Get ready to ditch your amplifier: New LG TVs add a powerful way to go wireless

WiSA. It’s not exactly a household name, and maybe it never will be. But now that LG has announced that all of its new 2019 flagship OLED and LED TVs will be WiSA-certified, we think you’re going to start hearing a lot more about this wireless audio technology.

WiSA, which stands for Wireless Speaker & Audio, is both a hardware and software specification for delivering 24-bit, 48kHz/96kHz digital audio, wirelessly, with support for up to eight channels, including Dolby Atmos, and DTS X. WiSA, as a technology, has been around since 2013, where it made its debut at CES. We were super impressed by the demo we saw, and even declared WiSA to be the future of your wireless home theater. But since then, WiSA has languished, failing to get a serious toe-hold in the home theater audio market, despite now having the substantial support of brands like Klipsch, Bang & Olufsen, and even LG itself (a division of LG helped create a WiSA USB transmitter sold by Summit Wireless)

This is somewhat surprising, given that consumer interest in wireless audio has fuelled the growth of companies like Sonos, contributed to the success of products like Amazon’s Echo speaker, and prompted the creation of a staggering amount of Bluetooth-based speakers. It’s equally surprising considering WiSA’s key benefit: You can set-up a fully wireless surround system, assembled from your choice of several brand and products, and if you like, you can do it without an AV receiver acting as the middle-man. There’s been an explosion in the number of virtual surround soundbars, which validates WiSA’s central belief — that people want a higher quality of sound than their TVs can deliver, and they want it with the least amount of setup, or modification to their homes.

Maybe it just comes down to marketing. Clearly the AV media’s efforts to raise awareness of WiSA has been insufficient to drive demand. That leaves WiSA, and its member companies, holding the ball in terms of getting the word out, and that’s what makes LG’s announcement so promising.

LG’s top-tier TVs have been a critical success with reviewers (the company’s 2018 C8 OLED TV is Digital Trends’ reigning champ) and have found a place in consumers’ homes around the world. With WiSA support built-in to its latest models, the rest of the WiSA ecosystem gets a much needed shot in the arm, both from an awareness point of view, but also at a more practical level. If you’re equipping a room with an LG TV, and you don’t already own a wired surround system, or a soundbar, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t at least consider buying WiSA-compatible transmitter and speakers.

Will 2019 be the year that WiSA finally takes over the home theater? It’s probably too soon to tell, but we’re glad to see technology moving in the right direction.

Home Theater

Leave the charger behind: Wireless headphones will get epic battery life in 2019

From wireless in-ears to noise-canceling over-ears, virtually every headphone manufacturer has seriously improved wireless headphone battery capacity, making fears about charging up for long listening sessions a thing of the past.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Home Theater

All of the TVs getting Apple’s AirPlay 2 in 2019

This year, Apple made it clear it was done keeping its AirPlay wireless streaming technology to itself. With an open API, the way is clear for a plethora of third-party devices, including this growing list of TVs.
Home Theater

Wireless headphones are finally awesome, and these are our favorites

With sleek form factors, prime audio quality, and the freedom of untethered listening, there has never been a better time to pick up a pair of wireless headphones. These are the best ones currently available.
Home Theater

How much are the initials ‘LV’ worth? $700 if you put them on your earphones

If you're looking for truly wireless earbuds that make as much of a statement about the state of your finances as they do about your high-tech street cred, Louis Vuitton's Horizon earbuds fit the $995 bill.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (February 2019)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in January and February, from new original series to classic films.
Features

Netflix’s latest price increase heralds the end of streaming’s golden age

Netflix’s recent price rise is just the latest in a string of signs that streaming’s golden age is nearly over. As more services enter the fray, content will be further partitioned, signaling the end of streaming’s good old days.
Home Theater

What are HDMI ARC and eARC? Here’s how they can simplify your home theater

HDMI ARC is one of the coolest TV features at your disposal. But if you're like most folks, you have no idea how it works, if you even know what it is at all. Here's our primer on HDMI ARC, as well as the next generation technology, eARC.
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.
Home Theater

Want to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV? Here's how

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow sending anything on your mobile device to your TV. Our in-depth guide shows you how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen from virtually any device available.
Deals

Need a smart speaker? Amazon knocks $50 off Sonos Beam soundbar with Alexa

If you're looking to add some oomph to your home audio setup, then through February 3, the Alexa-enabled Sonos Beam is on sale for $50 off, bringing this excellent smart sound bar down to just $349 on Amazon.
Home Theater

Walmart abandons its plans for a streaming Netflix killer

Rumored plans for a Walmart owned, Vudu-labeled Netflix streaming killer have been shelved according to a new report from CNBC. The billions it would have needed to invest in order to compete apparently gave the mega retailer cold feet.
Home Theater

Dolby’s secret recording studio app may soon exit stealth mode

In secret testing since June, Dolby's stealth recording and social network app may soon be ready to make an appearance. Dolby 234 blends unique noise-canceling tech with Instagram-like audio filters.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.