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Friday
Aug122016

Podcast #752: Connect with FireConnect

Since almost the beginning we have been looking for ways to ditch wires. They are a pain to run across rooms, create unsightly bulges in carpet or even require drywall cutting. There are a few technologies that have been out for some time now. We have AirPlay by apple, Chromecast by Google, Bluetooth, and few other lesser known technologies. They all work pretty well and have support from various receiver manufacturers.

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FireConnect

Since almost the beginning we have been looking for ways to ditch wires. They are a pain to run across rooms, create unsightly bulges in carpet or even require drywall cutting. There are a few technologies that have been out for some time now. We have AirPlay by apple, Chromecast by Google, Bluetooth, and few other lesser known technologies. They all work pretty well and have support from various receiver manufacturers.

A newer technology was brought to our attention by a listener called FireConnect. FireConnect is the brainchild of San Francisco based Blackfire Research Corp. Fireconnect has the usual feature list but goes beyond what the typical wireless protocols support today.

Features:

  • High-res and multichannel -  Streaming of up to 24-bit/192kHz audio, and multichannel 2.1, 5.1 or 7.1 audio.
  • Lossy or lossless
  • BT and Aux Input Rebroadcast - Auxiliary inputs and Bluetooth devices will be rebroadcast wirelessly.
  • Multi Source Play -  You can sync zones or play them independently.
  • Video streaming -  Currently if you want to stream video you need an add on device. FireConnect is hoping to make streaming video as simple as sending it to your A/V Receiver or TV. Their spec supports the ability to stream HD Video and lossless 24-bit/192kHz Studio Quality HD audio to any device.
  • Google Cast included - Why not? It's open to the world!

 

To keep everything running smooth and in sync, Fireconnect gets down to the packet layer of your network data.

RPM (Real-Time Packet Management)

Delays in receiving packets is one of the most challenging issues in real-time video delivery over wireless networks. A late packet becomes useless for the decoding and display even if it is received correctly at the receiver. RPM allows Fireconnect devices to stream HD Video and lossless 24-bit/192kHz Studio Quality HD audio to any device in any room - it’s how they make sure that there are no gaps or drop-outs in your music and video.

TIS (Traffic Independent Synchronization)

No matter how busy your network is, your content stays in sync. Delays are adjusted in real time so that a speaker in the family does not drift too far off from the rest of the zones. These adjustments are happening constantly and are not noticeable by the listener.

DSB (Dynamic Stream Balancing)

When streaming to multiple devices, DSB keeps it all in balance.  - Not quite sure what this is but keeping things in balance is always a good idea!

The goal is to wirelessly transmit your audio and video to your media devices, which include Multi-Room smart speakers, A/V Receivers, smartwatches and smart TVs across different manufactures so long as they use the Fireconnect technology.  The technology will be able to turn your smartwatch into a music hub that can wirelessly send audio to your wireless headphones or music zones throughout your house.

Video does not have to be point to point. You will be able to stream a video signal to multiple screens. So you’ll be able to watch the same video throughout your home whether it's on the big screen or tablet.

Where can I get it?

Pioneer and Onkyo have receivers that support this tech.

Pioneer VSX-1131 7.2-Channel AV Receiver with MCACC built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi $539 - Firmware update required

Onkyo TX-NR555 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver $449 Firmware update required. Multi-room audio enabled by this technology requires an optional Onkyo wireless speaker scheduled for release in late 2016. Onkyo cannot guarantee the compatibility of its A/V receivers with other devices featuring FireConnect. Uh-Oh!!

HTC One  Play music simultaneously to multiple Blackfire compliant speakers from HTC One M9.

As far as speakers go we couldn’t find any. That’s not saying there aren’t any, but a simple search revealed nothing. So pretty much as best as we can see it. You’ll be able to send audio from your HTC One to an Onkyo or Pioneer receiver and have it play through your wired speakers. This technology was announced in 2010 and may only be coming on the scene. We’ll keep our eyes on it for you and see how it develops. But right now we have a hard time seeing how it will be able to beat Google and Apple’s entrenched technology.

 

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

http://www.harmankardon.com/wifi-speakers/

http://www.bfrx.com/#/partner

https://www.htc.com/us/innovations/htc-connect/

August 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBlackfire

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