Xbox is Big Win for WiSA Wireless Audio, But WiSA Must Help Itself
For six years, the WiSA Association has struggled to achieve critical mass for its wireless surround-sound technology, but new member Xbox could change the game, so to speak. Meanwhile, WiSA needs a better website .
Most audio aficionados will agree that WiSA – the Wireless Speaker and Audio spec – is an excellent technology for delivering high-quality surround-sound to multiple speakers without wires. But the six-year-old standard has struggled to gain followers.
Xbox joined the WiSA Association this week (press release on page 2), and could finally generate the visibility that WiSA deserves … if Xbox actually employs the technology. Most companies who join tech-related associations don’t actually implement the technology. They just want to stay informed.
The press release announcing the new member doesn’t quote anyone from Xbox and doesn’t say that Xbox will actually incorporate WiSA into its gaming consoles. WiSA’s PR only hints at such engagement:
This summer, Xbox marked a significant milestone with its unveiling of the world’s most powerful console, Xbox One X, and its largest and most diverse games lineup in history. … Creating an immersive audio experience that sets-up in minutes through the integration of WiSA technology will place gamers in the center of the action easier than ever before and create an entirely new and elevated gaming experience. …
“We are excited to welcome Xbox and have them work alongside our speaker brand members to increase the inmarket system offerings that can be created through the interoperability of WiSA technology,” said Tony Ostrom, President of WiSA. “Xbox delivers a fantastic gaming experience with premier audio alongside a significant amount of content into the homes of consumers, including TV shows, movies and music. Together, we can create simple high-performance audio solutions through the integration of high definition wireless audio for all Xbox fans.”
Delivering uncompressed audio in the 5 GHz band, WiSA is good enough for Bang & Olufsen, which incorporates the wireless technology in several high-performance TVs and speakers. Demonstrations of the technology at B&O headquarters in Denmark wowed many dealers who had not experienced WiSA before.
Other than B&O, though, WiSA hasn’t seen a whole lot of uptake over the years, despite a number of demonstrations and announcements by would-be adopters. Klipsch finally has compliant products some five years after becoming a founding member of the WiSA Association in 2011. A couple of startups like Axiim and Enclave have products too.
How do you Find WiSA Products?!
But what about Harman (JBL, Infinity, Mark Levinson, Revel and other top audio brands), Definitive Technology, Artison, Onkyo, Polk Audio, Martin Logan, Pioneer and other WiSA members that have demonstrated or planned to deliver WiSA-enabled products?
Try doing a Google search of WiSA-enabled products, and you'll get nowhere.
It’s difficult to tell which of the WiSA “partners” currently sell compliant products, as the WiSA website only mentions members and announced products, not shipping solutions.
A list of WiSA-compliant products on the market might be a nice touch. It would bring awareness to the technology and make it super-simple for consumers to assemble a complete WiSA-enabled surround-sound system. It might even spur development of WiSA products.
WiSA is pretty awesome. Hopefully Xbox will actually implement the technology and help the association improve its visibility and adoption.
For now … how about a list of certified products, WiSA?
Next page: Xbox WiSA press release
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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