Q: What is Blackfire Research?

A: Blackfire Research (Blackfire for short) innovates smart home entertainment solutions, delivering what no one else in the industry can: true multichannel, multipoint and multi-room wireless streaming. Blackfire licenses its Real-time Entertainment Distribution (RED) framework to leading smart home entertainment brands, such as HTC, Onkyo and Harman Kardon; partnering also with several top chipset developers, independent design houses, and contract manufacturers. Blackfire is already licensed by three of the top 10 global audio brands and is built into over four million smartphones. Users have now come to recognize the Blackfire logo as a symbol of quality.

Q: What other technologies can do what Blackfire RED does?

A: There are other technologies that attempt parts of what Blackfire offers, but not one competitor is able to deliver all that Blackfire does. Blackfire built its patented Real-time Entertainment Distribution (RED) framework from the ground up to address issues commonly associated with conventional wireless technologies, delivering high-performance multichannel, multipoint and multi-room 5.1 audio and 4K video wireless streaming across devices over standard Wi-Fi. In addition, the Blackfire RED framework provides extremely high synchronization and very low latency – which allows wireless audio and video to be sent/received from devices reliably and for devices to work together seamlessly. Therefore, users no longer have to choose between a music-only or movie-only audio system, or a Bluetooth speaker for their phone that can’t do multi-room audio.

Q: Which problems does Blackfire technology solve for its partners?

A: Blackfire isn’t just solving problems for its partners. The company is solving industry-wide issues, including the elimination of entertainment “islands” and the mitigation of issues commonly associated with wireless streaming that result in poor streaming performance and quality. A typical household has several independent “islands” of media connectivity in their home: a TV connected to a home theater system or soundbar; a music system; several computers, often containing music files; and several smartphones. Blackfire is the only technology that enables all these islands to interconnect wirelessly and seamlessly, allowing a living room home-theater system to wirelessly play TV audio, Spotify music, or Hi-Res/HD files stored on a PC or NAS drive.

As for partners specifically, Blackfire has overcome the limitations of conventional wireless to deliver true multichannel, multipoint and multi-room wireless streaming of digital content, including 5.1 audio and 4K video. Consumer Electronics brands are again free to innovate and invigorate a stagnant market by imagining and producing new devices that deliver rich content and a dramatically improved experience without barriers. OEM manufacturers can broaden their offerings and increase revenue by designing and producing entertainment content capabilities, services and device designs previously unimaginable.

Q: Which problems does Blackfire technology solve for the user?

A: Blackfire RED overcomes the limitations of conventional wireless products and eliminates entertainment islands. Users can now enjoy any digital entertainment content headache-free for the first time, regardless of manufacturer, device, application or room location.

Q: What is next for Blackfire?

A: Blackfire’s mission is to ignite an industry shift – a shift toward a true smart home – and take the smart home entertainment experience to an entirely new level. A typical household has several independent “islands” of media connectivity in their home. Blackfire has the only technology that allows all these islands to interconnect wirelessly and seamlessly. As more brands adopt Blackfire technology, users will be able to play all their audio and video content synchronously and seamlessly throughout their home and use multiple devices for different rich entertainment applications simultaneously for the first time.


Q: What is Blackfire RED?

A: Every device that carries the Blackfire logo is built on Blackfire RED. Blackfire RED is the underlying framework that ensures reliable and high-performance media distribution over standard Wi-Fi. The Blackfire RED framework is comprised of:

  • The Blackfire RED software engine, which is embedded in consumer media products;  
  • The Blackfire RED transport protocol, which overcomes the limitations of traditional Wi-Fi protocols by mitigating the effects of interference and ensures a reliable, high-speed connection;
  • The Blackfire RED programming interface, which enables devices with any operating system to stream media from a wide number of content providers.
Q: What does Blackfire RED do?

A: Blackfire RED enables a reliable multi-room speaker system with wireless audio streaming over 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. Blackfire RED-powered devices also include the following capabilities and features:

  • Reliable multi-room wireless audio and video over 2.4GHz Wi-Fi;
  • Low-latency over 5GHz Wi-Fi;
  • Advanced multi-room media pipeline handling, including Google Chromecast Audio and Spotify Connect integration;
  • Multi-room backward-compatibility with previous Blackfire-powered products;
  • Native integration into Smart TVs, enabling the TV itself to decode and send multi-channel audio to wireless speakers (thus replacing the AV Receiver);
  • Wireless 4K video for transmitting audio and video from a Smart Set Top Box simultaneously to multiple TVs and speakers throughout the home;
  • Voice AI integration into multi-room, enabling a whole-home voice-control system.
Q: What is FireConnect by Blackfire?

A: Fireconnect by Blackfire is the name given to the Blackfire RED framework implemented in Onkyo, Pioneer and Integra products.

Q: Does Blackfire RED support lossless high-resolution audio streaming?

A: Yes, the Blackfire RED framework is capable of transmitting bit-perfect streams of 24-bit High Resolution audio, and supports a wide variety of codecs including both lossy and lossless formats.


Q: Is the Blackfire protocol an industry standard?

A: Blackfire RED is a patented technology but is built on (and compliant with) several industry standards including Ethernet and the IEE 802.11 (WiFi) standard. Devices using Blackfire RED work on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless bands, as well as over wired Ethernet connections, and will benefit from any future improvements in WiFi speed, reliability and capacity – which non-WiFi, proprietary technologies cannot.

Q: How does the Blackfire protocol work over standard Wi-Fi?

A: Conventional protocols used by other wireless streaming devices, like RTP and TCP/IP, were designed in the 1970s to cope with transmission bottlenecks in early wired networks; this has made them unsuitable for handling transient noise from RF interference. Blackfire built an entirely new protocol from the ground up and is the only transmission protocol specifically designed for ensuring reliable, real-time packet transmission in Wi-Fi networks – coping with both high data traffic, as well as sources of interference. Blackfire RED protocol includes several patented features for overcoming signal loss due to either weak signals or noisy wireless environments –

including Real-Time Packet Management (RPM), Traffic Independent Synchronization (TIS) and Dynamic Stream Balancing (DSB).

Q: How is Blackfire technology able to reduce data packet loss?

A: Blackfire has invested in specialized equipment and years of research to characterize and reproduce the types of interference that Wi-Fi devices in the home face. By designing for these real-world environments, Blackfire has developed algorithms and techniques that ensure reliable packet transfer – without disrupting other network traffic – that factors in the available data bandwidth to minimize the unnecessary retransmission that occurs in conventional protocols. The Blackfire RED protocol reduces packet loss by rapidly identifying transmission errors, recovering the packet and retransmitting it to prevent audible or visible drop outs.

Q: How is Blackfire technology able to deliver precise synchronization and solve the video/audio lip synchronization issues that plague others?

A: Conventional streaming technologies make compromises to achieve one task at a time – for example multi-room audio systems have excessive latency and can’t be used wirelessly with TVs (lip sync issues); and Wireless Home Theater systems can only achieve low latency by using proprietary transmitters that cause interference with compliant Wi-Fi devices. Blackfire is the first Wi-Fi protocol that can cover both low latency and high synchronization without causing interference to other network traffic, enabling wireless systems with up to 7.1 discrete channels of audio – not just a single point “soundbar.” The result is audiophile quality synchronization on multiple channels for a true surround sound experience and offers precise synchronization to deliver in-room multichannel application, acoustic stereo spatial imaging and audio + video sync (“lip sync”) accuracy.

Q: Can Blackfire technology be leveraged by applications beyond home entertainment?

A: Yes, because Blackfire RED is based on WiFi standards, it is flexible enough to be leveraged by just about any device in the IoT space that needs to stream digital content or data wirelessly in real-time, at high speed and with high reliability.

Making the Smart Home Smarter

Making the Smart Home Smarter


In his entertaining recent editorial, CNBC Technology Product Editor, Todd Haselton, experienced, firsthand, the frustration that many smart home enthusiasts have endured for a long time: smart home products that don’t work with one another. Typically, manufacturers don’t want their customers to “mix and match” products, but rather, they “encourage” them to stay loyal to their brand by deliberately limiting compatibility with competitors. But what manufacturers don’t realize is that these “technology islands” are actually discouraging potential users from buying any smart home products at all. Aside from the more geeky early adopters (ok, my hand’s up), smart home gadget users don’t want to invest in a brand and have that brand become obsolete within the next few years (i.e. “choose wrong”) so many people just aren’t choosing at all. As Haselton points out: “How do you choose which one to go with? It’s almost like the VHS vs. Betamax wars.”


A simple solution to this problem, as Haselton notes, is “one single standard that works for everything.” At Blackfire Research, we’ve done just that. A few years back, Blackfire Research founder and CEO, Ravi Rajapakse, became frustrated – much like Haselton himself and countless other smart home gadget lovers – when he realized that there was no seamless way to transfer and share entertainment media throughout his own home. What was once a personal project to create a multi-room entertainment system soon became ten years of research into a revolutionary new protocol, which we call The Blackfire Realtime Entertainment Distribution (RED) framework. The Blackfire RED framework can stream both HD 5.1 audio and 4K video, simultaneously, across multiple devices – all over the standard WiFi you already have. As well as connecting light bulbs, thermostats and door locks, Blackfire also works as a bridge between your smart home and your entertainment systems – with precise synchronization, low latency for lip sync, and overall reliability. Because ultimately, that is what smart home owners want – to mix and match devices while having their music and movies available to them anywhere in the home.


Oh yeah, did we mention that Blackfire enabled products are compatible with each other, even across brands? Just look for our logo on select Harman/Kardon, Onkyo, Pioneer, Integra, and HTC devices. It’s just one of the many ways Blackfire Research is making the smart home a whole lot smarter.

Why your WiFi sucks and what you can do about it

Why your WiFi sucks and what you can do about it


Imagine your perfect Smart Home. Would it have facial recognition locks so you wouldn’t have to worry about ever losing your keys? Or how about tinted windows that adjust to the amount of sunlight coming in, maintaining a perfect temperature inside at all times? If you’re anything like me, your perfect Smart Home would have a completely wireless, multi-room entertainment system, capable of streaming 4K video and 5.1 channels of discrete audio to speakers and screens placed throughout the home. That idea isn’t impossible today, however, it’s not being done. At the moment, the vast majority of home entertainment systems are wired, and their placement is dictated by cable lengths. And TVs are limited to soundbars that may reduce movies and music into a garbled monophonic fizz. This means that multi-room entertainment systems, a staple for Smart Home Entertainment, aren’t all that common or attractive, unless you’re into the whole tangled-wired-mess vibe.

The most cutting-edge technology for TV today is 4K, or Ultra High Definition (UHD). 4K TVs give flicker-free pictures at 60 frames per second, and up to 10 bit color. To send a 4K TV signal and 5.1 audio signal wirelessly, you’d need to transmit data at just over 80 Megabits per second (MB/s) to avoid any obvious visible artifacts. The newest WiFi routers you can buy use the 802.11ac standard to send data at a 5GHz frequency, which is a theoretical max data rate of 1.3 Gigabits per second (Mb/s).

So, if wireless, multi-room entertainment systems capable of streaming 4K video and 5.1 channels are possible, why isn’t it being done? The problem is in your WiFi. Conventional WiFi runs on TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) which was designed in the 1960’s for transferring files down wired Ethernet lines, not streaming real-time video and wireless audio for the Smart Home.


TCP is outdated.

Let’s take a closer look at TCP. TCP was originally designed to break a file into smaller packets of data, and send it piece by piece down a twisted-pair wired network connection to a router. The goal was for all the packets to eventually get to the router, no matter how long it took the file to get there. This is called “asynchronous.” Remember back in the day when you’d download music from Napster or LimeWire and it took an entire afternoon to get just a few songs? Yeah, that’s basically it.

Routers in those days could only handle so many packets at a time before choking.The lost packets were retransmitted, and so each file could only be sent to one destination on the network at a time. And if packets were getting lost, TCP would not only retransmit the lost packets, but also send the packets at a slower rate allowing the router to digest all the packets it was being sent to prevent further data loss.


TCP is wasting your precious bandwidth.

Today, in a 5GHz wireless network, it is much more likely that packets are lost through interference (transmission loss) than the router getting choked (continuous data congestion at the router). So, TCP’s approach of throttling back the data rate makes bandwidth congestion worse, not better. Tom’s Hardware site did a benchmark test of TCP vs the raw data transmission without all it’s throttling back. With TCP, they measured between 114 and 180 MB/s across five top router brands. Without TCP re-transmission they could reach 606 to 637MB/s with those same five routers.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that using wireless streaming services like Spotify or Netflix is not like sending an email. Music and video streaming have much higher demands than file transfer: packets of a streamed audio or video file have to arrive and be processed at a speed that allows a constant stream of packets to arrive reliably so there are no dropouts in the music or movie. And, if you just so happen to have multiple wireless TVs and speakers, they each have to receive the same data simultaneously.

Network interference can come from intentional transmitters, like other routers and WiFi devices on the same or adjacent channel, a cell phone or a nearby mesh-network music system, or unintentional transmitters, like a microwave oven. Noise changes by the microsecond, and with each millimeter of position- so perhaps think twice before opening that package of microwavable popcorn if you’re streaming a movie to multiple wireless speakers using a network built on TCP.


Enter Blackfire RED.

When it comes to creating your perfect Smart Home of the future, why not start today? Remember earlier when I mentioned that wireless, multi-room entertainment systems capable of streaming 4K video and 5.1 channels aren’t being done? Well, with Blackfire Realtime Entertainment Distribution (RED) protocol, it can be done, and easily. Blackfire RED can interpret all that network interference and identify where it is coming from. Blackfire RED is synchronous, multipoint, and has an intelligent adaptive algorithm for managing packet retransmission, resulting in improved signal reliability, tighter synchronization, and reduced latency. And the best part? Blackfire RED works completely wirelessly throughout your home.

The idea of your perfect Smart Home doesn’t have to remain a distant fantasy. Truly connected, wireless Smart Home Entertainment is possible today, but your current WiFi is built on an outdated protocol that can’t support the latest technology (or technology of the future). You don’t still walk around with a pager, do you? Why do we upgrade some technologies and not others? I know you’ve ditched the pager. Now go ahead, ditch TCP and say hello to twenty-first century Smart Home Entertainment.

Blackfire Research Introduces the Blackfire Red Framework

Blackfire Research Introduces the Blackfire Red Framework


Blackfire Research Introduces Blackfire RED, a New Wireless Real-time Entertainment Distribution Framework, Rescuing Consumers from “Entertainment Islands” in the Home

Blackfire RED Provides a Common Wi-Fi Framework for Entertainment Consumption in the Home, Enabling New Capabilities and Disrupting the $50B Smart Home Entertainment Product Landscape


SAN FRANCISCO – June 12, 2017 – Blackfire Research Corp, the wireless Smart Home Entertainment company, today announced the availability of Blackfire RED, a Real-time Entertainment Distribution framework. Blackfire RED is the industry’s only wireless and entertainment-centric infrastructure software framework built from the ground up to both overcome the limitations of Wi-Fi when used for media applications, and meet the needs of wireless entertainment-related consumer applications and products. It is not enough to just have Wi-Fi connectivity between consumer products. Real-time exchanges of entertainment content require a common framework that can work reliably over Wi-Fi and has a rich set of features for a broad spectrum of entertainment products. This is what Blackfire RED offers, making it an essential component to truly enable smarter Home Entertainment. Blackfire RED rescues consumers from “islands” of incompatible media devices, and finally allows Smart Home owners to enjoy all of their digital content wirelessly, synchronously and seamlessly throughout the home, including high-quality 5.1 audio and 4K video on multiple devices over standard Wi-Fi.

“The Smart Home industry is due for a shake-up,” said Adam Wright, Senior Research Analyst, Consumer IoT, IDC. “While the initial IoT concept has evolved into the Connected Home, we still see that Home Entertainment is lagging behind due to unreliable connectivity and lack of interoperability, among other issues. The Smart Home industry has been in need of a solution that has the ability to link all of these excellent, yet disparate, smart devices. Reliable, real-time connectivity between devices and the ability to work together seamlessly is essential for the Smart Home ecosystem to move past this innovation plateau.”

Top global audio brands, including Harman Kardon, Onkyo, Pioneer, and Integra have already licensed the Blackfire RED framework and are currently shipping products that leverage its capabilities. The Blackfire RED framework is comprised of:

  • A Software Engine; a small lightweight piece of software, embedded in consumer electronic products, and is network, chipset and operating system agnostic, making integration easy.
  • A Communication Protocol, that allows Blackfire RED enabled products to talk to each other, over a standard network stack. This was designed and tailored specifically to overcome the limitations of traditional Wi-Fi by working around the effects of interference and ensuring a reliable, high-speed connection.
  • A Programming Interface that allows easy real time distribution and handling of entertainment content from and to the products.


“Today’s Smart Homes, while certainly more intelligent than a decade ago, have left consumers stranded,” said Ravi Rajapakse, founder and CEO, Blackfire Research Corp. “Smart technology has created entertainment islands, but I wanted my entertainment to be accessible anywhere in my home without compromising on performance or quality, which is what led me to create Blackfire RED. I wanted to see the Smart Home Entertainment promise through to fruition and for people to finally have the wireless entertainment experience for both audio and video that they have long deserved.”


Blackfire RED features and capabilities include:

  • Reliable multi-room, multi-channel, low latency wireless audio and video over Wi-Fi;
  • Advanced multi-source media pipeline handling for services such as Google Chromecast Audio and Spotify Connect;
  • Native integration into Smart TVs, enabling the TV itself to decode and send multi-channel audio to wireless speakers;
  • Wireless 4K video for transmitting audio and video from a Smart Set Top Box simultaneously to multiple TVs and speakers throughout the home;
  • Voice AI integration into multi-room, enabling a whole-home voice-control system.
  • Easy integration into all smart devices.


Blackfire Research

Blackfire Research is making the Smart Home smarter, bridging the islands of entertainment in the home and disrupting the $50B Smart Home Entertainment market with its Blackfire RED, wireless real-time entertainment distribution framework. Based in in San Francisco, California, Blackfire has perfected the industry’s only high-performance wireless software framework that is reliable, fast, and flexible, enabling Smart Homeowners to play all of their audio and video content synchronously and seamlessly throughout the home. Today, leading global audio brands rely on the company’s solutions for real-time wireless media distribution and consumers have now come to recognize the Blackfire logo as a symbol of quality. For more information, please visit: www.bfrx.com.


Media Contact

Allyson Scott

McGrath/Power Public Relations and Communications

+1 (408) 727-0351


Consumer Electronics Veteran Joins Blackfire Research Leadership Team

Consumer Electronics Veteran Joins Blackfire Research Leadership Team



SAN FRANCISCO, CA – December 7, 2016 – Blackfire Research, the leading developer of wireless technology for home entertainment, today announced that Ruben Mookerjee has joined the executive team as VP of Global Sales and Distribution.

Mookerjee joins Blackfire Research with more than 30 years of Consumer Electronics experience, most recently serving as the Vice President and General Manager at Razer, the dominant brand and global leader in PC gaming.

“We are thrilled to have Ruben head up our Sales and Distribution,” says Blackfire Research founder and CEO, Ravi Rajapakse. “He brings a unique background in consumer products that combines technology with business development and sales distribution. I have known Ruben for several years, and am delighted to have his leadership and expertise on the Blackfire team.”

Prior to Razer, Mookerjee headed up the PC Components business at Corsair, where he also led the acquisition of Simple Audio, a networked audio player. Mookerjee held executive positions at Logitech (NASDAQ: LOGI), Labtec and Hewlett Packard. Mookerjee holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kingston University, London.

“I first met Ravi several years ago, and was instantly intrigued by his vision and the robust technology developed by the Blackfire Research team”, said Mookerjee. “There is a lot of wireless technology out there, but they all trade off performance for convenience. Blackfire Research has opened up the possibility of a wireless future, from 4K video to 5.1 audio, that can be screened around the home without compromising the integrity of the product or the user’s experience.”

About Blackfire Research

Founded in 2006, Blackfire Research (www.bfrx.com) develops wireless software technology and hardware solutions for high-performance, wireless home entertainment systems. Blackfire Research is built on patented Internet Protocol technologies designed to wirelessly stream media to multiple devices simultaneously over standard Wi-Fi. Through partnerships with global, industry leaders, Blackfire creates products that allow movie, TV, and music lovers to wirelessly create the home entertainment experience they desire.