Bang & Olufsen is making a move on Sonos’ territory, as well as confirming it’s interest in emerging mobile technology, by introducing the Playmaker, a wireless audio receiver.
What makes the Playmaker especially interesting is that B&O hasn’t decided to only support Apple’s AirPlay, as many other manufacturers may have done, but has included DLNA connectivity too; making the Playmaker suitable for everyone, regardless of the smartphone or desktop OS they own.
While the Playmaker is open in that sense, it’s restricted to being used with B&O speaker systems only, as it has no built-in amplifier of its own. B&O’s speakers on the other hand, are all active, and therefore only need connecting. The benefit here is that you can spec the Playmaker with any set of speakers from the range, right up to the top-end BeoLab 5s, without buying a B&O player too.
You can place as many of the Playmakers as you like around your home, and they all connect to your Wi-Fi network and can be controlled by an app on your phone or tablet. Audio can be synced between all of them, or individually controlled too.
Surprisingly for a B&O product, the Playmaker’s design isn’t as eye-catching as the company’s other products, as it’s a small, square, white box, with a front panel that looks like it controls the central heating and not a hugely expensive home entertainment system.
B&O say it’s small enough to hide away on a shelf, and we expect that’s exactly what people will want to do. When put next to the Nexus Q, which offers similar features, it’s positively bland.
But, if you thought the Nexus Q was on the pricey side, and have balked at paying Sonos’ prices in the past, don’t expect B&O to come to your rescue. On its own, the Playmaker is $425, but there is an offer where if you purchase a pair of the luscious BeoLab 3 speakers, a Playmaker will be included in the pack. The price? A mere $4,310.
The Playmaker will be available through Bang & Olufsen dealers by the end of July.