Speakers

What’s Next for HEOS and Play-Fi under Sound United?

Will Sound United continue licensing Play-Fi, or will the company's acquisition of D+M Group mean expansion for HEOS wireless audio platform? And if so, should Sonos be worried?

What’s Next for HEOS and Play-Fi under Sound United?
Now that D+M has been acquired by Sound United, what might become of HEOS and Play-Fi?

Robert Archer · March 1, 2017

It's been quite a week in the custom electronics industry. 

First, Control4 dropped a bombshell when it announced the acquisition of custom installation bedrock brand Triad Speakers.

About a day later, Sound United, parent company of Definitive Technology and Polk Audio, announced the acquisition of D+M Group and its brands Denon, HEOS by Denon, Marantz and Boston Acoustics

When you look at the Sound United deal, the immediate question once the dust settles will surely be, what will happen to these brands?

Each of the formerly D+M Group brands are all strong and respected within their individual categories.

Will Sound United allow the brands to operate as separate entities, like the way The McIntosh Group handles its brands (McIntosh, Audio Research, Sonus faber, Sumiko and Wadia)? Or... will the brands get folded into a larger portfolio, like the way Leviton incorporated HAI into its product line or the way Legrand handled its acquisition of NuVo Technologies?

From a business perspective it probably doesn't matter, but aesthetically it could matter for dealers that simply prefer some brands over others for a variety of reasons.

HEOS vs. Play-Fi

This question could also have a huge impact on the future of Polk Audio and Definitive Technology products. 

At this moment Polk Audio, Definitive Technology and HEOS by Denon are rivals in the highly competitive wireless whole-house audio category. At the foundation of the Polk and Definitive Technology products is DTS' Play-Fi wireless audio platform, which is licensed by a growing number of companies, including Sound United.

If Sound United were to allow Polk and Definitive Technology access to the HEOS platform, that would likely end Sound United's use of Play-Fi while simultaneously expanding the HEOS universe.  

This would increase the adoption of HEOS which, according to CE Pro Top 100 Brand Analysis statistics, is already growing rapidly despite Sonos' dominance of the wireless audio category. 

Such a move could really ignite a fire in the wireless whole-house category and could even force Sonos into a competition that it has never really faced before. This could be good for the market because competition means better products, and for dealers it means these improved products could create more sales opportunities.

Right now it's nothing but speculation, but it's a pretty good assumption to think that this move would be welcomed by a lot of dealers that have demanded change in the wireless whole-house audio category. 

Learn more about Sound United's acquisition of D+M.



  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at [email protected]

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View Robert Archer's complete profile.



  Article Topics


Speakers · Loudspeakers · Wireless · Blogs · Definitive Technology · Denon · DTS · HEOS · Play-Fi · Polk Audio · All Topics
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Comments

Posted by Steve Cooper on March 4, 2017

I have to agree with Audioplus and hmurchison. Heos is where Sound United should play. While waiting for a final answer as to what they’re going to do, we’ve started focusing on specifying MusicCast. Our customers come back to us for more over time. With whole home Wi-Fi audio products, this happens a lot: The guest bedroom doesn’t need it. Six months later, they want it in the guest bedroom. And so on. We’re the bad guys if we specify a system that can’t be added to a year from now. So, for at least the short term, we’ll wait to see what happens.

Posted by Audioplus on March 1, 2017

Hell yes, Sonos should be worried, too greedy and no margins for their dealers. Wasn’t too many years ago, they were marketing ‘We will be in Every Home in the US!’ Just enough motivation to find an option like Heos (a little more margin) & Russound (considerably more margin).Please stick with Heos!

Posted by hmurchison on March 1, 2017

Adopt Heos across the lineup.  Play-fi isn’t grabbing enough mindshare so its utility isn’t there beyond what Heos brings.  If you have your own multiroom system that works across 4 or 5 vendors that’s a great place to be.  Just slowlly roll out Heos support in the other brands and work your tail off to integrate with a solid SDK for installers.

Posted by hmurchison on March 1, 2017

Adopt Heos across the lineup.  Play-fi isn’t grabbing enough mindshare so its utility isn’t there beyond what Heos brings.  If you have your own multiroom system that works across 4 or 5 vendors that’s a great place to be.  Just slowlly roll out Heos support in the other brands and work your tail off to integrate with a solid SDK for installers.

Posted by Audioplus on March 1, 2017

Hell yes, Sonos should be worried, too greedy and no margins for their dealers. Wasn’t too many years ago, they were marketing ‘We will be in Every Home in the US!’ Just enough motivation to find an option like Heos (a little more margin) & Russound (considerably more margin).Please stick with Heos!

Posted by Steve Cooper on March 4, 2017

I have to agree with Audioplus and hmurchison. Heos is where Sound United should play. While waiting for a final answer as to what they’re going to do, we’ve started focusing on specifying MusicCast. Our customers come back to us for more over time. With whole home Wi-Fi audio products, this happens a lot: The guest bedroom doesn’t need it. Six months later, they want it in the guest bedroom. And so on. We’re the bad guys if we specify a system that can’t be added to a year from now. So, for at least the short term, we’ll wait to see what happens.