Harman Unveils Wireless HD Audio System and Announces Global Developer Community with APIs for Lifestyle Products

September 15 2014, 13:00
Harman International Industries announced a breakthrough in high-quality streaming anywhere in the home with two new Harman Kardon Omni loudspeakers and the Harman Kardon Adapt wireless adapter to upgrade existing home stereo systems. The flexible design and functionality relies on standard Wi-Fi networks. According to Harman, “exceptional performance means wireless home audio has never sounded so good – or been easier to set up and manage.”

The Harman Kardon Omni system comprises three new products: Omni 10 and Omni 20 wireless HD loudspeakers and the Adapt plug-in to upgrade existing home stereo systems, all powered by Blackfire Research wireless media technology. The Harman Kardon app, as well as Bluetooth connectivity, allows user’s access and streaming music from any phone or apps and favorite streaming services.

To make the system reflective of personal lifestyles and needs, custom applications can be added to extend the system functionality, thanks to an open programming interface being introduced to leverage third-party app development.

Unlike most wireless streaming systems, the Harman Kardon Omni 10 and Omni 20 support 24-bit/96kHz Studio Quality HD audio streaming, combining the convenience of wireless audio streaming with higher resolution than from a CD. Also, Harman Kardon Omni 10 and Omni 20 loudspeakers can be combined in pairs to create a wireless stereo system, or even grouped to create a full multi-channel speaker system and immersive experiences.

“The Harman Kardon Wireless high definition audio system represents the ultimate in scalability, upgradeability, and personalisation for home audio entertainment,” says Michael Mauser, president, Lifestyle Division, Harman. “And you shouldn’t have to sacrifice great sound or beautiful, forward-looking design in order to get it. Our Omni loudspeaker systems and Adapt wireless adapter make this happen, without compromises in sound quality or aesthetics.”

The Harman Kardon Adapt is a first-of-its-kind truly HD, wireless adapter for existing home stereo systems, connecting the gap between existing Hi-Fi gear and the wireless network. Multiple speakers and adapters can be combined for wireless room-filling sound in multichannel configurations, to play different music in each room for private listening, or stream the same song throughout the house in party mode.

Harman’s Wireless HD Audio System is controlled and configured wirelessly via the app and a standard Wi-Fi-connection, with no network-cable connection required. The future-proof design is supported through automatic software upgrades and improvements that are automatically delivered through the Wi-Fi connection to the control app.

One Touch Follow Me Audio is one of the innovations in Harman’s solution, allowing a person to walk from one room to another with music following at the touch of a button, even when streaming from Bluetooth. And the Link Button Speaker Control allows to start a party all across existing speakers in different rooms. When multiple streams are playing wirelessly, one button press cycles through them all so the user can pick his favorite. One long press of the button starts party mode, with every speaker playing back the same music.

To deliver true customisation and personalisation, the Harman Kardon Wireless HD Audio System will also be Harman’s first product line to be enhanced by applications created by the new Harman Developer Community (developer.harman.com). Starting this fall, community members will have access to the necessary software tools, resources and support to build, test and launch applications. These assets allow developers to explore ways to enhance the Harman Kardon multi-room audio, potentially via new listening modes and tuning options, or other streaming services.

The APIs for Harman’s lifestyle products – which include the Harman Kardon, JBL, AKG and Infinity brands – will be made available through software development kits (SDKs) hosted on the community site, developer.harman.com, later this fall. Developers working on media streaming, audio applications, and advanced connected applications for IoT (Internet of Things) will find the new Harman community particularly relevant.

“From the world’s first stereo receiver to the first concert hall loudspeaker, our legendary brands have been responsible for changing the way people experience premium audio,” says IP Park, EVP and Chief Technology Officer, Harman. “Our developer community will fuel even more innovation and unlock new ways for consumers to access and customize their entertainment experiences and of course, ensure they have the best quality sound wherever they are using Harman technologies.”

The first of many Harman SDKs will be for the Harman Kardon Wireless HD Audio System. Harman also announced that the new JBL Authentics Wireless Home Audio Series will feature Spotify Connect compatibility. Spotify Connect, developed by the digital music service, will allow listeners to seamlessly shift the audio they are listening to via Spotify on other devices over to their Wi-Fi connected Harman home systems without interruption.

JBL Authentics units already in market will receive a software update shortly that will feature Spotify Connect. The Spotify Connect functionality will be standard on all new models shipped moving forward. Additionally, the JBL Authentics Series features AirPlay, DLNA and Bluetooth connectivity so audio can be streamed easily from any wireless device.
www.harman.com | www.harmankardon.com
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