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Blackfire RED Aims to Save Consumers From 'Entertainment Islands'

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Blackfire Research takes the wraps off Blackfire RED today, a distribution framework designed to make device-to-device streaming within the home easy and ubiquitous. RED stands for "real-time entertainment distribution," and the company says it will prevent consumer's entertainment choices from being confined to their own private islands. With RED-enabled speakers, for example, consumers can create multi-room streaming audio systems that are perfectly in synch using speakers from a variety of manufacturers. Or, with a RED-enabled TV they could stream high-resolution video from a set linked to an online subscription service to another in the home that isn't.

RED can stream 5.1 audio and 4K video, and is sophisticated enough to strip out a video's audio channel and send it to RED-enabled speakers. The framework includes three parts: a software engine built into consumer electronics devices, a communications protocol that can work around interference, and a programming interface for real-time distribution. Blackfire is leaving mobile app creation up to its partner CE companies; there won't be one master RED app that controls all of a home's devices. Instead, each partner will create their own app.

The first RED-enabled devices will debut this month and are all audio-related. The company says there will be roughly 90 product lines shipping by the end of the year, including products from Harman Kardon, Onkyo, Pioneer, and Integra. Shoppers will see a RED logo on the packaging of supported products. RED-enabled TVs should hit the market next year.

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