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Audio Brands Dive Deep Into Streams

LAS VEGAS – Home audio companies are adding more streaming options to their products as music-streaming demand soars.

A November survey of U.S. consumers by U.K-based Loudhouse found that 77 percent of respondents streamed music from the Internet in the previous month, and 69 percent played music downloads. Seventyone percent of respondents agreed with the statement that in five years, “everyone will be streaming their music from the Internet. CDs, vinyl and even MP3 files will be obsolete.”

To prepare for that time:

• Sony, LG and Denon became the first suppliers to announce audio products incorporating Google Cast for Audio technology, which embeds Chromecast technology into wireless speakers, sound bars, and A/V receivers.

• Harman Kardon added Juke, Qobuz, Rhapsody, TuneI and the CD-quality Tidal service to the services available through its Omni wireless multiroom-audio system, joining Deezer and Mix Radio.

• Fine Sounds’ brands McIntosh and Wadia said they plan to offer Tidal.

At Fine Sounds, a software update will add Tidal access to the McIntosh MB100 Media Bridge. Tidal will also be available as a running change to new Media Bridges. All Wadia m330 media servers will also ship with access built in. The upgrades deliver direct access to Tidal’s 25 million tracks on demand from the apps that control the Fine Sounds products.

Tidal’s CD-quality service is also available through home music network players from Anthem, Airable, Astell &Kern, Audeze, Audiovector, AudioQuest, Auralic, Aurender, Bel Canto, Bluesound, NAD, Dan D’Agostino, Definitive Technology, Denon Heos, DTS Play-Fi, Dynaudio, Electrocompaniet, Harman Omni, HiFiAkademie, ickStream, JH Audio, Linn, McIntosh, Meridian, MartinLogan, Paradigm, Polk, Pro-ject, PS Audio, Raumfeld, Simple Audio, Sonos, Steinway Lyngdorf, Wadia and Wren Sound. More brands are coming, Tidal said.

As for Google Cast, Sony, LG and Denon products due in the spring will play back Cloud-based music streamed via Wi-Fi from Cast-enabled iOS and Android music apps running on Android smartphones and tablets. Because the Google Cast-Ready products pull content directly from the Cloud, users will get the best audio quality and can multitask on a phone, tablet or laptop without straining the battery, Google said. Cast-ready products will work with a growing number of apps, including Deezer, Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, NPR One, Pandora, Rdio, TuneIn and others.

Google said more audio brands will add Google Cast in 2015.