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Best Buy Steps Up Rocketboost Wireless-Audio Commitment

9/14/2011 02:57:39 PM Eastern

New York -
Best Buy has expanded its selection of CE products equipped with Rocketboost
wireless multiroom-audio technology and plans later this year to offer an iOS-device
app that will give users Wi-Fi remote control over the selection of songs
streamed wirelessly from a PC.

To support the
expanded lineup, the company launched a Rocketboost-dedicated website, www.rocketboost.com, ran a full-page ad
in its most recent Sunday circular, and rolled out end caps with a Rocketboost
TV and Rocketboost soundbar in almost 600 stores. By October, the end cap will
be in all stores, said Best Buy senior product manager Mark Kudla.

The national
retailer, which launched its first Rockboost products two years ago, recently expanded
its selection to about a dozen models from about eight SKUs with the addition
of the soundbar, two TVs, an HTiB, and an amplified bookshelf-speaker pair. The
house-brand products are the first such products of their kind to connect to a
Rocketboost wireless network.

 The bookshelf speaker incorporates embedded
Rocketboost technology, and the other three products are Rocketboost-ready. Those
three accept an add-on $39.99 Rocketboost card that doubles as a sender and
receiver and connects via a proprietary port.

Other products
with embedded Rocketboost include a powered Rocketfish-branded outdoor speaker,
a pair of Rocketfish headphones, an Insignia powered subwoofer, a Rocketfish wireless
surround kit that connects to any pair of passive surround speakers, a sender/receiver
with 3.5mm aux input and USB connection to a PC, a sender/receiver to add to
add to any legacy sound system, and an amplified sender/receiver to connect to
any passive speaker pair. 

A 5.1-channel Insignia
AV receiver is also Rocketboost-ready.

The newest
products include the Rocketboost-ready Insignia 42- and 32-inch Wi-Fi-connected
smart LCD TVs at $699 and $499, respectively. Their embedded Napster and
Pandora apps will stream music to other Rocketboost-networked devices.

The other new
products are the Rocketboost-ready Insignia two-channel soundbar with embedded
amplifier at $199, Rocketboost-ready 5.1-channel Insignia HTiB at $409.99, and
a Rocketfish-brand amplified bookshelf-speaker pair with embedded Rocketboost
and included USB sender to connect to a PC. All are available in-store and on
the company's web site.

Within a home,
a combination of up to nine sending and receiving devices can be set up to
stream up to five Rockerboost sources or PC-stored songs simultaneously, Kudla
said. Music is sent as an uncompressed 24-bit/48kHz-encoded PCM audio signal.

From many of
the Rocketboost devices, consumers press a next-source button to cycle through
the connected sources they want to hear. On the TVs, a GUI also lets users
select sources, such as a PC, as well as choose the devices to which music will
be streamed.

To take remote
control up a notch, the planned app for Apple's iPads, iPod Touches, and
iPhones will enable users to not only remotely select sources but also remotely
select songs, playlists and random-play options from PCs equipped with Windows
Media Play or iTunes.

Though the app
uses Wi-Fi to send commands to a networked PC, the app will recognize any
source or receiver connected to the Rocketboost network as long as a
Rocketboost USB transmitter is connected to the PC, the company said.

A USB sender
is sold separately but also included with select products, such as the
bookshelf speaker and outdoor speaker.

The app will not
turn on/off any Rocketboost-networked product.

 Best Buy also hopes to
connect other-brand products
to the Rocketboost network. Early this year, Onkyo
announced
that it would offer a Rocketboost-equipped sender/receiver that
would plug into a proprietary back-panel port on select AV receivers. The
sender/receiver is not yet available, Best Buy said.

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