Monday, April 15, 2024

Bluetooth Auracast will let you share audio with multiple devices

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Something to look forward to: Bluetooth audio devices are more popular than ever, but until now their sharing capabilities have been limited to beaming audio to one or two devices. Thanks to a new technology called Auracast, Bluetooth devices will soon be able to broadcast audio to all other Bluetooth devices in range.

This week, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth SIG) quietly announced a new Bluetooth capability that will be a boon for everyone from audiophiles to the average consumer that loves the convenience of wireless audio.

The new technology is called Auracast and it builds on top of the existing Audio Sharing feature that is part of the LE Audio protocol. The latter only allows point-to-point communication and sharing audio with up to two headphones or speakers, but Auracast will allow Bluetooth devices to broadcast audio to any number of other devices that are in range.

Simply put, one Bluetooth device will be able to advertise its ability to broadcast audio to nearby Bluetooth receivers and those devices will receive instructions on how to join the Auracast transmission. Bluetooth SIG says the UI will be similar to that used by public Wi-Fi networks, and the broadcast can also be limited to specific devices that have the right passkey.

This means you’ll be able to do things like connecting to a TV in a public space, sharing a presentation with several people, or listening to one of several music playlists at the gym by simply tuning to it. Furthermore, this will improve the audio experience for people that need hearing aid devices.

Peter Liu, who is System Architect of Pixel Ecosystem Products at Google, said in a statement that “we are proud to work with the Bluetooth SIG and are excited to see this capability provide consumers with new, imaginative ways to connect with each other and hear their world.” This seems to suggest Auracast functionality may be added to devices like the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel 6a.

Organizations such as the Hearing Loss Association of America are expressing their support for Auracast and companies like Google and Xiaomi are already working to support the new standard, which should help with its adoption. Bluetooth SIG says the final Auracast specification will be released sometime in the coming months.

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