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Q&A: Digital transformation of home entertainment requires ‘intelligent’ devices

The digital and wireless evolution of the audio signal path from source to speakers, while maintaining, if not improving, key attributes.

Audio-chat app Clubhouse is connecting ordinary Afghans with the Taliban. — © AFP
Audio-chat app Clubhouse is connecting ordinary Afghans with the Taliban. — © AFP

How is home entertainment being transformed and to what extent is the lack of a common standard inhibiting progress? To assess the current trends, Digital Journal spoke with Tony Ostrom of Summit Wireless and President of the WiSA Association (Wireless Speaker and Audio Association), which is a consumer electronics consortium seek to create an interoperability standard to be utilized by leading brands and manufacturers to deliver immersive sound via intelligent devices.

Digital Journal: Can you provide a brief description of Summit Wireless?

Tony Ostrom: Summit Wireless is a leading provider of immersive, wireless sound technology for intelligent devices and next-generation home entertainment systems .The company is a founding member of WiSA, the Wireless Speaker and Audio Association, and works in joint partnership to champion the most reliable interoperability standard across the audio industry. The Summit team realizes, engineers and delivers all of the advanced technologies used in all WiSA-Certified products.

Additionally, Summit and WiSA work extremely closely to create the requirements and testing protocols for the WiSA Certification process. Summit continues to refine and improve current WiSA technology as well as bring new solutions to market that will dramatically increase the opportunity for product integration and overall category growth.

DJ: What is WiSA and what is the significance of the organization?

Ostrom: At our core, we are a symbol of high-performance and interoperability certification. Our association has over 70 brand members including speaker brands, electronics and transmitter brands, consumer electronics manufacturers and key technical partners. We create testing and certification criteria and procedures to certify the proper integration of wireless audio technology and interoperability across all certified products.

Furthermore, we promote all certified products and the category as a whole across the entire consumer-electronics home cinema space including manufacturers, brands, retailers, media and end users.

DJ: How is the trend of separating audio equipment from devices impacting home entertainment systems?

Ostrom: As people become more aware of the potential positive impact on their home entertainment experience made possible by the quality of audio streaming into their homes on a daily basis, their interest to realize that performance grows. Couple that desire with the increased simplicity of installation of multi-channel audio systems capable of cinema-level sound, and you have the makings of a strong-growth category.

DJ: What type of technology does Summit Wireless use?

Ostrom: Summit Wireless uses a proprietary technology with best-in-class specifications with regard to number of audio channels, fidelity, latency and synchronization. The technology creates its own network and intelligently avoids interference from other networks. WiSA Certification guarantees interoperability of any products using Summit technology.

DJ: What trends are you seeing in the home entertainment industry?

Ostrom: We are seeing several trends, all of which – at their core – highlight the greater adoption of new technologies in the industry:

  • Growing smart TV adoption.
  • Smart TVs accessing larger amounts of content.
  • Content streaming into homes providing greater numbers of audio channels.
  • Increasing adoption of wireless audio.
  • More wireless home cinema products coming to market.
  • Connectivity of wireless audio equipment to TVs becoming more readily available.
  • More people wanting to “invest in their nest“ and build better home entertainment experiences.

DJ: What lessons have you learned from the digital transformation of your business?

Ostrom: Content is king and the distribution, accessibility, control and ability to fully appreciate that content fill out the royal court. We have seen all of these areas improve significantly through their own digital transformations over the years. These evolutions and improvements are coming together now and giving us the ability to enjoy what we want, when we want, where we want and at a performance level that is simultaneously cinema quality and easier to create in our homes than ever before.

The digital and wireless evolution of the audio signal path from source to speakers, while maintaining, if not improving, key attributes such as fidelity, synchronization, latency, noise floor, etc., is proving to be a catalyst for many to now be able to dramatically improve their home entertainment experiences.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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