NEW YORK –
Pioneer Electronics unveiled its first wireless tabletop speakers, expanded its lineup of computer speakers, and added a new Blu-ray player to its homeelectronics selection here at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Line Shows.
The company also announced a partnership with smartphone maker HTC to offer the industry’s first consumer electronics products designed to make it easier to stream audio wirelessly from an HTC smartphone’s native music player.
With the HTC partnership, Pioneer will become the first company to offer consumer electronics products certified for use with select HTC smartphones under the new HTC Connect program. The program is designed to deliver “a seamless and consistent audio streaming and control experience,” HTC said.
Certification reduces the number of steps that a consumer must take on the HTC smartphone to initiate streaming to the Pioneer A/V receivers (AVRs), and it ensures reliable performance, which isn’t guaranteed among DLNA-certified devices, Pioneer told TWICE.
The Pioneer products will appear on an HTC smartphone’s screen as a compatible HTC Connect device, enabling users to select them quickly, Pioneer said.
The HTC device will also stream album art and metadata through the AVRs to a connected TV, Pioneer noted.
The 2012 lineup of Pioneer- and Elite-brand DLNAcertified networked audio/video receivers, plus the three wireless DLNA-certified Wi-Fi speakers, will be the first CE products certified under the HTC Connect program. The 15 AVRs will support HTC Connect when they get a firmware update in the third quarter. The Wi-Fi speakers are due in August.
Through a software update in the coming months, the HTC One series of smartphones will become HTC Connect-certified. Even with certification, however, third-party music applications might not work with HTC Connect, Pioneer noted.
In consumer electronics, although the initial HTC-certified products are DLNA-based home products from Pioneer, the certification program will expand to include car audio and video as well as the Bluetooth and nearfield communications (NFC) technologies, HTC said.
In launching its first wireless speakers, Pioneer unveiled a trio of active single-chassis tabletop models that incorporate Wi-Fi, DLNA 1.5 certification and Apple AirPlay.
The speakers, one of which is a portable AC/DC model, will retail for a suggested $299 to $399. Each speaker incorporates AAC, WMA, MP3 and uncompressed-WAV decoders.
In what Pioneer called an industry first, the speakers will stream music via Wi-Fi in homes that lack a Wi-Fi network or in rooms that a home’s Wi-Fi network doesn’t reach using the company’s Wireless Direct technology, which lets the speakers act as their own Wi-Fi wireless access point.