Sandman Hi-Fi News


Sonos Announces PLAY:3

August 23, 2011 Sonos has introduced the SONOS PLAY:3, a compact, expandable, all-in-one Sonos player.

“PLAY:3 gives music fans an incredibly easy way to listen to all the music on earth,” said John MacFarlane, CEO, Sonos. “PLAY:3’s innovative design sets a new bar for Hi Fidelity audio in a compact package and makes it simple to amplify the music experience in any room of the home.”

PLAY:3 is connected to the Internet, giving access to unlimited music. The system will play an entire digital music library, including iTunes, or Network Attached storage, such as an Apple Time Capsule. Sonos works with most popular music streaming services to provide access to millions of songs and stations from AUPEO, iheartradio,, MOG, Napster, Pandora, Rdio, Rhapsody, SiriusXM Internet Radio, Spotify, Stitcher SmartRadio, TuneIn, Wolfgang’s Vault, and more.

PLAY:3 works with free Sonos Controller Apps for Android, iPhone and iPad.

The system features three Class-D digital amplifiers and three drivers - one tweeter and two 3-inch mid-range, and one passive, rear-firing bass radiator. The cabinet features volume and mute control. PLAY:3 dimensions are 5.2 x 10.5 x 6.3 in. and 5.7 lbs.

Additionally, the launch features an update to Sonos Software. Along with support for PLAY:3, Sonos Software v3.5 adds several improvements to the Sonos Controller for Android, including the option to install the app to SD cards and localization in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, and Swedish.

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Onkyo Introduce InstaPrevue in 2012 AVRs

December 21, 2011 Silicon Image and Onkyo have introduced a line of Audio/Video Receivers (AVRs) featuring Silicon Image’s InstaPrevue technology and MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) technology.

InstaPrevue technology provides a live picture-in-picture preview of HDMI and MHL inputs connected to the AVR, allowing users to view and select a live preview window to switch between their Blu-ray Disc player, DVD player, game console, or other HDMI or MHL-enabled connected devices. With InstaPrevue technology, consumers no longer need to cycle through inputs or navigate text-based menus (i.e., HDMI1, HDMI2, HDMI3, etc.) to switch between source devices.

MHL technology is a growing HD audio/video connectivity standard that enables a mobile device to transmit 1080p uncompressed video with up to eight channels of digital audio over five pins, while also supporting HDCP content protection. MHL-enabled AVRs, such as those manufactured by Onkyo, provide power to the mobile device when connected via MHL, ensuring that the device battery is charged and ready to use even after viewing a full-length feature movie. Consumers are also able to control MHL-enabled mobile devices using the existing AVR remote.

“Silicon Image’s InstaPrevue technology is a unique, value-added feature that will enhance and differentiate our AVR products,” said Ken Araki, director of product planning and marketing, Onkyo Sound & Vision Corporation. “We’re pleased to be the working with Silicon Image and proud to be the first to market with AVRs incorporating InstaPrevue technology.”

“The 2012 Onkyo AVRs add to the growing MHL ecosystem of DTVs, smartphones and tablets, and are the first to support InstaPrevue technology,” said Alex Chervet, senior director of marketing at Silicon Image. “InstaPrevue technology offers a simple and seamless viewing experience by taking the guesswork out of switching between HDMI sources. With InstaPrevue technology, consumers see a live preview of each active HDMI or MHL input connected to an AVR, making it easier and more intuitive to switch between a Blu-ray Disc player, set-top box, DVD player, game console, MHL-enabled smartphone or other MHL or HDMI-connected devices.”

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The ABCs (and 3Ds) of HDMI 1.4a

November 20, 2010  by Rachel Cercola of Wired and Geek Monthly.   Just when you were getting used to HDMI 1.4, here comes the latest version, which adds a little "a" to the equation.

Released in March 2010, HDMI 1.4a is this latest version of High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI). It's also the coolest, because it's the one that will bring 3D technology into the home.

HDMI 1.4a isn't just industry buzz, but also a time-saver. Because of HDMI 1.4a, there will be no format wars. This is the one and only spec to feature support for upcoming 3D broadcasts. To access the new content, users will need a device that's HDMI 1.4a-compliant. Manufacturers have been announcing compatible TVs, Blu-ray players, receivers, and other electronics for quite some time now. Of course, you will also need an HDMI cable.

The difference between the old 1.4 and 1.4a is not what's in the cable, but inside the spec. What's so special about that little letter? Aside from being the first in the alphabet, there are two things that make 1.4a different:

  • The addition of Top-and-Bottom to the Specification
  • The addition of two mandatory formats for broadcast content: a) Side-by-Side Horizontal; and b) Top-and-Bottom

By creating the new spec, manufacturers and content providers will work together (and on the same page) to deliver 3D content. The mandatory 3D formats are:

  • Movies - Frame Packing: + 1080p @ 23.98/24Hz
  • Games - Frame Packing: + 720p @ 50 or 59.94/60Hz
  • Broadcast TV - Side-by-Side Horizontal: + 1080i @ 50 or 59.94/60Hz;
    Top-and-Bottom: + 720p @ 50 or 59.94/60Hz

According to the 1.4a spec, displays must support all mandatory formats, sources must support at least one of the formats, and repeaters need to pass through all of the formats.

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Denon Supports Apple AirPlay

January 7, 2011 Denon has announced an upgrade available to owners of its D-N7 multimedia system and AVRA100, AVR-3311 and AVR-4311 receiver models, enabling full support of Apple’s new AirPlay streaming audio system. This makes Denon one of the first brands with this capability, further cementing its reputation as a leader in innovative entertainment technology.

Owners of these Denon products will be able to enjoy wireless streaming of high quality music directly from their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, or use the Apple Remote app to control their iTunes library and stream audio from their Mac or PC, liberating music lovers from cables and the usual constraints of conventional audio. The recent AirPlay release from Apple, which requires the latest iOS 4.2 and iTunes 10.1, delivers true ‘music anywhere’ enjoyment. It not only streams pure digital audio, but also sends the metadata to enable display of artist and song info as well as album art. Multiple AirPlay devices can be used throughout the home for a simple and elegant multi-room audio solution.

The upgrade will be available to owners of the Denon D-N7, AVRA100, AVR-3311 and AVR-4311 products via direct download for a nominal charge of AUD$60. The download and installation process is made simple thanks to the ethernet connection on these models that permits a direct connection to the internet and Denon’s file server.

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