Polk, Definitive Technology To Offer Play-Fi Wireless Multiroom Audio

By Joseph Palenchar On Jan 6 2014 - 1:12pm




Las Vegas – Audio company Sound United will step up its presence in the wireless multiroom-audio market through its Polk and Definitive Technology brands, which announced plans to offer wireless speakers incorporating DTS’s Play-Fi technology.

The Wi-Fi-equipped products will ship throughout the year, the company said without offering details about its product roadmap.

Active tabletop speakers incorporating Play-Fi are already on the market from Wren Audio and DTS subsidiary Phorus, which developed tPlay-Fi technology. Custom-install supplier Core Brands has also licensed Play-Fi. Phorus also offers a Play-Fi adapter for existing stereo systems.

Sound United’s Polk brand is no stranger to wireless multiroom home audio, having last year launched a $599-suggested tabletop speaker with Wi-Fi, Apple’s AirPlay, and Bluetooth.

Sound United will outline its Play-Fi plans at International CES in booth 21130 in the LVCC’s South Hall.

DTS is licensing Play-Fi broadly to CE makers to deliver a Sonos-like wireless multiroom-audio experience through multiple brands of interoperable products rather than through a single brand that uses proprietary technology, the company has said.

Play-Fi uses Wi-Fi networks to distribute music to multiple Play-Fi-equipped sound systems at a time. The music can be stored on an Android or iOS device or streamed by the devices from select music services. Using the mobile devices as controllers, Play-Fi-equipped sound systems also stream music stored on DLNA-enabled Windows PCs and NAS drives. Play-Fi devices decode MP3, FLAC, AAC, and WMA files.

With the technology, up to four speakers can be synced to play back the same source, but a mix of up to eight Play-Fi-enabled sound systems can play simultaneously when up to four mobile devices are used at a time.

Although Play-Fi distributes music over a home’s existing Wi-Fi network, the technology is promoted as overcoming Wi-Fi’s quality-of-service limitations by prioritizing Play-Fi traffic, compensating for the typical types of interference suffered by Wi-Fi networks, and synchronizing audio throughout the house, the company has said. When controlling the playback of music stored on PCs and NAS drives, the mobile devices stream the music from the PC or NAS drive, then redirect the music to Play-Fi speakers. Play-Fi uses this method so it can “wrap” the music with Play-Fi’s synchronization and other audio-enhancing technologies, the company has said.

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