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WiSA Association FAQs

The WiSA Association was founded to advance the adoption of wirelessly transmitted, interference-free high-definition (HD) surround audio in home theater and commercial environments by establishing the industry’s first interoperability specification and compliance testing programs for manufacturers of high-performance wireless speakers, DTVs, Blu-ray Disc players, and other consumer electronics (CE) devices.

Within the ecosystem of WiSA-certified products, consumers will be able to outfit their home entertainment system with WiSA certified speakers and components from any participating vendor with the assurance that the devices will interoperate with each other and provide the highest standard in wireless HD surround sound.

The WiSA Association has established the industry’s first interoperability compliance testing programs for speaker ODMs, OEMs, and DTV manufacturers to certify interoperability between consumer electronics (CE) devices and high performance wireless speakers. In addition, the Association will manage logo usage and trademark guidelines, investigate alternative markets, connect brands to manufacturing resources, and provide industry leadership in solving the challenges facing the home theater and commercial markets in the integration of wireless audio technology.

Membership will give your company exclusive access to the latest version of the WiSA Association’s Compliance and Test Specification (CTS), Interoperability Requirements Document (IRD) design and testing tools, and marketing resources, as well as information on the latest advancements in wireless audio technology. Original Device Manufacturers (ODMs), Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Brands, Wholesalers, Retailers, and Technology Providers are encouraged to join to extend their reach into the home theater market by offering the industry’s first products that feature certified interoperability between consumer electronics devices and high performance wireless speakers.

WiSA-certified products will display the WiSA certified compliance logo, indicating they have been tested to be compliant to the Compliance and Test Specification (CTS).

Membership in the WiSA Association is open anyone desiring to advance wireless HD audio for home theater or commercial applications.

•Members have access to the Compliance Test Specification (CTS) and the Interoperability Requirements Document (IRD) in order to design WiSA compliant products, as well as additional design and testing tools.

•Members will have access to many reference designs to help speed products to market and reduce engineering development costs.

•Members can submit their products for WiSA compliance and interoperability testing.

•Products that pass WiSA compliance and interoperability testing will be certified with the WiSA logo and featured on the WiSA website.

•Members will have the opportunity to participate in select WiSA Association co-marketing activities.

•Members have access to a “Members only” extranet where information is shared about the latest advancements in WiSA technology.

Opportunities to participate in the advancement of WiSA technology exist for Members and Associate Members.

Members are companies that sell and promote WiSA-certified products. They agree to perform compliance and interoperability testing, and to abide by the WiSA trademark and logo usage guidelines. Members pay an annual fee on a sliding scale based on company revenue, up to a maximum fee of US$5,000.

Associate Members are trusted vendors of WiSA-certified products, such as branded resellers, who agree to sell compliant products sourced only from licensed manufacturers. Associate Members may display the WiSA logo signifying their membership in the Association and indicating that they sell WiSA-certified products. Associate Members pay an annual fee on a sliding scale based on company revenue, up to a maximum fee of US$3,000.

Advisory board members help guide the advancement of WiSA technology through interaction with the technology developers and advise on the development of the compliance and test specification

Advisory members join by invitation only. There are a limited number of Advisory positions and if, for any reason, a position becomes vacant, an invitation will be extended to a candidate nominated by the remaining Advisory members.

Yes, the nominal annual fee paid by members is to obtain a license to use the trademark and logo on certified products, a license to the Compliance Test Specification (CTS), and to help fund the activities of the association.

There are no royalties associated with being a member of the WiSA Association.

The CTS will be managed by the agent of the association, WiSA, LLC, under the guidance of the WiSA Advisory Board and the Technical Advisory Committee.

Consumers want HD wireless surround speakers to match the HD video quality of their HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and gaming consoles; however, until now they had limited options to realize this vision. With WiSA-certified products, consumers will be able to outfit their home entertainment systems with speakers and components from any participating vendor with the assurance that the devices will interoperate with each other and provide the highest quality HD wireless surround sound. Products featuring the WiSA logo have been compliance tested, thus ensuring interoperability with other WiSA-enabled CE devices.

HDTVs are getting thinner and it is becoming increasingly difficult to incorporate the latest electronic advances into such thin displays. We expect that eventually most of the electronics will be external to the display. The first to go is the audio, since there is very little room for quality speakers in today’s thin displays and HDTV manufacturers know they need to provide an audio alternative. Additionally, since cost is a significant consideration, some manufacturers will offer external sound bars which will satisfy some consumers, but there remains a strong need for a high quality audio alternative. All of these developments have created an inflection point in the market, and manufacturers are looking to the WiSA Association to create a standard for wireless audio interoperability that will support a long-term product strategy for the successful development of high quality, wireless audio products.

The underlying technology takes advantage of a rarely used frequency range called the U-NII band which operates between 5.2 and 5.8GHz. This frequency range allows for the transmission of uncompressed, cinema-quality audio that is unattainable with other wireless technologies. Additionally, because of the special requirements on how this band is to be used, it allows for an interference-free user experience.

The WiSA logo program ensures that participating products have been compliance tested, thus ensuring interoperability with other WiSA-compliant CE devices. Manufacturers will submit their WiSA-enabled products to the Association and products that have passed compliance and interoperability testing will feature the WiSA logo. Consumers evaluating WiSA-compliant products will have the choice to buy components from different brands, knowing that they will interoperate seamlessly right out of the box. This is the confidence provided by the WiSA logo.

Working with WiSA-compliant products gives consumers a migration path for adding additional speakers to upgrade their home audio system. For example, a consumer might start with a WiSA certified sound bar for their flat screen television and then add a WiSA subwoofer. A year or so later, that same system can be easily upgraded to 5.1 or a 7.1 surround sound by simply more surround sound speakers. There is no need to replace the entire system; consumers can keep the original transmitter, sound bar, and subwoofer and integrate them seamlessly into their new system. Being able to outfit a home entertainment system with WiSA-compliant speakers and components from any participating vendor gives consumers not only the choice to select components based on their individual preference, but also provides the assurance that the devices will interoperate with each other and deliver the highest standard in HD wireless surround sound.

The manufacturer builds their equipment according to the WiSA Compliance Test Specification (CTS). They then test- run their own equipment through the CTS and when the product is ready, the manufacturer fills out a Capability Declaration Form, attaches it to the equipment and sends it to a WiSA Authorized Test Center for certification. After passing the certification, the member will receive a Certificate of Compliance and the product will be licensed to display the WiSA logo.

There is currently a limit of 8 channels. The maximum configuration is 7.4 (4 subs share 1 channel). The WiSA technology roadmap calls for increasing the number of channels and for an increase in the bit rates as well. The WiSA Association will announce changes in the maximum configuration as soon as they become available.

WiSA technology delivers a single sweet spot where the levels and delays are optimized. This can be changed instantly to any arbitrary location using an onscreen display, a remote control fitted with an ultrasonic transducer, or perhaps a mobile app using a smartphone as a remote control.

It is not necessary to use the sweet spot technology when implementing a WiSA-based home audio system. The sweet spot can be fixed at a single location and the receiver can use its own algorithm.

As with most wireless radios, a WiSA-compliant system is designed to operate in the Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) frequency band; it does not require line-of-sight nor does it go through walls and floors. The U-NII band was selected to maximize channel availability and thus eliminate interference.

Products built without the ultrasonic transducers do not require line-of-sight; this functionality is based on the feature set designed in by the manufacturer. However, to take advantage of the sweet spot location and auto calibration features, line-of-sight is required.

WiSA certification guarantees that the equipment will operate within a minimum of 30’ x 30’ space. This is done to set realistic customer expectations, unlike some wireless radios that claim a huge range and fail to work.

While not currently supporting multi-room settings, we are actively looking at the requirements for multi-room applications.

Having other devices nearby that also use the 5 GHz band will not affect the performance of a WiSA-enabled home audio system as WiSA technology can seamlessly switch to another frequency within the 5 GHz band. The 5 GHz U-NII spectrum utilized by WiSA technology has up to 24 channels available that are constantly monitored for interference using the Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) sub-band between 5.2 and 5.8 GHz. When interference is detected, the next channel, having been monitored for over one minute and confirmed for accessibility, is ready to go and WiSA-enabled devices switch seamlessly to that channel, without the user ever noticing or the audio experience being affected.

The Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) sub-band between 5.2 and 5.8 GHz is shared with military and weather (aviation) radar. The rule for this sub-band is that the equipment must use DFS when radar is detected on a channel and immediately hop to an open channel.

This is inconvenient for computer networking because a channel must be clear for one minute before use and cannot be reused for 30 minutes after a conflict is detected. Due to the strict access rules there are only a few systems that operate in the DFS band as a result and WiSA-enabled systems are one of them.

Audio is ideally suited for DFS operation since audio requires a steady stream of data -- not high-speed bursts. Some of the audio transmission time can be used to look for unused channels. When interference is detected, the next channel has been monitored for over one minute and is ready to go.

Using DFS is also good when there is interference from other radios, or if signal strength is poor for some reason. The system can just hop to another frequency. This makes it very friendly when co-existing with other technologies.

No. Think of WiSA-compliant devices as operating just like speaker wires. You may not need to use all of the amps on your receiver. Likewise, if you want to wire your front speakers to your receiver, WiSA-compliant equipment can provide the connection to your subwoofer, surround speakers and rear channels.

Initially the WiSA Association is focusing on home theater. However, WiSA was invited to participate in Pete Putman’s “AV Signals Gone Wireless” presentation at InfoComm. We did a very successful demonstration in a large meeting room to an audience of professional installers. The Association is gaining more and more interest from the pro and commercial markets who are also looking for a highly reliable, interference free, wireless solution.

Besides the quality and robustness of the underlying technology, the InfoComm presentation demonstrated rapid setup and tear-down for mobile systems, conference rooms, lecture halls, and meeting rooms. Any place where it is inconvenient, unsightly, or unsafe to run wires is a good fit for a WiSA-compliant speaker system. The same goes for business locations that have concrete walls and floors that may cause installation problems.

There are a large number of systems from multiple manufacturers currently under development and should be hitting the market in the very near future. One company that has announced and is shipping an amazing WiSA compliant high resolution audio system is Bang and Olufsen. They have a selection of speakers, TV’s and other audio components that are being marketed under the “Immaculate Sound” branding in their product line. Sharp has also introduced a really interesting WiSA-compliant wireless high resolution audio player.

Systems will soon be hitting the market at a wide variety of price points and capabilities. We will update you on all of the new systems and products. Prototype devices are also featured in the WiSA Association sound room at various expos around the world including CEDIA, Integrated Systems Europe, and CES.