Will this work with my TV in a home environment? Yes, it has more range than the usual bluetooth system so, assuming that your home Wi-Fi covers your whole house, you could be anywhere in the house and hear your show. Some people have said this is particularly helpful when doing housework, running after young children, etc.
Can I use this system anywhere in the world? Pretty much. Wi-Fi is universal and our equipment is FCC, CE-Mark, and RoHS complaint. You must use Wi-Fi frequencies appropriate to your country, of course. A few countries have their own special regulations—contact us and we can help.
Does it matter whether I use the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band or the newer 5 GHz Wi-Fi band? The 5 GHz band is much better. There are only three non-overlapping frequency bands down in the 2.4 GHz range and there are a plethora of other equipment that generates noise there too, such as microwave ovens, garage door openers, and wireless phones. The sound will be significantly better at 5 GHz, but note that some older phones do not support this band, so a dual band broadcast is best in a public setting.
Why is the Audio Everywhere from Listen Technologies solution so much less expensive? Because it builds on mass market technology. There were 1.4 billion smart phones manufactured in 2015 and the market for Wi-Fi was $15B. These are economies of scale that specialized electronic systems cannot match.
How do I make the audio private? The simplest way to make the audio private is to use the already existing facilities of Wi-Fi. Simply enable Wi-Fi encryption and password protection (we recommend WPA2 + AES). If you want to prevent someone from a previous event, say in a movie theater or concert, from “attending” the audio of a new event, change the password between the events.
Does the system need to be connected to the Internet? No. But it needs to be connected to a router/DHCP server. These, however, are quite inexpensive.
If I have listening devices (e.g., headphones, neck loops) with 1/8″ mono connectors, can I use them with this system? Yes, while some equipment makers label their connectors as 1/8″, they are really 3.5 mm, per Wikipedia. The 1/8″ label is just informal parlance, not to be taken literally. Mono connectors of this sort are what is called “Tip-Sleeve” or TS connectors. Believe it or not, the standard is as old as the 19th century. Stereo connectors, Tip-Ring-Sleeve (TRS) or Stereo plus microphone connectors (TRRS) are more common these days. A 3.5 mm TRS would be used, for instance, with an iPod Touch. A 3.5 mm TRRS connector would be used with an iPhone or Android phone. We tested a mono 1/8″ connector equipped headphone with both a 5th generation iPod Touch and an iPhone 6s+ and, as expected, they worked just fine.
What about Bluetooth connected devices? For our systems, Bluetooth is used to connect phones and tablets to hearing devices. Bluetooth has enormous variation in latency and some systems are quite poor, 250 ms or more. The best systems are around 32 ms, which is quite reasonable. The lowest latency systems available for iPhones are Bluetooth 4.0 and above.
Can I keep people from updating their Facebook while listening to my sermon? As much as you can now. It is straightforward to set up the system so that your local Wi-Fi does not reach the Internet and therefore people on the Wi-Fi cannot reach the Internet. Your IT department could give you even finer control (we can help them). But there is nothing to stop someone on their own smartphone from using LTE and their own data plan.
What is the least-expensive way to buy the necessary receivers? Don’t. Take up a collection of old iPhones, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android devices. The Androids sound much better after version 5.0 (Lollipop) so older iPhones are probably your best bet. iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches with the “lightning” connector have the best lip sync.
Do I need to put up signs? Yes, they are an integral part of ADA compliance.
Since many people already have smartphones, does this mean that we do not need to provide publicly available receivers? No, you still have to have receivers per Table 219.3, some which are hearing aid compatible. But in this case, the basic receiver can be a re-purposed smartphone, tablet, or iPod Touch.
When must my facility provide Assistive Listening Systems? We cannot give you legal advice, but here are some general guidelines: since 2012 all new construction and remodels must provide an Assistive Listening System (ALS) if the venue is sometimes open to the public and if electronic amplification, e.g., a PA (public address) system, is used.
What are the best receivers to provide for Assistive Listening? In our experience, the best systems are iPhones and iPod Touches modern enough to have the Lightning connector. These systems have the lowest latency and we have tested the lip synch with people who do lip reading (read about that here). The best connections to hearing aids are amplified neck loops (for T-coil hearing aids) or wired hearing-aid compatible earphones. We see a lot of variation in the latency of Bluetooth connected devices—some are really bad—but Bluetooth 4.0 and above generally has the lowest latency.
Are there examples where the Audio Everywhere Assistive Listening system provide greater accessibility than old-style systems? Yes, for instance, a hard-of-hearing (HoH) person using an iPhone-connected cochlear implant would have better access by using an Audio Everywhere from Listen Technologies system.
Do the ADA regulations mention Wi-Fi Audio? No, they don’t mention it one way or another, but they specifically address the case when new technology comes along that improves access. What they say in Section 103: Equivalent Facilitation is “Nothing in these requirements prevents the use of designs, products, or technologies as alternatives to those prescribed, provided they result in substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability.”