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,
, 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 the Rocketboost network. Early this year,
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.