After years of dominating the whole home audio space, SONOS is finding more and more competition every month it seems. Electronics maker Hitachi has announced that it is launching a new trio of wireless speakers that crowds the product category even further. It has included many features that SONOS lacks and is attempting to undercut them significantly on price…

 

hitachi-smart-wifi-speakerHitachi’s Smart Wi-Fi Speakers are built around Qualcomm’s AllPlay audio platform and will include popular music sources like Spotify and Rhapsody with more coming “later this year”. The idea is a familiar one: create a one-stop solution for all of your audio and streaming needs with different speaker designs across multiple zones in your home. Hitachi is making a smart play in coming in at a lower price point than SONOS or LG’s new offerings, all the while including more features.

hitachi-inside-the-speaker

Unlike SONOS, these new speakers will include Bluetooth/NFC connectivity and a 3.5mm input on all models. These options do not limit the Hitachi speakers to a Wi-Fi connection like SONOS, enabling users to play music on one speaker directly if needed. It will have the same multi-zone features and the ability to group speakers while independently controlling volume for each device. It’ll be able to handle audio files up to 192kHz and 24-bit resolution, as well.

The Hitachi Smart Wi-Fi Speakers will start at $149.99 for the 10 watt W50 model, which includes a dual-coil and passive bass radiator. The W100 gains 2 watts with a triple-driver design with active bass reflex for $179.99, while the W200 packs 22 watts and four drivers for $199.99. These speakers will be available later this month at select retailers.

Hitachi Introduces High-Performance Wireless Whole-Home Audio Speakers

Three Affordable Smart Wi-Fi Speaker Models Stream High-Quality Local and Cloud-based Music

Chula Vista, California, May 14, 2015 – Hitachi America, Ltd. today announced the debut of three stylish new Wi-Fi enabled speakers powered by the AllPlay™ smart media platform, a wireless whole-home audio solution developed by Qualcomm®. AllPlay is a complete hardware and software whole home audio platform that offers manufacturers and consumers a unified solution for local media and cloud based Wi-Fi streaming across iOS and Android platforms.

Hitachi‘s smart speakers offer seamless streaming of high-quality local and cloud-based audio content – with the high performance and versatility of Wi-Fi – at three affordable price points. Industry-leading audio streaming music services such as Spotify®, Rhapsody® and others have committed to supporting speaker products powered by AllPlay this year.

“The new Hitachi Smart Wi-Fi Speaker line-up captures the company’s commitment to bringing consumers products with truly exceptional sound quality, reliability, and user friendliness in the wireless whole-home audio category,” said Bill Whalen, Director of Product Development, Hitachi America, Ltd., Digital Media Division. “This Hitachi speaker design creates a compelling sound experience, and the easy-to-use app for mobile devices makes it a breeze for consumers to set-up and control a home audio system. The combination of these features and advanced audio processing circuitry define Hitachi as a leader in wireless home audio.”1

“By integrating AllPlay into the Hitachi Smart Wi-Fi speakers, Hitachi America, Ltd. will be able to provide the high quality streaming experience we know consumers are looking for,” said Sy Choudhury, senior director of product management at Qualcomm Connected Experiences. “The interoperability provided by Qualcomm AllPlay allows manufacturers to continue to evolve and redefine the wireless home audio space.”

Consumers can use multiple methods for delivering their favorite audio sources to Hitachi Smart Wi-Fi Speakers. A smart phone or tablet can be easily connected wirelessly to individual or multiple speakers using consumers’ existing home Wi-Fi network.2 In addition, iHeartRadio, the all-in-one digital radio and streaming music service, as well as other audio content on Bluetooth®-enabled devices, can be streamed to individual Hitachi Smart Wi-Fi Speakers and re-streamed over Wi-Fi to other Hitachi Smart Wi-Fi Speakers connected to the same Wi-Fi network. For even greater flexibility, each high-style Hitachi Wi-Fi Smart Speaker is equipped with a standard 3.5mm auxiliary direct input connection.

2015 W Series Key Features:

• Hi-Fi Quality up to 192kHz and 24-bit audio resolution

• Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Aux In (3.5mm) connections

• NFC for quick Bluetooth connection support

• Downloadable Smart Device App (Apple® iOS (v6,7,8) or Android™ OS (v2.2 through v4.4)

• Party Mode Flexible Speaker Grouping1

o Up to 10 zones

o Individual volume controls for each group

• Supported audio codecs: MP3, AAC, AAC+, FLAC, WAV, ALAC, PCM

• Shared/Social Playlists

• Over-the-air firmware updates

• A/C Adaptor

Model MSRP Avail. Key Features

W200

$199.99

May

22W – Quad-Driver Array with Bass Reflex

W100

$179.99

May

12W – Triple-Driver Array with Bass Reflex

W50

$149.99

May

10W – Dual-Coil + Passive Bass Radiator

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