Onkyo to ship wireless USB audio transmitter

  • Before you get excited, let's stop right here: Onkyo does not have on of the first wireless USB, short W-USB, audio transmitters. But the company apparently will offer a USB device that can wirelessly transmit audio streams from a PC to a home stereo system just in time for the Christmas season.

    The company today got approval for the system which consists of the UWL-1 (which strangely carries a "UTX-1" tag in the picture submitted to the FCC) transmitter, which resembles the look and feel of a common USB memory stick as well as the RX-1 receiver, which has the footprint of a small compact stereo and should fit nicely below such a system. Other companies, including the WiFi equipment makers as well as Logitech have announced similar products in the past.

    According to the manual of the unannounced product, the UWL-1 uses the 2.4 GHz range and works across a distance of up to 90 ft, which lets us believe that it uses Bluetooth to send and receive data. However, pictures of the USB stick reveal a chip built by Airoha, which is known as manufacturer of 802.11 a/b/g semiconductors and we are not aware that the company is involved in Bluetooth as well. If it is a Wi-Fi chip, then it appears that Onkyo may have chosen an unusually weak transmitter and antenna for the system.

    Pricing of the two devices, which can send and receive any digital audio, including MP3s, Internet radio and CDs, has not been announced, but we are certain that the system will be hitting store shelves within a few weeks.

    So, at this time we are still waiting for the first W-USB devices, which have been and are still promised by the USB Implementers Forum for 2006.