Colorado Vnet has developed a new audio system that lets builders install distributed audio in four rooms for a builder cost of about $3,000 to $4,000.

Ben Beierwaltes, the company's director of marketing, says the Colorado vNet system alleviates the need for expensive $2,000 receivers to distribute audio. Instead, the system uses digital encoders that translate analog audio into Internet protocol (IP) that runs throughout the house over Category-5 wire. The encoders cost about $195 each. Other system costs for a builder include $395 for each touchscreen amplifier.

Here's how the system works: An analog signal is sent from a consumer electronics device such as a CD or DVD player to the digital encoder, which translates the analog signal into IP. The IP data then goes through a standard switch (Linksys, Netgear, etc.) and is sent to the touch-screen, which converts it back to analog and distributes the audio to the speakers.

SOUND STAGE: Colorado vNet's new system routes audio over Internet protocol.
SOUND STAGE: Colorado vNet's new system routes audio over Internet protocol.

Beierwaltes says one of the main advantages of the digital signal is that it doesn't interfere with high-voltage signals, so there's much less hum or distortion in the sound. In addition, it's easy and reasonably inexpensive ($395 per room) to add on additional rooms. Colorado vNet also includes full touchscreens, as opposed to the rubber keypads offered by other audio vendors.

Moving forward, Colorado vNet plans to offer a system by the third quarter of this year that will let home buyers manage lighting, HVAC, and security. To learn more, visit