SAN DIEGO – Qualcomm’s upgraded All- Play wireless multiroom-audio technology adds multiple new features, including the ability for AllPlay speakers to retransmit Bluetooth-connected sources and wired line-in sources over Wi-Fi to other AllPlay speakers throughout the house.
Other changes turn stereo AllPlay speakers into a left-channel or right-channel speaker so that two can be used as a stereo pair to widen the sound stage, thanks to an improvement in latency from less than 5 milliseconds to less than 100 microseconds.
The left-right capability also adds wirelesssubwoofer capability to an AllPlay speaker system for the first time.
Also new is suppliers’ ability to access a speaker’s DSP to create custom equalization settings tailored to their drivers and cabinets.
Monster recently shipped the first three AllPlay speakers with Bluetooth-source retransmission over Wi-Fi. They’re priced at $229 to $399 and are available in Best Buy. They’ll be followed by Hitachi’s first All- Play speakers, also with Bluetooth-source retransmission. They’re available this week exclusively at select Walmart stores and on Walmart.com at $149 to $179.
Neither brand’s speakers support Wi-Fi transmission of line-input sources.
The new Bluetooth capability will act as a bridge between the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speaker markets, enabling consumers who have been weaned on Bluetooth audio to see the value of home-wide Wi-Fi audio, said Gary Brotman, director of product management for Qualcomm connected experiences.
Other AllPlay speakers already in homes with Bluetooth and line inputs can’t be firmware-upgraded to enable Wi-Fi retransmission of Bluetooth and line-in sources because a hardware change is needed, Brotman noted.
All current AllPlay speakers, however, will be able to receive and play back retransmitted line-in and Bluetooth sources.