CES 2012: The Golden Age of Wireless?

Wi-Fi, 3G, and LTE networks may have been overwhelmed during CES 2012 itself, but news of wireless and wireless standards for audio (and video) was everywhere, with high-end manufacturers and do-it-all mega-corporations alike looking to free their consumers from their plastic-sheathed copper bonds.

In keeping with the overall haziness of CES 2012, the buzz came in the form of a meme with a few almost-maybe-real devices attached rather than as a single wowza product debut. During last Monday's press extravaganza, pretty much every TV titan talked about integrating content across all of the screens in their customer's expanding gadget arsenals, and while there was certainly plenty of excitement around do-it-all wired connections like MHL, making everything converge seamlessly seems to require a wireless approach.

The big news on the audio front, to my ear, seemed to be the further development and widening adoption of the emerging WiSA multichannel audio specification. With speaker manufacturers from Klipsch to Aperion Audio and big CE firms like Sharp on board, and talks in progress with all of the movers and shakers in the surround codec biz, WiSA seems poised to cut down on the clutter in our living rooms and home theaters in the very near future. That's assuming there's continuing interest in home theater, of course, but that's a separate question.

I had the chance to chat with WiSA president Jim Venable, who outlined the standard (check out his video walkthrough below), and I got a demo of the tech in action from the guys at Summit Semiconductor in their suite at the Venetian, which I'll tell you more about on the next page.