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Wi-Fi hi-fi: Avega Systems Oyster 802.11 Networked Speakers

Wi-Fi hi-fi: Avega Systems Oyster 802.11 Networked Speakers

(Updated January 6, 2006)
To date, wireless speakers have been anything but, requiring plenty of cables to alternate amplifiers and power sources. But Australia's Avega Systems aims to change that with the company's Oyster Networked Speaker system. The speakers, which will be available in familiar stereo and 5.1 surround configurations, include built-in wireless 802.11a/b/g networking, amplifiers, and surround decoders. As a result, you can stream virtually any digital audio (everything from MP3s to uncompressed lossless formats) from a networked PC directly to the speakers themselves. Want to have a wireless surround system? Simply connect an optical digital cable from your DVD player or A/V receiver to any one of the speakers (such as the center channel), and the system takes care of the rest. That means the only wires are a single digital connection to one speaker and the AC cord that runs to each speaker for power. Setup and configuration is accomplished via a PC-based wizard-style software. The idea is a long-overdue marriage of a consumer electronics problem to a computer-networking solution. We just hope that Avega delivers on its promise of plug-and-play installation and audiophile-grade sound. Pricing hasn't been officially set, though a $300 to $500 for a pair of bookshelf speakers was mentioned as a possible ballpark figure. Avega is looking to ship its Oyster system by the second quarter of 2006.