How do wireless speakers work on a home theater system?

Written by stephen lilley
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How do wireless speakers work on a home theater system?
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The Setup

Wireless speakers are not that much more complicated than a regular wired speaker set-up for a home theatre system. The only difference is the addition of two devices to the mix--a transmitter and a receiver (which is built into the wireless speakers themselves). The vast majority of wireless speaker setups have excellent range--they usually work no less than 150 feet and up to and including 300 feet from the transmitter, which is typically very close to your receiver and DVD/Blu-ray player. This is normally a much greater distance than the average home theatre enthusiast will ever need. Wireless speakers will also work through walls and furniture, so if you should require the need to listen to a movie in the next room, the speakers can be placed accordingly. They are typically powered by either batteries or an AC adaptor.

Transmission

When the user pops in a DVD, Blu-ray disc, or CD into their home theatre set-up, the audio signal is sent from the DVD player to the stereo receiver as usual for decoding. The stereo also still processes exactly what pieces of sound information go to which speakers. The wireless transmitter then translates the signal into the same type of radio signal used to broadcast FM radio, and sends it to the appropriate speakers as long as they fall within the aforementioned range. These speakers work exactly the same way wired speakers do, so discrete 5.1 and 6.1 audio channels can be fully utilised, depending on the quality of the audio source.

Home Theater Systems

Wireless speaker setups will work with any and all home theatre systems, however, some will be easier to configure than others. Many stereo receivers can be purchased with a built-in FM transmitter in addition to regular speaker ports, so the user can choose to add wireless components at any time. This saves the user from having to purchase additional equipment later on.

When purchasing just wireless speakers on their own for use with an old receiver, you will need to separately purchase an FM transmitter. It connects to the speaker ports on the back of the device. When the receiver processes sound information, it sends it to the speaker ports like usual, with the only difference being the transmitter picks up the information and sends it to the appropriate place. An FM transmitter can be purchased at any retailer that sells wireless speakers, though often they come packaged together.

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