than GBP12K on my SONOS system and recommended it to scores of friends. A lifetime of my music is loaded onto a central drive, specifically to make my SONOS...well, MY SONOS!

    I will NOT buy any APPLE product for these exact reasons - they are a bunch of commercial mercenaries. Destroying choice, all manner of consumer rights and above all, extorting money for a cul-de-sac of products and services.

    When I first opted for SONOS, I felt I was supporting the underdog. Bose still didn't cut it, my B&O had to be customised at great expense, and my favourite Singaporean sound system had been destroyed in a Californian Court by none other than APPLE almost a decade earlier. Now, I feel right-royally betrayed for supporting SONOS. How dare you treat me with such abandon! I am your customer. I am your stock price. Now, I am your public enemy.

    1. Wilseus

      Re: Seriously Cheesed Off !

      You could get a hell of a traditional separates system for £12K!

      1. AlbertH
        Megaphone

        Re: Seriously Cheesed Off !

        A fool and his money.....

        Anyone with an iota of sense could see this sort of thing coming. Built-in obsolescence is a fact of life for many technological devices (any Windows-based or Apple computer, for example). It is just a matter of time until any closed-source product is declared "out of date", necessitating purchase of (at least) new software to keep the gear going.

        The Sonos products were just like Bose (Buy Other Sound Equipment) or Apple - over-priced generic rubbish, packaged in a pretty box.

        Moral: Always buy generic gear with open-source firmware / software. It will cost you much less and is easily upgraded / updated when necessary!

  55. fredesmite Bronze badge
    Mushroom

    Over priced music gadget

    If you were stupid enough to spend $1000 on nothing but an expansion speaker that plays compressed mp3 audio files from your iTunes account you deserve to be screwed again.

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