By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Wireless MP3-headphone headphone technology from Kleer is winning new supplier support and evolving to deliver wireless video.
The technology, promoted as better than Bluetooth for portable A/V applications, started out in an RCA-brand $139-suggested MP3/video player in October, turned up later in a wireless iPod speaker for bicycles, and in May will appear in a pair of Sennheiser wireless ear buds packed with a matchbox-sized transmitter that plugs into the headphone jack of any portable.
Meantime, the fabled semiconductor maker announced that Pioneer will also support the technology, although Pioneer said it does not expect to introduce a product this year. Other suppliers supporting the technology are AKG, Ultimate Ears, Global Icons, iSkin, Cresyn, DigiFi, Foster, Fujikon, Kaga Components and Yusan, Kleer said.
In another advance, Kleer added video capability on its wireless audio chip so that users can stream video wirelessly from a portable media player (PMP) to TVs and laptops for viewing on a larger screen.
Kleer touts its technology as a better-than-Bluetooth alternative that delivers longer battery life, lacks Bluetooth's latency drawbacks and delivers lossless CD-quality audio over the air. The technology transmits uncompressed 16-bit, 44.1kHz PCM audio at an effective bit rate of 1Mbps to 1.4Mbps instead of using Bluetooth's compression algorithm. It was designed from the ground up to deliver lossless CD-quality audio, said Kleer marketing VP Ron Glibbery.
Kleer's technology also reduces power consumption compared to Bluetooth in part by shunning Bluetooth's spread spectrum implementation, which causes a signal to hop continually around channels in the 2.4GHz band. Kleer can achieve 10 times the battery life than Bluetooth for stereo audio, he claimed.
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