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Kleer's Wireless Audio Technology Evolves To Add Home Audio

12/15/2009 12:02:00 AM Eastern
CES 2010 Cupertino, Calif. - Kleer's wireless-audio technology has grown beyond its initial application as a short-range cable-replacement technology for low-power portable devices into a technology that can be used for multi-room audio and home-theater audio applications.

The fabless semiconductor maker will demonstrate the upgraded technology at International CES with multiple reference designs and some of the first consumer products incorporating its next-generation KLR3012 version 1.9 audio module. The company expects multiple companies to announce products incorporating its technology during CES or soon after.

The 2.4GHz-band technology transmits uncompressed 16-bit, 44.1kHz digital PCM over the air to deliver lossless CD quality sound.

To enable multi-room-audio and home theater applications, Kleer:

--extended wireless line-of-site range to 100 meters, up from 20 meters, allowing for whole-house coverage through walls and floors.

--reduced audio latency to less than 25 milliseconds from 45 milliseconds to improve audio synchronization with video content in a home theater and, in multi-room applications, provide synchronization from room to room. Latency between left and right stereo speakers is down to 80 microseconds to prevent stereo imaging from deteriorating, the company said.

--accelerated the speed of dynamic, intelligent channel switching to avoid interference with 2.4GHz-band Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networks. The technology monitors the 2.4GHz band for interference and, if it senses interference on a Kleer channel is use, it automatically switches to a clear channel in 800 microseconds, down from 4.8 milliseconds, for a 6:1 reduction. The accelerated switching time requires little buffering that would other increase latency, said cofounder/chief technical officer Ralph Mason.

-- added such multi-room-audio features as centralized RF remote control of multiple audio sources and multiple playback devices, including wireless speakers, placed around the house. The upgrade also adds wireless metadata streaming to enable remote song selection by artist, title and album. First-generation technology enabled control of an MP3 player's track, volume and playlist from headphones or, in the case of a bicycle speaker, from the speaker itself.

Some of the new features have already been incorporated in existing Kleer-equipped consumer products as firmware upgrades to Kleer's existing audio modules. The latest version retains the low-power-consumption feature of the original version for use in battery-operated portables. All products equipped with Kleer technology are interoperable, the company added.

At its Las Vegas Hilton suite, the company will demonstrate multiple products incorporating the new and earlier versions of its technology. Products incorporating the upgrades include Sennhesier headphones and an Ion Audio tabletop powered speaker system, which reproduces music from an iPod or iPhone equipped with a Kleer-embedded dongle. The speakers and dongle will ship soon after CES, Kleer said.

Using its latest technology, Kleer will also demonstrate a reference-design USB adapter for PCs and reference-design surround speakers. A reference-design iPhone app will enable an iPhone or iPod Touch to select Kleer-equipped devices to stream music to them.

The first products incorporating Kleer's original technology hit the market in late 2007, when Global Icons shipped the Cy-Fi battery-powered bicycle speaker, which wirelessly receives music from an iPod. The speaker had built in controls so the user can change the track, volume and playlist settings of his music.

Sennhesier headphones and an RCA MP3 player followed in 2008.
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