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CES 2013: CSR breaks barrier to affordable home audio networks

Mainstream consumers may soon own and enjoy networked home audio products thanks to two innovative system-level DLNA platforms introduced at CES today by CSR.

At CES 2013, wireless technology develop CSR has unveiled two innovative system-level DLNA platforms that enable the full networking of home audio systems. The fully integrated solutions will, says the company, allow manufacturers to quickly bring to market a range of affordable DLNA Certified products with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Bluetooth Smart connectivity.

The new Sonata networked media processor in combination with CSR’s portfolio of wireless technologies makes it easy to create high quality, multi-room audio systems. Its flexible architecture enables playback and forwarding of audio from many sources, including Bluetooth streaming devices, DLNA servers, Internet cloud-based services and USB and line-in inputs.

In addition to handling the distribution of various types of content around the home concurrently, the Sonata processor enables the playback of identical content among multiple rooms. Additional features includes a high-performance ARM Cortex -A9 CPU and Neon media accelerator that is more than capable of supporting not only the advanced networked audio software CSR provides and also a variety of additional features OEMs and ODMs can add to enable differentiation and customisation.

The company has also launched the VibeHub and VibePlayer platforms. These work together to make it practical and easy to enjoy very high-quality, synchronised multi-room audio anywhere around the home, indoors and out, from local and cloud-based sources over an existing home Wi-Fi network.

The VibePlayer platform offers a simple two-chip solution for building low-cost, portable, battery-powered wireless speakers and speaker docks that can be used either stand-alone or as part of a network. The VibeHub platform, based on the CSR Sonata processor, is used to create fully featured intelligent audio hubs for the home that can simultaneously pull content from digital media servers and Internet radio or other cloud services, as well as Bluetooth streaming media source devices, and intelligently route the audio to play on multiple VibeHub- and VibePlayer-based products located anywhere on the home network. The whole system can be controlled using an app on a smartphone, tablet or other smart mobile device.

“Our entry into networked home audio builds upon our experience and expertise as the leader today in wireless audio, enabling us to dramatically reduce the cost of having multiple networked speakers around the home,” said Anthony Murray, business group SVP at CSR. “We are removing all the complexities of developing networked audio platforms by providing a full audio ecosystem that ‘just works’. Wireless audio is our passion, and we want to deliver incredible audio quality for the consumer, regardless of whether they are streaming their content from Wi-Fi or Bluetooth sources.”