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Eos Plans PC-Based Multi-Room Audio System

San Diego
Eos Wireless plans September
availability of a wireless-RF multi-room audio system that uses a PC as its
music source.

The Eos Converge system is the company’s second wireless
multi-room product, joining an
Eos system
that uses an iPod as its music source. Both systems use the same
proprietary wireless Gigawave technology to transmit music in digital PCM
format up to 150 feet through walls to clients scattered throughout the house.
Line-of-sight range is 300 feet.

It becomes available on Eos’s Web site on Sept. 1 followed by
Sept. 15 shipments to distributors.

Converge is promoted as a simple-to-use low-cost alternative
to other PC-based multi-room audio systems. Neither Eos system requires
connection to a home’s Wi-Fi network, president Mick Sakakeeny explained. Pricing
starts at about $300 for a transmitter and clients for two rooms, he added.

The systems keep costs low by streaming only one song at a
time to up to four receivers, or clients, and limiting the on-chassis controls
on Converge clients. Both clients, one with amplifier and one without, feature play/pause
and track up/down controls, and the amplified client adds volume up/down. Consumers
who stream their music through a PC’s iTunes application, however, can avail
themselves to a free app download that turns a Wi-Fi-equipped iPod Touch or
iPhone into a remote control. In a home with a Wi-Fi network, the portable
devices will select iTunes-managed music by artist, album or genre or iTunes
playlist. The app does not control the clients, however.

The system streams unprotected and protected music from any
PC-based music-management system because the transmitter converts the analog
audio from the PC’s USB output to PCM for over-the-air transmission, Sakakeeny

Converge components include a $99-suggested USB-connected
transmitter that streams PC-stored music or Internet radio to clients in other
rooms. The two clients include a $99 model without amplifier but with RCA line
outputs to connect to an existing stereo system or powered speaker. A second
client, at $149, includes amplifier to drive passive speakers, which
Intellitouch will also offer at $99/pair. The amplified receiver also features
a subwoofer output. Both clients feature aux input.

Eos is also planning multiple bundles, one of which will be
a $229 package consisting of an amplified client and a pair of speakers. The
transmitter is a separate purchase.

Eos’s 2.4GHz wireless Gigawave technology combines dynamic
frequency-hopping digital spread spectrum with error correction to deliver a
reliable wireless connection that can be broken only by an old microwave that
would also crash a Wi-Fi network, Sakakeeny contends. It transmits PCM over a wide-band
1.5Mbps channel to deliver CD-quality sound, he added.

The company sells its two consumer products on its Web site
and, through distributors Petra
and D&H Distributing, to multiple online sites. Although the Gigawave
technology provides a “robust wireless link for in-store demos,” Sakakeeny
said, brick-and-mortar retailers have a tough time grappling with the logistics
of demonstrating a wireless audio systems

Eos Wireless is a division of Intellitouch, which makes phone
systems and music-on-hold products for business.