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WiSA Developing Wireless Multi-Room Extension

New York – The Wireless Speaker and Audio (WiSA) association wants to turn its wireless in-room home theater speaker technology into a wireless multi-zone stereo technology.

The current WiSA technology transmits up to 7.1 channels of uncompressed 96/24 audio up to 10 meters line-of-sight within a room. The new technology, called Extended Distance (XD), will support a 7.4 home theater speaker system simultaneously with up to seven zones of multiroom audio. Range will expand to 100 meters line of sight, or 40 meters through two walls, or 30 meters through three walls, said WiSA president James Venable.

With the market requirements set, WiSA is building modules for inclusion in product prototypes for proof-of-concept testing, Venable told TWICE. Products for the residential and commercial industries could be available in mid-2015, he said.

Venable foresees product for the over-the-counter consumer market as well as for the residential installation market.

The current technology could support four stereo zones, but firmware changes would be needed to implement the capability, Venable noted.

A key advantage of WiSA multi-room technology over Wi-Fi-enabled multi-zone audio is the use of the far quieter unlicensed U-NII band, which sits between Wi-Fi bands, said Venable. Another is the ability to jump out of the way of interference without dropouts, he said.

WiSA technology is promoted as delivering interference-free, wired-quality wireless audio, and eliminating cable clutter, enabling more flexible placement of home-theater 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.