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Sonos' headphones are extremely Sonos | The Vergecast

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Sonos' headphones are extremely Sonos | The Vergecast

Intro + breakfast quest (00:00:00)

  • David Pierce is waiting for his breakfast order, specifically a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.
  • He mentions his ongoing search for great breakfast staples in his new neighborhood.
  • The sandwich he ordered costs $8, which he considers a bit expensive but manageable.
  • The Vergecast team will discuss new Sonos products reviewed by Chris Welch.
  • They will focus on the Sonos Ace headphones, which Chris has tested and reviewed.
  • There might be an opportunity to hear Chris's experience with the headphones during the show.
  • The team will discuss the new documentary "Movie Pass Movie Crashed."
  • The documentary tells the story of Movie Pass, one of the fastest-growing and fastest-dying tech companies.
  • They will interview the director and CEO to get the full story behind the company's rise and fall.

Hotline question [N/A]

  • The team will answer a question from the hotline.

Sonos Ace review w/Chris Welch (00:02:17)

  • Sonos released the Sonos Ace headphones, priced at $450, and they excel in comfort and sound quality.
  • The headphones feature pleather ear cushions, impressive 30-hour battery life, and a well-designed control scheme.
  • Sonos' TV audio swap feature allows private TV listening with head tracking for an immersive experience, and it can upconvert stereo sound to a 5.1 surround sound effect.
  • The upcoming True Cinema feature will enhance surround sound by mapping the room using a soundbar and headphones.
  • Despite software issues and the lack of full Sonos ecosystem integration, the headphones offer impressive overall quality, including comfort, sound quality, multipoint pairing, wired USB-C listening, and effective noise cancellation.
  • Sonos promises software fixes to address any issues and is seen as a strong competitor to established brands like Sony, Bose, and Apple.

Sonos Ace mic quality (00:23:29)

  • The microphone quality of the Sonos Ace is pretty good.
  • There is an audio sample in the review that demonstrates the microphone quality.
  • The microphone does a decent job of canceling out background noise.
  • The microphone is suitable for phone calls on the go.

Sonos Roam 2 thoughts (00:24:24)

  • The new Sonos Roam 2 has a new button that allows it to be used out of the box without having to set it up at home first.
  • The sound quality is the same as the previous model.
  • The battery life is the same as the previous model, but Sonos claims to have made improvements to make it last longer.
  • The price is the same as the previous model.
  • It comes in new colors.
  • It is a good bathroom speaker.

The rise and fall of MoviePass (00:26:00)

  • MoviePass was an all-you-can-watch movie theater subscription service that launched in 2017.
  • It offered users the ability to see up to one movie a day for a flat monthly fee of $10.
  • The company burned through $250 million in less than two years and shut down in 2019.
  • A new documentary called "MoviePass Movie Crash" tells the story of the rise and fall of MoviePass.
  • The documentary reveals the wild corporate greed and bad decisions that led to the company's demise.
  • It also highlights the story of how two black founders were ousted from their own company by two white men.

Interview with MoviePass CEO + director of MoviePass, MovieCrash (00:28:46)

  • MoviePass, a movie subscription service, began in 2011 with steady growth without advertising.
  • Partnering with Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY) for marketing, MoviePass tested a $1 per month subscription, leading to a surge in interest.
  • Despite plans to collect and sell moviegoer data to theater chains, MoviePass faced financial difficulties and implemented restrictive rules, resulting in an investigation into its executives for potentially sabotaging the product.
  • Co-founder and CEO Stacy Spikes was ousted for opposing these practices, while the company prioritized growth at any cost, incurring substantial financial losses.
  • Despite customer willingness to pay more, the founder's resistance to adjusting pricing contributed to MoviePass's downfall, mirroring a common tech industry trope of ambitious founders with questionable credibility.
  • The documentary emphasizes the challenges and risks of prioritizing growth over profitability in the tech industry.

Racial bias and misconceptions in the MoviePass Story (00:35:45)

  • The documentary about MoviePass presents Mitch Lowe and Ted Farnsworth as the founders, while the actual founders, Stacy Spikes and James Cowperthwaite, are initially portrayed as having less significant roles. This narrative structure aims to challenge racial biases and assumptions about leadership positions in tech companies.
  • The filmmakers debated whether to start the story with MoviePass's initial success or focus on Stacy and James's contributions during the company's early development.
  • Stacy Spikes appreciates the documentary's storytelling approach, comparing it to the Steve Jobs Apple story and praising its non-linear structure.
  • Stacy Spikes initially felt nervous about the misleading portrayal but ultimately appreciated the way it built suspense and emphasized the vulnerability of the actual founders.

Could MoviePass have worked? (00:40:29)

  • MoviePass's $10 monthly subscription price was a significant factor in its downfall.
  • A promotional price of $9.95 led to a surge in subscribers, but the company failed to capitalize on this by increasing prices gradually.
  • MoviePass lacked a clear strategy for determining optimal pricing and managing churn.
  • The company's relaunch in 2021 introduced a credit system to align consumer incentives with cost-saving measures.
  • MoviePass's technology, including machine learning and AI engines, was not effectively utilized due to poor management decisions.

The future of movie theaters and MoviePass 2.0 (00:44:48)

  • Movie theaters are facing challenges with declining box office sales, with a 22% decrease compared to last year and a 41% drop since 2019.
  • Film enthusiast Stacy Spikes believes that movie theaters are under attack and that technology can double moviegoing attendance and create efficiencies in the industry.
  • Spikes argues that the focus should be on storytelling and the moviegoing experience rather than box office numbers, which can create a negative perception and PR problem for theaters.
  • The current reporting of box office numbers every weekend is seen as detrimental, as it creates constant comparison and pressure to perform, unlike other industries that report quarterly or annually.
  • The in-person movie-going experience is superior to watching movies at home, as exemplified by the exceptional movie-going experience of Dune 2, especially in Dolby Atmos.
  • The movie-going experience needs more changes beyond ticket prices and purchasing methods.

Smart home for renters w/Jen Tuohy (Vergecast Hotline) (00:52:27)

  • Renters now have more smart home options, including the August Wi-Fi Smart Lock, which is easy to install and doesn't require replacing the entire door lock. Yale has also released a new retrofit Smart Lock with a touch fingerprint reader.
  • Facial recognition for smart locks is available but untested, while Apple Home Key offers a convenient way to unlock doors, although there are currently no retrofit door locks compatible with it. Cara is releasing a retrofit Smart Lock this month with a fingerprint reader, NFC, and potential future support for Home Key.
  • Smart locks provide remote unlocking and locking, making them useful and easy to use.
  • Popular smart home devices include smart thermostats, video doorbells, smart cameras, robot vacuums, and smart light bulbs.
  • Advanced smart home users can enhance their experience with automation using sensors, motion sensors, contact sensors, smart plugs, and buttons. The Aqara FP2 presence sensor uses millimeter wave sensing for presence detection, which is beneficial in apartment settings.
  • Smart security systems offer benefits, especially when integrated with door locks and video doorbells.
  • The stigma associated with extensive work required for smart home upgrades is decreasing as many devices now require minimal effort, such as battery maintenance. Arlo's first-generation battery-powered doorbell is now compatible with Apple HomeKit, making it a good option for those seeking a HomeKit-compatible video doorbell.
  • Sensors are affordable, user-friendly, and portable, making them ideal for experimenting with smart home technology.
  • The Vergecast team will attend WWDC next week and invites listeners to share their excitement and predictions for Apple's announcements.

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