One of the problems with setting up a home theater system is all the wires needed to connect the speakers. However, WiSA Technology offers a wireless connection solution for all your speakers in a home theater setup, greatly reducing wire clutter.
WiSA (Wireless Speaker and Audio Association) was formed in 2011 as a trade organization supported by member companies. The organization develops and coordinates technology, implementation standards, sales training, and promotion of wireless home theater audio products, which now include TVs, soundbars, and speakers.
WiSA tests and certifies products developed by its member brands to ensure consistent standards for wireless high-resolution, multi-channel, low latency, compatibility, robustness, and ease of use so that products carrying the WiSA label work seamlessly together.
For more background info on WiSA including core specifications and product certification, refer to our article: What Is WiSA? What You Need To Know And How It Works
WiSA HT (Home Theater)
The transmitter may come as part of a WiSA-certified wireless home theater speaker package or come as a separate unit (such as the WiSA SoundSend – $179 at Amazon) that can be used with any brand of WiSA-certified speakers.
WiSA HT supports up to 8 channels of audio (for Dolby Atmos which means up to a 5.1.2 channel setup) and operates in the 5Ghz transmission band.
An example of WiSA HT implementation is the recently released Platin Audio Monaco 5.1.2 WiSA Home Theater System ($1,499.00). The system comes packaged with a WiSA SoundSend transmitter and a Dolby Atmos speaker system.
However, in a strategic move, WiSA has announced two additional technology options that it will be licensing to interested product brands.
WiSA DS (Discrete System)
Announced earlier in 2022, WiSA has decided to target this technology for use with Soundbars. WiSA DS gives soundbar makers the ability to make soundbars that incorporate WiSA technology for easy implementation of wireless surround speakers and subwoofers.
This can take the form of a complete package that comes with the soundbar, wireless speakers, or subwoofer, or just the soundbar with the option for adding wireless surround speakers and/or subwoofer at a later date with minimal setup required.
DS supports up to 5 channels of wireless audio and operates in the 2.4Ghz transmission band. Since a soundbar typically incorporates two or three channels within its cabinet, soundbar makers can add (at their discretion) 5 wireless speaker channels that incorporate surround and Dolby Atmos height channels, as well as a wireless subwoofer.
The soundbar connects to the TV via HDMI-ARC or eARC, or another designated audio connection. With the soundbar’s WiSA DS capabilities built-in, it can, in turn, send surround sound and bass audio out to wireless external speakers and/or subwoofer.
The soundbar will detect the presence of the speakers and/or subwoofer and determine their location and distance. The only wired requirement is the wireless speakers and subwoofer do need to be plugged into power.
WiSA E (Embedded)
This program is designed for use with TVs. WiSA E is even more convenient than using a WiSA DS soundbar as WiSA E technology can be embedded in the TV.
This means that no external soundbar or AV receiver needs to be physically connected to the TV via HDMI-ARC/eARC or other wired audio connection. You just purchase a WiSA-certified speaker system of any brand, plug them into power and the TV will automatically detect their presence, location, and distance and make the needed adjustments for audio enjoyment.
WiSA E supports up to 10 audio channels (for Dolby Atmos which means up to 5.1.4 channel setup) and operates on the 5Ghz transmission band.
Tip: WiSA DS and WiSA E both support Dolby Atmos and other Spatial Audio formats as determined by the product maker.
WiSA DS and E Availability Timeline
WiSA is currently providing limited demonstrations to investors and partners but is expected to have fuller demos at the 2023 CES in January, with products expected to show up on store shelves before the end of that year.
We are definitely looking forward to seeing, hearing, and reviewing some of these forthcoming WiSA DS and E products.
Will this make traditional wired home theater systems redundant in the near future?
It could certainly be a positive move in that direction.
Tip: As a follow-up to WiSA E – WiSA has announced a new smartphone app for control of WiSA-enabled devices that use WiSA HT or WiSA E software. This incudes smart TVs, soundbars, and external transmitters such as the WiSA Soundsend.
Set up: Users are guided through the system setup process and also provided useful tips.
User Operation: The “MyAudio” feature gives users audio settings control, including:
- Multiple content-specific presets for different audio modes, such as movies, music, or u night listening.
- Intuitive EQ controls.
- Save customized control settings into presets for individual listening preferences.
The app is free and available for Android and iOS (the iOS version will be available in mid-December 2022).