Unlike competitors such as Avnera Corp. (Beaverton, Ore.), which depends on sophisticated forward error correction techniques, STS uses the same kind of packet retransmission protocols used by data networks such as ZigBee.
"I am a radio engineer whose background is in ZigBee," said van Leeuwen. "Our chips are not using ZigBee, but like ZigBee, our interface robustness comes from retransmission, instead of relying on forward error correction."
As a result, STS claims higher-quality specifications than most standard interoperable solutions. For instance, its HD audio is uncompressed using 24-bit, 96k samples per second, and latency is 17 milliseconds (ms). This better-than-CD audio quality is thus guaranteed to be synced with the video in home theaters, since the human brain cannot distinguish latency less than 20 ms. In addition, the STS chips consume only 25 milliamps, including the built-in headphone amplifier albeit the chip does not include a radio, which must be provided by the original equipment manufacturer on a separate chip.
STS chips have a 150-foot range indoors through walls and 500 feet outside for wireless headphones. The company also claims "good as a wire" synchronization among its eight radio channels 100 nanoseconds.
At CES, STS customer Sony will be showing its latest surround sound headphones, which use STS' four bidirectional channels to supply Dolby 7.1 HD audio.