Best Buy offer affordable wireless audio with Rocketfish
The giant blue and yellow tech retailer that is Best Buy has a range of own brand products in the States under the name of Rocketfish doing a roaring trade. In fact, it's been going so well that the company has brought them over to its burgeoning fleet of super stores over here in the UK. We went hands-on with their flagship and only devices to see if it's money well saved.
The Rocketboost system is a collection of devices that'll help your stream audio from one part of your house to another. It's for your home cinema sound, your MP3 music listening and even for pumping the beats out to your back garden without so much as a cable in sight.
The solution the home cinema side of things presents is around the problem of getting 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound to your middle and rear speakers without the need for trailing wires all through your living space. For every tech/film nut out there, there's someone else in the same residence that cares more about the look of the lounge than how cool it would be if your set up sounded just like your were at the movies. This is the reason why sofas are generally found against walls.
So, your compromise to this person in your life might well be the Rocketfish Wireless HD Audio Starter Kit. What that comes with is a wireless sender/receiver module that sits plugged into your home cinema amp. You connect your front speakers directly to it and, at the same time, it sends out a non-compressed audio signal over a proprietary 2.4GHz wireless channel to a second receiver box that itself is plugged into your rear speakers. You can therefore cut out the cable that goes from one end of your room to the other but still get some decent surround sound going on.
It works with both the top Dolby and DTS HD sound technologies, comes with a remote control and is capable of sending audio up to 45ft away. Of course, the downside is that you still need to connect your rear speakers to it and therefore find a place to tuck it away at the back of the room and that might not always be that easy. You could just pop it under the sofa but you'll probably need to fiddle with the volume button every now and then. In reality, you're looking at it taking up some side table space and hoping the kids/cat don't discover it. Still, it looks good enough and it certainly works well. Not at all bad considering the bundle costs just £159.99.
If you're after 7.1 channel sound, then you're going to need an extra receiver box for the two extra audio-out speaker ports you'll need. You might choose to use one for the left side of the room and one for the right. It's up to you. Either way, it's an extra £99.99.
Of course, another option, for the same extra unit might be to put it in another room so that you can receive audio from your home cinema amp elsewhere. Now, obviously, hearing the sound from a film without the visual might not seem appealing but there's no reason why you can't choose to play a different source from the amp. So, while your family is watching Star Wars: Episode One in the main room, you can show your distaste for the later films in the franchise by listening to some music instead in another room but wirelessly over the same system.
If music's you're thing, then you might want to consider the Rocketfish Wireless Sender Receiver for your laptop. For £49.99, you get a wee box that'll let you stream your computer-based music collection over to the speakers connected to the aforementioned receiver boxes strewn about your abode. It hooks up via the speaker jack on your machine and will send the signal over 100ft notwithstanding big thick walls, unfortunately.
It's not the best looking unit in the world and has the feel of a second router on your desktop with all the wiring that goes with it but it's effective. One does have to ask oneself whether streaming music over your own home Wi-Fi might be cleaner, though. Either way, Rocketfish certainly offers something a lot more affordable than Sonos.
The final piece of the Rocketboost puzzle are these wireless (of course) outdoor speakers which come as a timely reminder of summer BBQs. They're generally weather and guest-resistant with a good dose of thick rubber coating on most of the outer surfaces. The controls on the top allow you to select which source you'd like to listen to as well as adjust the volume.
The 22W device picks up signals at up to 164ft and comes with the wireless sender/receiver above for a none-too-cheap £179.99. And that's just for one speaker. You're perfectly welcome to buy a second speaker to go with it and the two will synchronise left and right according to your needs.
All in all, plenty to choose from from Best Buy, here. All of these products are available in-store now and, from our quick play, we're certainly interested to see what they'd be like to live with.