The Next New Thing, B&W Wireless Loudspeakers?

"The technology to create a full, wireless, 5.1 channel audio system simply wasn't available before, "said Mike Gough, B&W's Senior Project Manager on the Liberty System, "so we waited until it was possible to do it right." The Liberty employs a proprietary, robust wireless protocol with channel switching capabilities—called dynamic channel selection—to avoid interference from existing WiFi networks. Its wireless transmitter broadcasts 8 separate channels, allowing for full 5.1 in one room, and a stereo setup in a second room. Alternatively, the Liberty can support 4 separate stereo zones throughout the house.

The Liberty system is a "theater system in a box," explained Greg Williams, B&W's Director of Business Development, New Media. For a suggested retail price of $18,000, the Liberty includes the PVW1 powered subwoofer in the photo; the XTW powered Center speaker; 4 XTW8 powered column speakers; and the CP-1 wireless transmitter–control center. Power for each loudspeaker is supplied by built-in class-D amplification. The CP-1 console contains a wireless transmitter good for a distance of 100 meters, an AM/FM/HD digital radio, the CDP-300 DVD/CD/MP3 player (a $7000 product), and a SSP 600 preamplifier (a $4500 product).

The Liberty was not set up to play live music. B&W representatives thought that CES would be an unusual challenge for any wireless system because of extremely heavy cell phone and other wireless traffic.