Pros and Cons of Wireless Speakers
When you ask most audiophiles or audio video companies which is better, wireless or wired, you are sure to get the wired answer. In terms of older vinyl records or some huge WAV files, this may still be the case. Even 15 years ago they may still be correct in selecting wired speakers. Today's technology has been developing much faster and is still incrementally getting better every year. It may be next to impossible to get a blind test that can match wireless and wired components together apples to apples, but wireless today can give wired a real run for its money. We have the new Bluetooth 4.1 and much faster Fiber internet to allow for much better transmission rates and transmission quality. Connected Home still recommends wired speakers to a receiver, especially if you are looking into home automation. When your wired, you do not need WIFI to make your system work. Now that they are closer than ever in quality comparison, let's look at why some people are choosing wireless over wired.
Well there are a lot fewer wires! No no speaker is truly wireless yet. You still need a cord to power the device and the "main" speaker, normally a sound bar, needs to be connected to your television with an HDMI, AUX cable or Optical cable. The satellite speakers will also need a power supply, but there are no need to run speaker wires from an amplifier or av controller to each individual speaker. Some wireless speakers may even be battery operated eliminating all wires, but they may come with maintenance issues. Once these are powered and connected to the network, they can see each other easily and link together. Your AV Company will surely charge less labor rates now that they do not have to run wires through your walls.
Wireless speakers are incredibly versatile. Because wireless speakers link together through your network. They can be in multiple rooms and even outside all playing the same music or each room or speaker can play something different. This is a very good option when kids are home.
Continually add new speakers. Probably the best aspect of versatility in wireless speakers is the fact you can add additional speakers with ease. Let's take Sonos or Heos for example. You can initially buy a soundbar. Then later, you want to convert to a full surround sound that can add a home theater in your great room. You can simply add additional speakers to your app, then group them under a surround sound and have them all synced to the same room/zone.
Not really completely wireless. Even though these speakers connect to the network WIFI and do not require speaker cables, they do require a power source. So make sure when designing your room there are outlet locations near your speaker locations.
Older Technology. Wireless speakers have been in the market for a while now, but the technology is improving and growing so rapidly that even wireless speakers from a few years ago may have compatibility issues or even interference issues. Most new WIFI speakers broadcast on state of the art infrared, but older ones may broadcast on frequencies that could interfere with your microwave, other WIFI devices, or wireless landline phones and this would reduce sound quality or drops from the network.
Cost! The cost for newer WIFI systems is normally a bit more expensive than traditional wired systems, especially the latest state of the art ones. Plus some of these have specified contracts with certain streaming services, so you may need additional equipment to add the streaming service of your choice. You may save wiring cost from you audio video installer, but now you have to add in programming time.
Bandwidth Issues. Many people do not know, but the free wireless router you get from your provider normally only provides access for 30 devices or less. Now if you have a few televisions connected, a couple of phones and maybe some tablets, you may be ok. Now try adding some automated lighting (even WIFI bulbs alone), a few smart plugs, then 7 wireless speakers for a surround sound. This is when things begin to buffer or completely drop off the network. You always need room to grow in your house and electronics is a big one these days. You do want that new smart fridge and washer/dryer combo right? Do you have the bandwidth or enough WIFi locations?
There is always a solution to your problem. You may not be able to find it or even know where to look. Connected Home is an audio visual company that is here to help with free demos at our showroom and free consultations to look at all the options you have for your space, indoor or outdoor. We always give our clients unbiased, truthful solutions without offering items you do not need. Great service does not have to be expensive...and neither does good advice!