rocketfish receiver amp
Investment deal could pave the way for wireless multichannel capability on Japanese company's products

Onkyo has invested in Avnera Corporation, the Oregon-based manufacturer of Analogue System-on-Chip (ASoC) technology for consumer electronics.

And the announcement that the two companies are working on products to be launched this year could signal wireless audio systems on the way from Onkyo.

Avnera has recently raised $10m to fund its future growth, from existing investors and newcomer Onkyo. And among its ASoC solutions is the AudioMagic range, which enables wireless multiroom audio and support for wireless 7.1-channel surround sound, while working harmoniously with existing home wireless devices.

The AudioMagic technology is designed with ultra-low latency, ensuring synchronisation between speakers, and claims 'wired hi-fi' quality from wireless transmisssion.

In multiroom applications it allows up to five simultaneous audio streams to be received and played by a maximum of nine independent receivers.

More after the break

This family of technologies is at the heart of products carrying the Rocketboost wireless brand, designed to simplify the installation of wireless audio networks throughout the home.

A system using the technology and selling under the Rocketfish label, comprising a wireless sender, receiver/amp and a wireless outdoor speaker, went on sale in Best Buy stores in the States in October. A Wireless HD Audio Kit of sender and two-channel receiver/amp sells for $200 (around £125).

This starter kit is designed to make the rear channels in a 5.1 surround system wireless, and can be expanded to drive four rear speakers in a 7.1-channel configuration with the addition of an extra receiver/amp, costing $100.

Announcing the Onkyo investment, the statement from Avnera says that "Onkyo and Avnera are jointly working on several products currently and expect to bring these products to market in the second half of 2010."

Meanwhile Onkyo's Chief Operating Officer, Munenori Ohtsuki, commented that “We look forward to collaborating closely with Avnera to assist us in delivering leading audio and video products.”

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