The Wireless Speaker and Audio Association (WiSA) has announced a ‘WiSA Ready’ certification program for TVs, game consoles, computers, and other type of products. A USB transmitter will also be available later this year.
WiSA Ready certification
WiSA is a protocol for high-quality wireless audio transmission between devices such as TVs and speakers. By having a wireless transmitter at the playback end and a wireless receiver at the speaker end, you can transmit wireless HD audio in up to eight channels.
The association has announced a certification program under the name ‘WiSA Ready’ that will “clearly identify entertainment sources – such as TVs, gaming systems or computers – that are equipped to deliver up to eight channels of high-definition audio to WiSA Certified speakers when connected with a WiSA USB transmitter”.
The USB transmitter “easily plugs into WiSA Ready sources”, the association said, adding that it will enable “wireless, multi-channel communication of low-latency, tightly synchronized, high-definition audio between any WiSA Certified components”. It will be available for purchase in the fourth quarter of 2018.
- “The WiSA Ready certification is pivotal to amplifying our mission of delivering immersive, wireless sound to those who desire exceptional audio,” said Tony Ostrom, president of WiSA. “Consumer electronics brands that leverage WiSA Certified technology will accelerate consumer adoption and the availability of immersive wireless audio while pushing the consumer entertainment experience to new heights.”
LG, Xbox & Harman - but you need a dongle
Members of WiSA include LG, Microsoft Xbox, Bang & Olufsen, Harman Kardon, Sound United (Denon, Marantz, Polk, more), Eastech, JBL, Klipsh, axiim, Pioneer, Almando, Primare, GoldenEar, and Electrocompaniet. While some of these companies have been offering WiSA compatible products for a few years now, others have yet to announce or only recently announced plans.
WiSA is one of several wireless audio systems but rather than being a system focused on multi-room, it should be seen as a protocol for wireless audio. It operates in the relatively uncongested 5.2-5.8 GHz frequency band and is said to have less than 5 ms latency for 24-bit uncompressed audio sources.
The association is building momentum but there are still relatively few compatible products available on the market. The new ‘WiSA Ready’ initiative may boost adoption but even if your next TV carries the certification, you will still need to invest in the USB transmitter dongle to get started – the technology is still not embedded in TVs.
Pricing for the USB transmitter dongle was not disclosed but the association pointed out that “this new program simplifies consumer set-up and reduces costs by replacing AV receivers or wireless hubs with a low-cost USB accessory”.