By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Encino, Calif. — DTS subsidiary Phorus signed up Nebraska Furniture Mart as its first brick-and-mortar retailer for Play-Fi multi-zone wireless audio products.
Phorus also supported the launch with POP demonstrator units that the company plans to roll out to additional retailers. The POP provides a video tour of the products and their multi-room capabilities.
The products are available in two of three Nebraska Furniture Mart stores in Kansas City and Omaha. The products first became available last October through Amazon and the Phorus website.
“Play-Fi is one of a select few solutions that NFM has chosen to showcase in their wireless home audio area,” a Phorus spokesperson said.
Phorus is “in discussions with most of the major retailers in the audio arena in the U.S., with more announcements expected in the coming months,” the spokesperson added. Phorus is “focusing on partnering with retailers who have a proven ability to engage with consumers looking for audio solutions for their mobile lifestyles.”
Phorus is also licensing Play-Fi technology to other companies for use in table speakers or embedded in such audio products as A/V receivers. One licensed product is currently available, and it’s from Wren Audio.
With Play-Fi technology, consumers create a multizone, multi-room wireless audio system with a mix of up to eight wireless speakers that play simultaneously in a house. Up to four Android devices stream music simultaneously from their local music library over a Play-Fi network to different speakers, which also stream music from the phone’s Pandora and vTuner internet radio apps. The speakers also stream music from networked Windows PCs and from networked PCs and NAS drives equipped with DLNA server capability.
The system and selection of PC-stored music can be controlled from a Play-Fi mobile app available for free from the Google Play store or the Amazon App store for use on Android 2.2-and-up devices and the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD tablets.
The two Phorus-brand products on display at NFM are the $199-suggested tabletop speaker and in a $149 tabletop transmitter/receiver, which connects to a home’s existing hi-fi systems and tabletop speakers via analog output. Both also feature stereo Bluetooth to play back music from other mobile devices, including Apple and Windows Phone devices. The Bluetooth-connected speaker, however, don’t redirect music in the Bluetooth stream to other Play-Fi speakers.
In other distribution developments, Phorus said its products just launched through distributors in Australia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan and that availability in China will be announced later this month at the Mobile Asia Congress in Shanghai.
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