Whole House FM Transmitter 2.0continued
After numerous attempts to contact the President of TAW-Global, Tom Webb, we had finally received an email response back on April 13, 2010 and we followed up by phone shortly thereafter. Mr. Webb was unwilling to supply us with an evaluation unit on either a short or long-term loan. We started to lose confidence when he claimed that even Shenzhen BST Technology Co. LTD of China, the company listed on the certification report, had to purchase a transmitter to perform the certification testing. This was just too incredible for any sane person to believe and it started to raise doubts among us in the evaluation lab regarding the integrity of the company.
We noted during the preparation of our review that the Whole House transmitter web site seems to include a great deal of over the top marketing hype. Appearing in large type on the top of their main page was the statement "Small FM Transmitter Company Accidentally Discovers A Little Known And Overlooked FCC Document That Allows You To Legally Broadcast Throughout Your Entire Home!" Perhaps had they discovered this document earlier they may have avoided receiving a citation from the Federal Communications Commission in regards to the marketing of its former generation transmitter.
The statement immediately following that on their site, "With This Nasty Little Piece of Insider Information We Consistently Outperform And Even Humiliate Bigger & Older FM Transmitter Manufacturers In Head-To-Head Comparisons" is even more laughable! Our own evaluation lab tests of several other transmitters that surpassed the Whole House FM 2.0 in fidelity as well as durability. The document they reference, an FCC public notice from 1991, does not mention anything specific regarding the regulation their FM transmitter is allowed to operate under. From all appearances they're targeting uneducated consumers who are unfamiliar with Part 15 compliant FM transmitters.
Adding more to the hype is the exaggerated regular price for the transmitter. A "suggested retail price" of $525.00 listed near the bottom of their main page, showing a "corrected" price of $124.95. Going to the page linked on their site menu labeled "FM Transmitter Accessories" lists a regular price of $350.00 - Looks like they can't agree on a suggested retail price, can they! Regardless, is an inexpensive-to-manufacture, imported, mostly plastic transmitter worth more than $100? With this product seen for sale on venues like ebay in the sub-$50 price range in used condition some would speculate that the product isn't worth much more in new condition.The Verdict:
The Whole House FM Transmitter 2.0 does provide a useable FM mono or stereo signal to be received by nearby FM radio receivers but does it live up to the claims and/or hype from TAW-Global? While the Whole House FM Transmitter 2.0 has several features that other lower cost transmitters may not include (such as stereo / mono mode) it's all plastic construction combined with its $124+ price tag makes it unattractive to those seeking a transmitter on a budget. On the other hand, those seeking a high performance transmitter that is also Part 15 compliant would most likely opt for a transmitter with a much sturdier case and better engineering. This is before factoring in the "gray area" of the included "international antenna kit" which we feel should not even be included with the unit. The question that's begging to be asked is, is the FCC aware of this "accessory" being included with US customer orders?
HobbyBroadcaster.net would like the extend a thanks to a friend of the forum community who graciously loaned us his new Whole House 2.0 transmitter (as well as an original Whole House transmitter for comparison testing) since Mr. Webb and TAW-Global were unwilling to assist us in conducting our evaluation.August 19, 2012 Update:
An update to the manufacturer's web site moved much of the "hype" to a sub-menu choice as well as removing the pricing discrepancies that littered their site. We find it hilarious that this company still touts a suggested list price of $550 for an all plastic, flimsy device when so many other choices still blow this away.
Whole House FM Transmitter 2.0
- Thumbs Up
- US and Canada Certification
- Stereo / Mono Switchable
- PLL Tuning
- Separate Microphone and Line Inputs
- Thumbs Down
- Belt Clip Complicates Battery Replacement
- Difficult To Read LCD Display
- Inclusion of non-compliant antenna "kit" with orders to U.S.customers
- Ease To Overmodulate With High Level Audio Signal
- Inexpensive Build Quality
- Overabundance of Sales / Marketing Hype
List Price: $550 - Updated 8/19/2012
Sale Price: $124.95
FCC Certification ID: XOAWH-FMT
Industry Canada Certification: IC.8728A-WHFMT
CONTACT: Visit Whole House FM Transmitters
Date of Review: September 5, 2011