Wireless audio reduces or eliminates the need to pull wires around your home and inside walls. In many environments, such as lofts and older plaster-and-lathe environments, this means distributed audio and surround sound without exposed wiring. Although the consumer electronics industry as of 2012 lacks a unified standard for wireless audio, WiSA aims to change that, featuring prominent backers and manufacturer support.
Built into numerous Apple and third-party devices, AirPlay streams music and movie content from a networked PC around the home. Using the home's existing Wi-Fi infrastructure, AirPlay devices like the AirPort Express process the data, routing the music to a connected stereo. Notably, many AirPort express devices are also wireless "N" repeaters, able to extend an existing Wi-Fi connection for increased range. AirPlay devices built into various home theater receivers and compact stereo systems only require a wired or wireless signal to do their jobs. Additional AirPlay hardware in these environments is not required.
Bluetooth uses a secure digital connection between two components, a process called "pairing." Once paired, these two device share and exchange information. Although line of sight is not required for Bluetooth audio systems to share from the sending base to the receiver, range is limited to roughly 30 feet. Using an infrastructure called a personal area network, Bluetooth employs a protocol called A2DP for audio streaming. Without A2DP, Bluetooth audio quality would be overly limited. These devices pair using a "source/sink" relationship, with the sending component serving as the source and receiver the sink.
RF Wireless Kits
The original wireless audio system, radio-frequency audio systems operate in the standard 2.4 or 5.8 gigahertz bands. These units deploy a control box connected to the back of the stereo, which in turn sends a signal to receiving hardware by the speakers. This system is often not entirely wireless, as wires must still run from the receiver module to the speakers in question. Additionally, RF audio systems may suffer interference from baby monitors, microwave ovens and wireless routers.
The Wireless Speaker and Audio consortium, known as WiSA, consists of a group of key manufacturers with the goal of consolidating wireless audio into one cohesive standard. Using spectrum in the relatively unoccupied 5Ghz range, developers Summit Semiconductor and partners Polk, Aperion Audio, Klipsch, Pioneer and Sharp wish to bypass the inconsistent choices made today for wireless audio utilization. Although the original goal was for wireless 7.1 audio surround sound, the standard is not limited to home theater use. Like Bluetooth, range is normally limited to 30 square feet, but not bound by line-of-sight restrictions.
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