haydesigner wrote:Is there any reason that this would be better than a $15-20 pair of wireless headphones? I mean, other than you wear it under your chin instead of on your head?
We use IR equipment just like this (same brand and style, but with the ability to pick from 2 channels) in federal court for assistive listening and/or interpreting. So long as you maintain line-of-sight with the IR transmitter array the reception is crystal clear. However, the farther away you get the more directly you have to face the transmitter (though in court I'm talking 40-50 feet away, but then again, their transmitter panels are the size of laptop screens so it might extrapolate).
Here's the thing though... a few years ago they switched a few of the courtrooms to compact fluorescent lights and sure enough they became far more susceptible to hissing. Also happens when they use plasma screens, although this is rare since they almost always use projectors. Now they're going to some even newer lights because the flickering and audible buzzing was terrible.
So what do we do in these cases? Use our portable RF based equipment that utilize a band of frequencies specifically set aside for assistive listening. Now why don't we just use these all the time? Because with many courtrooms in close proximity the potential for cross-interference is quite increased, albeit unlikely, and a distant second... the possibility for eaves-dropping of sealed court proceedings. IR signals don't penetrate through walls so no problems with that there.
So, to answer your question... if you've already got a lot of RF activity going on, particularly within the spectrum of the headphones you plan to use, then using IR headphones might provide a cleaner signal, or just as importantly, avoid the chance of your headphone system's transmissions messing with your wireless LAN, cordless phone, garage door opener, or whatever.
Oh, and yes, these are most definitely mono. Not an issue in court, but less than ideal for movie watching. If it were me, for sporadic movies, I'd buy RF phones on the least used or least critical spectrum possible. For consistent performance of mostly speech (say the news, talk shows, sports) with very low chances of interference (except from CFLs and plasmas) I'd go with the IR.
Hope this helps!