The CES Wrap Up

The CES Wrap Up

Blackfire Research kicked off 2017 in Viva Las Vegas to participate in the world’s largest, annual consumer electronics trade show, CES. At the start of each year, CES (and roughly 4,000 exhibiting companies) takes over the Las Vegas Strip, showcasing the latest in hi-tech innovations and prototypes for technology of the future. The exhibition floors were abuzz with the soon-to-be year’s hottest trends: unbelievably thin TVs, autonomous vehicles, multi-screen gaming laptops, Virtual Reality headsets, and – in what tech bloggers are dubbing “The Amazon Home Takeover,” – a wide range of smart home appliances, such as toasters, washer & dryer units, refrigerators, security systems, fans, and more, all aided by Amazon’s voice-activated speaker – Alexa.

As exciting and eye-catching as the exhibition floors were, we at Blackfire couldn’t get too distracted, for we were on a mission to present the industry’s best wireless audio solutions for a wide variety of home entertainment systems and applications.

Over the course of four days, Blackfire held meetings at a suite in the luxurious Venetian, with global industry leaders, partners, investors, and old friends, to demonstrate why we are setting the standard for wireless home entertainment. Among those who visited our suite was Arabian Prince, founding member of the rap group NWA, and driving force behind INNOV8 NEXT. As you may recall, this past November, Arabian and Blackfire’s founder and CEO, Ravi Rajapakse, sat together on a panel to discuss innovation in the music industry at the annual Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.

This year at CES, Blackfire had plenty to boast, unveiling not one, but three wireless solutions ready for product integration: Blackfire MA – a cost-effective wireless audio solution for smartphones and multiroom music systems; Blackfire MXD – delivering high-resolution multiroom music with native GoogleCast Audio and Spotify Connect support; and Blackfire IXD – the industry’s first low-latency Wi-Fi surround sound solution enabling smart TVs and set top boxes to deliver the ultimate home theater experience. Blackfire IXD also supports multiroom media streaming, transforming the smart TV or set top box into a whole home media center.

In addition to presenting our audio solutions upstairs at the Venetian, we had the opportunity to visit products with Blackfire’s patented streaming technology on display downstairs at the Onkyo/Pioneer booth. The Onkyo SBT-A500 Network Surround Sound Bar System, The Pioneer SC-LX701 Network A/V Receiver, and the Pioneer MRX-3 Wireless Speaker all proudly displayed the Blackfire Logo. CES also revealed a new, Blackfire enabled 6.1-Channel A/V Receiver and Object-Based Surround Sound Bar from luxury consumer audio company, Integra.

At the Harman/Kardon floor in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, we caught a glimpse of the wireless HD Audio line, The Omni+ Series, featuring Blackfire’s patented streaming technology. Recently, the Omni 10+ and the Omni 20+ were joined by the Omni Soundbar System, a 2.1 channel soundbar with a wireless subwoofer, powered by Blackfire wireless streaming technology.
So, at the end of a long, but successful conference, the Blackfire Team had plenty to celebrate (over margaritas) before packing up “The Beast” and heading back to San Francisco. Here’s to a great start to 2017!

Blackfire Research @ International CES

Blackfire Research @ International CES

It’s that time of year again – The Consumer Technology Association’s annual International Consumer Electronics Show (International CES) is back in Las Vegas, Nevada from January 5-8. International CES is the world’s largest consumer electronics trade show, boasting more than 165,000 attendees from 150 countries and showcasing “more than 3,800 exhibiting companies, including manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, and technology delivery systems.” (ces.tech)

This year, we will be exhibiting Blackfire IXD, the first ever WiFi compliant low-latency surround sound technology for TVs and Set top boxes. The exciting news for consumers is that Blackfire IXD finally makes real the promise of banishing cables – and unnecessary speaker boxes – from your living room. And no matter what new streaming technology comes along next – like Spotify Connect, Apple Airplay, Amazon Alexa, Google Cast or even future Apple Siri speakers – you will be able to  play it all on the same set of Blackfire IXD wireless speakers that give your TV immersive surround sound.

What makes Blackfire IXD unique is a patented technology that allows a SmartTV to use a home’s standard WiFi to send wireless signals to surround sound speakers in the living room. Conventional multiroom “wireless” music systems still require a cable connection from the TV, and even then, many will only support a soundbar – so they are not truly independent left, center and right channels. This is because they introduce a delay into the audio stream – which causes a highly annoying “lip sync” mismatch between what you hear and what you see on the screen.

Other systems create their own, closed, non-wifi compliant networks to reduce the delay. However, this often causes interference with your wifi network (i.e. your TV might sound OK, but the Netflix WiFi stream is being interrupted by your non-compliant speakers.)

Blackfire IXD (2.4Ghz/5Ghz) produces the industry’s best synchronization and latency performance for multiroom music streaming  and multichannel surround sound configuration, and supports lossless and lossy audio compression, as well as up to 32bit / 192KHz sample rates. Blackfire IDX can stream either 5.1 or 7.1 as discrete audio channels of lossless, multichannel audio from either cloud streaming services or local files.  And like all Blackfire wireless technologies, Blackfire IXD is fully compatible with all Blackfire enabled systems currently on the market.

We are excited to unveil the Blackfire IXD wireless audio solution at CES this week, but that is just the beginning. With 4K video and HD audio on the rise, Blackfire Research will have even more exciting news to announce later in 2017. Stay tuned.