The best way to take full advantage of a whole home audio system is to load it up with music streaming services. All of our favorite music services are available on a Savant system, through airplay, or natively on Sonos.
This one is a bit of a gimme, but those surrounded by technology (like us at Realm) sometimes take the magic of Pandora for granted. For listeners not yet in the know, Pandora is a music streaming service that creates customized radio stations based on the musical style of a specific artist or song. Pick your favorite artist or song, type it into Pandora's interface, and songs will play that are musically similar. Pandora has some other nice features, too. Users can click 'thumb's up' or 'thumb's down' to tell Pandora whether they like or dislike the song and the station will be adjusted accordingly. After logging into the Pandora website, users can can also click 'add variety' to diversify their favorite stations by adding additional artists or songs. These changes are global to user accounts, so they carry over to all of a user's devices including iPhone, Sonos, or a Savant media server.
Pandora is free, extremely simple to sign up for, and is the best service on this list to get music playing in seconds. It also does a fairly good job of determining songs users will like.
Need to Know
Pandora will play advertising unless users upgrade to a paid account. Also, frequent listeners can find their favorite stations to be a bit repetitive.
Pandora is a must have streaming service because very few decisions are required. Once a user creates a station based on a favorite song or artist, they are one tap away from hours of music they will likely enjoy.
Deezer is a relatively new on demand streaming service that features cd quality audio. On demand means that users can search from a large catalog of music to play their favorite artists, songs, and albums. One advantage of an on demand streaming service like Deezer is that users no longer have to rely on storing large personal music libraries on their computers or devices. Deezer claims to have a library of over 35 million tracks, so it is likely to satisfy all but the most obscure of music tastes. Deezer truly shines over other streaming services in that it delivers high quality audio with low, or no compression. Deezer subscribers will enjoy CD quality audio that has been lost in our current climate of digital music files, and compressed streaming services. Deezer is one of the first services of its kind to offer its users the convenience of streaming audio, without compromising on quality.
Deezer sounds fantastic. It also allows users to search on demand for a specific song or artist. Indecisive listeners needn't worry though because there are also thousands of Deezer radio channels on offer. Deezer is also continuously adding to their music library. They recently announced the addition of high quality remasters of Led Zeppelin's first six albums. Source: Digital Music News
Need to Know
Currently Deezer is only available on specific devices, with the highest quality Deezer Elite service being reserved solely for Sonos. It is likely that Deezer will expand it's services in the future but currently the highest quality streams can only be heard through Sonos hardware. Seperate radio like functionality is available through the Deezer iOS app, but a majority of Deezer's best features aren't available.
For discerning listeners that want the highest possible quality available in an on demand streaming service, Deezer definitely delivers. It is also priced competitivley when compared to other on demand services like spotify. Currently Deezer Elite on Sonos is $119.88 yearly, or $14.99 monthly.
For Podcast and talk radio lovers, Stitcher is a dream come true. Once users sign up for Stitcher they are able to create radio stations comprised of their favorite podcasts. This means that as long is content is available on Stitcher, users can theoretically have infinitely long playlists of their favorite podcasts. The nice thing about Stitcher is that it refreshes your personalized station with the latest episodes of your chosen podcasts. So if a new podcast is available it will show up automatically. Stitcher pieces together (hence the name) a running radio station made up of the most current, un-listened to podcasts that a user has chosen, making any genre of talk radio very customizable.
Stitcher works well, and is very user friendly. Getting the latest episodes of your favorite podcasts is a breeze most of the time. Stitcher's smart phone App also has a buffer feature allowing users to download new content while a data connection is available. This allows users to listen to their Stitcher stations without being on a WiFi or cellular network.
Need to Know
Stitcher does serve up advertising between podcasts, and when listening to a series of short news snippets, this can be tiresome. Also some higher profile podcasters have pulled their content from Stitcher in favor of releasing their own apps. Once users are used to the convenience of Stitcher it can be frustrating to slog through other avenues to hear their favorite podcasts.
For podcast fans and talk radio junkies, Stitcher is a no brainer. There is so much original content to choose from that Stitcher users can listen 24/7 without hearing the same podcast twice.