WISA, the Wireless Speaker and Audio Association, is a group that we’ve had our eyes on for years. This industry-association group set about to achieve one purpose: to bring wireless high resolution, multi-channel audio to the home theater. This was largely in the form of WISA-compatible products that used a proprietary network to broadcast, synchronize, receive, and broadcast audio in the home. WISA differed from the other solutions on the market because they sought to achieve high-resolution audio so lacking in other products. Their addressing of multi-channel systems also was unique. The difficulty, it seemed, was that the market was (is?) more interested—based on the products currently on the market—in desktop speakers than wireless home theater surround sound products.
Still, WISA remains a viable and thriving entity, and we have a lot of hope for an eventual move to embrace wireless audio in the home theater environment. WISA just added six new members recently, including Claridy Audio, Elytone Electronic Co., Enclave Wireless Audio, Fostex, Innovo Concepts, Inc., and—the big one—Monitor Audio. All told, the WISA Association has grown by over 50% since January 2014. It now clocks in with 30 member companies, and more announcements of additional members is expected shortly.
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Taking a look at the new the WISA Wireless Speaker and Audio companies:
- Monitor Audio: Global loudspeaker manufacturer
- Claridy Audio: OEM and ODM for digital audio electronics, wireless, amplification, and complete acoustical system design
- Elytone Electronic Co., Ltd.: OEM and ODM for audio products
- Enclave Wireless Audio: Manufacturer of wireless audio products
- Fostex (a division of Foster): Manufacturer of consumer and professional audio products
- Innovo Concepts, Inc.: Product design company
Home audio is a growing domain for manufacturers and retailers interested in pitching wireless speakers and soundbars to consumers. These wireless segments are growing at a rate of 181% and 81% annually, respectively. And yet, wireless audio solutions have only been a stereo experience for the most part. WiSA-compliant components offer high-resolution audio from 2.0 to 7.4 channels. The question is—will manufacturers be able to sell these systems to consumers (who often don’t want to pay the premium). Since WiSA-compliant systems are interoperable, consumers get the added bonus of being able to mix-and-match system components (AV receivers, surround speakers, etc) from different manufacturers.
“The surge in membership and the adoption of WiSA-compliant products is a reflection of the Association’s category leading wireless audio solution. WiSA members are able to deliver what consumers want, a full multi-channel, wireless home theater experience. The interference-free, wireless high-resolution audio products are easy to set up and interoperate with other compliant CE devices like HDTVs, set-top-boxes, gaming devices and more.”
– Tom Lee, president of the WiSA Association