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Pioneer Drops AirPlay Speaker Prices, Now Competitive with Bluetooth Models

pioneerAs noted by Macworld, Pioneer has lowered the prices on several of its AirPlay speakers, which have, historically, been offered at a much higher pricing tier than Bluetooth speakers.
The company recently dropped the price of its XW-SMA1 speaker from $299 to $149, while the prices of the XW-SMA3 and XW-SMA4 have similarly been cut in half from $399 to $199. (These changes aren't yet reflected on Pioneer's website, where the latter two speakers are still listed at $399.)
Macworld spoke to a Pioneer representative, who said that the company is aiming to make its AirPlay speakers price competitive with its Bluetooth models, with the hope that lower prices will help consumers to appreciate AirPlay's advantages.

While Bluetooth has been a more affordable option for consumers, AirPlay has a distinct edge, offering a much longer range with the option of utilizing multiple speakers for a complete home audio experience.

Traditionally, AirPlay speakers have been priced higher than Bluetooth speakers due to the cost of licensing the technology from Apple. It is unclear if Pioneer is eating the additional cost or if Apple has made AirPlay licensing more affordable, but with Pioneer lowering the price of its AirPlay speakers, it is likely that other manufacturers may have to follow suit in order to continue to offer competitive pricing.

Top Rated Comments

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16 months ago
Great news, however I feel the problem is still the overall cost to entry for companies that want to utilize Airplay, or cable interfaces for iOS devices. I appreciate Apple wanting control, however the cost per unit is going to make Airplay more rare than it could be!
Rating: 12 Votes
16 months ago
Oh .. the good ol' Pioneer. How about go back and make a 70" Kuro plasma with AirDisplay? :D

I really hate saw the old Kuro went off the grid, and now Panasonic is raising the white flag too. I wish all HDTV is plasma :(
Rating: 11 Votes
16 months ago
Bluetooth is a bad tech for sound. I have never been able to get good quality sound through bluetooth - I am not an expert, so maybe I am doing something wrong, but I always thought the bandwidth wasnt there to support the full spectrum. This, to me, was always the biggest benefit of airplay.
Rating: 5 Votes
16 months ago

Unless I can Air Play my FLAC files I don't care how cheap it is

Image (http://www.mcintoshlabs.com/Assets/Images/Products/MA6600/XL_MA6600_D.jpg)


Ahh the real Mcintosh ;)
Now that's real audio is all about
Rating: 5 Votes
16 months ago
I think it's cheaper to get an Apple TV and a surround sound system with HDMI input. Better sound :D
Rating: 4 Votes
16 months ago
I think I'll stick to streaming music through my TV.
Rating: 4 Votes
16 months ago

Oh .. the good ol' Pioneer. How about go back and make a 70" Kuro plasma with AirDisplay? :D

I really hate saw the old Kuro went off the grid, and now Panasonic is raising the white flag too. I wish all HDTV is plasma :(


Indeed. However Pioneer lost money on every Kuro it sold, even at the premium price point it deserved. That is why it stopped making TV's, the 'KURO' team was sold, or moved to Panansonic and the fruits of their work were seen in last years plasma's. I will keep my 60" KRP600A until it dies [or Apple hire / buy the KURO team and make a 70" Plasma.., which out performs it ;)].

For people who play video games on their TV, LCD / LED displays are the only option. Or have plasma screens gotten better recently?


Plasma was always better for gamers. The early LCD's (and in some of the new ones I have seen) suffered from extremely poor motion blurring etc. I have had Panasonic Plasma in my Lounge since 2001 and a Pioneer in a dedicated room since 2009. Both were used with PS2 / PS3 respectively.
Rating: 4 Votes
16 months ago
Airplay is great! I use it to stream music throughout my entire house. Although I would suggest using multiple airport expresses instead or specific speakers with built in airplay. Then you can connect any speaker with an aux input. I'm glad to see prices dropping though.
Rating: 4 Votes
16 months ago

Im not sure if Airplay is lossy or lossless (given people would be streaming MP3 through it, its lossy at some stage I guess), but I certainly notice the quality difference of BT in my experience. It sounds like the high and low frequencies are cut off, volume is reduced, and artifacts of compression are introduced (particularly in the high end). I dont understand the tech, and maybe I just have bad equipment, but ive always thought BT for audio is a waste of time.


The AirTunes part of the AirPlay protocol stack uses UDP for streaming audio and is based on the RTSP network control protocol.[37] The streams are transcoded using the Apple Lossless codec with 44100 Hz and 2 channels encrypted with AES, requiring the receiver to have access to the appropriate private key to decrypt the streams.[38] The stream is buffered for approximately 2 seconds before playback begins, resulting in a small delay before audio is output after starting an AirPlay stream.[39]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AirPlay
Rating: 3 Votes
16 months ago
That would be awesome if they made stereo desktop speakers. Then my desk would be down to one wire!
Rating: 3 Votes

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