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Wireless Audio Selection Grows At Best Buy

Best Buy expanded its
selection of wireless multiroom audio products with a series of devices bearing
the company’s Rocketfish brand.

The launch of four affordable Rocketfish SKUs follows the
introduction of a higher end Altus
lineup of wireless multiroom audio products co-developed with Sony.

The Rocketfish selection consists of wireless senders and
receivers that connect to existing music sources, including PCs and MP3
players, and to existing sounds systems or speakers. The selection also
includes an amplified outdoor speaker with built-in wireless receiver. The
devices use a technology called Rocketboost
to transmit uncompressed music in 48kHz/16-bit PCM form in the 2.4GHz band up
to 164 feet when no obstructions are present.

Within a home, audio from up to five different sources, each
connected to its own Rocketfish transmitter, can be transmitted simultaneously to
up to nine different receivers. Receivers come with a volume control and
volume-controlling remote, but sources cannot be controlled from the receivers
or included remotes, a spokeswoman said.

One product, the $99 RF-RBREC, combines a wireless receiver with a
2×42-watt (RMS, 4 ohms) Class D amplifier to power passive speakers, including
surround-sound speakers in a home theater system. The $59 RF-RBAUX doubles as a
sender or receiver but lacks an amplifier. And a $199 starter kit consists of a
transmitter and receiver, which also lacks an amplifier.

The $179 RF-RBWS02 outdoor weather-resistant mono speaker
features a single floor-standing cylindrical housing with built-in amplifier
and built-in wireless receiver. The outdoor speaker is packaged with a wireless
transmitter. Two outdoor speakers can be paired to deliver stereo. Each outdoor
speaker operates on eight C batteries, but a built-in charger charges optional
NiMH rechargeable batteries.

The Altus
series products, in contrast, include tabletop music systems, speakers, and
home theater products, all available at Best Buy as well as other Sony dealers.
That lineup includes two iPod/iPhone-docking tuner-equipped speaker systems at
$400 and $700. Each transmits iPod music and radio stations to two
single-chassis speaker systems. An RF remote commander with LCD displays song

The Altus
series also offers two PC audio multi-room packages, which deliver PC audio to
two remote rooms, and Sony’s $800 BDV-E500W 5.1-channel Blu-ray HTiB with wireless
surround speakers, iPod dock, and ability to stream music wirelessly to up to
10 separately sold single-chassis speaker systems.

The Altus products are displayed
in a dedicated Altus
display. The Rocketfish products have their own displays, a spokeswoman said.