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URC Adds Sonos to Total Control, Teams with Extra Vegetables

As it does for Control4, Extra Vegetables is now writing drivers for URC Total Control, starting with a Sonos interface, launched at ISE 2013


Extra Vegetables brings Sonos integration to URC Total Control, demo’d at ISE 2013

URC wants to fast-track driver development for its new Total Control home automation system, and it has no better partner than Extra Vegetables, famous for its rich Control4 interfaces.

The two companies are teaming up to add more devices and services to the Total Control ecosystem, starting with Sonos.

At ISE 2013, Extra Vegetables is camped out at the URC booth demonstrating the two-way communications between Total Control and one of the world’s most popular multiroom audio system.

On a small URC touchscreen, Walsh tapped his way through his music collection, playlists and various online music services offered through Sonos. On the forthcoming Android-based touchscreen (“shipping imminently,” for $849, URC says), Walsh showed how one might scroll their way through Sonos just like they might from a native application.

“We’re going to try to get as many features of Sonos as possible,” says EV’s William Walsh. “URC Total Control is a very open platform, so we have a lot to work with.”

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For example, even on the small screen, users can search for music via a pop-up keyboard. And EV plans to add features like the star button on Rhapsody.

URC and EV won’t say what drivers we’ll see next, but presumably we’ll see a trajectory similar to Control4.

Most recently, EV created a Control4 driver for the NuVo Wireless Music System. Additional interfaces include Autonomic, DMX lighting, Roku, Windows Media Center and dozens more, including several systems popular in Europe – Linn, Clipsal, Sky TV, Heatmiser and Dynalite.

“The more third-party modules available to our dealers, the more Total Control systems they’ll sell, and the happier their customers will be,” says URC general manager Doug Cole. “Extra Vegetables is well-known as an expert and a significant partner in producing those modules.”

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URC Adds Sonos to Total Control, Teams with Extra Vegetables

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Article Topics

News · Product News · Audio · Distributed Audio · Home Automation and Control · Control Systems · Universal Remotes · Events · ISE · Wireless A/V · Remote Automation · Ise 2013 · Urc · Sonos · Wireless Audio · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

14 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Bjørn Jensen  on  01/31  at  03:16 PM

Nice!  Any word on what Sonos has to say about this though?  What happens if they decide to change their code so as to lock out these third party tinkerers?

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  01/31  at  06:43 PM

There are already quite a few hacks out there for Sonos. On the record, they say they support it.

Posted by Bjørn Jensen  on  01/31  at  06:58 PM

Thanks Julie!  I didn’t know it was “on the record” but that’s great news then.

Posted by Branden Pirot  on  01/31  at  07:12 PM

Where is this record?  I have never seen them say they support letting somebody else control there user experience.  I have actually seen the opposite.

Please show me where they have said otherwise!

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  01/31  at  07:17 PM

All I can tell you is ... if you ask them what they think about third party controllers messing with their stuff, they will tell you they embrace it.

Posted by Sean Patterson  on  01/31  at  07:23 PM

If they “embrace” it as you say, then why don’t they just publish an API already and be done with it?

Posted by Branden Pirot  on  01/31  at  10:17 PM

You must be confusing the new Nuvo wireless system with Sonos.

Posted by Don Bendell  on  01/31  at  11:21 PM

Which kool-aid you drinking from?
I talked extensively at Cedia 2012 with them. More liked begged!!!!!
They do not like/care for/ nor want to open drivers for third parties. They also said that they would pursue updates & code changes to help prohibit this action.

Don’t get me wrong, all for the drivers but they have their head up the arces about playing nice with third parties!

Posted by William Walsh  on  02/01  at  12:15 AM

Thanks Julie!  I’ll just add this isn’t a hack - we’re using the same open standard protocol (UPnP) to control the players that they use themselves.  We’re very careful to only provide with our implementations the same control as is possible with Sonos’ first party apps.  We test our software very carefully to make sure it can be run at the same time as Sonos’ own - we know end users like flexibility on their systems and we think the options we give people to bring control to their touchscreens provides that.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  02/01  at  12:46 AM

I happen to agree with their closed architecture and applaud them for trying to keep it that way. The fact is ... integrators may kick and scream but they still install it in the end as a standalone solution, and it doesn’t break, and customers are happy and tech support isn’t burdened.

Last time I asked if it drove them bonkers that third parties were creating drivers for Sonos, the official party line was no.

Obviously reality tells a different story.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  02/01  at  12:47 AM

yeah, William, I know that. Poor choice of words.

Posted by John Nemesh  on  02/01  at  12:55 PM

I would NEVER recommend a system that is proprietary.  Even if these guys figured out the protocol, there is nothing stopping Sonos from changing things to intentionally make 3rd party controllers incompatible.  Unless they somehow got cooperation from Sonos to provide it, I would stay FAR away from this. 

Just so everyone knows, there ARE other platforms that provide access to a customers digital music library, Pandora, and Internet radio that DO work with 3rd party control systems, and have an open, published control protocol.

Posted by Tom Pardini  on  02/01  at  06:42 PM

Wonderfull news!!! When they announced the partnership with extraveg..I was hoping this would happen.
It gives us loyal Total Control installers an even field. I’m sure this is just the beginning of lot’s more to come..

Posted by Brian Carter  on  02/24  at  08:08 PM

The Extravegetables crew is awesome!!! We have used the Sonos driver on the Control4 platform for 3 yrs and have yet to have a single problem with it. They follow the changes to software very closely and update accordingly. Keep up the good work guys!

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