Philips enters wireless multiroom audio market with new Spotify partnership

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Philips' new SW700M multiroom speaker, minus the front grill.

Philips’ new SW700M multiroom speaker, minus the front grill.

Gibson Brands, owner of WOOX Innovation, owner of the Philips-branded audio business, has announced that the famous Dutch brand will be soon entering the high-growth wireless multiroom home audio category with a Spotify Connect system. The revelation was made this week at the 2015 International CES.

Unlike the established rival in the category, Sonos, the Philips system won’t be compatible with myriad streaming services, though Spotify being the clear marketleader in subscription music services means this product should have appeal, especially considering its near-monopoly position in Australia.

The debut range includes two speakers, the SW700M (US $129), with 2.5-inch full range speaker drivers, and the SW750M (US $179), with two tweeters and two 3-inch full range drivers. Also available is the SW100M adaptor, which enables existing speakers and hi-fi systems to be added to the network.

Philips higher end wireless home audio speaker, the SW750M.

Philips higher end wireless home audio speaker, the SW750M.

Based on the announcement language used at the CES by Gibson brands, this system will marketed with cobranding as the ‘Philips Spotify multiroom speakers’.

“With the Philips Spotify multiroom speakers, the dream of seamless, high-quality music streaming throughout your home is now within reach,” said Benjamin Ngo, audio business line leader at WOOX Innovation. “These products are an important part of our multiroom audio strategy, delivering great quality sound and a seamless user experience.

“Incorporating Spotify Connect, you won’t be disturbed by unstable connections when streaming music to the speakers. Incoming phone calls, loss of signal range, or watching a video won’t spoil the party: the music just keeps flowing.”

For background, Philips packaged up its audio business into a wholly owned subsidiary called WOOX Innovation, which it subsequently sold to Gibson Brands, a famous American musical instrument supplier. Philips audio is distributed in Australia by Powermove International.

The Philips SW100M adaptor enables users to add existing hi-fi equipment to their wireless multiroom network.

The Philips SW100M adaptor enables users to add existing hi-fi equipment to their wireless multiroom network.

Talking about the new partnership is Pascal de Mul, global head of hardware partnerships at Spotify:

“Before Spotify Connect, streaming music at home could be a frustrating experience with issues like audio quality and battery drainage getting in the way of enjoying your favorite music,” he said.

“The Philips Spotify multiroom speakers deliver on the vision that we have for effortless, high-quality music streaming at home, leaving you to focus on enjoying the music.”

In addition to Sonos, Philips will be competing with Samsung, Bluesound, LG Electronics, Bose and Heos by Denon, amongst others, in what is quickly becoming a very crowded market. Despite having a large number of brands entering the market, industry insiders say it is still a very small category with huge growth potential. The trick, one marketing manager said, was explaining how the system works – over Wi-Fi via a dedicated app to control playback in individual rooms on difference speakers – and why this technology carries a price premium over Bluetooth speakers.

Additional reading: Wireless Multiroom Speaker System by System Guide to Compatible Audio Services in Australia

 

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