Bluetooth SIG announces LE Audio with audio sharing, performance improvements, more

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The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) on Monday outlined LE Audio, a new Bluetooth standard that will deliver a host of features like higher audio quality, support for hearing aids and audio sharing when it debuts.

AirPods
Apple's AirPods lineup.


Bluetooth SIG offered a few key details about LE Audio in an announcement that coincided with CES 2020, describing tentpole features including high performance playback with a minimal bandwidth footprint, power-efficient broadcast and reception, and, for the first time, multi-stream audio with compatible devices.

The standard, which sits as a standalone to watershed releases like Bluetooth 5, integrates the Low Complexity Communication Codec. LC3 promises higher quality sound reproduction than the current SBC codec at low data rates. According to the group, LC3 is capable of producing audio quality identical to that of SBC at half the bit rate, freeing developers to create apps that maximize device efficiency without negatively impacting performance.

Multi-stream audio is a first for Bluetooth and allows devices like smartphones to connect to multiple wireless earbuds or speakers simultaneously. Independent connections and audio synchronization could provide an improved imaging experience for headphone users, while multi-device connectivity streamlines output device switching.

LE Audio will also support Broadcast Audio, a feature that enables a source to broadcast one or more streams of content to an unlimited number of receiving devices. The feature opens the door to personal and location-based Audio Sharing. Personal Audio Sharing enables users to stream audio to others nearby, while location-based Audio Sharing is designed to send audio to a number of devices at large venues like airports, bars, gyms and arenas.

Audio sharing and seamless switching are baked into iOS 13 and have been prime selling points for Apple's line of high-end wireless headphones like AirPods, AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro. The tech giant is a member of Bluetooth SIG.

Finally, LE Audio builds in support for hearing aids.

When the new standard debuts, Bluetooth audio will be split into two distinct operation modes: LE Audio and Classic Audio. LE Audio works on Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) radios while Classic Audio operates on the Bluetooth Classic radio.

Bluetooth SIG expects to deliver specifications of LE Audio in the first half of 2020.
cincymac

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    Multi-stream audio is a first for Bluetooth and allows devices like smartphones to connect to multiple wireless earbuds or speakers simultaneously. Independent connections and audio synchronization could provide an improved imaging experience for headphone users, while multi-device connectivity streamlines output device switching. 
    If I'm reading that correctly, that would mean that if you have a personal and work phone and either one rings you will be able to take the call with your BT headphones without the rigamarole of having to manually connect the other, previously paired device if the other happened to be the last place you used the headphones. That is the one issue I still have to contend with.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    This is a bit confusing for someone who works with Made for iPhone hearing aids. They already connect to and stream from the paired iPhone (or iPad) via Bluetooth LE. What’s the difference here?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 9
    seafoxseafox Posts: 90member
    Anilu_777 said:
    This is a bit confusing for someone who works with Made for iPhone hearing aids. They already connect to and stream from the paired iPhone (or iPad) via Bluetooth LE. What’s the difference here?
    This will be an industry standard, not a "Apple-only" thing.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,792member
    If anything is ripe for disruption it is the hearing aid industry. I can’t believe the price elderly parents have to pay.
    GeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 9
    entropys said:
    If anything is ripe for disruption it is the hearing aid industry. I can’t believe the price elderly parents have to pay.


    Welcome to the world of assistive technology. It's the same thing with software and hardware designed for the visually impaired. Tablet-like devices that incorporate Braille can cost as much as the base Mac Pro, but have internal specs that are probably less than an iPhone 7.
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 6 of 9
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    entropys said:
    If anything is ripe for disruption it is the hearing aid industry. I can’t believe the price elderly parents have to pay.

    Yes, it's what happens when the government sponsors monopolistic collusion:   The hearing aid companies can charge as much as they want since the American consumer's choice is to pay the price or go without, it works well for company profits.

    The eyeglass industry has been in the same boat:   government sponsored monopolistic collusion has made prices exhorbitant. 
    For me to get a new pair of glasses requires:  a $100 appointment with a optomologist to get a prescription (of which the last two have been incorrect!) then $400-$600 for a new pair of frames and lenses (I have a strong prescription).

    But, this summer when I needed a new pair of glasses I tested a new way:
    I bought a testing machine from EyeQue for less than $100 which determines all the numbers necessary for a new prescription and that I can use over and over.  Then I went with their recommendation to order from EyeBuyDirect where I got my new frames and lenses in a few days for $99!

    The end result:  I got BETTER glasses for less than 1/4 the cost!
    Yes, I'll still see an optomologist to test for glaucoma and such -- but I am now free of their extortion when needing new glasses.

    I see the same thing beginning to happen in the hearing aid business.   Yeah!  
    edited January 2020 avon b7jony0
  • Reply 7 of 9
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,816member
    We need new Bluetooth standards to move into car's infotainment system. Most still operates on older Bluetooth 4.2
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 9
    sandorsandor Posts: 650member
    entropys said:
    If anything is ripe for disruption it is the hearing aid industry. I can’t believe the price elderly parents have to pay.

    Yes, it's what happens when the government sponsors monopolistic collusion:   The hearing aid companies can charge as much as they want since the American consumer's choice is to pay the price or go without, it works well for company profits.

    The eyeglass industry has been in the same boat:   government sponsored monopolistic collusion has made prices exhorbitant. 
    For me to get a new pair of glasses requires:  a $100 appointment with a optomologist to get a prescription (of which the last two have been incorrect!) then $400-$600 for a new pair of frames and lenses (I have a strong prescription).

    But, this summer when I needed a new pair of glasses I tested a new way:
    I bought a testing machine from EyeQue for less than $100 which determines all the numbers necessary for a new prescription and that I can use over and over.  Then I went with their recommendation to order from EyeBuyDirect where I got my new frames and lenses in a few days for $99!

    The end result:  I got BETTER glasses for less than 1/4 the cost!
    Yes, I'll still see an optomologist to test for glaucoma and such -- but I am now free of their extortion when needing new glasses.

    I see the same thing beginning to happen in the hearing aid business.   Yeah!  

    You just need to shop for glasses some place else - there are a plethora of shops that have prescription lenses & frames @ $100
    https://www.warbyparker.com

    Your $100 for an ophthalmologist appointment is solely down to the quality of your health insurance. 
    If your co-pay is $100, blame it on profit driven insurance companies. 

    If you are going to an ophthalmologist that cannot get your refraction correct, you need to find a new doctor.
    Its not voodoo, it is science.
    Seems like you found yourself a bottom of the bell curve MD....
    edited January 2020
  • Reply 9 of 9
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    sandor said:
    entropys said:
    If anything is ripe for disruption it is the hearing aid industry. I can’t believe the price elderly parents have to pay.

    Yes, it's what happens when the government sponsors monopolistic collusion:   The hearing aid companies can charge as much as they want since the American consumer's choice is to pay the price or go without, it works well for company profits.

    The eyeglass industry has been in the same boat:   government sponsored monopolistic collusion has made prices exhorbitant. 
    For me to get a new pair of glasses requires:  a $100 appointment with a optomologist to get a prescription (of which the last two have been incorrect!) then $400-$600 for a new pair of frames and lenses (I have a strong prescription).

    But, this summer when I needed a new pair of glasses I tested a new way:
    I bought a testing machine from EyeQue for less than $100 which determines all the numbers necessary for a new prescription and that I can use over and over.  Then I went with their recommendation to order from EyeBuyDirect where I got my new frames and lenses in a few days for $99!

    The end result:  I got BETTER glasses for less than 1/4 the cost!
    Yes, I'll still see an optomologist to test for glaucoma and such -- but I am now free of their extortion when needing new glasses.

    I see the same thing beginning to happen in the hearing aid business.   Yeah!  

    You just need to shop for glasses some place else - there are a plethora of shops that have prescription lenses & frames @ $100
    https://www.warbyparker.com

    Your $100 for an ophthalmologist appointment is solely down to the quality of your health insurance. 
    If your co-pay is $100, blame it on profit driven insurance companies. 

    If you are going to an ophthalmologist that cannot get your refraction correct, you need to find a new doctor.
    Its not voodoo, it is science.
    Seems like you found yourself a bottom of the bell curve MD....

    $100 glasses from a local optometrist is mostly a dream -- but even then only possible with cheap frames and low power, very common lenses.  Not the kind I was talking about.
    And, most people don't have vision insurance so they pay the full amount -- about $100 for a prescription that may or may not work.   As I said, the last two I got from an eye doctor were no good.

    No, I'll skip the old, money grabbing eye care industry and go with the scientifically proven, more effective and far cheaper modern way.
    But, feel free to pay for somebody's Cadillac or BMW if you like.   They will appreciate it.
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