Why the Industry Needs a Single Wireless Audio Standard

The lack of a comprehensive wireless multiroom audio standard for all loudspeakers and devices inhibits consumer adoption for whole-house music.

Why the Industry Needs a Single Wireless Audio Standard
Tom Lee, president of WiSA, says it's time for a single, unified wireless audio standard, noting that multiroom devices and speakers are being vastly undersold due to consumer hesitancy.
Tom Lee · November 25, 2014

Throughout the technology sector it has been shown that closed systems that do not interoperate with other brands and products inherently limit the growth and size of a category, as well as consumer choices. In emerging markets like high quality wireless audio speakers, it often causes consumer confusion and creates a fracture in the market.

Indeed, a recent article on whole house audio pointed out that the current demand for multiroom speakers is only an average of 2.1 speakers per household, far below what most available products can technically support.

The hard cold fact is that the average consumer isn’t looking for, nor could they afford 32 zones in their homes. Even adding a dedicated audio network to their home for two to three speakers can be cost prohibitive when given the limited choice of proprietary speakers

This begs the question of why pay for two separate audio networks within the home when one will do? 

That’s why the consumer electronics industry needs a single open wireless audio system for all speaker brands. That is the mission of the Wireless Speaker and Audio Association (WiSA). An open system benefits the growth of the overall category for high resolution wireless audio products and enables participation from many manufacturers and consumers. 

For example, a single WiSA transmitter can support multi-channel high resolution home theater audio and can be extended into other rooms within the home at a fraction of the cost for the majority of homes in the United States, by offering up to 7 zones and 32 speakers. By being interoperable, a consumer can choose to purchase all speakers from their favorite brand or they can buy from different brands that support the WiSA standard. This is exactly what they do today, why should going wireless be any different?

The WiSA Association is delivering an open system environment that provides greater consumer confidence, brand choice, and flexibility across a wide spectrum of capabilities, price points and consumer needs. A consumer is assured that a product with a WiSA logo will work seamlessly with any other WiSA-certified speaker or CE device. This approach has been replicated by other technologies in emerging categories such as HDMI, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and USB. The overwhelming result is faster consumer adoption and revenue growth of the overall market with more products being introduced.

In addition to the benefit of providing interoperability between devices and speakers, the association created a holistic strategy and technology roadmap for solving the problem of sending high resolution wireless multi-channel audio to the home theater and simultaneously extending it to address whole house audio systems.

Having an open, interoperable environment has proven time and time again to result in a larger and more successful market for manufacturers and a better product for the consumer. Using basic patents as a tool to control market expansion is bad for both the industry and bad for the consumer. An open environment with participation from many companies developing compatible products is the right way for the industry to move.

  Article Topics

Speakers · Wireless · Audio/Video · Distributed Audio · Blogs · Wireless Audio · WISA · All Topics
CE Pro Magazine

Not a Magazine Subscriber?
Subscribe Today...It's FREE!!