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Sharp Adds Network-Audio Features To WiSA Video Player

New York – Sharp is adding high-resolution network-audio features and a control app to the industry’s first Blu-ray/SACD player equipped with WiSA wireless-audio technology.

The player also incorporates WiHD wireless-video technology to transmit wireless 1080p video to a TV.

The company pushed back shipments to September from June to accommodate the changes, said Jim Sanduski, senior VP of strategic product marketing.

The price for what Sharp calls a wireless high-resolution audio player remains at $4,999 UPP. It will be sold through custom installers, high-end specialty A/V dealers and other high-end dealers with which Sharp has direct relations, Sanduski said. Internet sales will be prohibited.

The new network-audio features, enabled via Ethernet port, include streaming of high-resolution music files from a NAS drive or networked PC. Songs can be selected remotely from the company’s planned iOS and Android apps.

High-res files can also be played from a USB stick or USB-connected hard drive.

Supported high-res files are DSD, 96/24 WAV, and 96/24 FLAC, Sanduski said. The player also plays back MP3 and WMA audio files.

Supported physical discs include CD, DVD, Blu-ray, and multichannel SACD discs.

Via WiSA technology, the player will transmit uncompressed 96/24 audio from Blu-ray discs to up to 7.1 active speakers equipped with WiSA technology, such as models from Bang & Olufsen. Via wireless WiHD technology, the player will stream uncompressed 1080p video to a TV equipped with a WiHD HDMI dongle that will be included with the player.

For speakers that lack built-in WiSA receivers, Sharp plans September availability of a $999 UPP Wireless Bridge, which attaches to each individual speaker in a home theater system. The speakers also need an add-on amp, said Sanduski.

The SD-WH1000U Blu-ray/SACD player not only transmits up to 7.1 channels of 24 bit/96kHz high-resolution uncompressed audio from Blu-ray, SACD and DVD discs, but it also wirelessly transmits audio content from a connected set top box, game console or other audio source via three HDMI inputs, two USB ports, one digital optical input, and one digital coaxial input. One HDMI input is MHL-compliant.

As for outputs, the player features dual HDMI outputs with 4K upscaling, balanced and unbalanced analog-audio outs, one optical out, and one coaxial out.

The product will be compatible with an array of automation standards including Crestron, AMX and Control4 via Ethernet and RS 232.

WiSA technology is promoted as delivering interference-free, wired-quality wireless audio in the 5.2-5.8GHz U-NII band to stereo and home theater speakers within a room up to 9 by 9 meters (29.5 by 29.5 feet). WiSA technology delivers up to 7.1 channels of 24-bit/96kHz uncompressed audio.

The technology is promoted as eliminating cable clutter, enabling more flexible placement of speakers by eliminating speaker-cable runs, and overcoming the sound quality, interference, latency and cost challenges associated with other wireless technologies designed for multichannel home theaters, WiSA has said.

Bang & Olufsen is the only other company currently offering WiSA-certified products, including active wireless speakers, TVs with embedded WiSA, and an outboard WiSA-certified transmitter to add to its surround-decoding TVs.