Smart-home entertainment company Blackfire Research has announced Blackfire RED, a Wi-Fi alternative framework built to overcome the limitations of Wi-Fi in wireless entertainment applications.
“Blackfire RED [is] a real-time entertainment distribution framework … the industry’s only wireless and entertainment-centric infrastructure software framework built from the ground up to both overcome the limitations of Wi-Fi when used for media applications and meet the needs of wireless entertainment-related consumer applications and products,” explains Blackfire in a press announcement.
It's not enough to have Wi-Fi between consumer products, says the company, adding that standard Wi-Fi creates “islands” of incompatible media devices that don't work reliably with one another. It's especially troublesome when it comes to high-quality 5.1 audio and 4K video.
“The smart home industry is due for a shake-up,” says Adam Wright, senior research analyst, consumer IoT, IDC. “While the initial IoT concept has evolved into the connected home, we still see that home entertainment is lagging behind due to unreliable connectivity and lack of interoperability, among other issues. The smart home industry has been in need of a solution that has the ability to link all of these excellent, yet disparate, smart devices. Reliable, real-time connectivity between devices and the ability to work together seamlessly is essential for the smart home ecosystem to move past this innovation plateau.”
Harman Kardon, Onkyo, Pioneer and Integra have already licensed the Blackfire RED framework. Blackfire says these brands are “currently shipping products that leverage its capabilities.”
More from the Blackfire Research release:
Blackfire RED framework components:
- Software engine, a lightweight piece of software, embedded in consumer electronic products, that is network, chipset and operating system agnostic, making integration easy.
- Communication protocol that allows Blackfire RED enabled products to talk to each other over a standard network stack. This was designed to overcome the limitations of traditional Wi-Fi by working around the effects of interference and ensuring a reliable, high-speed connection.
- Programming interface that allows real-time distribution and handling of entertainment content from and to the products.
Blackfire RED features and capabilities:
- Reliable multi-room, multi-channel, low latency wireless audio and video over Wi-Fi
- Advanced multi-source media pipeline handling for services such as Google Chromecast Audio and Spotify Connect
- Native integration into Smart TVs, enabling the TV itself to decode and send multi-channel audio to wireless speakers
- Wireless 4K video for transmitting audio and video from a Smart Set Top Box simultaneously to multiple TVs and speakers throughout the home
- Voice AI integration into multi-room, enabling a whole-home voice-control system.
- Easy integration into all smart devices.
“Today’s Smart Homes, while certainly more intelligent than a decade ago, have left consumers stranded,” says Ravi Rajapakse, founder and CEO, Blackfire. “Smart technology has created entertainment islands, but I wanted my entertainment to be accessible anywhere in my home without compromising on performance or quality, which is what led me to create Blackfire RED. I wanted to see the Smart Home Entertainment promise through to fruition and for people to finally have the wireless entertainment experience for both audio and video that they have long deserved.”