Acoustic Research Makes Any Sound System Wireless

Keep the speakers you have, but lose the cables

ARW51 transmitter
The ARW51 transmitter beams music wirelessly to its matching receivers (below)Acoustic Research

We loved Acoustic Research's original crystal-clear wireless home theater system, the WHT-6024, enough to give it a Best of What's New award in 2007.

Sadly, the WHT-6024 was a short-lived product. But AR has a new kit called the ARW51 that includes the original system's best part -- a 2.4-Ghz transmitter-and-receiver system that takes the place of speaker wire.

The receivers constantly monitor for interference and periodically hop to different frequencies to avoid it. The idea here is to add these components to an existing system. The ARW51's price of $700 won't be a whole lot cheaper than the $900 original product, which also included five speakers and a subwoofer. So it's not exactly a money-saving option. But if you love the speakers you already have (i.e. they are expensive suckers), this is a way to make them wireless.

We haven't had a chance to play with the new product yet. But we just learned that the Consumer Electronics Association has made it an "honoree" (whatever that means) for their 2009 CEA Innovations Award competition.

What if you are old-school and have a stereo instead of a new-fangled 5.1 system? The folks at AR say there will be more options in the future, such as buying the transmitter and just a pair of the receivers (each sporting a 50-watt Class D amplifier). They hinted that they might also sell extra receivers to power a second set of speakers in another room. There's no word yet on prices for these options.

And no details on availability yet, other than the vague promise of "2009." Given AR's tendency to announce things way before they come out, you probably have some time to save up for this item.

receivers
Each receiver powers a single speaker using its built-in amplifierAcoustic Research