News / Media

Samsung 75-inch ES9000 smart TV makes stateside debut

BY SARAH SILBERT

POSTED JULY 18TH 2012 3:58PM

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The mammoth 75-inch ES9000 LED smart TV that Samsung recently unveiled for the Korean market is making its way stateside. Today the 3D-capable, LED-backlit set was on display in New York as part of the Sammy-sponsored SpaceFest marking the Space Shuttle Enterprise’s arrival at the Intrepid. How smart TVs relate to Space Shuttle orbiters is beyond us, but the ES9000’s US debut is welcome news for those with a massive living room to fill, and were disappointed after the ES8000 75-incher shown at CES and even given a price tag earlier this year failed to materialize. Detailed specs are currently MIA, but as we noted before in our hands-on, the 75-incher’s bezel measures just 0.31 inches, and the frame sports a rose-gold finish. There’s also a built-in web camera that retracts when not in use, and the TV comes with four pairs of 3D glasses. Being a smart TV, this guy also includes the full suite of Smart TV features, such as Smart Interaction for enabling gesture and voice controls and Smart Content for sharing media across several devices. Samsung also used today’s occasion to introduce a new Angry Birds app for its smart TVs, which lets users play the game entirely with gesture controls. The app will be available for a free download later this month, and the ES9000 will go on sale in August for a super-sized price of $9.999.

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<strong><a href="http://m.engadget.com/2012/07/18/samsung-75-inch-es9000-smart-tv-stateside-debut/?icid=hd_eng_latest_art" target="_blank">http://m.engadget.com/2012/07/18/samsung-75-inch-es9000-smart-tv-stateside-debut/?icid=hd_eng_latest_art</a></strong></p>

Posted by chantal Tue, 24 Jul 2012 21:57:00 GMT

Report: 38% of U.S. Households Have Connected TVs

10 Apr, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel



Netflix remains the primary driver of users seeking Internet-connected media devices to the television



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http://www.homemediamagazine.com/digital-evolution/report-38-us-households-have-connected-tvs-26927



Nearly one in four households in the country have a least one television connected to the Internet directly or via a video game system, Blu-ray Disc player, Apple TV or Roku set-top player, among other devices, according to a new report.

Leichtman Research Group said household connected TV penetration is up 8% from 30% penetration in 2011 and 25% penetration in 2010. The primary conduit remains the game console, at 28%, while just 4% of households are connected via Web-enabled TV, and just 1% through an Apple TV or Roku media player.

The data was compiled from a survey of 1,251 households nationwide.

The Durham, N.H.-based research firm said 13% of all respondents watch video from the Internet via a connected device at least weekly, compared with 10% last year and 5% two years ago. Use of connected devices remains skewed toward Netflix subscribers, with 35% of Netflix subscribers watching video from the Internet via a connected device weekly, compared with 5% weekly use among all non-Netflix subscribers.

Indeed, 16% of all adults use Netflix’s streaming feature weekly — compared with 12% last year and 4% two years ago. Nearly 80% of Netflix streaming customers use it to watch movies and television shows on a TV set, and 59% of this group access Netflix via a video game system.

About 50% of Netflix subscribers are satisfied with the service, and 11% are likely to stop subscribing to Netflix in the next six months. Another 7% of Netflix subs are likely to switch from their multi-channel video provider in the next six months — compared with 12% of non-Netflix subscribers.

About 13% of Netflix subs would consider reducing spending on their multichannel video service because of Netflix — compared with 21% last year.

Another 16% of all adults watch full-length TV shows online at least weekly, compared with 12% last year and 10% three years ago. Among all mobile phone owners, 19% watch video on their phones weekly, compared with 15% last year, and 6% three years ago. And 9% of all adults watch video on an iPad/tablet computer weekly, versus 2% last year, according to the report.

Overall, 1.6% of households in the sample paid to subscribe to a multichannel video service in the past year and do not currently subscribe. Yet, just 0.1% of the sample who dropped service in the past year do not plan to subscribe again in the next six months and say that they don’t subscribe because of Netflix or because they can watch all that they want on the Internet or in other ways.

“Video is increasingly being watched on different platforms and in different places, yet these emerging video services still generally act as complements to traditional television viewing and services rather than as substitutes,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. “Among all adults, reported time spent watching TV is similar to last year, and there remains little evidence of a significant trend in consumers ‘cutting the cord’ to their multichannel video services to watch video solely via these emerging services.”



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<strong><a href="http://www.homemediamagazine.com/digital-evolution/report-38-us-households-have-connected-tvs-26927" target="_blank">http://www.homemediamagazine.com/digital-evolution/report-38-us-households-have-connected-tvs-26927</a></strong></p>

Posted by chantal Tue, 05 Jun 2012 16:15:00 GMT

Nest Learning Thermostat Added to Apple Store

By Stephanie Mlot May 30, 2012 09:49am EST



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http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2405023,00.asp



The Apple Store is slowly becoming an all-in-one shopping experience, today adding the Nest Learning Thermostat to its inventory.

The thermostat, which is reminiscent of an iPod classic click wheel, is available now for $249.95, just $0.95 more expensive than its suggested retail price. It was added to Apple.com this morning after some brief downtime, prompting speculation in the Twitterverse about everything from new MacBooks to Skynet coming online.

The Nest thermostat already has an Apple connection. Tony Fadell, Nest co-creator, is a former Apple senior vice president, and was part of the creative team behind the original iPod and iPhone. While the thermostat has no direct connection to Apple products, its Wi-Fi capabilities allow control of the Nest from any iOS device — iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

The thermostat also works with a PC or Android smartphone to adjust scheduling, change the temperature, and check weather.

Old-fashioned twisting and button-pushing also work to control the climate; you can turn the dial or navigate through its menu by pressing the LCD screen. The modern thermostat can program itself by tracking the temperature settings used over a week, and energy-saving Auto-Away settings lower heat and cooling while you’re not home.

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<strong><a href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2405023,00.asp" target="_blank">http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2405023,00.asp</a></strong></p>

Posted by chantal Mon, 04 Jun 2012 16:22:00 GMT

Electronic House 2012 Awards: Audio Passion Inspired Home Theater Design

Sweet sounds take center stage in this theater, thanks to Monitor Audio speakers, an Integra preamp and a powerful Crestron amp.



May 01, 2012 by Lisa Montgomery



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http://www.electronichouse.com/article/audio_passion_inspired_home_theater_design



It’s obvious when entering this grand, custom-crafted theater, which part of its design took priority: the audio. A contact sensor on the door that leads into the 27-by-16-foot space triggers an array of small LED fixtures, showcasing a pair of high-grade Monitor Audio Platinum tower speakers. Most people would have chosen to let the huge reference speakers stay hidden behind the acoustical fabric that covers each of two speaker cavities built into custom cabinetry at the front of the room. But not this homeowner. “On a scale from 1 to 10, his passion for audio is a 20,” says Ryan Lipkovicius of Audio Impact, the San Diego–based custom electronics design and installation fi rm hired to build this theater.

Several small, energy-efficient LED lights were carefully positioned within each of the cabinet’s two speaker cavities. When the door to the room opens, they illuminate so the speakers can be seen through the acoustical fabric. Part of Monitor Audio’s Platinum line, the speakers are the company’s top performers and this theater’s crowning jewel.

It would take plenty of horsepower to drive these freestanding giants, plus the rest of the Monitor Audio 9.2-channel surround-sound system. Audio Impact chose an Integra DHC-80.2 preamp for its ability to work well with other A/V components and numerous audio decoding options, and a Crestron Procise Proamp-7X400 amplifier for its pure, raw output of power.

Another important part of the audio design was the engineering of a carefully constructed and acoustically treated shell. “Sam Cavitt of Paradise Theater in San Diego calculated all of the parameters, including the room dimensions, number of seats and size and position of the screen, and the software (from Kinetics Noise Control) figured where we needed to put acoustical materials, how to position the speakers, and where to put the seats so the audio reproduction was true and smooth,” says Lipkovicius. To further enhance the acoustical performance, Audio Impact and Paradise Theater instructed the contractors to “float” the room so none of its walls or ceiling would touch the walls of adjacent rooms or the floor of the room above it. Air conditioning vents, light fixtures and electrical outlets were treated with special isolation materials so that no sound would escape from the theater.





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Posted by chantal Mon, 07 May 2012 16:24:00 GMT

SONOS TAKES CONTROL WITH NEW APPS FOR MAC and PC

Sonos Press Release 03.20.12

NEW SONOS APPS MAKE FINDING AND PLAYING MUSIC AT HOME EASIER THAN EVER

Sonos, Inc., the leading manufacturer of wireless music systems, today announced Sonos System Software 3.7, an update that includes brand new controller apps for the Mac and PC to radically enhance the music experience in the home. This free software is available to all Sonos customers via a one-button update to their system. “We’re focused on providing our customers with the simplest and fastest way to experience music throughout their homes,” said John MacFarlane, founder and CEO, Sonos, Inc. “The new apps for Mac and PC make discovering and playing music easier and more enjoyable than ever.” The completely redesigned Sonos Controller apps for Mac and PC include a host of new features for Sonos customers to enjoy, including:

  • A Mini Controller lets you control the music while you’re working in other apps A single search box lets you quickly find artists, albums, songs and stations across all your music sources—music library, Internet radio and music services.
  • Simple drag & drop interface now lets you add one or multiple songs to your queue, room or group of rooms for instant music gratification
  • One touch Party Mode volume control lets you easily raise or lower the volume in all your grouped rooms simultaneously
  • New design and functionality provide greater consistency with other Sonos Controller apps

Other features of Sonos 3.7 software include: - New language support - We’ve added Brazilian Portuguese to the list so now you can control Sonos in 12 languages: Brazilian Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, and Swedish. - Android devices on SonosNet - Android smartphones and tablets can now use SonosNet, Sonos’ wireless network, to connect directly to Sonos and the Internet.

Posted by chantal Mon, 09 Apr 2012 16:19:00 GMT

Apple Brings 1080p HD to New Apple TV

Apple Press Release - March 7, 2012

Apple announced the new Apple TV featuring 1080p HD programming, including iTunes movies and TV shows, Netflix, Vimeo, photos, and more. The new Apple TV features a simpler, refined user interface, making it easier than ever to access your purchased movies, TV shows, and music with iTunes Match right from iCloud. With AirPlay, users can stream or mirror their favorite content from their iPad or iPhone 4S to Apple TV. And with iTunes in the Cloud, customers can purchase and play their favorite movies and TV shows from the iTunes Store and watch them instantly on their HDTV. Apple TV will be available on Friday, March 16 for a suggested retail price of $99 (US) through the Apple Online Store and Apple Retail Stores.

“People are going to love streaming movies and TV shows in 1080p with the new Apple TV, and photos look beautiful displayed at the maximum resolution of your TV,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Apple TV is easier than ever to use with its new icon-based interface and the ability to access your purchased movies, TV shows and music right from iCloud.”

Apple TV users can choose from an incredible selection of programming including over 15,000 movies and over 90,000 TV episodes on the iTunes Store. Apple TV also offers great content from Netflix’s streaming catalog, live sports from MLB, NBA and NHL as well as Internet content from Vimeo, YouTube and Flickr.*

With iCloud, you can buy movies and TV shows on Apple TV and watch them on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch®, Mac® or PC. iCloud also stores photos and pushes them wirelessly to all your devices including your HD TV via Apple TV. iCloud provides an incredibly easy way to get instant access to all of your content, no matter which device is being used.

iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users can use AirPlay to stream music, photos and videos from their devices directly to their HD TV with Apple TV. iPhone 4S or iPad users can use AirPlay Mirroring to show the screen of their device right on their HD TV, allowing them to stream web pages, spreadsheets or even games.**

Apple TV makes it easy to enjoy iTunes video, music and photo libraries from your computer right on your HD TV—and with iCloud you can instantly enjoy content that was purchased on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch as well. iTunes Match customers can now play their entire music library from iCloud—even songs they’ve imported from CDs. Users can also control Apple TV with their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch using the Remote app, available as a free download on the App Store™

Posted by chantal Wed, 28 Mar 2012 16:12:00 GMT

Introducing the Card Access Sub Zero Smart Appliance Module for use with your Control4 System!

It’s a long-held stereotype that beauty and brains don’t go together. Well, not anymore. Introducing the Card Access™ Sub-Zero® / Wolf® Smart Appliance Module™. This new product from Card Access gives the beautiful Sub-Zero BI-Series of refrigerators the needed brains for integration with the award-winning Control4® home control system.

Underneath the Sub-Zero BI-Series’ refrigerators are several advanced technologies that work together as a comprehensive food preservation system that provides you with fresh, wholesome food and water in ways no other appliance can.

The Card Access Smart Appliance Module combines these advanced appliance features with the capabilities of Control4 to monitor:

  • refrigerator door / freezer door open and close states
  • refrigerator and freezer temperature set points
  • ice maker on/off state
  • Max Ice Mode on/off state
  • Pure Air on/off state
  • water filter useful life (displayed as a percentage)

And set a variety of refrigerator operating modes including:

  • Short and Long Vacation Mode
  • High Use Mode
  • Sabbath Mode
  • Normal Mode
  • Night Ice
  • Heat Store

The free Card Access Sub-Zero Smart Appliance app–available for download from Control4’s 4Store™–gives Navigator access to these refrigerator features.

You can now take advantage of the combination of these two systems to receive alerts, throw a better party, or vacation with greater convenience and peace of mind… All with a little help from Control4 and Card Access.

Who says you can’t have beauty and brains in a single package?

Posted by chantal Mon, 19 Mar 2012 16:20:00 GMT

Sonos Coming soon: New Controller apps for Mac and PC

Posted on March 15th, 2012 by Sonos Staff

You asked, we listened. Our team has been working ‘round the clock to bring you two brand spanking new Sonos Controller apps for Mac and PC. The new Controllers will make it easier than ever to find, control and play music in any room—right from your favorite desktop or laptop.

What can you look forward to? For starters, faster access to music. The improved Search feature will let you quickly find artists, albums, songs, and stations from your music library, Internet radio and music services using a single search box. And you can use the better-than-ever, drag-and-drop interface to add one or multiple songs, albums, or playlists to your queue, room, or group of rooms for instant music gratification.

The new controllers also offer instant volume control, with a one-touch Party Mode that lets you set the volume in your grouped rooms simultaneously. Plus, we’ve brought some of the hidden perks of Sonos front and center, with the Sleep Timer and Alarms now accessible from the main window. And speaking of looks, the new Controller apps will give your eyes something to smile about.

But the feature we might be the most excited about is the new Mini Controller, a slick, pop-out of album art that lets you control your music while you’re working in other apps, so now it’s even easier to control any music you want—any way you want.

Posted by chantal Fri, 16 Mar 2012 16:48:00 GMT

High tech and high class. How luxury hotels are embracing technology

FEBRUARY 26, 2012BY KRISSY RUSHING



Turn up the music, turn down the lights, and start a movie – with the swipe of a finger. Here’s how high-tech room controls are making your next luxury hotel room classier than ever.



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http://www.digitaltrends.com/lifestyle/high-tech-and-high-class-how-luxury-hotels-are-embracing-technology/



Technology is an important part of the home, and what better way for hoteliers to make guests feel at home than to provide them with state-of-the-art technological amenities? We are talking about a deeper level of connectivity than a simple iPod dock, or a reliable Internet connection in your hotel room. The trend in luxury hotels across the globe is a simple touchscreenwith an easy-to-use graphic user interface that can control all your room’s amenities, such as lighting, air conditioning, TV, movies,and music. These systems also have the capability to handle communication with the front desk, housekeeping, concierge, and checkout. The modern hotel also offers staff facility-wide monitoring and management capabilities.

In fact, most of the major control companies are already entrenched in the hotel market, from Control4 to Crestron and Apple. Needless to say, hoteliers are jumping on the control bandwagon, which is the“wow” amenity of the moment that puts luxury hotels a cut above.

Inspiration from across the street

At the legendary Plaza in New York City, Manhattan’s iconic NYC Apple Store sits just across the street. When the Apple iPad came out, the hotel’s general manager, Shane Krige, walked across the street and purchased a few to put in the hotel lobby for guests to play with. Once the Plaza team saw everything the device was capable of, they put an iPad in every room.

Guests are greeted with a personalized welcome screen and a video from Krige explaining ICE, the Interactive Customer Experience.Once acquainted,you can control the room temperature or set lights at various levels from 100 percent to completely off. You can send messages to the front desk, request toothpaste from housekeeping, or ask the concierge for a restaurant reservation. Guests can arrange transportation or learn about the hotel, which just underwent a $450 million renovation. You can even check airlines and print boarding passes. A mobile ICE app in the works will be downloadable from the Plaza’s website, allowing you to do all these things before you even arrive.

The room that knows you’re there

Across the sea in Sydney Harbour, Australia, the Star Hotel & Casino offers complete guest control in its 174 luxury suites.Guests get on-screen control of the television, IBAHN Video-on-Demand system, lighting and temperature, a Philips Dynalite lighting control system, a wireless thermostat, Samsung LED 3D TV, Bose Cinemate music system, and more. A Control4 system acts as the backbone, allowing simple control with a straightforward interface.

The suites all feature a button labeled “Leaving Room” by the entry door that automatically places the suite in an energy-saving mode: With a single touch, it closes blinds, turns off lights and dials back air conditioners for energy savings. Should you forget to press this on your way out, after 30 minutes the system will sense there is no one and trigger the button automatically. Upon return your room will greet you by opening curtains, turning on the lights and displaying a welcome message. “Door Ajar” and “Privacy” notification pops up on the TV so you know you are safe and won’t be bothered by the hotel staff.

The greener side of high-tech

At the Montage Deer Valley mountain resort in Park City, Utah, 154 deluxe guest rooms and 66 suites are equipped with a similar Control4 Hospitality Solution that lets guests control lighting,temperature, the fireplace, entertainment, privacy settings and energy-saving features. Hotel guests can enjoy theses effortless tech amenities while the hotel industry – known for its oversize environmental footprint — can reduce negative impact.

Crestron is also doing interesting things in the hotel industry, and has installed control systems in some of the world’s top hotel chains, including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Four Seasons, and Starwood Properties.

“Hotels are using more technology to enable a higher level of service,” says Crestron’s director of hospitality, Michael Stegmann. “The modern hotel standard presents new challenges to manage and integrate it all.”

Crestron’s Hospitality solution is up to the challenge, monitoring and managing centralized AV sources and lighting controls for all areas of a hotel from a PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android device and a local Crestron touch screen. As with Control4 systems, Crestron’s offers a number of ways to cut back on electricity consumption, from dimming systems to occupancy sensors and daylight harvesting. In-room amenities, including security, AV, and HVAC are standard. The environmentally minded Gateway Canyon Resort in Gateway, Colorado, for example, uses a Crestron system to control hotel-wide functions, including the Kiva Lodge, a 38-room hotel with fitness center, spa, café and pool area. The Crestron CP2E system controls AV and background music distribution throughout the lodge. Wall-mount touch screens and keypadsadorn the luxury space for walk-up, one-touch control.

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<strong><a href="http://www.digitaltrends.com/lifestyle/high-tech-and-high-class-how-luxury-hotels-are-embracing-technology/" target="_blank">http://www.digitaltrends.com/lifestyle/high-tech-and-high-class-how-luxury-hotels-are-embracing-technology/</a></strong></p>

Posted by chantal Mon, 05 Mar 2012 17:10:00 GMT

10 Reasons why Sonos is great

by John Sciacca at February 10, 2012



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http://www.technologytell.com/hometech/83384/10-reasons-why-sonos-is-great-1-way-to-make-it-greater/



1) Sonos understood the changing audio dynamic
For years, distributed audio was built around traditional – legacy – sources that involved CD changers, AM/FM tuners, plus maybe cable boxes or satellite tuners. These were mostly “dumb” one-way control items. Most systems offered only rudimentary play, stop, next disc, next station, preset 1 type of control. iPod changed all of that, with metadata becoming all-mighty, all-powerful, and all-important. Go on, try and control your iPod/Touch/Phone without looking at it. Not possible. You need that visual feedback. Sonos got that metadata importance early on and that network streaming – and feedback – was going to be crucial for house audio listening version 2.0.

2) It plays just about anything
When I first started ripping my audio files, I did it in Windows Media Center and turned everything into WMA files. I didn’t think anything of it. Until I got an iPod and found that I had to re-transcode everything into a format it would understand. There are lots of files types out there that aren’t MP3 and Sonos supports a gamut of them that includes just about any that a typical user is likely to encounter. All manner of lossy (MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG, Audible), lossless (FLAC, ALAC), and uncompressed (AIFF and WAV). No, it won’t play any DRM-wrapped files purchased from iTunes, but that is less of an issue since the store dropped DRM a while back. (However, if you have a large library of purchased music from the iTunes store, you should check out Autonomic’s Mirage Media Server. It can be an “authorized” Apple player and will handle all that stuff.)

3) It streams just about anything
The Cloud is a giant part of audio 2.0, and Sonos supports more Web streaming music services than any other system. (If you know of a system that supports more than Sonos does, please let me know.) While some manufacturers are all, “Yeah. We do Pandora. That’s right!” and others feel all tough because they add Rhapsody and then maybe go the extra step of adding Spotify, Sonos basically says, “Hey, we’re agnostic. We’re gonna do them all. You decide which one you like instead of which one we make you pick.” The list that Sonos supports includes: Spotify, Pandora, Sirius-XM, Tune In Radio, Slacker, Rhapsody, MOG, iHeartRadio, Rdio, last.fm, Wolfgang’s Vault, BBC, NPR, Aupeo!, Stitcher and all manner of thousands of Internet radio stations. The cool thing is that THEY KEEP ADDING SUPPORT. Maybe the next big thing hasn’t even happened yet. But chances are, when it does, Sonos will be there to support it.

4 It has the way-coolest interface
I have pretty much established my reviewer-ness based on looking at user interfaces over the years and then breaking them down and finding out what’s good, what works, and what blows. This is why I love Kaleidescape and Sooloos so much. Those guys developed an interface that is just way-cool and way easy to use. A homerun interface is one that you can just hand to someone and they can just intuitively figure it out and make it work. And I’m not talking about handing it to someone who spends their days living/breathing/sweating A/V gear, I’m talking someone like my mom. Who has trouble figuring out how to read a text message or charge her digital camera. Sonos interface is this interface. Oh, and the programming time it takes to make all that magic work? Zero.

5 Control: Can’t beat ‘em, embrace ‘em
Sonos offers a handy little controller called the CR200 that looks nice and works really well. Except, you’ll probably rarely sell one. Because Sonos realized pretty early on that they could A) continue making a controller that would cost more than an iTouch and DO way less or they could B) embrace the iTouch and make a killer interface for it. I’m sure this made for some painful, sitting around the board room conversations – “We’re going to just give up on selling controllers?! Are you mad? MAD?!?!” – except it was the right decision. They still offer the CR200 for people that don’t have a separate control option and there are still benefits to it (the dedicated hard volume buttons for one, and that it isn’t likely to walk-off like an iPhone/Touch/Pad), but Sonos has embraced iOS and Android controllers in a way that sacrifices or limits nothing. Even better? Using Sonos on an iPad. The larger real-estate provides a huge array of info at a glance.

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<strong><a href="http://www.technologytell.com/hometech/83384/10-reasons-why-sonos-is-great-1-way-to-make-it-greater/" target="_blank">http://www.technologytell.com/hometech/83384/10-reasons-why-sonos-is-great-1-way-to-make-it-greater/</a></strong></p>

Posted by chantal Mon, 27 Feb 2012 17:16:00 GMT