Many of us dream of a wireless home where audio and video components all live and work together without the eyesore of ugly wires. But there is no such thing as a truly wireless home. Electronics need power. Those running on batteries have to be charged or plugged into an outlet. So, at the very least, there are power cords to contend with.
Then there’s the issue of quality and consistency. Most wireless audio and video devices use the same airwaves as cordless phones, cell phones and Wi-Fi networks. When all that data fights for space there are pauses, glitches and dead air. But new technology allows for increasing degrees of wireless connectivity within the home. At the very least, we can now stream music from different sources to various speakers around the home.
Homeowners often sacrifice some simple pleasures, like music, for the sake of good design. But for those who don’t want to make that trade-off, there are ways to get audio throughout the home without threading wires through a wall, hiding them under molding, or leaving them to scurry across the floor.
All of us want cinematic surround sound when watching a movie. Using wireless technology makes the most sense with home theater systems that typically employ between five and seven speakers positioned around the room. An alternative is using a single Sound Bar. A receiver/transmitter uses wireless to transmit sound throughout the room, including to any additional wireless speakers placed on the sides or in the rear of the room.
However, speakers still need a power source, even the tiny ones that get flushed into the ceiling. Wires for speakers flushed into a wall or ceiling still need to be pulled through the wall and come out at the point of connection.
Getting great sound from an audio source, as opposed to a TV for a home theater experience, can be a bit more complicated, especially for audiophiles who prize fidelity above all else. But the introduction of digital music today has made this a lot easier to achieve.
There are a number of ways to stream music from wherever it’s stored, including iTunes, a home computer, a server, backup storage or from the internet. Sonos makes some of the best solutions for streaming music from multiple sources. The Sonos Play:5 and smaller Play:1 deliver digital music from virtually any source. Using Connect you can and get all music stored on a hard drive, in an iTunes library or on Internet radio stations. You can access virtually any subscription music service like Pandora, Apple or Spotify, and stream it to any set of speakers anywhere in the house. It’s easy to use and a good addition for someone that’s either already invested in some basic home audio equipment or starting from scratch.
Technology is progressing at a pretty rapid rate. Audio companies know that consumers want wireless products and are developing them as quickly as possible. But achieving a quality product is a lot more difficult than we’d like. At the end of the day, find a product that meets your expectations and budget and upgrade yourself over time.