WiSA Wireless Audio at CEDIA 2014 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 20 Old 09-24-2014, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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WiSA Wireless Audio at CEDIA 2014



I've been following WiSA (the Wireless Speaker and Audio Association) since its inception in 2011. This industry group has developed a robust, open standard for transmitting up to eight channels of high-resolution (24/96) uncompressed audio wirelessly in the 5 GHz RF (radio frequency) band. In fact, it uses the 15 channels of the UNII (Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure) band, which are not used by WiFi, thus providing sufficient guaranteed bandwidth to support eight channels of 24/96 audio. These channels are used by military and weather radar, so they must be monitored carefully and relinquished if needed by those applications, but if the system detects any such activity, it instantly moves to another channel, allowing uninterrupted transmission.

At CEDIA, WiSA reps were monitoring the traffic in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, claiming that none of the 2.4 GHz WiFi-based whole-home audio systems on the show floor—which is most of them—were working because of all the activity in that band. (I was not able to verify that for myself.) They even provided me with screen shots of the traffic:


The 2.4 GHz WiFi band was very congested in the WiSA sound room and, presumably, throughout the show floor, as you would expect at a tech conference.


The 5.0 GHz band was much less crowded; the five peaks seen here are all WiSA streams.

Virtually all the currently available whole-home wireless-audio systems are designed for multi-room, 2-channel distributed audio, whereas WiSA is designed for single-room, multi-channel home-theater applications, such as 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound. Of course, the speakers must be self-powered, and all relevant components must be WiSA-certified, but that certification guarantees interoperability and automatic configuration between different brands of products.

Speaking of brands, WiSA has added six new members, bringing the total up to 30, with certified products now or soon to be available from Sharp, Bang & Olufsen, and XTZ as well as ODMs (original design manufacturers) Claridy Audio and Hansong. Early WiSA products are fairly high-end, such as Sharp's SD-WH1000U universal player and several B&O speakers and TVs, but WiSA expects lower-priced products to be available soon.

The organization announced at CEDIA that the next version of the WiSA specification will include the ability to dynamically allocate audio channels between a 5.1-channel home theater and multizone stereo audio. The multizone portion will support up to 32 speakers in up to seven zones from the same transmitter with individual volume control. Also, a new transmitter design is plug-compatible with older transmitters and allows transmissions up to 100 meters line-of-sight or 35-45 meters through three "American" gypsum walls (less through concrete walls). To develop and test these new systems, WiSA has rented a 3000-square-foot, 2-story house in Hillsboro, OR, and equipped it with extensive instrumentation.

WiSA presented three demos in its sound room at CEDIA. The first was a 7.1 home-theater setup with a PS3 playing Blu-rays to a Bang & Olufsen Beovision Avant 55 TV, whose onboard speaker reproduced the center channel. The other six channels were served by Beolab 20 powered speakers with integrated subwoofers, all fed 24/48 audio wirelessly from the TV via WiSA. Also demonstrated was a Sharp SD-WH1000U universal player feeding 24/96 2-channel audio to two custom-modified Klipsch Palladium P-39F speakers, each with a built-in WiSA receiver and amplifier (actually, each speaker was bi-amped with 2x250W).

Unfortunately, I didn't get to hear those two demos, but I did hear the third one, in which WiSA's new multi-zone capabilities were highlighted. The PS3 was connected to a prototype transmitter via HDMI, which sent 5.1-channel audio wirelessly to a set of XTZ Cinema-series WiSA-certified speakers. Connected to the transmitter's second HDMI input was an Apple TV playing 2-channel CD-quality audio (16-bit/44.1 kHz) from a Mac Mini, which was communicating with the Apple TV via AirPlay and an AirPort Extreme router. The transmitter sent the 2-channel audio to a pair of custom-modified Paradigm Atom monitors with WiSA receivers and internal amps in the back of the room.

Ironically, the AirPlay system was reportedly unreliable because of all the WiFi congestion, but when I heard the demo, it was working just fine. Hearing both the 5.1 movie soundtrack and 2-channel music together was a bit cacophonous—normally, the two programs would be playing in different rooms—but it ably demonstrated WiSA's new multizone capability.

WiSA is an open standard with no licensing fee. Manufacturers that wish to make WiSA-compatible products must join the association for an annual, sliding-scale membership fee that depends on the size of the company, and they must pay for independent testing and certification, which gives them the right to display the WiSA logo on their products. Currently, only Summit Semiconductor is developing chips and modules to support WiSA, but other chip makers are certainly welcome to join the party. In any event, I look forward to seeing—and hearing—more products that implement this technology.

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post #2 of 20 Old 09-24-2014, 12:25 PM
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If someone can get a 5.1 system developed and sell it for under $500 I think it would do really well in the HTIB space. When I sold electronics and when I talk to friends its always the same thing - we don't want any wires. They're all unable or unwilling to get speaker wires in their walls.

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post #3 of 20 Old 09-24-2014, 01:39 PM
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I want WiSA and Atmos together. One box and one set of wireless speakers that can do it all.

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post #4 of 20 Old 09-24-2014, 04:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
I want WiSA and Atmos together. One box and one set of wireless speakers that can do it all.
Hell yeah.

But I think that'll have to wait for Wisa 2.0 which should apparently support more than 8 channels though, unless you're happy to settle for 5.1.2 (which might be enough since most people use 5.1 instead of 7.1 anyway).

I see a lot of LCRs as remaining wired, but the surrounds as Wisa and maybe the heights as Wisa too, though ideally height = Atmos + Wisa + A4WP (wireless charging) would be the killer combo there.

A4WP apparently can provide 50W of power without wires. Should be enough for most modest home surround + height speakers.
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post #5 of 20 Old 09-24-2014, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
I want WiSA and Atmos together. One box and one set of wireless speakers that can do it all.
Here ya go. Doesn't even need power cords - just lasers!
http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/03/car...-could-be.html
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post #6 of 20 Old 09-24-2014, 08:42 PM
 
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Wireless home theater system is the future. ...And the better the performance the wider the clientele's reach; me included.
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post #7 of 20 Old 09-24-2014, 09:41 PM
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Don't wireless speakers need a plug near by for power? How would you power them? Changing batteries all the time would suck, would rather just run wires in the walls then forget about it. I don't get wireless, you still need power going to the speakers

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post #8 of 20 Old 09-24-2014, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustABrah View Post
Don't wireless speakers need a plug near by for power? How would you power them? Changing batteries all the time would suck, would rather just run wires in the walls then forget about it. I don't get wireless, you still need power going to the speakers
That's correct, you still need power for each speaker, which would normally mean AC power, since batteries wouldn't last long under the demands of a reasonably powerful amp.

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post #9 of 20 Old 09-24-2014, 09:55 PM
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When they master wireless power, which is coming, then wireless speakers will be so nice but right now one way or the other it'll have a wire attached to it.

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post #10 of 20 Old 09-24-2014, 10:57 PM
 
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Just imagine...an Auro-3D home theater with twenty-four wireless speakers. ...And six wireless subwoofers.
That's thirty AC power chords; just for the speakers and subs alone.
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post #11 of 20 Old 09-24-2014, 11:43 PM
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This would be pretty great if it were integrated into TVs. If you still need a "receiver" (minus amplification), then it's not so attractive.
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post #12 of 20 Old 09-25-2014, 02:39 AM
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I want a completely wireless 11.2 channel system that runs on magic.

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post #13 of 20 Old 09-25-2014, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustABrah View Post
Don't wireless speakers need a plug near by for power? How would you power them? Changing batteries all the time would suck, would rather just run wires in the walls then forget about it. I don't get wireless, you still need power going to the speakers
Indeed, but most homes already have electrical wiring installed in the walls and ceilings. Installing a self-powered wireless speaker is no different than installing a light fixture on a wall or in a ceiling.

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post #14 of 20 Old 09-25-2014, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
Indeed, but most homes already have electrical wiring installed in the walls and ceilings. Installing a self-powered wireless speaker is no different than installing a light fixture on a wall or in a ceiling.
It makes sense for a basic 5.1 or even 7.1 setup in an existing space, but I don't think most homes have existing unused j-boxes inside the ceiling or wall plates installed high up on the walls or on the ceiling where you would want to place your height speakers for Atmos/Auro. So, you're probably going to need to hire an electrician to install the required fixtures if you want to run "wireless" heights or overhead speakers. With a wired approach, you could legally run the speaker wire yourself. On the plus side for the "wireless" option, you are more likely to have an electrical wire close to where you want your speaker to go, so it wouldn't require much demo and drywall repair to get back to the existing wire and install a new j-box (provided the existing line can handle the extra load). Whereas, with the wired option, you would need to pull the wire all the way from the receiver to the speaker location thru the walls/ceiling. This can be a real pain if the space above your theater room is finished.

I think that the ability to mix/match sources and speakers in any combination you like up to the 8 channel limit would be huge. Doubly so if you can take a single source that is capable of rendering and outputting more than 8 channels and assign up to 8 of those channels to be delivered using WiSA while using speaker wire for the rest. Or, piggy-backing multiple WiSA transmitters that are operating on different frequencies to allow for the delivery of syncronized audio from a single source to as many speakers as you want. This could allow for a more modular approach to expanding the number of speakers in your home theater rather than needing to replace your existing 8 channel WiSA trasmitter with a newer, more expensive 16 channel WiSA transmitter, followed by an even more expensive 32 channel WiSA trasmitter as the standards evolve.
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post #15 of 20 Old 09-25-2014, 11:29 AM
 
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Electricity; we rely heavily on it, and for a good while more into the future...

Tomorrow's home theater rooms will have tons of AC outlets. ...In 3D (the four walls, floor, and ceiling).

______________

<<>> The real revolution/evolution will come when we'll have amazing energy power into miniature cell batteries, like in our smartphones, but way more advanced and much much more longer lasting. ...Our receivers will last months before the need of being recharged.
And full recharges will only take few minutes.

Everything; TVs, amps, active wireless powered speakers, pre/pros, music/movie sources, ...will have super cell batteries inside.
...Way more powerful than in our smartphones, and they'll last a very long time without the need of recharging.
And them batteries will be the size of DSP chips.
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post #16 of 20 Old 09-26-2014, 07:12 AM
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WISA is cool and all and pulling for it but it is easier to run inwall or under carpet speaker cable and not have to pull a permit or pay a licensed electrician to run all those outlets to keep your home insurance intact.

I see this a win for 2.0/2.1, sound bars, and distributed 2.0 audio. I'm skeptical on wide acceptance as to 5/7.x.

An audiophile likes to talk about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

A DIY'er likes to talk about how little they spent and how good it sounds.


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post #17 of 20 Old 09-27-2014, 10:29 AM
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What we really need is wireless speakers with solar panels and batteries. They charge up during the day with enough charge to play all night (or could charge from the lights in the room when not watching dark room movies), therefore being completely wireless.

It wouldn't work for a home theater with no windows, but for a living room it would be perfect.
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post #18 of 20 Old 09-28-2014, 05:21 AM
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They just need small cold fusion reactors, energon, or any of variety of crystal-based power technologies, similar to those used in lightsabers or warp drives.
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post #19 of 20 Old 08-11-2015, 01:41 PM
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthSky View Post
Just imagine...an Auro-3D home theater with twenty-four wireless speakers. ...And six wireless subwoofers.
That's thirty AC power chords; just for the speakers and subs alone.
I want one
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post #20 of 20 Old 08-11-2015, 05:28 PM
 
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No, you don't want one.

________

www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1EkOsY8p_8

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