LG's Music Flow aims to outstream Sonos with portable speakers and auto-playback

LG is bringing a bunch of new ideas to the whole-home audio game in an attempt to take on Sonos.

Much like Sonos' Wi-Fi speaker systems, LG's Music Flow wirelessly connects speakers around the house and uses an app to play music from either your local music collection or various online music services. But LG is offering a few features that Sonos doesn't in an attempt to distinguish itself.

For instance, LG is offering a portable speaker that works on battery power, which could come in handy for outdoor listening sessions. Those portable speakers can also link up to an LG soundbar and serve as rear surround sound speakers for a television. While Sonos offers a similar feature with its Playbar soundbar and Play speakers, the battery power of LG's H4 speaker could let you temporarily borrow the speakers for other uses.

LG is also adding a couple of unique features to its companion app for iOS and Android. Once installed, users can transfer music playback from the phone to any speaker by moving them within a foot of one another. There's also an integration with the Line messaging app that lets users send commands such as "play songs for party" or "turn off music after one hour."

LG says it's going to show off the new speaker system at CES next month, but hasn't announced pricing or availability.

The story behind the story: Although LG has cooked up some clever ideas, taking the fight to Sonos won't be easy. While LG is offering just a couple soundbars and the portable speaker, Sonos has a wider range of options, including a subwoofer, a soundbar and three different speaker sizes. (LG has launched other Music Flow speakers in the United Kingdom, but there's no mention of them coming stateside or being part of the new lineup.) It's also unclear whether LG can match Sonos' huge list of music services or achieve the same level of software polish. Still, a little competition never hurts.


Jared Newman

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