By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Phoenixville, Pa. — Direct-to-consumer audio company Wren Audio has begun offering a tabletop Wi-Fi speaker equipped with DTS’s Play-Fi technology to stream music from connected Android phones and PCs.
The Wren V5PF is available for $399 at Wrensound.com with real bamboo or rosewood finish.
With Play-Fi technology, consumers can 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 over a Play-Fi network to different speakers, which play music from an Android phone’s local music library or from the phone’s Pandora and vTuner internet radio apps.
The speakers also stream music from networked Windows PCs and from networked PCs and network-attached storage (NAS) drives equipped with DLNA server capability. The system and selection of PC-stored music can be controlled from a Wren Play-Fi mobile app available for free from the Google Play store or the Amazon App store. The app is compatible with any Android 2.2 smartphone or tablet or higher.
The speakers incorporate multiple music decoders to stream music in native form, such as MP3 and lossless FLAC.
DTS subsidiary Phorus, which invented the technology, also markets Play-Fi speakers and a Play-Fi receiver that can be attached to existing stereo systems.
The Wren speaker uses Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n technology to tap into a home’s Wi-Fi network, but to overcome typical Wi-Fi drawbacks for music playback, Play-Fi technology prioritizes Play-Fi traffic, compensates for the typical types of interferences suffered by Wi-Fi networks, and synchronizes audio throughout the house by reducing latency to 7ms, Phorus said.
The V5PF speaker features 2x25-watt Class D amplification, two 19mm wide-dispersion soft-dome tweeters, two 3-inch midrange/woofers in bass-reflex configuration, acoustically inert half-inch internally braced MDF cabinet, 3.5mm aux in and USB digital input. The speaker measures 6.13 inches by 4.24 inches by 15.63 inches and weighs 6.6 pounds.
V5PF users thinking of buying an iPhone can be converted to Apple’s AirPlay technology for a nominal fee, the company said.
Wren also offers an Apple AirPlay version of the speaker and plans a Bluetooth version.
Wren is a privately held company headed by Mike Giffin, a 35-year audio industry veteran and former division president of Harman International’s consumer audio business.
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