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Wireless standard for Audio

SpannerBracket

Novice Member
Hi,

I've recently set up a sonos beam, sub and a pair of play 1 speakers in a 5.1 surround set up. Everything is using WiFi, except the HDMI ARC connection between the TV and Beam.

Both the Beam and my LG OLED b7 don't support eARC and it doesn't look like support will ever come for these (no HDMI 2.1 and no seemingly no desire from LG to backport limited eARC support for this model).

Equally, the Beam doesn't even support Dolby Digital Plus, so right now there isn't much bandwidth being used for audio - although it doesn't sound too bad to my ears.

This did get me thinking though. Why is the industry spending so much time on wired audio standards like eArc when so many wireless audio speakers are flooding the market.

The eARC standard supports up to 37Mbps data transfer. Most user's home WiFi connections can sustain that kind of bandwidth, and this is only likely to improve as 802.11ac makes way for 802.11ax.

Sonos have proven they can deal with audio latency and sync over WiFi.

Surely all the ingredients are there, and someone needs to come up with a standard for audio transmissions to a wireless speaker/receiver over WiFi. I can understand video signals remaining over the wire due to the bandwidth involved, but having audio limited by physical cabling seems arcane in our modern software defined world. With this approach audio improvements could be delivered through software without the long delay of waiting for enough manufacturers and consumers to update their cabling.

Is anyone aware of something being developed in this space? - it's almost impossible to google this topic...

Thanks,
SpannerBracket
 

mushii

Well-known Member
Full Fat 4K using HDMI 2.0 requires a bandwidth of 18 Gbps, HDMI 2.1 extends this to potentially 48 Gbps. Both of those requirements are way beyond what WiGig can offer which is 7 Gbps. In an already congested WiFi spectrum trying to even consider something like this is dead before it starts.
As for wireless surround, many of the patents covering this are owned by Sonos. So I would look to them for a potential wireless solution, but expect to pay a massive premium over a traditional cabled system, for what IMHO is pretty mediocre audio.
 

SpannerBracket

Novice Member
That's 802.11ad, and typically you'd only expect 1/3 of the theoretical bandwidth, perhaps 2/3 at best. 802.11ay is the successor which can band 4 channels together into a stream, and further combine 4 streams together to provide a theoretical maximum of 176Gbps.

Assuming you have a bad situation and only achieve 1/3rd of that - thats still 58Gbps which is a viable replacement for HDMI 2.1. This is over short distances (<30m) and line of sight. However, that's probably fine for the distance between most people's receiver and TV!
 

SpannerBracket

Novice Member
Incidentally, 802.11ad and 802.11ay are in the 60Ghz spectrum, which isn't so contended (and typically won't be as it can't penetrate physical objects very well!)
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
You'll always experience issues woth latency relative to a wireless signal and HDMI is more prone to lag than less processing intense types of signal. The lag is due to the fact that an HDMI signal would first need to be encoded as the wifi signal at source and then encoded back as being HDMI when it reaches its destination. The greater the distance between source and destination then the greater such issues become and this would make such an option less desirable for gamers.

There is currently no global standard for wireless HDMI despite there being attempts to introduce wireless HDMI device for at least the last 10 years. If you were to invest in one manufacturers wireless send and or receiver then it isn't going to be compatable with the system made by another so you are committed to buying urther addisions to that wireless setup from the same source.

WHDI (WirelessHD) is the closest thing there's been to an actual HDMI standard, but this is not able to handle 4K and is very prone to interference from routers and cellphones. WiGig can handle 4K, but hasn't been embraced by enough manufacturers to make it a feesible option for a standard. You'd not get the data transfer rates associated with HDMI 2.0 or 2.1 using this though.




So …

The problem is, wireless HD is a fickle mistress. Competing standards, technological limits and cost all make it far less popular than the ubiquitous HDMI cable for conveying video and audio between devices in your home.
 

mushii

Well-known Member
Where is the infratructure (physical, switches and cabling) to support all of this?????
Most domestic structured cabling and much commercial is only designed to run between 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps. All of these APs etc will require cabled backhaul's that cannot support 1/10th of the bandwidth that you are talking about. 10 Gbps switches are still only starting to become available at sensible prices, you are talking about having to have 170 Gbps switches. The hardware to support this infrastructure would cost more than the car on your drive. Currently most people are struggling to get any sort of wifi to the corners of their houses and baulk at paying a few hundred quid to do even that. I am sorry but we are at least a decade away from this becoming reality if ever.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Dante is making small inroads into the Residential market - not sure about full wireless but does seem to be a solid build out from its Pro base.


Joe
 
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