A new 2.4-GHz radio technology promises to synchronize home audio systems with portable electronic devices, thus enabling iPods and smart phones to wirelessly play audio back through speakers anywhere in the home.
Known as the Kleer KLR3012 multi-purpose radio module, the technology employs new firmware that bridges the gap between home and portable audio in a way that couldn't be done by established RF systems, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. As a result, users will also be able to wirelessly transmit synchronized audio from a CD player or even a home theater in a living room to speakers in a bedroom.
“No matter where your audio devices are in your home, you can now network wirelessly from any source to any receiver,” says Brent Allen, senior director of product management at Kleer Semiconductor Corp. “It covers the entire home, without interfering with any Wi-Fi or Bluetooth networks.”
Using technology called KleerStream Baseband Radio, the company has enabled multi-room audio by offering 100m line-of-sight range and audio latency of 25 to 45 ms. That, along with intelligent channel switching to avoid interference with 2.4-GHz Bluetooth networks, enables clear room-to-room audio synchronization. The new technology also offers centralized, RF-based remote control of audio sources and playback devices.
Kleer engineers say that KleerStream provides features that aren't available in Wi-Fi, which is typically used for home data networking, or in Bluetooth, which is commonly employed in head sets and mobile phones. Bluetooth's power levels are too high and its audio quality is too low for home audio networking, while Wi-Fi's latency is too much, Kleer engineers say.
“Our message is that neither of those technologies are suitable for home audio networking,” Allen says.
Kleer says it is also working with automakers and tier-one automotive suppliers. It expects its new technology to be employed in dashboard head units and rear-seat entertainment systems with unnamed automakers in the second half of 2010.
Click here to read about the best way to connect an iPod to your car's audio system.